Inventing High and Low: Literature, Mass Culture, and Uneven Modernity in Spain [NOOK Book]

Overview

Dire word of the cultural threat of the lowbrow goes back at least to the ancient Greeks, and yet, Stephanie Sieburth suggests, no division between "high" and "low" culture will stand up to logical scrutiny. Why, then, does the opposition persist? In this book Sieburth questions the terms of this perennial debate and uncovers the deep cultural, economic, and psychological tensions that lead each generation to reinvent the distinction between high and low. She focuses on Spain, where this opposition plays a ...
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Inventing High and Low: Literature, Mass Culture, and Uneven Modernity in Spain

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Overview

Dire word of the cultural threat of the lowbrow goes back at least to the ancient Greeks, and yet, Stephanie Sieburth suggests, no division between "high" and "low" culture will stand up to logical scrutiny. Why, then, does the opposition persist? In this book Sieburth questions the terms of this perennial debate and uncovers the deep cultural, economic, and psychological tensions that lead each generation to reinvent the distinction between high and low. She focuses on Spain, where this opposition plays a special role in notions of cultural development and where leading writers have often made the relation of literature to mass culture the theme of their novels. Choosing two historical moments of sweeping material and cultural change in Spanish history, Sieburth reads two novels from the 1880s (by Benito Pérez Galdós) and two from the 1970s (by Juan Goytisolo and Carmen Martín Gaite) as fictional theories about the impact of modernity on culture and politics. Her analysis reveals that the high/low division in the cultural sphere reinforces other kinds of separations—between social classes or between men and women—dear to the elite but endangered by progress. This tension, she shows, is particularly evident in Spain, where modernization has been a contradictory and uneven process, rarely accompanied by political freedom, and where consumerism and mass culture coexist uneasily with older ways of life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822397052
  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 296
  • File size: 602 KB

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Note on the Translations
Introduction: The High/Low Opposition and the Spanish Novel 1
Ch. 1 Modernity and Narration in Galdos's La desheredada 27
Ch. 2 Separate and Unequal: Literature's Polemic against Mass Culture in La desheredada 50
Ch. 3 Fusion of Genres, Distinction of Genders: A Recipe for Partial Social Change in Galdos's Tormento 100
Ch. 4 Apocalypse Again: Mass Culture, Misogyny, and the Canon in Goytisolo's Reivindicacion del conde don Julian 137
Ch. 5 Beyond High and Low: Carmen Martin Gaite's El cuarto de atras 188
Ch. 6 Martin Gaite, Galdos, Goytisolo: Dialogues on the Role of Culture 215
Conclusion: Uneven Modernization and the Conditions of Emergence of the Spanish Mass Cultural Novel 231
Appendix: Plot Summaries 245
Bibliography 255
Index 271
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