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Current topics by concept: counterculture - culture - fantastic - fiction - genre - popular - High Modernism - philosophy - postmodernism - list of sensibilities - subculture - taste - theory
Currently reading: The Intellectuals and the Masses (1992) - John Carey
2006, May 31; 19:05 ::: Conspiracy of Good Taste (1993) - Stefan Szczelkun
In search of Bourdieu-esque theories of taste
Conspiracy of Good Taste: William Morris, Cecil Sharp, Clough Williams-Ellis and the Repression of Working Class Culture in the 20th Century (1993) - Stefan Szczelkun [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
The main part of the original book and this website, 'The Conspiracy of Good Taste', is an examination of three middle class mediators of taste. William Morris with his influence on design and poetic expression and as a model of a 'political artist'. Cecil Sharp comes next because of his leadership in re-presenting a cleaned up version of working class culture back to the 'masses' through state education. Finally Clough Williams-Ellis who led in the repression of a modern working class vernacular housing and ushered in the wage slave mentality of the mortgage system. These three cover the period from the mid Nineteenth century to the mid twentieth.
In examining these case studies (mostly a critical reading of already published research) I try to look at the roots of classism in the biographies of the three men, and how they enacted the oppression, with as much attention to the mechanics of oppression as I could glean from the sources I had.
There is an introduction in which I recall the key readings, people and places through which I came to realise the significance of culture in class oppression and how it had effected my own life.
Chapter 1 outlines a basic theory of oppression and goes on to give a summary of the history of good taste using Howard Caygil's 'The Art of Judgement' as the main source. Following this is a critique of Pierre Bourdieu's 'Distinction' to bring the story of good taste into the late twentieth century.
Finally the book had a brief section on class identity in Britain, Germany and the USA corresponding to the geographical location of the previous history of taste, with a nod to the contemporary cultural dominance of the USA.
The web version adds short pieces of writing that I made in the wake of the original Working Press edition of 1993. Since the mid Nineties a wave of reaction has set in and there is much less freedom to think, discuss and publish about class oppression in this way. In spite of this Conspiracy of Good Taste seems to hold a place in the 'lineage of Arts debunkers', at least according to Dave Beech (Art Monthly February 2005 / No 283).
A new conclusion that was written for an intended second edition of the book is included. Here I point out that Lord John Reith, whose influence on TV through his leadership of the BBC, would have been a good candidate for a fourth mediator that would have taken the story firmly into my lifetime. But I get the impression that we no longer have a need of heroic mediators any more - the project has been intuitively taken up by the now numerous managers of culture.
Footnote: My key book sources were: E.P.Thompson's 'William Morris: romantic to revolutionary' (1955); Dave Harker's 'Fakesong: the manufacture of British folksong 1700 to the present day' (1985), for Cecil Sharp; Dennis Hardy and Colin Ward's, 'Arcadia for All: the legacy of a makeshift landscape' (1984), for an account of the 'Plotland' self-build that Williams-Ellis opposed; Howard Caygil's 'Art of Judgement' (1989), was m y main source for a history of taste through the writings of German and English philosophers. --http://www.stefan-szczelkun.org.uk/taste/CGT-abstract.html [May 2006]
See also: good taste
2006, May 31; 19:05 ::: Under cover: An illustrated history of American mass-market paperbacks (1982) - Thomas L Bonn
Under cover: An illustrated history of American mass-market paperbacks (1982) - Thomas L Bonn [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
The author, Thomas Bonn, starts out with a nice, reasonably succinct history of paperback publishing. Then, knowing full well that you can't judge a book by its cover and yet how else can you judge it until you've read it, he goes on to detail the always entertaining ways of marketing the books via their garish covers and other hype. There are lots of examples of classic, collectible and just plain weird covers (such as those seen here), many in black and white but with three separate color sections. If you’re a collector, a reader or especially a longtime bookstore employee, you need to find this long out of print book, one of only two I’ve ever even seen on this particular subject. -- via BOOKSTEVE'S LIBRARY via Groovyageofhorror [May 2006]
See also: paperback - mass culture
2006, May 31; 19:05 ::: In defense of secondary sourcesThe sheer quantity of printed information has for some time prevented any individual from fully absorbing even a minuscule fraction of it. Such devices as tables of contents, summaries, and indexes of various types, which aid in identifying and locating relevant information in primary literature, have been in use since the 16th century and led to the development of what is termed secondary literature during the 19th century. The purpose of secondary literature is to “filter” the primary information sources, usually by subject area, and provide the indicators to this literature in the form of reviews, abstracts, and indexes. Over the past 100 years there has evolved a system of disciplinary, national, and international abstracting and indexing services that acts as a gateway to several attributes of primary literature: authors, subjects, publishers, dates (and languages) of publication, and citations. The professional activity associated with these access-facilitating tools is called documentation. --http://wwwa.britannica.com/ebc/article-61658 [May 2006]
About a year ago I started to ask myself: "What would I rather do tonight, watch a movie or read about movies?" And unless there was a really worthwhile movie to see, I always preferred to read about movies. The same goes for literature, most of the time I would rather read about novels than read the novels themselves. Reading books can be very time consuming. A good solution is to see the movie based on the novel (I have recently seen Claude Chabrol's rather literal interpretation of Madam Bovary featuring Isabelle Huppert). An even better solution is to read about the novels through secondary sources. I have the secondary literature of people such as Colin Wilson, John Carey, Richard Davenport and Mario Praz in mind.
