By J. David Simons
An eminent British author returns to the hotel lodge within the eastern mountains the place he as soon as spent a stunning, snowed-in wintry weather. It used to be there he fell in love and wrote his best-selling novel, The Waterwheel, accusing the US of being in denial concerning the terrible aftermath of the Tokyo firebombings and the nuclear destruction at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As we research extra approximately his prior existence, in spite of the fact that - as a pupil in Bloomsbury, concerned with a well-known American painter - we understand that he too is in denial, attempting to break out prior occasions which are now speedily catching up with him. A sweeping novel of East and West, love and warfare, truths and denials.
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Additional resources for An Exquisite Sense of What Is Beautiful
The book traces the debate between high and popular culture, with particular, but not exclusive, reference to the Australian experience, from the eighteenth century to the present day. 48 Milner, Andrew, Contemporary Cultural Studies, 2nd edn, London: UCL Press, (1994). A useful introduction to contemporary cultural theory. Mukerji, Chandra and Michael Schudson (eds), Rethinking Popular Culture, Berkeley: University of California Press, (1991). A collection of essays, with an informed and interesting introduction.
Knowledge and truth in the full sense of the words, are not attainable by the great mass of the human race at all (Arnold, 1960–77: 591). These are very revealing statements. If the mass of humankind is to be always satisfied with inadequate ideas, never able to attain truth and knowledge, for whom are the small circle working? And what of the adequate ideas they will make current – current for whom? For other small circles of elites? Arnold’s small circle would appear to be little more than a self-perpetuating intellectual elite.
D. Leavis, ‘The people with power no longer represent intellectual authority and culture’ (191). Like Arnold, she sees the collapse of traditional authority coming at the same time as the rise of mass democracy. Together they squeeze the cultured minority and produce a terrain favourable for ‘anarchy’. Leavisism isolates certain key aspects of mass culture for special discussion. Popular fiction, for example, is condemned for offering addictive forms of ‘compensation’ and ‘distraction’: This form of compensation … is the very reverse of recreation, in that it tends, not to strengthen and refresh the addict for living, but to increase his unfitness by habituating him to weak evasions, to the refusal to face reality at all (Leavis and Thompson, 1977: 100).