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Civilisation: 13 Part BBC Presentation epub

by Lord Kenneth Clark


Civilisation: 13 Part BBC Presentation epub

ISBN: 0780006135

ISBN13: 978-0780006133

Author: Lord Kenneth Clark

Category: No category

Publisher: BBC/Lionheart Television (1969)

ePUB book: 1971 kb

FB2 book: 1608 kb

Rating: 4.6

Votes: 979

Other Formats: mobi doc lrf lit





This masterpiece, perhaps the greatest documentary ever made, gets four stars when it deserves FIVE, largely because of those who blame the Blu-Ray discs for their cluelessness about formats. If they cared to read the specs, then they would see the Blu-Rays don't play on USA-region players. Instead of "Oops," and getting their money back, they plant a vindictive one-star, which skews down the aggregate rating. This amounts to vandalism. Kind of like the Huns trashing things they don't understand.

To those who are put off by the dated quality of the DVD, I suggest they buy a multi-format Blu-Ray player available here at a reasonable price. When you see the quality of Civilization in remastered high definition, you will be blown away. It's almost like seeing it for the first time. It is well worth the price of the player because Civilization is a great life experience, aside from the bonus of hundreds of other titles from UK which become accessible.

As to the silly criticism of Clark's not mentioning every civilization on earth, he talks of European civilization because that's his area of expertice. Early on he gives the Indus Valley civilization credit for the greatest spiritual awakening in history. He speaks of civilization's beginnings in Egypt and Mesopotamia. What Clark does is use what he knows about, namely Europe, to illlustrate how a particular civilization has evolved or, in the end, devolved. it's such a rare pleasure to listen to someone on TV who actually knows what he's talking about.

Critics choose to forget that Civilization is not about the art itself but how the art reflects the culture that creates it. Of course, one could set oneself up as superior to Clark and argue the points. On the other hand, one can sit back and absorb the insights of one of the great minds of the 20th century and come away a wiser person for the experience of thirteen episodes of ravishing beauty and brilliant elucidation.
One of the most acclaimed documentaries in the history of television is "Civilisation." This masterpiece narrated by Kenneth Clark examines the progress of Western Civilization from the eleventh century. This DVD set contains all 13 episodes of the series; it originally aired on the BBC in 1969 and was aired in this country on PBS in 1970.

Clark defines civilization in part as creative power and the enlargement of human faculties, and recognizes that it is fragile—it is sustained by confidence but endangered by doubt and exhaustion. The series looks at just how close Western Civilization came to dying in the Dark Ages, but that the eleventh century saw a quantum leap that set the foundations for the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the rest of growth of the second millennium.

The narrator travels to many spots in Western Europe and a few in the United States to limn the stupendous artistic, architectural, scientific, spiritual, educational, communicational, philosophical, industrial, musical, and other accomplishments of the West in the last several centuries. Among the vital contributors to civilization highlighted by the series include Dante, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Luther, Shakespeare, Rembrandt, Descartes, Bach, Mozart, Voltaire, Washington, Jefferson, and others.

Clark recognizes the role of the Catholic Church in advancing civilization in the centuries after the Dark Ages. And while the Protestant Reformation was inevitable, its effects were not uniformly positive, and Clark recalls some of the controversies that followed. The series looks at the decline of religion among the elites in the last three centuries and some of the philosophical schools that resulted that have had wide effects, some deleterious, in the West since then.

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw the founding of the United States of America, the Industrial Revolution, urbanization, and the abolition of slavery, and the series covers those vital events. Clark notes that there is continuity but also dynamism and change in the West, and offers reasons for both optimism and pessimism for the future.

This DVD set contains both a bonus feature on the making of the series as well as a booklet of informative liner notes. The late Sixties were a time much like our own, when some doubted the worth of Western Civilization. This superb classic that looks back on the accomplishments of the last thousand years serves as a rebuff to such doubts and is as timely today as it was nearly a half-century ago when it was first broadcast.
I really loved this series. It probably ought to have been called "Art in Western Civilization" as that better captures the subject matter. However, I think it is named just "Civilization" because part of the purpose of Lord Clark's journey through Western art since the Dark Ages is to answer the question of what civilization is. It was made in the late 60s and was a plea, or rather a remonstration, to the youth of the day not to turn their back on their heritage and throw away something of great worth. Strangely it is still fitting today.

It is a bit grainy and filmed in 4:3 aspect ratio, but it is still beautiful. I learned a tremendous amount about art and how art fit into the historical context. My wife was bored to tears, but I couldn't get enough.
Another disappointed customer who can't play these Blu-rays on on Sony BDPS1700 wired 2016 model. Wouldn't play before or after firmware update. Amazon needs to address this issue. I was tempted to keep it for when I replace this Sony in the near future with a Samsung 4K player but I can't be sure they will play there either. Then I'd be stuck with the set as it will be too late to return them.
So back they go and I will try again in a few months. Hopefully this problem will be resolved by then. Sadly, I'm not hopeful though.
AN UPDATE:
I had packaged this for return but decided to try them in another player before I surrendered. Picked up a mid-level Samsung BD-J5700 and was delighted to discover that they play flawlessly. So this review goes from a frustrated 1 star to a very pleased 5 stars!