Richard Davenport-Hines wrote Gothic: Four Hundred Years of Excess, Horror, Evil and Ruin (1999), an excellent introduction to the gothic novel and the gothic sensibility in general.
Colin Wilson has written at least two great books on literature: The Outsider (1956) which tackles the issue of outsiderism in literature and The Misfits: A Study of Sexual Outsiders (1988), which tells the story of sexual outsiderism in literature and philosophy.
John Carey has written The Intellectuals and the Masses (1992), which I am currently reading and in my opinion, this is the best introduction to modernist literature around.
Mario Praz compiled an excellent introduction to Romantic literature with Romantic Agony (1930).
In literary theory, the primary source is the novel or poem itself; the secondary source is literature about novels or poems. Most of these secondary sources contain citations and quotes from the primary sources.
In film theory, the secondary source is literature about films. And although there are some excellent books around on films, one cannot (as is possible in secondary sources on literature) include excerpts of films in a book. Basically what we are waiting for are DVD-anthologies that include excerpts and scenes of films, combined with textbooks or voice-over comments.
Nevertheless, some very good examples are already on the market. One can think of A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (1995), although I haven't seen it. Other examples I have seen and were among the better viewing experiences of last year include Baadasssss Cinema - A Bold Look at 70's Blaxploitation Films (2002) about 1970s blaxploitation films, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls (2003) about New Hollywood, Inside Deep Throat (2005) about the making of Deep Throat (1972) including extensive background information on the mores of the times.
So on my whish list for 2007 are more secondary source material in books and DVDs. [May 2006]
See also: source - documentary - filter
2006, May 30; 19:05 ::: Why we need a canon
Inspired by my recent purchase of John Carey's The Intellectuals and the Masses (1992) I have been thinking a lot about the nobrow concept. The nobrow states that all is relative and that notions of merit are personal judgments at best. Still, I think we need a canon in order to be able to teach. A curriculum cannot be chosen at random. We need shared experience and common knowledge. If we are not satisfied with the canon, we need to come up with a new one. To me that means including previously maligned "low" genres as well as including "high culture" with a critical approach such as the one of John Carey and other nobrow theorists. A canon which explores the boundaries, bridges and intersections of culture. To you that may mean something different. Whose canon will it be? [Jun 2006].
See also: culture war - John Carey - canon - education - nobrow
2006, May 30; 19:05 ::: Am I A Snob: Modernism and the Novel (2003) - Sean Latham
Am I A Snob: Modernism and the Novel (2003) - Sean Latham [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Sean Latham’s appealingly written book "Am I a Snob?" traces the evolution of the figure of the snob through the works of William Makepeace Thackeray, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and Dorothy Sayers. Each of these writers played a distinctive role in the transformation of the literary snob from a vulgar social climber into a master of taste. In the process, some novelists and their works became emblems of sophistication, treated as if they were somehow apart from or above the fiction of the popular marketplace, while others found a popular audience. Latham argues that both coterie writers like Joyce and popular novelists like Sayers struggled desperately to combat their own pretensions. By portraying snobs in their novels, they attempted to critique and even transform the cultural and economic institutions that they felt isolated them from the broad readership they desired.
Latham regards the snobbery that emerged from and still clings to modernism not as an unfortunate by-product of aesthetic innovation, but as an ongoing problem of cultural production. Drawing on the tools and insights of literary sociology and cultural studies, he traces the nineteenth-century origins of the "snob," then explores the ways in which modernist authors developed their own snobbery as a means of coming to critical consciousness regarding the connections among social, economic, and cultural capital. The result, Latham asserts, is a modernism directly engaged with the cultural marketplace yet deeply conflicted about the terms of its success.
