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Ideology of the Aesthetic
Transcript of Ideology of the Aesthetic
ANTI-Business, consumerism, industrialization
ANTI progress, anti-mass-media, and anti-consumer culture, anti-Immigrant
At the turn of the century, society was becoming modern and industrial.
A class emerges as spokesperson for "culture" and what that is to look like in the new society.
This class of people was mixed -- between a mannered, upper class "genteel" society (often identified with literary magazines, like Harpers or The Atlantic) & college professors (as colleges were beginning to define more and more an educated class in America).
Among this mixed group, there was an unspoken agreement that culture was at risk from the emerging class of money-minded businessmen, on the one hand, and an ever-growing, uneducated, urban, immigrant mass society on the other.
And though members of the educated class drifted to the right or the left, there was a shared presumption that there was no aesthetic value in the emerging popular-consumer culture.
THE POPULAR FRONT
THE SPLIT IN REALISM
Howells saw himself as a spokesman for a new democratic literature. He spoke of the end of aristocratic privilege.
However, his “realism” served to attack primarily middle class genre fiction – “romances” (which he apparently wrote).
He is one of the “legions of intellectuals” who is “nervous” over a loss of authority in the newly incorporated America.
Howells espoused a historical theory that Americans are cut off from whatever civilized the Greeks – now, for Americans, reading is our only avenue of civilization. “We must read or barbarize.”
THE OUTCOME WAS THAT "REALISM" WAS SPLIT: IT WAS USED BY POPULAR FRONT WRITERS AS WELL HENRY JAMES
Ralph Waldo Emerson
T. S. Eliot
Turn-of-the-century through the 1940's
Post WWII to the Digital Revolution
Whitman's Failed Attempt to Get Off the Elitist Grid
Partisan Review was an American political and literary quarterly published from 1934 to 2003. the journal reached its peak influence from the late 1930s to the early 1960s.
The journal was founded by Philip Rahv. It grew out of the John Reed Club as an alternative to New Masses, the publication of the American Communist Party, but became staunchly anti-Communist after Joseph Stalin secured his place at the head of the Soviet Union.
Many of its early authors were the children of Jewish immigrants from Europe. Contributors included Saul Bellow, Doris Lessing, Philip Roth, Lionel Trilling, Irving Howe, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Clement Greenberg, and Susan Sontag.
Trilling’s “first mature critical undertaking” had been his book entitled Matthew Arnold (1939), which he called a biography of Arnold’s mind. He had been drawn to Arnold, he said, for two reasons: a desire to understand Arnold’s melancholy (exemplified in Dover Beach) and a sense that, like Arnold, he was a liberal whose major effort in criticism was to call into question the substance of contemporary liberal thought. He felt himself to be, in Arnold’s words, “a Liberal, [but] a Liberal tempered by experience, reflection, and renouncement, and … above all, a believer in culture”. Arnold’s critique of Victorian liberalism deplored certain habits of mind, especially the herd instinct. Trilling, similarly, declared that “a criticism which has at heart the interests of liberalism might find its most useful work not in confirming liberalism in its sense of general righteousness but rather in putting under some degree of pressure the liberal ideas and assumptions of the present time”. Trilling also had a target: those American liberals who had been living contentedly as supporters of Stalinist totalitarianism.
Doubleness in The Souls of Black Folk“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One feels his twoness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
Hurston the Anthropologist
In 1925 Hurston was offered a scholarship to Barnard College where she was the college's sole black student. Hurston received her B.A. in anthropology in 1927, when she was 36. While she was at Barnard, she conducted ethnographic research with noted anthropologist Franz Boas of Columbia University. She also worked with Ruth Benedict as well as fellow anthropology student Margaret Mead. After graduating from Barnard, Hurston spent two years as a graduate student in anthropology at Columbia University.
Hurston traveled extensively in the Caribbean and the American South and immersed herself in local cultural practices to conduct her anthropological research. Hurston published Mules and Men in 1935, often regarded as a folklore classic
W.E.B. Du Bois
The High Culture Literary Establishment
as represented in journals & universities
The possibility of diverse, democratic culture, wherein high and low arts freely cross
Matthew Arnold was known as "the apostle of culture." He was a British Victorian poet and literary critic. Culture & Anarchy is Arnold’s most influential book of critical essays, published in 1869. In it he lays out his program for education.
