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Civilisation: A Personal View (1969)

by Kenneth Clark

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2,468135,973 (4.08)1 / 24
Kenneth Clark's sweeping narrative looks at how Western Europe evolved in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire, to produce the ideas, books, buildings, works of art and great individuals that make up our civilisation. The author takes us from Iona in the ninth century to France in the twelfth, from Florence to Urbino, from Germany to Rome, England, Holland and America. Against these historical backgrounds he sketches an extraordinary cast of characters -- the men and women who gave new energy to civilisation and expanded our understanding of the world and of ourselves. He also highlights the works of genius they produced -- in architecture, sculpture and painting, in philosophy, poetry and music, and in science and engineering, from Raphael's School of Athens to the bridges of Brunel.… (more)
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 Folio Society Devotees: Civilisation by Kenneth Clark22 unread / 22LesMiserables, November 2023

» See also 24 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Ha Ha! In 1999 I wrote about this book: "Chapter 1 and I am already offended! Clark is so dated! What small mind wrote,about, "the negro imagination," that created the African mask, or about "the late antique world, full of meaninless rituals, mystery religious, that destroyed self-confidence." *** I went on to discover "stuff I liked," and I made a few notes. but I clearly did not complete this book. I don't think I ever even saw the companion television show. I know Clark remains a big name in social sciences, so perhaps I will see what he did in later years. ( )
  Kim.Sasso | Aug 27, 2023 |
Great dialog on art...good timelines... ( )
  Brightman | May 12, 2019 |
The Art history is conveniently arranged, and the illustrations are tasteful. He's not casting his definition of "Civilization" widely enough to suit me. I much prefer the twelve volume effort by Will and Ariel Durant. He believes that Civilization is best curated by a very narrow set of editors, such as himself. I don't think a view of such a narrow set of criteria defines what could be defined as a Civilization" by the human race's past history. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jan 30, 2018 |
This is a dreadful book from an excellent TV series.
If one is producing an art book, one would be disappointed that the illustrations were all going to be black and white. When this was compounded by the decision to stick all the pictures in a block in the middle of the book, then one raises the white flag meekly: but wait, there's just one more twist of the knife, the original TV script is not going to be changed for the new literary format.
Oh dear! ( )
1 vote the.ken.petersen | Jan 10, 2010 |
Excellent. Only four stars because this is a book of a miniseries of programs and a little, not much, is lost in change of medium. Well illustrated. Clark writes well and with conviction about the progress of western civiliztion as illustrated through art. ( )
1 vote Smiley | Jan 23, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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I am standing on the Pont des Arts in Paris.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the book. Please do not combine with the television series.
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Kenneth Clark's sweeping narrative looks at how Western Europe evolved in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire, to produce the ideas, books, buildings, works of art and great individuals that make up our civilisation. The author takes us from Iona in the ninth century to France in the twelfth, from Florence to Urbino, from Germany to Rome, England, Holland and America. Against these historical backgrounds he sketches an extraordinary cast of characters -- the men and women who gave new energy to civilisation and expanded our understanding of the world and of ourselves. He also highlights the works of genius they produced -- in architecture, sculpture and painting, in philosophy, poetry and music, and in science and engineering, from Raphael's School of Athens to the bridges of Brunel.

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"Kenneth Clark's sweeping narrative looks at how Western Europe evolved in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire, to produce the ideas, books, buildings, works of art and great individuals that make up our civilisation."
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