Levine, Lawrence W. () Highbrow/Lowbrow: The. Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America. Cambridge,. MA: Harvard University Press. Every once in a . Highbrow/Lowbrow has ratings and 28 reviews. Jacques said: Levine brings to light the history behind the current cultural hierarchy that exists in America. Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in. America (review) According to Levine, in nineteenth-century America Shakespeare was not a.
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Levine’s approach to the topic is broad and inclusive, but I’m inclined to wonder about other “lenses” through which to assess this shift in American culture. I learned a lot from this book, but it has two major flaws. Then how do you expect me to poke holes through the oil paintings!
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 first half of the book, he provides abundant evidence to support this remarkable claim, and then he invites the reader to wonder not only why things changed aroundbut also why we are blind to the way things used to be. Levine clearly shows a pattern whereby cultural hierarchies were established. The same transition occurred in concert halls, opera houses, and museums.
If you come away from this book with nothing more than an appreciation of the question and why it’s important, then you will have gained something valuable. Cultural space was more sharply defined, less flexible than it had been. So Levine is very good on the what and the how, whereas on the why I think he’s a little lacking.
This desire for social control prompted the creation of new spaces and new codes of conduct that kept the broader public at a distance from opera, Shakespeare, and fine art. Apr 25, Rokas Kucinskas rated it really liked it. He seems to for some reason think this is all the elite’s fault, for snobbishly turning up their noses at the masses in an attempt to maintain their privilege.
This book certainly reiterated the “how” of the division into high and low culture across a number of artistic fields without delving enough into the “why” for my taste.
Highbrow/Lowbrow — Lawrence W. Levine | Harvard University Press
Levine stresses, however, that the impetus behind the move was just as often a desire to cordon off “respectable” performances from the unworthy. Mar 25, Mary McCray rated it really liked it. Though it is difficult to explain the dramatic shift to cultural hierarchies, he provides valuable possible explanations of some of die reasons. Levie you then go on to wrestle with the question, it could change your life.
So then the real question becomes, what happened to America that led to a loss of elite confidence and authority? Join Our Mailing List: Cultural history of changes in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.
That is to say, an elite sincerely desires to enforce and expand the reach of its culture. Apr 30, Jacques added it. higbrow
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. This book speaks to the evolution of the audience from participatory with a voice to a silent, passive audience. After all, the author deals largely with the advent of 20th century, which marked the emergence of jazz music.
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It’s equally as possible than the lower-classes weren’t as receptive to the “highbrow” aspects of the early performances as Levine asserts. Chapters focus on Shakespeare’s popularity, theater and opera, symphonic music, and museums.
The eclectic collection of Victorian museums?
Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America
No longer did the theatre hold a microcosm of socioeconomic groups sharing a diverse culture. In response to the growing cultural gulf between upper and lower class, the American elite which meant, particularly after the Civil War, the Northeastern elite pursued a two-pronged strategy of mass uplift hughbrow you’ll recognize this one from Baltzell’s masterpiece cloistered retreat.
After hearing it referenced by professors and peers for what seemed like years, I finally read it. Composers like Loabrow even intentionally left places in their operas for the company to put in a popular song of the day!