Arnold believed that a healthy society must have a shared “culture.” This "culture" was mostly reflected in high art. He thought of it as a secular religion. It is what he believed would hold traditional society together in the absence of a shared, orthodox religion.
Arnold believed that the purpose of education was to train the person in the appreciation of culture, which he defined as “a study of perfection,” and as “the best that has been thought and known.” The final goal was “to make all men live in an atmosphere of sweetness and light."
He believed that a healthy society must share a unified “culture,” and that this was the antidote to class struggle.
A totalitarian political system which reconstructs a presumed shared (ethnically & racially) culture.
A totalitarian political system which enforces the will of the presumed (international) working class.
The Crux of “Culture”
The word "culture" is ambiguously used. Three inter-related meanings can be identified.
Excellence of taste in art & literature, also known as “high culture”
An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the primitive human capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
The set of shared
goals, and practices
an institution or
linguistic community in a democratic society
BACKGROUND: HOWELLS AS BRIDGE
BETWEEN EAST & WEST
BETWEEN 19th & 20th CENTURIES
ACROSS EMERSON, TWAIN, & JAMES
Howells was from rural Ohio, but was taken on at the Atlantic -- a literary magazine that represented genteel taste. He worked his way up to editor.
He clung to the “Boston ideal.”
William Dean Howells
“Harsh voiced and nasal, his guitar hanging like a tire iron on a rusty rim, there is nothing sweet about Woody, and there is nothing sweet about the songs he sings. But there is something more important for those who will listen. There is the will of the people to endure and fight against oppression. I think we call this the American spirit.”
- John Steinbeck, foreword to Hard Hitting Songs for Hard-Hit People (1967).
Literature & Filtered Through
Underlying acceptance of the ideology of DECLINE
Locating an American Aesthetic Born Out of
the fall out of German philosophy
Vestiges of the literary right
Vestiges of the literary left
League of American Writers
THESIS on 20th Century Literary Culture:
The literary world--defined by a left-right dichotomy--have in common the reaction to mass culture and, thus, are linked, ironically, by their respective ideologies of degeneration & alienation.
Though opposed, each side of the dichotomy props up the ideology of a segregated book culture.
Does outsider status lead to a critique of the ideological conspiracy?
I.e. a rejection of the "Identity" & "DECLINE" and the acceptance of democratic culture.
Or does the outsider writer seek insider status (politically or in terms of the literary establishment)?
The Harlem Renaissance
Tin Pan Alley
The Broadway musical
The Hollywood movie
Agro Critics on the Right
Charles Seeger playing with an appalachian folk musician
American Folk Music
The 20th century marks the beginning of THE AGE OF IDEOLOGY--the moment where political theories fully replace political traditions.
Whether or not LIBERALISM as an ideology suffers, the literary world rejects it.
Therefore, writers are stuck on a polarizing continuum between COMMUNISM & FASCISM.
Therefore, writers not encumbered by ideology are in some sense cultural "outsiders".
The question posed: what is there is 20th century culture that allows outsider writers to veer away from the restrictions of this ideological dichotomy? And the answer is that it lies somewhere within the specter of popular culture.
The presumption is that all writers previously were in one way or another operating within the mythology of monarchy.
In Matthew Arnold's sense of "Culture & Anarchy"
This suggests the whole problem of the shift to mass media & consumer culture--artists and writers move to the left or the right.
Obviously all writers cannot be labeled as either communists or fascists. The argument is that they are all on a trajectory in one way or another, or their work fails because of a failed attempt to except themselvs from the ideological continuum.
Thus, the goal is to "ROTATE" the dichotomy. Whether or not "literature" or whatever can be de-politicized, the argument is to locate a kind of aesthetic tradition within America that cuts across the Left-Right ideologically defined 20th century.
Contemporary Culture Criticism
THE SKELETON KEY -- Page 69:
"Three modish negroes....Anything can happen now..."Even Gatsby could happen..."
Nick meets "my friend...a flat nosed Jew..."
