How will Clive James be remembered? TV fame passes: he left …On Television before many of his current fans were born, myself included. His music has its devotees; in Loose Canon, a book on his songs out next month, Stephen Fry argues that James should be counted among his generation’s greatest songwriters. 

But it’s the poetry that has lately shown “The mind in a late flowering/ With its own decay for soil”, as he writes here.

Since announcing in 2012 that he would soon be dead from leukaemia, James has published a translation of Dante, a verse tribute to Proust, three books of essays and two of short poems. And now comes this odd epic, a kind of Augustan Waste Land; fragments of high, wry…