The Corner

Civilisation Online

Greatest educator of the last 50 years? Well, the late Kenneth Clark has to be in anybody’s Top Ten. His 13-part TV documentary Civilisation (that’s the British spelling), first aired in 1969, is a marvel.

At least seven of the 13 parts can now be viewed online in their entirety. The quality is good, and the series is still compulsively watchable after 39 years. At any rate, I started up the first video to check quality, and ended up viewing the whole 50 minutes, when I had much more important things to do.

Not the least of the charms of the thing is Clark (he was later knighted, to become Sir Kenneth) himself. He is, as Bertie Wooster would have said, an odd-looking bird:  an unnaturally fleshy, perhaps goiterous, neck, a squint, Austin Powers teeth, and the sort of exquisitely shabby and ill-fitting menswear that you can only get from terrifically exclusive and expensive London tailors. He is the master of his material, though — talk about effortless superiority! You should watch Civilisation, if you haven’t. More important, you should have your kids watch it.

Here are links to the seven episodes I have found:

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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