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‘Mass Civilisation and Minority Culture’

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Abstract

Francis Mulhern suggests that the importance of ‘Mass Civilisation and Minority Culture’1 is that it contained, in embryonic form, Scrutinys governing theme: ‘“industrialism” and its destructive effects on society and culture’.2 While it cannot be denied that Leavis’s essay, which originally appeared in pamphlet form in 1930, has some relation to the concerns of Scrutiny, such an observation hardly does justice to either its rhetoric or the complexity of its arguments. Accordingly, my purpose is to address these in some detail in order to show that there is far more to ‘Mass Civilisation and Minority Culture’ than is evident in Mulhern’s account of it.

Keywords

Mass Civilisation Human Thought Modern Civilisation Minority Culture Book Club 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    F.R. Leavis, ‘Mass Civilisation and Minority Culture’, in F.R. Leavis, For Continuity (Cambridge: Minority Press, 1933) pp. 13–46. Henceforth referred to as MC & MC with page references given in the text.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Francis Mulhern, The Moment ofScrutiny’ (London: Verso, 1981) p. 50. Mulhern’s seems to be the representative view. See for example Chris Baldick, The Social Mission of English Criticism 1848–1932 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987) pp. 165–8; John Carey, The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice among the Literary Intelligensia (London: Faber, 1992) pp. 9–10; Pamela McCallum, Literature and Method: Towards a Critique of I.A. Richards, T.S. Eliot and F.R. Leavis (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1983) pp. 153–77, esp. 155–6; Anne Samson, F.R. Leavis (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992) pp. 36–61, esp. 40–2; and Raymond Williams, Culture and Society 1780–1950 (Harmondsworth: Penguin/Chatto & Windus, 1975) pp. 246–57, esp. 247–8.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    One of the obstacles to a sympathetic understanding of Leavis is precisely this opposition between ‘culture’ and ‘civilisation’. Leavis uses ‘culture’ to refer to a positive body of achievements and habits, expressed as a mode of living superior to ‘civilisation’. Today ‘culture’ is no longer in opposition to ‘civilisation’. It stands by itself and broadly refers to the ensemble of different cultural practices which constitute the way of life of a society. This widening of the term does, however, make it difficult to distinguish qualitatively between different cultural practices. All of them seem to be of equal value, thus there are no ultimate aesthetic grounds for distinguishing between Barbara Cartland and Shakespeare. The ultra-relativist case, of which this is an extreme example, is found in Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Contingencies of Value: Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988). For the evolution of the term ‘culture’ see Williams, Culture and Society. For a brief overview of the two terms see Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (London: Fontana, 1983) pp. 57–60, 87–93. For a clear guide to the term ‘culture’ in current thought see Rachel Billington, Sheelagh Strawbridge, Lenore Greensides and Annette Fitzsimons, Culture and Society (London: Macmillan, 1991).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    One of the aims of this and subsequent chapters is to challenge the generally accepted view of Leavis’s criticism as the ‘means [whereby] a ruling elite provides itself with a sensibility which is the source of and guarantee of its right to control and administer experience’, Catherine Belsey, ‘Re-reading the great tradition’ in Peter Widdowson (ed.) Re-reading English (London: Methuen, 1982) pp. 121–35,129. Belsey’s view is based, in part, on the following quotation: there is ‘a necessary relationship between the quality of the individual’s response to art and his general fitness for a humane existence’ (p. 129). The quotation is given in Mulhern, The Moment ofScrutiny’, p. 48. The context in which Belsey places the quotation implies that she attributes it to Leavis. ‘[T]he judgement of relative value is not purely a matter of literary appreciation. It is implicit throughout The Great Tradition, and explicit elsewhere, that there is a “necessary relationship between the quality of the individual’s response to art and his general fitness for a human existence”’ (ibid.). The quotation, however, does not come from Leavis. It is, as Mulhern makes clear, from the editors, Donald Culver and L.C. Knights, of the first issue of Scrutiny (The Moment ofScrutiny’, p. 48). This appeared in May 1932 and Leavis did not join the editorial board until September 1932. (See Mulhern, The Moment ofScrutiny’, pp. 3–48 and L.C. Knights ‘Scrutiny and F.R.L.: A Personal Memoir’, in Denys Thompson (ed.), The Leavises: Recollections and Impressions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984) pp. 