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Culture in the 18th century
Transcript of Culture in the 18th century
the birth of "culture" and "taste"
"[...] the idea that 'the common people' might have a culture (rather than just habits of rowdyism) dates from precisely the time when our idea of high culture was being invented. Popular culture has always been its ill-mannered twin."
John Mullen, Oct. 28, 2000
Dawn of industrial revolution development of new printing techniques
The emergence of book culture
Change in social structure of society, the rise of the bourgeoisie, the emergence of "Taste"
1725: 75 printers in London
1785: 124 printers in London
1668: 198 men employed in printing
1818: 3365 men employed in printing
It is estimated that
337,000 book titles were printed
in the eighteenth century.
Yes, novels! I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel–writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding — joining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages with disgust. Alas! If the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I cannot approve of it.
From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers. And while the abilities of the nine-hundredth abridger of the History of England, or of the man who collects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton, Pope, and Prior, with a paper from the Spectator, and a chapter from Sterne, are eulogized by a thousand pens — there seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them.“I am no novel–reader — I seldom look into novels — Do not imagine that I often read novels — It is really very well for a novel.” Such is the common cant. “And what are you reading, Miss — ?” “Oh! It is only a novel!” replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. “It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda”; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best–chosen language.
William Hogarth, 1697-1764
British landscape garden
jardin à la française
British landscape garden : Stourhead
Jane Austen, 1775-1817
John Locke, 1632-1704
"Before" and "After"
The conversation piece
The Strode family
A midnight modern conversation
18th century Britain in today's popular culture
The Rise of the Novel
''in the late seventeenth century high culture moved out of the narrow confines of the court and into diverse spaces in London.slipped out of palaces and into coffeehouses, reading societies, debating clubs, assembly rooms, galleries and concert halls; ceasing to be the handmaiden of royal politics, it became the partner of commerce.''
The Pleasures of the Imagination
David Garrick, 1717-79
An age of modernity, vs classicism
The Beggar's Opera
The ThreePenny Opera
Ella Fitzgerald, "Mack The Knife", 1963