See also: snob - modernist literature - British literature
2006, May 30; 19:05 ::: The Everyday Life Reader (2002) - Ben Highmore (Editor)
The Everyday Life Reader (2002) - Ben Highmore (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
The Everyday Life Reader brings together thinkers ranging from Freud to Baudrillard with primary sources. It thus provides a complete and comprehensive resource on theories of everyday life.
What is a reader?
A reader is an anthology, especially a literary or academic anthology. [May 2006]
See also: theory - everyday life - philosophy
2006, May 30; 19:05 ::: The Man Without Qualities (1921-1942) - Robert Musil
The Man Without Qualities (1921-1942) - Robert Musil [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
See also: 1941 - modernist literature - qualities
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: The Practice of Everyday Life (1974) - Michel de Certeau
The Practice of Everyday Life (1974) - Michel de Certeau [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
First sentence: "THE EROSION AND DENIGRATION of the singular or the extraordinary was announced by The Man Without Qualities: "Perhaps it is precisely the petit-bourgeois who has..."
Typically for modernist philosophy, the opening sentence of The Practice of Everyday Life refers to Robert Musil's novel The Man Without Qualities. A novel is invoked to point to a shared experience and worldview. As we will see in future posts (and for more, check the philosophy page), postmodern theorists like Zizek increasingly refer to films rather than novels. Shared experience for late 20th and early 21st century readers is found in the movies because it is much easier to find someone who has seen the same film than someone who has read the same book. Reading is out, seeing is in. [May 2006]
See also: 1974 - everyday life - French philosophy
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: An attack on the growing pretentiousness of American literary prose (2001) - B. R. Myers
A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose (2002) - B. R. Myers [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Nothing gives me the feeling of having been born several decades too late quite like the modern "literary" best seller. Give me a time-tested masterpiece or what critics patronizingly call a fun read—Sister Carrie or just plain Carrie. Give me anything, in fact, as long as it doesn't have a recent prize jury's seal of approval on the front and a clutch of precious raves on the back. In the bookstore I'll sometimes sample what all the fuss is about, but one glance at the affected prose—"furious dabs of tulips stuttering," say, or "in the dark before the day yet was"—and I'm hightailing it to the friendly black spines of the Penguin Classics.
See also: American literature - literature - nobrow
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: The New Mutants (1965) - Leslie Fiedler
In search of the death of the avant-garde
Even more than Sontag, Fiedler applauded the breakdown of the high-low art distinction and the appearance of pop art and mass cultural forms. In his essay ‘The New Mutants’ (1971: pp 379-400; orig. 1964), Fiedler described the emergent culture as a ‘post-’ culture that rejected traditional values of Protestantism, Victorianism, rationalism, and humanism. While in this essay he decries postmodern art and the new youth culture of nihilistic ‘post-modernists’, he later celebrated postmodernism and saw positive value in the breakdown of literary and cultural tradition. He proclaimed the death of the avant-garde and modern novel and the emergence of new postmodern artforms that effected a ‘closing of the gap’ between artist and audience, critic and layperson (Fiedler 1971: pp. 461-85; orig. 1970). Embracing mass culture and decrying modernist elitism, Fiedler called for a new post-modern criticism that abandons formalism, realism, and highbrow pretentiousness, in favour of analysis of the subjective response of the reader within a psychological, social, and historical context. --Douglas Kellner via http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/pomo/ch1.html [May 2006]
See also: death of the avant-garde - Douglas Kellner - Leslie Fiedler
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television (2006) - Kathleen Fitzpatrick
In search of the death of the avant-garde
The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television (2006) - Kathleen Fitzpatrick [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
As Paul Mann’s Theory-Death of the Avant-Garde suggests, such obituaries [e.g. of poetry] must be read with a skeptical eye:Throughout the history of the avant-garde, guardians of tradition, ideologues of various parties, and a host of parasites, promoters, and dreamers have been ready with the news of the passing of this or that once-innovative movement or style; modern culture is typified by such deaths, by the death of painting, the death of the novel, the death of the author, the death of x or y movement, even the death of the new.