‘Civilization’s going to pieces,’ broke out Tom violently. ‘I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read ‘The Rise of the Coloured Empires’ by this man God- dard?’‘Why, no,’ I answered, rather surprised by his tone.‘Well, it’s a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be—will be ut- terly submerged. It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved.’‘Tom’s getting very profound,’ said Daisy with an expres- sion of unthoughtful sadness. ‘He reads deep books with long words in them. What was that word we——‘‘Well, these books are all scientific,’ insisted Tom, glanc- ing at her impatiently. ‘This fellow has worked out the whole thing. It’s up to us who are the dominant race to watch out or these other races will have control of things.’‘We’ve got to beat them down,’ whispered Daisy, wink- ing ferociously toward the fervent sun.‘You ought to live in California—’ began Miss Baker but Tom interrupted her by shifting heavily in his chair.‘This idea is that we’re Nordics. I am, and you are and you are and——’ After an infinitesimal hesitation he in- cluded Daisy with a slight nod and she winked at me again. ‘—and we’ve produced all the things that go to make civili- zation—oh, science and art and all that. Do you see?’There was something pathetic in his concentration as if his complacency, more acute than of old, was not enough to him any more. When, almost immediately, the telephone rang inside and the butler left the porch Daisy seized upon the momentary interruption and leaned toward me.
Tom's Scientific Racism
Fitzgerald's Mixed Ethnic Identity
Get me out of this box you b#$#%#, I'm not Irish, I'm American!
Rhythm & Blues
He also worked for a Lithuanian-Jewish immigrant family, the Karnofskys, who had a junk hauling business and gave him odd jobs. They took him in and treated him as almost a family member, knowing he lived without a father, and would feed and nurture him.
He later wrote a memoir of his relationship with the Karnofskys titled, Louis Armstrong + the Jewish Family in New Orleans, La., the Year of 1907. In it he describes his discovery that this family was also subject to discrimination by "other white folks' nationalities who felt that they were better than the Jewish race... I was only seven years old but I could easily see the ungodly treatment that the White Folks were handing the poor Jewish family whom I worked for."
Armstrong wore a Star of David pendant for the rest of his life and wrote about what he learned from them: "how to live—real life and determination."
"If a nation's literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays."
"As a Jew I am aware of how important the existence of Israel is for the survival of us all. And because I am proud of being Jewish, I am worried by the growing anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in the world."
You let in the Jew and the Jew rotted your empire, and you yourselves out-jewed the Jew. Your allies in your victimized holdings are the bunyah, you stand for NOTHING but usury.
While Cather enjoyed the novels of George Eliot, the Brontës, and Jane Austen, But, she regarded most women writers with disdain, judging them overly sentimental and mawkish. Cather's biographer James Woodress notes that Cather "so completely ... embraced masculine values that when she wrote about women writers, she sounded like a patronizing man."
Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway ....
He did a lazy sway ....
To the tune o' those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Coming from a black man's soul.
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan--
"Ain't got nobody in all this world,
Ain't got nobody but ma self.
I's gwine to quit ma frownin'
And put ma troubles on the shelf."
Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more--
"I got the Weary Blues
And I can't be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can't be satisfied--
I ain't happy no mo'
And I wish that I had died."
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.
American Humor, 1931, Constance Rourke's pioneering "study of the national character," singles out the archetypal figures of the Yankee peddler, the backwoodsman, and the blackface minstrel to illuminate the fundamental role of popular culture in fashioning a distinctive American sensibility. "American Humor" crackles with the jibes and jokes of generations while presenting a striking picture of a vagabond nation in perpetual self-pursuit. Davy Crockett and Henry James, Jim Crow and Emily Dickinson rub shoulders in a work that inspired such later critics as Pauline Kael and Lester Bangs and which still has much to say about the America of Bob Dylan and Thomas Pynchon, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Kerouac attended the New School in the fall of 1949 under the G.I. benefits scheme for returned service men and women, which included a stipend and book allowance.
Kerouac took Alfred Kazin's course on Melville. Kerouac described Kazin's teaching as "brilliant" and "inspiring." While in Kazin's class, Kerouac wrote an essay on Whitman. In this essay we see Kerouac trying to mediate and weigh the reciprocal relationship of influence between the fictional texts he is reading and those he is writing. In his paper on Whitman, Kerouac argues that there has not yet been a revolution that “has surged up from the central human feeling for life itself.” Song of Myself, he writes, “sings the preciousness of self which we must never betray. Each one of us be proud of our holy bodies which are our souls...each one of us be proud of living in mankind, and of the miracle of crowds and life.” Like Whitman in the 19th century, Kerouac would come to believe that the “true story of postwar America in all its speed, tomfoolery, and sorrowfulness... could only be told in interior monologue and confession.”
