Today in Literary History – November 5, 1926 – John Berger is born

John Berger, the art critic, novelist and essayist was born on November 5, 1926. He died last year at the age of 90.

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Berger is best known for his 1972 book Ways 0f Seeing which began as a BBC television series. It is a very post-modern approach to how we as a society view visual culture. In particular, it takes a critical look at how women are portrayed in advertising and media.

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I first read it years ago and I re-read it last year. It is a good guide to finding different ways of “seeing” images in our image-saturated culture.

Berger was also a novelist, winning the Booker Prize in 1972 for his picaresque novel G, which is the only other book of his that I have read. (I must admit that I found it hard going at times.) He was also a painter and film-maker.

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