Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-6

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 7-8

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 9-16

FOR better or worse, the most powerful, influential instruments for the dissemination of values, knowledge, and art are today the mass media. Among artists and intellectuals, the cultural domination of radio, film, and television is normally viewed with apprehension. Teachers of literature, for example, often express the fear that books are an endangered species, that literacy is dying out, that it is giving way to what Jerzy Kosinski calls "videocy."1 Political theorists on both...

read more

1. lntroduction: The Two Classicisms

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 17-52

THIS is an examination of reactions to mass culture that interpret it as either a symptom or a cause of social decay. Television, for example, is sometimes treated as an instrument with great educational potential which ought to help-if it is not already helping-in the creation of a genuinely democratic and universal culture. But it just as often evokes dismay, as in Jerzy Kosinski's novel and movie Being There; its most severe critics treat it as an instrument of totalitarian...

read more

2. The Classical Roots of the Mass Culture Debate

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 53-81

PATTERNS of both "high" and "mass" culture can be drawn from ancient history. The Athenians provide the core of what modern classicists wish to preserve: not just Greek literature and works of art, but above all the Greek example of intellectual transcendence and objectivity. The Romans of the Empire provide, along with much else, the pattern of negative classicism, bread and circuses, decadence and barbarism....

read more

3. "The Opium of the People"

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 82-112

THEORIES of mass culture usually lead to the problem of religion. The social and industrial processes that have created the modern mass media seem intrinsically bound up with secularization. But mass culture also can be viewed as a substitute for mythology or even as an ersatz religion. Nineteenth and twentieth-century ideas about the relations between religion and culture range from the view that religion is the foundation of culture to the view that they are...

read more

4. Some Nineteenth-Century Themes: Decadence, Masses, Empire, Gothic Revivals

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 113-153

NOT just Marxists and existentialists, secularists and theologians, but artists and writers of every persuasion have been profoundly affected by the development of industrialized mass culture. Over the last two centuries, painters, poets, sculptors, novelists, and playwrights have all been either the beneficiaries or the victims of the...

read more

5. Crowd Psychology and Freud's Model of Perpetual Decadence

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 154-183

BECAUSE Nietzsche interprets history from the origins of Christianity down to the present in terms of decadence, he has frequently been seen in relation to the decadent movement in literature and the arts. The other existentialists from Kierkegaard down to Jean-Paul Sartre have sometimes also been treated as theorists of decline and fall, while existentialism as a whole has been viewed, particularly...

read more

6. Three Versions of Modern Classicism: Ortega, Eliot, Camus

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 184-221

INSOFAR as analyses of mass culture have gone beyond mere repetitions of the neoclassical contest between the ancients and the moderns, they have usually involved questions about the impact of egalitarian leveling on the creative elites or minorities thought to be necessary to the development of art and ideas. Many of the optimistic analyses have come from American liberals such as John Dewey, who...

read more

7. The Dialectic of Enlightenment

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 222-248

"IF the fall of antiquity were dictated by the autonomous necessity of life and by the expression of its 'soul,'" writes Theodor Adorno in a 1941 essay on Spengler's The Decline of the West, "then indeed it takes on the aspect of fatality and by... analogy... carries over to the present situation."1 As a Marxist, Adorno rejects Spengler's historical fatalism and the Roman analogizing on which it is largely based. He does so, however, not because he believes that the...

read more

8. Television: Spectacularity vs. McLuhanism

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 249-277

THE Frankfurt Institute's; analysis of the totalitarian tendencies of the "culture industry" seems especially relevant to television, partly because it is the mass medium that takes the abolition of the "aura" of older cultural forms to its farthest limits. Television like radio has also invaded that sanctuary of the potentially free individual, the home, monopolizing the communication channels even of privacy....

read more

9. Conclusion: Toward Post-Industrial Society

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 278-298

TOO often responses to cultural innovations are similar to William Wordsworth's reaction to The Illustrated London News. Upon seeing one of the first issues of the new journal in 1846, Wordsworth was appalled by what he took to be its wholesale substitution of pictures for words. On the verge of the age of mass literacy, here seemed to be an obvious symptom of cultural decline. He saw in its pages not...

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 299-309