Desmond MacCarthy, Bloomsbury, and the Aestheticist Ethics of Broadcasting

Todd Avery

in Broadcasting Modernism

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780813033495
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038315 | DOI:
Desmond MacCarthy, Bloomsbury, and the Aestheticist Ethics of Broadcasting

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As widely connected and politically very deeply engaged early twentieth-century intellectuals, the Bloomsburyans were seismographically sensitive to the effects of a rapidly changing technocultural landscape upon residual Victorian cultural and ethical ideals, aestheticist and otherwise. The Bloomsbury Group's involvement in radio during the 1920s and 1930s is a key example of how an important group of Modernist intellectuals strove to preserve their deeply held ethical-aesthetic beliefs between the wars while adjusting them to fit the demands of an increasingly technologized mass culture. Bloomsbury's most deeply held opinions on the ideological underpinnings of what Robert Giddings has called “the Reithian imperial experience” and their most fully considered views on the utopian or, at least, politically progressive potential of mass culture, are to be found in broadcasts by Desmond MacCarthy, a core member of the Group and one of the early twentieth-century's most respected literary journalists.

Keywords: Bloomsbury Group; radio; mass communication; BBC; Desmond MacCarthy

Chapter.  7614 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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