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October 30, 2009

TT: Forty years of Civilisation

Kenneth Clark's Civilisation: A Personal View, a thirteen-part TV series about Western art and culture, first aired on the BBC in 1969 and on PBS a year later. The series was hugely popular in both countries. Today, however, it's mostly forgotten save by specialists in TV history. A couple of weeks ago the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., hosted a panel discussion of Civilisation and its significance, but to date PBS has shown no interest in commemorating its fortieth anniversary.

In this week's "Sightings" column for The Wall Street Journal I reflect on why Civilisation is no longer well remembered--and explain why many present-day intellectuals hold it in contempt. Pick up a copy of Saturday's Journal and see what I have to say.

UPDATE: Read the whole thing here.

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The opening sequence of "The Skin of Our Teeth," the first episode of Civilisation:

Posted October 30, 2009 12:00 AM

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