In addition to these resonating ideas, Kerouac’s essays reveal the struggle he is having with the formal language traditionally deployed both to write fiction and to write about it. “I can’t write essays,” he says halfway through his draft paper on Whitman, “...it is not light enough, it does not float joyously over the abyss like a balloon.”Just as he battles to express himself freely in his term papers and valorizes those writers like Whitman who demonstrate that freedom in their creative work, so, to his great frustration, is his fiction of this time mannered, freighted with symbolism, and encoded in language insufficient to express his vision.
Through the intervention of Ginsberg, Kazin read Kerouac's first novel, "The Town & the Country," and was instrumental in getting it publsihed by Harcourt Brace in 1950.
THE KAZIN-KEROUAC CONNECTION
ON NATIVE GROUNDS
Published in 1942, "On Native Grounds" is the work of an amazingly young man (twenty-three when he undertook it, twenty-seven when it was published).
It interpreted modern American prose as a reaction to gentility and Victorian repression.
It described the America as “yearning for a world no one ever really possessed.” It denounced the so-called “Axis Ministers of Culture” as “half-men, the death’s-heads grinning over their spoil,” with “no culture and no belief in culture.”
In his classic introduction to a 1967 anthology of writings for the American-Jewish monthly Commentary, Alfred Kazin wrote about the importance of mimicry as Jews entered the mainstream of American literary culture. "In the naturalness and ease with which the Jewish vaudevillian put on blackface, used stereotypes, and ground out popular songs, in the avidity with which the public welcomed him, was the Jew's share in the common experience, the Jew's averageness and typicality, that were to make possible the Jew-as-writer in this country."
American Mass Culture
Young adults, children of immigrants
Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction. Gatsby who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the ‘creative temperament’— it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.
Barton is fictionalized account of the Jewish playwrite Clifford Odets. It satirizes the left-wing realism of the literary world. Barton accepts a job writing for Hollywood--a fictionalized version of Louis B. Mayer (MGM). While there, he meets a fictionalized William Faulkner who is drinking himself to death because he cannot stand the hypocrisy of writing for movies--something the real life WF did.
The Coen Brothers
The Popular Front in Hollywood
Beats in Popular Culture
at City Lights Books, San Francisco
William Faulkner, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, Edgar Allen Poe, John Steinbeck, Flannery O’Connor, Joyce Kilmer, John Steinbeck, Veronica Guerin, Maeve Brennan, Ellen Berlin, Dorothy Day, Alice McDermott, Joyce Carol Oates, Jack London
Fitzgerald & The College Novel
This illustrates FSF's attempt to make good in elite society & becoming frustrated...because that society did not live up to its own literary pretenses & because a bogus racism (that excluded his "race") filled in the cultural gaps. Tom Buchanan represents the product of the elite East Coast universities.
The League of American Writers was an association of American novelists, playwrights, poets, journalists, and literary critics launched by the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) in 1935. The group included Communist Party members, and so-called "fellow travelers" who closely followed the Communist Party's political line without being formal party members, as well as individuals sympathetic to specific policies being advocated by the organization.
A number of prominent writers were enlisted in the cause: John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Theodore Dreiser, James Farrell, Archibald MacLeish, Lillian Hellman, Nathanael West, and William Carlos Williams
The League touted seven prominent Vice-Presidents during the last years of the 1930s, including Van Wyck Brooks, Erskine Caldwell, Malcolm Cowley, Paul DeKruif, Langston Hughes, Meridel LeSueur, and Upton Sinclair
Yet the Communist party had a striking influence on American culture, although seldom in its own name. The influence of Popular Front culture endured long after the party had been banished to the crumbling margins of American politics. The number of renowned writers, filmmakers, entertainers, and artists who had traveled with the Communists during its heyday was quite remarkable, given the party’s modest size and electoral inconsequence. Party members wrote “Ballad for Americans,” “Strange Fruit,” “This Land Is Your Land,” Native Son, The Little Foxes, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Artists who, while not members, had spent many evenings in the party’s milieu, created Citizen Kane, Death of a Salesman, “Fanfare for the Common Man,” For Whom the Bell Tolls, Yertle the Turtle, Invisible Man, and wrote the screenplay for Casablanca. Novelists in or close to the party had nine books at or near the top of the best-seller list from 1929 to 1945.
