Civilisation by Kenneth Clark

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Civilisation by Kenneth Clark

jul 21, 2019, 10:06 pm

Does anyone have any thoughts/insight on this volume (on the book itself and/or the FS treatment)? I found a FS copy available for pretty cheap, and I know a non-FS copy used to be in my grandfather's small library, but I can't seem to find much information about the FS version. Thanks much.

jul 22, 2019, 3:34 am

>1 jsg1976:
A brochure for Civilisation has been uploaded to the FSD wiki here.
This will give you a lot more information about the book.

jul 22, 2019, 4:10 am

>2 wcarter: that is exceedingly helpful - thanks!

Redigerat: jul 22, 2019, 5:53 am

A lovely edition , the text is the scripts from the BBC programme from 1969. Search Youtube where you will find the original programmes.

BTW if you enjoy it try getting The Ascent of Man for a comparison.

jul 22, 2019, 7:16 am

I love the volume, but saw and first loved the television program. One of the greatest things British tv ever did

Redigerat: jul 22, 2019, 9:31 am

>5 DMulvee: One of the greatest things British tv ever did

Couldn't agree more.

>4 N11284: BTW if you enjoy it try getting The Ascent of Man for a comparison.

Yes indeed, the perfect complement to Kenneth Clarke's history of art, Jacob Bronowski's evolution of science. Both attracted huge audiences. I well remember watching them both with my parents. I can't imagine "serious" programmes such as those topping the ratings now.

Edited for spelling.

jul 22, 2019, 11:57 am

6> And I would add Alastair Cooke's America to the pair of The Ascent of Man and Civilisation if wanting to see the best of British factual tv from the late 60s / early 70s. All are on DVD and if you haven't seen them before are a wonder to behold! The books are all worthwhile (I own them), but I feel are an addition to the tv series, rather than an alternative to them

jul 22, 2019, 1:52 pm

Did Folio do America? Must have missed it, though I have "Letter..."

jul 22, 2019, 3:58 pm

Civilisation is an excellent book. Whenever I read it, I can hear Kenneth Clark's voice on the original programmes. The book is a transcription of the original scripts. I treasure the DVDs.

I believe Bronowski's Ascent of Man series was deliberately commissioned as the scientific counterpart to Clark's series, and was equally successful. Both were experts in their respective fields and both programmes represented "A Personal View". Highly recommended.

nov 1, 2023, 6:11 pm

I have been watching this on YouTube and found it fascinating. So much so that I downloaded all 13 episodes to my cloud, just in case they disappear from the tube.

Ordered a good copy of the FS edition last night on the back of this.

nov 1, 2023, 6:55 pm

I'm really not the right generation for Civilisation or Ascent of Man but I found them on Youtube years ago and while they're dated and have (quite a few) factual errors now, the overall presentation is just grand. Apparently both were quite the experiment for the BBC at the time and were championed by Attenborough.

A related can't-believe-they-made-tv-this-good show is Connections with James Burke.

nov 1, 2023, 8:21 pm

>11 A.Godhelm: I loved Connections back when it aired. Genuinely though provoking.

nov 1, 2023, 10:45 pm

Civilisation is reviewed in the Folio Archives at

nov 1, 2023, 11:49 pm

>13 wcarter: Thanks.

nov 2, 2023, 5:21 pm

Just finished episode 4 and it's here that I'm interested in getting my hands on the book to make sure I haven't missed something. Clark menfind that the Florentines were the first to study the classics, which I find hard to believe, so I may have mistaken him or missed a nuance.
St Thomas Aquinas may be quite confidently charged with knowing Aristotle 'The Philosopher' inside out, hundreds of years earlier. So I'm guessing that Abelard and those at Paris, as well as the scholarly monks sprinkled throughout the monasteries, would have seriously engaged with the classics.

nov 3, 2023, 6:39 pm

Kenneth Clark has always been one of my favorite art historians. Some find him too staid--at the end of Civilisation he characterizes himself as a "stick-in-the-mud". I love the old series because it came early enough in television history to have a presenter with bad clothes and bad teeth and an unfiltered upper-class vocabulary and (slightly Scot) pronunciation. I find him very humane and very funny.

The books are not direct transcripts of the broadcasts, and the problem with the original editions of his books is that, like many older art books, color reproductions were few and far between. Folio, to my knowledge has published three of his books in identical formats--The Nude, Leonardo da Vinci and Civilisation, and all are full of beautiful color illustrations. Two of the three I purchased second hand at a reasonable price.

nov 3, 2023, 6:47 pm

>16 RickartAllen:

I find him refreshing candid.

nov 3, 2023, 7:03 pm

>15 LesMiserables: Presumably he was referring to the Renaissance (re-)discovery of the plays and poems.

nov 3, 2023, 9:55 pm

>16 RickartAllen:

Also: Landscape into Art, 2013. Landscape format.

nov 4, 2023, 11:47 am

>8 Jayked:
Did Folio do America? Must have missed it, though I have "Letter .."
No, they didn't.
And be warned the FS edition is an abridged version of the original book, not noted in any blurb. I returned it immediately - in hindsight this was a bit of a turning point in my relationship with the FS.

nov 4, 2023, 12:13 pm

>10 LesMiserables:

Hi Lesmis how were you able to that? I’ve never been able to fins an app that’s not windows to help me download to Mac

nov 4, 2023, 3:42 pm

>21 ironjaw: It was a Windows app. Not sure about anything Apple, sorry!