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.


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.


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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