First "English" professor at Harvard (1876).
He was a specialist in folklore
Said there was no folk music culture in America because it lacked a ballad tradition--i.e. a homegrown peasant culture..
FRANCIS JAMES CHILD
Father of ethno-musicology (Harvard, Berkeley, Julliard.
Father of Pete Seeger.
Traveled America to expose country to classical music and was "converted" to the value of American folk music
John Lomax recording African-American musicians in prison...Leadbelly
In 1940 after John Ford made John Steinbeck’s novel "Grapes of Wrath" into a popular film, Woody Guthrie was finding some fame while living with various friends in New York. In the biography Woody Guthrie: A Life, Joe Klein explained that as Victor Records worked to produce a set of Guthrie’s Dust Bowl ballads, the company asked Guthrie to write a song that would capitalize on Grapes of Wrath‘s popularity.
Fascist Ideology in American Culture
Aunt Molly Jackson
as Tom Joad
The Stream: The "N" Word
Comedy in Greenwich Village
She studied with professor Franz Boas and Dr. Ruth Benedict at Columbia University before earning her Master's in 1924. Mead set out in 1925 to do fieldwork in Samoa. In 1926, she joined the American Museum of Natural History, New York City, as assistant curator. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1929.
Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978) was an American cultural anthropologist, who was frequently a featured writer and speaker in the mass media throughout the 1960s and 1970s. She earned her bachelor degree at Barnard College in New York City, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University.
She was both a popularizer of the insights of anthropology into modern American and Western culture and a respected, if controversial, academic anthropologist. Her reports about the attitudes towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures amply informed the 1960s sexual revolution. Mead was a champion of broadened sexual mores within a context of traditional western religious life.
An Anglican Christian, she played a considerable part in the drafting of the 1979 American Episcopal Book of Common Prayer
Ruth Fulton Benedict (1887 – 1948) was an American anthropologist and folklorist.
She attended Vassar College and was graduated in 1909. She entered graduate studies at Columbia University in 1919, studying under Franz Boas, receiving her Ph.D and joining the faculty in 1923. Margaret Mead, with whom she may have shared a romantic relationship, and Marvin Opler were among her students and colleagues.
Franz Boas, her teacher and mentor, has been called the father of American anthropology and his teachings and point of view are clearly evident in Benedict's work. Ruth Benedict was affected by the passionate humanism of Boas, her mentor, and continued it in her research and writing.
Benedict held the post of President of the American Anthropological Association and was also a prominent member of the American Folklore Society. She became the first woman to be recognized as a prominent leader of a learned profession. She can be viewed as a transitional figure in her field, redirecting both anthropology and folklore away from the limited confines of culture-trait diffusion studies and towards theories of performance as integral to the interpretation of culture. She studied the relationships between personality, art, language and culture, insisting that no trait existed in isolation or self-sufficiency, a theory which she championed in her 1934 "Patterns of Culture."
Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in magazines as The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, The New Yorker as well as Life, Although some critics, notably the New York Times' reviewer, dismissed her work as "flapper verse",
She was a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table.
Following the breakup of the circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. With Robert Carson and Campbell, she wrote the script for the 1937 film A Star is Born, for which they were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing—Screenplay. She wrote additional dialogue for The Little Foxes in 1941 and received another Oscar nomination, with Frank Cavett, for 1947's Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman, starring Susan Hayward. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed as her involvement in left-wing politics led to a place on the Hollywood blacklist.
Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967) was an American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th century urban foibles.
Dorothy's mother was of Scottish descent, and her father was of German Jewish descent
The Hollywood Book-Movie
From Richard Slotkin's "Gun Fighter Nation"
Author F. Scott Fitzgerald featured a reference to Grant in The Great Gatsby. Tom Buchanan, the husband of Daisy Buchanan, the novel's principal woman character, was reading a book called The Rise of the Colored Empires by "this man Goddard", a combination of Passing of the Great Race (Grant) and his colleague Lothrop Stoddard's The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy (Stoddard; Grant wrote the introduction to Stoddard's book).
Throughout the book Tom espouses Goddard's racial theories; the narrator calls Tom's focus on Goddard's ideas "pathetic."
