Some thought that speech self-serving (it is included in '' Selected Essays''), and there has always been a little of the self-dramatist in Berger.But that way of handling Booker was a guide to Berger's future.
In 1988, two years after Henry Moore’s death, the art critic Peter Fuller ended his affiliation with and allegiance to his mentor John Berger with an essay for New Society titled ‘The Value of Art’.Wasteland architecture, mountaintop astronomy, Bach in the wilderness, the mind of the wood rat, the canals of Phoenix, and the numerous eccentric personalities who call the desert their home all come to life in these fascinating portraits of America’s seemingly desolate terrains.Berger will be joined by James Anderson, author of the two critically acclaimed novels Crown, The Never-Open Desert Diner and Lullaby Road.And then in one year -- 1972, a time of astonishing ferment for Berger -- he published a novel called '' G'' that won the Booker Prize, and he took on television itself.Not just as a subject, but as a kind of guide or preacher, on camera, for a series called '' Ways of Seeing'' that some of us rate as vital to our education, a series that began with Berger, a spellbinder on the screen, with a slight lisp that could seem like whispered intimacy: '' It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it.'' That was what he had been on about all the time.I would add Chris Marker, the still little-known genius of documentary and what one might call ''films from my notebook.'' Or John Sassall, the fortunate man, that country doctor who went to live in the deep countryside and patiently served.The doctor's grace was in healing, treatment and the tender handling of finality.Yet ''enclosed'' is the wrong word, for it gives an impression that he was cut off or removed.Whereas, like Watteau, whose fluency he urges us to see, he was -- and is still -- engaged in an effort to flow into all that he feels around him. So it was known that John Berger had done early novels -- Corker's Freedom'' and '' A Painter of Our Time.'' It was plain that his sense of art was embedded in society and political ideas. In 1965, as an original for Penguin (straight into paperback), he did '' The Success and Failure of Picasso,'' rich in admiration for the revolution of Cubism, deeply moved by the sensuality of the paintings of women, yet thoroughly alarmed by the cultural consequences of the auction-room phenomenon of Picasso (still alive then, still manipulating his dealers).And he has continued to write essays on art, photography and the way in which seeing places us in the whole world.Walter Benjamin is an obvious comparison, and Berger admits that influence.