Chapter

Culture and Environment

Christopher Hilliard

in English as a Vocation

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199695171
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949946 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695171.003.0003
Culture and Environment

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Chapter 2 examines the cultural criticism of the Leavises, Denys Thompson, and L. C. Knights. It argues that the importance of the ‘organic community’ to the movement's thinking has been vastly exaggerated, and that the ‘undissociated’ language and culture of early modern England was more important as a reference point in Scrutiny theses on culture. The group's understanding of modernity was decisively shaped by a strand of American commentary—above all the work of the popular economist Stuart Chase and the sociologists Robert S. Lynd and Helen M. Lynd, authors of Middletown—and centred on the changes in ‘industrial society’ beginning around the turn of the twentieth century. Advertising and popular fiction alike were in the business of manufacturing desires: literary studies offered access to genuine emotional experiences and ways of exposing and resisting the operations of mass culture.

Keywords: Denys Thompson; Denys; Queenie Dorothy Leavis; Lionel Charles Knights; Stuart Chase; Middletown; Americanization; organic community; advertising; popular fiction

Chapter.  12588 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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