Grant's interests in conservationism and eugenics were not unrelated: both are hallmarks of the early 20th-century Progressive movement, and both assume the need for various types of stewardship over their charges. In Grant's mind, natural resources needed to be conserved for the Nordic Race, to the exclusion of other races. Grant viewed the Nordic race lovingly as he did any of his endangered species, and considered the modern industrial society as infringing just as much on its existence as it did on the redwoods. Like many eugenicists, Grant saw modern civilization as a violation of "survival of the fittest", whether it manifested itself in the over-logging of the forests, or the survival of the poor via welfare or charity.
Grant became a part of popular culture in 1920s America, especially in New York. Grant's conservationism and fascination with zoological natural history made him very influential among the New York elite who agreed with his cause, most notably Theodore Roosevelt.
Anti-democratic elements within the Progressive Ideology
Racism & Eugenics
Leftist writing was profoundly influenced by notions of eugenics which circulated widely in Depression-era America, though often just beneath the surface. One of the most popular movements during the Great Depression was the attempt to prove that certain groups of the American population were “unfit” and that society should take intentional steps to intervene in citizens' reproductive rights. This eugenics doctrine was so pervasive that it became embodied in a variety of texts, including many “leftist” texts, thereby producing an ideological crisis for many of these writers. Leftist literature is generally believed to be on the side of the “common man”; however, during the Great Depression it was not working from outside the conservative (mainstream) “Right” but was working within it—and therefore was not a critique of eugenics but was complicit with that ideology. When looking at Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road, I examine the rhetorical strategies—as well as setting, plot, and characters—that he borrowed from his father's and other sociologists' eugenic articles. I examine leftist writers who, in their attempts to uphold traditional gender roles, reinforced eugenic views about the lower class. I argue, for example, that in Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck is more concerned with the crisis of masculinity that eugenics fostered than he is with leftist politics.
This was especially the case with respect to Harriet Beecher Stowe & "Uncle Tom's Cabin" as it was hugely popular and it defined the racial problem in feminine & sentimental terms.
Not only the title, but the plan and a good deal of the incidental symbolism of the poem were suggested by Miss Jessie L. Weston’s book on the Grail legend: From Ritual to Romance (Macmillan). Indeed, so deeply am I indebted, Miss Weston’s book will elucidate the difficulties of the poem much better than my notes can do; and I recommend it (apart from the great interest of the book itself) to any who think such elucidation of the poem worth the trouble. To another work of anthropology I am indebted in general, one which has influenced our generation profoundly; I mean The Golden Bough; I have used especially the two volumes Attis Adonis Osiris. Anyone who is acquainted with these works will immediately recognise in the poem certain references to vegetation ceremonies.
And maybe Marlon Brando
Will be there by the fire
We'll sit and talk of Hollywood
And the good things there for hire
And the Astrodome
and the first tepee
Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me
Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me
MEDIA & Public Relations
Student Protest &
The Transformation of the College Campus
Clarence Endive was from East Egg, as I remember. He came only once, in white knickerbockers, and had a fight with a bum named Etty in the garden. From farther out on the Island came the Cheadles and the O. R. P. Schraed- ers and the Stonewall Jackson Abrams of Georgia and the Fishguards and the Ripley Snells. Snell was there three days before he went to the penitentiary, so drunk out on the grav- el drive that Mrs. Ulysses Swett’s automobile ran over his right hand. The Dancies came too and S. B. Whitebait, who was well over sixty, and Maurice A. Flink and the Hammer- heads and Beluga the tobacco importer and Beluga’s girls.
From West Egg came the Poles and the Mulreadys and Cecil Roebuck and Cecil Schoen and Gulick the state sena- tor and Newton Orchid who controlled Films Par Excellence and Eckhaust and Clyde Cohen and Don S. Schwartze (the son) and Arthur McCarty, all connected with the movies in one way or another. And the Catlips and the Bembergs and G. Earl Muldoon, brother to that Muldoon who afterward strangled his wife. Da Fontano the promoter came there, and Ed Legros and James B. (“Rot-Gut’) Ferret and the De Jongs and Ernest Lilly—they came to gamble and when Fer- ret wandered into the garden it meant he was cleaned out and Associated Traction would have to fluctuate profitably next day.
Nick satirizes Immigrant-American hybrids
at Gatsby's party
"Democratic Culture" can be defined as the outcome of applying the "relativism" of anthropology to one's own culture.
"Something was making him nibble at the edge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egotism no longer nourished his peremptory heart."
‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ he cried. ‘At the request of Mr. Gatsby we are going to play for you Mr. Vladimir Tostoff’s latest work which attracted so much attention at Carnegie Hall last May. If you read the papers you know there was a big sensation.’ He smiled with jovial condescension and added ‘Some sensation!’ whereupon everybody laughed.‘The piece is known,’ he concluded lustily, ‘as ‘Vladimir Tostoff’s Jazz History of the World.’ ‘
Problems with Jazz
In the foreword to Coming of Age in Samoa, Mead's advisor, Franz Boas, wrote of its significance that,..
"Courtesy, modesty, good manners, conformity to definite ethical standards are universal, but what constitutes courtesy, modesty, good manners, and definite ethical standards is not universal. It is instructive to know that standards differ in the most unexpected ways.
Boas went on to point out that at the time of publication, many Americans had begun to discuss the problems faced by young people (particularly women) as they pass through adolescence as "unavoidable periods of adjustment." Boas felt that a study of the problems faced by adolescents in another culture would be illuminating.
Turner earned a master's degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Chicago. He taught at Howard University from 1917 to 1928, and during his last eight years, he served as Head of the English Department. After leaving Howard, he founded the Washington Sun newspaper, which closed after one year.
From 1929 to 1946 Turner served as Head of the English Department at Fisk University. There he designed the curriculum for the African Studies Program.
In 1946 he began teaching at Roosevelt University in Chicago, where he was Chairman of the African Studies Program. In the early 1960s, he cofounded the Peace Corps training program to prepare young volunteers for service in Africa. Turner retired from Roosevelt in 1967.
Lorenzo Dow Turner is best remembered as the father of Gullah studies. His interest in the Gullah people began in 1929 when he first heard Gullah speakers while teaching a summer class at South Carolina State College (now University). Although established scholars then viewed Gullah speech as a form of substandard English, Turner sensed that Gullah was strongly influenced by African languages. He set out to study the language. For the next 20 years, he made trips to the Gullah region in coastal South Carolina and Georgia, interviewing Gullahs (often in isolated locations) and making detailed notes on their language. He also made recordings in the 1930s of Gullah speakers talking about their culture, folk stories and other aspects of life.
As part of his studies, Turner traveled to several locations in Africa, specifically Sierra Leone, to learn about the development of Creole languages, as well as to Louisiana and Brazil, to study Creole and Portuguese, respectively. He did research at University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (on various African language systems). He wanted to be able to provide context for the obvious "Africanisms" he discovered in his Sea Islands research. "Such depth and breadth allowed Turner to locate Gullah culture and language within the broader complexities of the African diaspora in the New World, ... firmly outside the reductionist theoretical model of cultural assimilation."
When Turner finally published his classic work Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect in 1949, he made an immediate impact on established academic thinking. His study of the origin, development and structure of Gullah was so convincing that scholars quickly accepted his thesis that Gullah is strongly influenced by African languages. He showed the continuity of language and culture across the diaspora. Many scholars have followed Turner over the years in researching the African roots of Gullah language and culture. He created a new field of study by his work and an appreciation for a unique element of African-American culture.
Turner was strongly influenced by the American linguistic movement, which he joined at its inception. Through his Gullah research, he gave shape to several academic specialties: Gullah studies, dialect geography and creole linguistics, as well as being an important predecessor to the field of African American studies, which developed in the 1960s and 70s.
Lorenzo Dow Turner
Melville Jean Herskovits (September 10, 1895 – February 25, 1963) was an American anthropologist who firmly established African and African American studies in American academia. The son of Jewish immigrants, he obtained a Bachelor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago in 1923 and obtained his Master's and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University in New York under the guidance of the German-born American anthropologist Franz Boas.
Herskovits's controversial classic The Myth of the Negro Past is about African cultural influences on American blacks. He rejected the notion that African Americans lost all traces of their past when they were taken from Africa and enslaved in America. Herskovits emphasized race as a sociological concept, not a biological one. He also helped forge the concept of cultural relativism, particularly in his book Man and His Works.
But. social classes, as distinct from economic classes, hardly exist to-day. More important is unity of religious background; and reasons of race and religion combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable."