And Don DeLillo delights in the death of the novel:If I were a writer,” Owen said, “how I would enjoy being told the novel is dead. How liberating, to work in the margins, outside a central perception. You are the ghoul of literature. Lovely.” --Don DeLillo, The Names
See also: American literature - novel - television
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: Nazi 'Chic'? : Fashioning Women in the Third Reich (2004) - Irene Guenther
Nazi 'Chic'? : Fashioning Women in the Third Reich (2004) - Irene Guenther [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
See also: fashion - nazism - chic
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: The End of the American Avant Garde (2000) - Stuart D. Hobbs
In search of the death of the avant-garde
The End of the American Avant Garde (2000) - Stuart D. Hobbs [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
"By 1966, the composer Virgil Thomson would write, "Truth is, there is no avant-garde today." How did the avant garde dissolve, and why? In this thought-provoking work, Stuart D. Hobbs traces the avant garde from its origins to its eventual appropriation by a conservative political agenda, consumer culture, and the institutional world of art.
See also: death of the avant-garde
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: Death of the avant-garde
In search of the death of the avant-garde
Which brings us, again, to the Eulogist School, a critical trend that peaked in the 1950s and 1960s, but has remained a critical touchstone ever since. The debate concerning the supposed "death" of the avant-garde was carried on within some of the most prestigious journals and university departments in the United States, Germany, and France. Hilton Kramer, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Leslie Fiedler, Roland Barthes, and the so-called New York Intellectuals (Daniel Bell, in particular) all agreed that the avant-garde was dead as a social force and bankrupt as an agent of progressive action. One rarely finds such an ideologically diverse group of critics agreeing on any topic. --Avant-Garde Performance & the Limits of Criticism, Mike Sell, 2005.
See also: death of the avant-garde
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: The Birth of Fascist Ideology (1989) - Zeev Sternhell
The Birth of Fascist Ideology (1989) - Zeev Sternhell [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
[This] work obliges us to ground any study of fascism in the particular moment toward the end of the nineteenth century when politics expanded dizzily from a gentleman's hobby to a matter of mass opinion and votes. [Sternhell] shows irrefutably that fascist doctrine had complex cultural origins, drawing not only from conservative efforts to adapt to the novel requirements of mass politics,...but also from dissent within the left against the materialism, positivism, and reformism that mainstream Marxism shared with social democracy in the 1890s.
When The Birth of Fascist Ideology was first published in 1989 in France and in 1993 in Italy, it aroused a storm of response, both positive and negative. In Sternhell's view, fascism was much more than an episode in the history of Italy. He argues here that it possessed a coherent ideology with deep roots in European civilization. Long before fascism became a political force, he maintains, it was a major cultural phenomenon.
See also: fascism - cultural history
Conceptions of violence as emancipatory, or life-affirming, or as a fascinating phenomenon with aesthetic value which has been repressed by bourgeois culture, all belong to the central strategies of the European political, artistic and intellectual avant-garde, and in the case of a great number of the protagonists involved, these concepts are linked to the fascist cult of violence (Heidegger, Céline, Pound, Hamsun, D'Annunzio, Yeats, Mauras, Marinetti, Gentile, Pirandello, Drieu de la Rochelle, Marcel Jouhandeau, Wyndham Lewis, Cocteau, Ernst Jünger, Gottfried Benn). Ze'ev Sternhell (1983, 1992) argues that European fascism first articulated itself as a cultural phenomenon, as a nonconformist, avant-garde, revolutionary movement. -- International Handbook of Violence Research (2003) - W. Heitmeyer, J. Hagan [Amazon.com]
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: Literary Apologies for Violence in the Avant-garde and (Pre-)Fascism
See also: aestheticization of violence - violence - avant-garde
Postmodernism in architecture will then logically enough stage itself as a kind of aesthetic populism, as the very title of Venturi’s influential manifesto, Learning from Las Vegas, suggests. However we may ultimately wish to evaluate this populist rhetoric, it has at least the merit of drawing our attention to one fundamental feature of all the postmodernisms enumerated above: namely, the effacement in them of the older (essentially high-modernist) frontier between high culture and so-called mass or commercial culture, and the emergence of new kinds of texts infused with the forms, categories, and contents of that very culture industry so passionately denounced by all the ideologues of the modern, from Leavis and the American New Criticism all the way to Adorno and the Frankfurt School.
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: Fredric Jameson on nobrow postmodernism
The postmodernisms have, in fact, been fascinated precisely by this whole “degraded” landscape of schlock and kitsch, of TV series and Reader’s Digest culture, of advertising and motels, of the late show and the grade-B Hollywood film, of so-called paraliterature, with its airport paperback categories of the gothic and the romance, the popular biography, the murder mystery, and the science fiction or fantasy novel: materials they no longer simply “quote” as a Joyce or a Mahler might have done, but incorporate into their very substance. -- Fredric Jameson (1991) in Postmodernism or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism via http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/us/jameson.htm [May 2006]
See also: Fredric Jameson - postmodernism - High Modernism
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: Masstige
Masstige is a marketing term meaning downward brand extension. The word is formed from the words mass and prestige and has been described as prestige for the masses. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masstige [May 2006]
See also: mass - nobrow - "high culture"
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: Swing Kids (1993) - Thomas Carter
Swing Kids (1993) - Thomas Carter [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
This strange movie with a niche subject--jazz-loving, dance-loving German kids persecuted by Hitler's men--almost works, thanks to a good cast who seem devoted to the unusual story line. Director Thomas Carter doesn't bring the necessary stylistic oomph to the musical sequences, something that might have pushed the whole production to another, more interesting level of Hollywood dream. Kenneth Branagh makes a particularly effective, wolf-in-sheep's-clothing Nazi official. --Tom Keogh
See also: Weimar Berlin - swing music - jazz - jazz age
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: Negrophilia: Avant-Garde Paris and Black Culture in the 1920s (2000) - Petrine Archer-Straw
Negrophilia: Avant-Garde Paris and Black Culture in the 1920s (2000) - Petrine Archer-Straw [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
From Library Journal
Black culture was very much in vogue in avant-garde Paris in the 1920s as white artists celebrated it as a means of escaping bourgeois values. At the same time, an emphasis on the "primitive" often reduced blacks to racist stereotypes. In this lively, highly accessible study, Archer-Shaw utilizes her background as an art historian and curator to discuss black life and its complex, often disturbing interaction with white European society. The focus on art (including painting, photography, fashion, and sculpture) distinguishes this book from other important works such as Michel Fabre's From Harlem to Paris (LJ 11/15/91), which concentrates on the literary scene, and Tyler Stovall's more general Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light (LJ 12/96). Archer-Straw's book also differs from these works by devoting considerable attention to whites as well as blacks, including shipping heiress Nancy Cunard, art collector Paul Guillaume, and photographer Man Ray. Recommended for all collections with an interest in black culture and/or art. (Notes and bibliography not seen.)DLouis J. Parascandola, Long Island Univ., Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
H. Scott Jolley, Travel & Leisure, March 2001
A scholarly, zesty look at the racial thrills and tensions in a trend that affected dance, theater, music, sculpture, fashion.
See also: jazz - jazz age
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: Making Jazz French: Music and Modern Life in Interwar Paris (2003) - Jeffrey H Jackson
Making Jazz French: Music and Modern Life in Interwar Paris (2003) - Jeffrey H Jackson [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Between the world wars, Paris welcomed not only a number of glamorous American expatriates, including Josephine Baker and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but also a dynamic musical style emerging in the United States: jazz. Roaring through cabarets, music halls, and dance clubs, the upbeat, syncopated rhythms of jazz soon added to the allure of Paris as a center of international nightlife and cutting-edge modern culture. In Making Jazz French, Jeffrey H. Jackson examines not only how and why jazz became so widely performed in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s but also why it was so controversial.
Drawing on memoirs, press accounts, and cultural criticism, Jackson uses the history of jazz in Paris to illuminate the challenges confounding French national identity during the interwar years. As he explains, many French people initially regarded jazz as alien because of its associations with America and Africa. Some reveled in its explosive energy and the exoticism of its racial connotations, while others saw it as a dangerous reversal of France’s most cherished notions of "civilization." At the same time, many French musicians, though not threatened by jazz as a musical style, feared their jobs would vanish with the arrival of American performers. By the 1930s, however, a core group of French fans, critics, and musicians had incorporated jazz into the French entertainment tradition. Today it is an integral part of Parisian musical performance. In showing how jazz became French, Jackson reveals some of the ways a musical form created in the United States became an international phenomenon and acquired new meanings unique to the places where it was heard and performed.
See also: French music - jazz - jazz age
2006, May 29; 19:05 ::: Bernard Gendron interview
An interview with the author of Between Montmartre and the Mudd Club: Popular Music and the Avant-Garde
Molly Sheridan: Let's talk a little bit about what drew you to this topic. What was so interesting to you about researching the worlds of popular culture and the avant-garde?
