Culture/Metaculture (The New Critical Idiom) by Francis Mulhern

By Francis Mulhern

Culture/Metaculture is a stimulating creation to the meanings of 'culture' in modern Western society. This crucial survey examines:

* tradition as an antidote to 'mass' modernity, within the paintings of Thomas Mann, Julien Benda, José Ortega y Gasset, Karl Mannheim and F. R. Leavis
* altering perspectives of the time period within the paintings of Sigmund Freud, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, T. S. Eliot and Richard Hoggart
* post-war theories of 'popular' tradition and the increase of Cultural reports, paying specific recognition to the main figures of Raymond Williams and Stuart Hall
* theories of 'metaculture', or the ways that tradition, despite the fact that outlined, speaks of itself.

Francis Mulhern's interdisciplinary strategy permits him to attract out the attention-grabbing hyperlinks among key political concerns and the altering definitions of tradition. the result's an unrivalled creation to an idea on the center of up to date severe thought.

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4 Benda's clercs formed 'a corporation whose only religion is that of justice and of truth’ (Benda [1928] 1969: 57, translation amended). For most of 2,000 years, intellect and learning had served ‘the ideal’, renouncing all individual or group self-assertion (p. 37) – the contrasting ‘realism’ of ordinary existence. , to defend ‘eternal’, ‘disinterested or metaphysical’ values 7 8 KULTURKRITIK against worldly degradation. Increasingly over the past century, however, their conduct had deteriorated.

The real novelty and danger lay in the sheer presence of ‘the multitude’ in social spaces ‘hitherto reserved’, and the consequent transformation of collective mentality. ‘There are no longer protagonists; there is only the chorus’ (p. 10). By ‘masses’, Ortega insisted, he did not merely mean the labouring classes. The ‘dynamic unity’ of mass and minority defined all social classes. Traditionally, minorities had exercised disproportionate influence in the higher classes, but there too, now, the masses were growing stronger.

It did not consist only in the increasing significance of popular mobilization in contemporary politics – though anarchist tradeunions and fascism were objects of particular loathing here. The real novelty and danger lay in the sheer presence of ‘the multitude’ in social spaces ‘hitherto reserved’, and the consequent transformation of collective mentality. ‘There are no longer protagonists; there is only the chorus’ (p. 10). By ‘masses’, Ortega insisted, he did not merely mean the labouring classes.

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