Despite the vigorous attacks made on the Word by the prophets of the counter-culture and the insidious erosions made by the mass media, there can be little doubt that the writer will retain his function as interpreter and critic of his society. Even within the high-decibel culture there will be occasional oases of quiet where his words will be heard and his images will do their silent work. The demands that serious literature makes on the mind are an implicit challenge to the undemanding appeals of enveloping sound. The writer sets up rhythms of expectation and response that require active personal engagement. These rhythms, which are products of the solitary contemplative mind, are inimical to the regular pulsations of electronic sound. In this conflict between the unifying rhythms of mass culture and the personal rhythms of the individual conscience, we have the latest demonstration of the truth that the serious writer, no matter how deeply he may be involved in contemporary issues, must be able to detach himself sufficiently to achieve a personal voice and to offer society a new image of itself.
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- 1.Fredric Jameson, Marxism and Form: Twentieth-Century Dialectical Theories of Literature (Princeton, 1971), p. 413.Google Scholar