From "After Strange Gods"
Eliot's Footnote to "The Wasteland"
Weston's book (1920) is an anthropological examination of the roots of the King Arthur legends and seeks to make connections between the early pagan elements and the later Christian influences. The book's main focus is on the Holy Grail tradition and its influence, particularly the Wasteland motif. The origins of Weston's book are in James George Frazer's seminal work on folklore, magic and religion, The Golden Bough, and in the works of Miss Jane Ellen Harrison.
O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag
It’s so elegant
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Among the mix of voices are those of popular culture. The influential critic Clive Bell, brother-in-law of Virginia Woolf, described Eliot’s poetry as largely “a product of the Jazz movement,” and saw The Waste Land as part of a “ragtime literature which flouts traditional rhythms and sequences and grammar and logic.” Eliot riffs on a ragtime song (“The Shakespearean Rag”): “O o o o that Shakespeherian rag, / It’s so elegant, so intelligent.” The critic Michael North has shown that many of Eliot’s first reviewers associated his modernism with the Jazz Age. The poem’s syncopated rhythms might seem, to a conservative critic, to bring all of literary tradition down to the level of jazz, but they can just as plausibly be seen as including popular culture in a new canon that erases the boundaries between high and low.
The Modernism Lab at Yale University
"For Rourke, culture was the entire spectrum of a people's self-expressive products..."
Constance Rourke was an American author and educator. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and attended Sorbonne and Vassar College. She taught at Vassar from 1910 to 1915. She died in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1941.
The Anthropological Hybrid
Herskovitz's breakthrough work that contradicted the prevailing belief that there was no element of African culture within African-American behavior.
On Hurston & Folklore
Notes on Jewish Broadwayas formulae for American (Mass) Culture
1. Yiddish Theater: immigrant popular art
2. Musicology of folk music
3. The art of appropriation & re-appropriation
4. The masked narrative
5. Camp Americana
FSF as Mass Media Critic
Acknowledges new symbolic landscape--
Machines & artificial things
Messages for a mass consumer culture
Compare the car as mass produced consumer object
Compare the green light bulb
Accepts such as admitting of meaning & interpretation
The possibility & problem of an anti-Eliot reading--TGG as "The Wasteland" novel.
The Eyes of T. J. Eckelburg
But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic—their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to fatten his practice in the borough of Queens, and then sank down himself into eternal blindness or forgot them and moved away. But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.
The late afternoon sky bloomed in the window for a mo- ment like the blue honey of the Mediterranean—then the shrill voice of Mrs. McKee called me back into the room.‘I almost made a mistake, too,’ she declared vigorously. ‘I almost married a little kyke who’d been after me for years. I knew he was below me. Everybody kept saying to me: ‘Lu- cille, that man’s way below you!’ But if I hadn’t met Chester, he’d of got me sure.’‘Yes, but listen,’ said Myrtle Wilson, nodding her head up and down, ‘at least you didn’t marry him.’‘I know I didn’t.’‘Well, I married him,’ said Myrtle, ambiguously. ‘And that’s the difference between your case and mine.’
The Ideology of Culture
A. Anthropological Social Science: CULTURAL RELATIVISM
B.African-American Anthropology: HURSTON’S DOUBLE RELATIVISM
C.From Anthropology to Linguistics: The literary becomes that (art form) which negotiates linguistic imperialism with DIALECT WRITING
Hurston & Anthropology:
The Literary Outcome
ZORA NEALE HURSTON
Race, Ethnicity, Gender
Literate v. Mass
J. D. Salinger
The Persistence of American Gothic
Kerouac influence on Bob Dylan Dylan has recently been more forthcoming about his early influences. In both his autobiography, Chronicles, and the documentary film No Direction Home, he talks about the effect that reading Kerouac had on him. He says that On the Road “had been like a bible for me. I loved the breathless, dynamic bop poetry phrases that flowed from Jack’s pen . . . I fell into that atmosphere of everything Kerouac was saying about the world being completely mad, and the only people for him that were interesting were the mad people, the mad ones, the ones who were mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn, all of those mad ones, and I felt like I fit right into that bunch.”
Newport Folk Festival 1965
Wiki on "American Folk Revival"
--- The pink cloud stroller
--- Repeat the past
--- "The pap of life"
Influence of the "New Left"
Narcissism as Potential Liberation
"He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor" (78)
Women in Gatsby
Women in Film
"powdered white over their tan" (116)
"silver idols weighing down their own white dresses" (115)
"I think she's lovely" --Daisy's approval of the movie director and his star at Gatsby's party (106)