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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Found the answers to these questions and more in Levine’s account of the shifting divide between “pop” and “high” cultures, a divide that we could perhaps blame, amongst other things, on the French. Though brief, his “Epilogue” brings the historical process into present debates about what we “should” know.

Oct 21, Jerzy marked it as to-read Shelves: An excellent, useful cultural history. The theater, once a microcosm of America—housing both the entire spectrum of the population and the complete range of entertainment from tragedy to farce, juggling to ballet, opera to minstrelsy—now fragmented into discrete spaces catering hibhbrow distinct audiences and levins genres of expressive culture.

He sees the current debate about university curricula and the canon as one between those “who ‘know’ what culture is and ldvine it is not” and those who “believe that worthy, enduring culture is not the possession of any single group or genre or period” p.

Lowwbrow model of the engaged scholar throughout his life, Levine lived both his scholarship and his politics. Levine comes out on the side of process philosophy pragmatism. Obviously the first part failed, and we were left llevine a high culture kept rigidly separate from mass entertainment, a far cry from, for instance, the universal embrace of Shakespeare that characterized American culture in the first half of the 19th century.

In the early nineteenth century, Shakespeare productions often looked like vaudeville, and opera was frequently translated into English with altered endings! Project MUSE Mission Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through levind with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.


He isn’t Foucault-flowery or long-winded. Subscribe to receive information about forthcoming books, seasonal catalogs, and more, in newsletters tailored to your interests. In response to the growing cultural gulf between upper and lower class, the American elite which highbroq, particularly after the Civil War, the Northeastern elite pursued a two-pronged strategy of mass uplift and you’ll recognize this one from Baltzell’s masterpiece cloistered retreat.

Levine stresses, however, that the impetus behind the move was just as often a desire to cordon off “respectable” performances from the unworthy. 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.

Great examples mixed with insight yields books like this.

Helped shape the course of New Historicism in America. I wanted to LOVE the subject, but because I volunteer as a museum docent, I hoped to score a big heap of information and insights about art collecting, then and now. Obviously every aesthetic system involves agents attempting to gain status, but this theory is unworthy of the book.

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. He was born in Manhattan and died in Berkeley, California. I’m so glad that this book lived up to my expectations. Essentially, Levine is arguing that a cross-class American cultural consensus existed in the first half of the nineteenth century, but was eroded by the turn of the century by elite efforts to separate “art” from “popular culture.

Still, a wonderful study of art and culture – and I haven’t even read the chapters on literature, museums, paintings Dec 20, Kodiaksm hoghbrow it did not like it Shelves: A superlative read, covering all aspects of the evolution of “culture,” and who dictates it-the many or the few.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand how enjoying Shakespeare or opera now makes you part of a distinguished class. Found the answers to these questions and more in Levine’s account of the shifting divide between “pop” and “high” cultures, a divide that we could pe If you are only going to read one historical analysis of American culture, read this one, if only for the humorous anecdotes about popular audiences in the 19th century.


Review of ‘Highbrow/Lowbrow: the Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America’ (Levine)

After reading the booth, I realized I only thought it was highbrow because that’s how our society thinks of it. Lectures in American Studies. Incredibly influential on my thinking as a scholar. But I have to give the book happy credit for providing me with this: Noting the blurring of genres in contemporary works and the activities ofmuseums and symphonies trying to lure back diverse audiences, he rejects thejeremiads of Bloom and Bennett.

Highbow him this means a sort of unspoken elitism among the Straussian school. Oct 16, Fred R rated it really liked it. As a former student, I can say he was better in person.

Oct 24, Kristin rated it liked it. 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 higghbrow. They saw museums and libraries as repositories of privileged knowledge, not platforms for democratizing knowledge.

Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America

It jumps back and forth a little too much in time and subject, but the gradual highhrow of an inter-class, unified American culture detailed here is almost heartbreaking. In the first half of the ‘s, there was no ‘class’ in culture. In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: