Thursday, June 10, 2021

Clive James and the tensions of multimodal authorship

I recently published a scholarly article about Clive James that explores some of the tensions of multimodal authorship, and in particular the critical reception of a writer whose practice crossed many forms and genres.

I've long loved Clive James's essays and travel writing, and have analysed some of these in this blog; but he also wrote poetry, fiction, song lyrics and, towards the end of his life, translated Dante's Inferno. In my article, I wanted to show how a sympathetic critical response to this writer can celebrate his multimodality rather than, as has sometimes been the case, seek to identify his main strength and wish that he focus on that alone.

Many writers are experimenting across forms and genres, and so sometimes it's better to evaluate a writer's output by looking at the whole picture, and how individual pieces relate.

The article is available for free here.