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Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America

Condition: BRAND NEW
ISBN: 9780674390775
Author(s): Lawrence W. Levine
Format: Paperback
Year: 1990
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Dimensions: 143 x 233 x 20 (w x l x h)
Pages: 320
Series: William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization (Paperback)
Series Number: 1986

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Description:
In this unusually wide-ranging study, spanning more than a century and covering such diverse forms of expressive culture as Shakespeare, Central Park, symphonies, jazz, art museums, the Marx Brothers, opera, and vaudeville, a leading cultural historian demonstrates how variable and dynamic cultural boundaries have been and how fragile and recent the cultural categories we have learned to accept as natural and eternal are.

For most of the nineteenth century, a wide variety of expressive forms—Shakespearean drama, opera, orchestral music, painting and sculpture, as well as the writings of such authors as Dickens and Longfellow—enjoyed both high cultural status and mass popularity. In the nineteenth century Americans (in addition to whatever specific ethnic, class, and regional cultures they were part of) shared a public culture less hierarchically organized, less fragmented into relatively rigid adjectival groupings than their descendants were to experience. By the twentieth century this cultural eclecticism and openness became increasingly rare. Cultural space was more sharply defined and less flexible than it had been. The theater, once a microcosm of America—housing both the entire spectrum of the population and the complete range of entertainment from tragedy Please click here to ask a question
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