Bernard Gendron: For me it involved a certain recycling of my interests, because I used to write about the philosophy of science and the philosophy of technology. It was really that, aesthetically speaking, I've always liked popular music. I've always thought that at least some of it was aesthetically very good, but of course I was surrounded, being in a university, with lots of people who thought it was pretty low or good entertainment but for dancing, etc. So really it's aesthetics that drove me onward. But the factor along with it that interested me a lot is how in the past century popular music, or at least certain kinds of popular music, really grew in respect or, I wouldn't say prestige, but that more and more of it was taken seriously as music. I wanted to see how this happened, how something that was once simply seen as vulgar—a nice entertainment on the side even for the people who were more sophisticated—how it came to be regarded as itself a kind of art music. That's really my main interest. You might call it the cultural triumph of popular music. The other thing that interested me—to my surprise because I'd always thought there'd been a lot of hostility between high culture and mass culture—but I was struck by the fact that since the mid-19th century, there have been recurrent engagements between high culture and popular music, very friendly engagements as in the case of the artistic cabarets of the late-19th century in Paris where on the same stage you had poets, you had paintings hung on the walls, and you had popular singers. So my book actually traces high moments in those interactions between so-called high and so-called low, but my objective is to see how the low in that process gradually acquired a certain kind of cultural status.
--http://www.newmusicbox.org/article.nmbx?id=3558, 2002 [May 2006]
See also: Bernard Gendron - nobrow - popular music - art music
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: Adam (1880) - Max Klinger
Adam (1880) - Max Klinger
Etching; 257 x 246 cm;
München, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung
See also: fantastic art - symbolist art - Max Klinger - Adam - 1880
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: Modernism and Eugenics : Woolf, Eliot, Yeats, and the Culture of Degeneration (2001) - Donald J. Childs
Modernism and Eugenics : Woolf, Eliot, Yeats, and the Culture of Degeneration (2001) - Donald J. Childs [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
"Articles on individual modernist writers outline connections between their works and eugenical thought, but Childs' study is the first full-length treatment of this issue in relation to literary modernism, and as such is a valuable contribution to the field.... a very worthwhile contribution to modernist study." Woolf Studies Annual
"Child's book is at its best." Modern Fiction Studies
"investigates the influence of eugenics upon the lives and works of three modernist writers... Childs makes a knowledgeable case..." English Literature In Transition 1880-1920
In Modernism and Eugenics, Donald Childs reveals how Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, and W.B. Yeats believed in eugenics, the science of racial improvement, and adapted this scientific discourse to the language and purposes of the modern imagination. He traces the impact of the eugenics movement on such modernist works as Mrs. Dalloway, The Waste Land, and Yeats's late poetry and early plays. This is an original study of a controversial theme which reveals the centrality of eugenics in the life and work of several major modernist writers.
See also: Modernism - High Modernism - modernist literature - eugenics
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: What was literature?: Class culture and mass society (1982) - Leslie A Fiedler
What was literature?: Class culture and mass society (1982) - Leslie A Fiedler [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
See also: Leslie Fiedler - literature - nobrow - mass society
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: From Lowbrow to Nobrow (2005) - Peter Swirski
From Lowbrow to Nobrow (2005) - Peter Swirski [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
"From Lobrow to Nobrow" demolishes the elite argument that popular fiction and popular culture are the underside of civilization. In this innovative book, Peter Swirski goes beyond demonstrating that "high-brow" has been transformed to "low-brow," showing that nobrow art is the interactive factor in the relationship between popular art and highbrow art. Swirski begins with a series of groundbreaking questions about the nature of popular fiction, vindicating it as an artform that expresses and reflects the aesthetic and social values of its readers, and not a source of ideological brainwashing or the result of declining literary standards. He follows his insightful introduction to the socio-aesthetics of with a synthesis of the century long debate on the merits of popular fiction and a study of genre informed by analytic aesthetics and game theory. Swirski then turns to three "nobrow" novels that have been largely ignored by critics. Examining the aesthetics of "ascertainment" in Karel ? apek's "War With the Newts," Raymond Chandler's "Playback," and Stanislaw Lem's "Chain of Chance," crossover tours de force, "From Lowbrow to Nobrow" throws new light on the hazards and rewards of nobrow traffic between popular forms and highbrow aesthetics. "I would rank this book among the top five in popular culture studies." Gary Hoppenstand, editor of "The Journal of Popular Culture" and "Popular Fiction: An Anthology"
See also: popular fiction - nobrow - "low culture"
2006, May 28; 19:05 ::: Dickens and the grotesque (1984) - Michael Hollington
Dickens and the grotesque (1984) - Michael Hollington [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
See also: grotesque literature - Charles Dickens
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