70–81. It is this sort of misrepresentation of Leavis that contributes to the perception of him as an elitist. Garry Watson has made a detailed study of what he considers to be a systematic distortion of Leavis’s criticism in his book The Leavises, the Social and the Left (Swansea: Brynmill, 1977). Variations of Belsey’s view of Leavis can be found in the Literature and Society Group 1972–3, ‘Literature/Society: Mapping the Field’ in Culture, Media and Language, (London: Hutchinson/Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, University of Birmingham, 1980) pp. 227–34, esp. 229; and in Paul Lawford, ‘Conservative Empricism in Literary Theory: A Scrutiny of the Work of F.R. Leavis’, Part 1, Red Letters, 1:1, pp. 12–15; Part 2, Red Letters, 2:2, pp. 9–11.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J.B. Watson regarded himself as the founder of behaviourist psychology. For a brief overview of his work see O.L. Zangwill, ’Psychology’, in C.B. Cox and A.E. Dyson (eds), The Twentieth Century Mind: History, Ideas and Literature in Britain 2:,1918–1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972) pp. 171–95, esp. 174–6.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    See Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth O f the Prison, trans. Alan Sheridan (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Foucault’s claim in The History of Sexuality Volume 1: An Introduction, trans. R. Hurley (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1990) that ‘[w]here there is power, there is resistance’ (p. 95) is at odds with his analysis which shows how subjects are so enmeshed in the power/knowledge nexus that compels them to speak of their sexuality that they cannot resist it. Christopher Norris makes a similar point when he writes that by ’reducing “reason” to its lowest common denominator (instrumental rationality) Foucault in effect closes off any prospect of progressive or emancipatory change’, Christopher Norris, Truth and the Ethics of Criticism (Manchester: Manchester University Press. 1994) p. 42.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Some would dispute Foucault’s historical sense: ‘Unfortunately, most of Foucault’s bold historical points are far from... accurate’, J.C. Merquior, Foucault (London: Fontana, 1985) p. 57.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    R. Paget, Babel (London: Kegan Paul, 1930), p. 18, quoted by Leavis in MC & MC, p. 42.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
  11. 11.
    T.W. Adorno ‘The Schema of Mass Culture’, in T.W. Adorno, The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture, ed. J.M. Bernstein (London: Routledge, 1991), pp. 53–84, 71.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
  13. 13.
    Ibid., p. 76.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ibid., p. 80.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ibid., p. 61.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ibid., p. 60. On the notion of time in consumer society see John Berger, Ways of Seeing (London: BBC/Penguin, 1972) pp. 144–9; Brian Massumi, ‘Everywhere You Want To Be: Introduction to Fear’, in Brian Massumi (ed.) The Politics of Everyday Fear (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993) pp. 3–40, esp. 8–9; and Frederic Jameson, ‘Postmodernism and Consumer Society’ in Hal Foster (ed.) Postmodern Culture (London: Pluto, 1985), pp. 111–25.Google Scholar
  17. 24.
    Pierre Macherey, A Theory of Literary Production, trans. G. Wall (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978) p. 61.Google Scholar
  18. 25.
    For details see C.L. Mowat, Britain Between the Wars (London: Methuen, 1950) pp. 199–200, 267–8, 384–5, 390, 403–6 and Malcolm Smith, British Politics, Society and the State Since the Late Nineteenth Century (London: Macmillan, 1990) pp. 94, 96.Google Scholar
  19. 26.
    The fact that Leavis seems to regard the meaning of his metaphor as self-evident is reminiscent of Derrida’s remark that what is sought in metaphor is ‘the return of the same’. Derrida’s observation arises in the course of a long discussion of the relation between metaphor and philosophy, hence it is not strictly relevant to literary criticism. Nevertheless, there is much in Derrida’s essay that could be usefully applied to an understanding of Leavis’s treatment of metaphor. See Jacques Derrida, “White Mythology’, in Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1982) pp. 209–71, 266.Google Scholar
  20. 27.
    I.A. Richards Principles of Literary Criticism (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1924/1959) p. 61, quoted by Leavis in MC & MC, p. 14.Google Scholar
  21. 28.
  22. 29.
    The claim is made by Greta Jones, Social Hygiene in Twentieth Century Britain (London: Croom Helm, 1986) p. 18. See also Stuart Hall and Bill Schwarz ‘State and Society 1880–1930’ in Mary Langan and Bill Schwarz (eds) Crisis in the British State 1880–1930 (London: Hutchinson/Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, University of Birmingham, 1985), pp. 7–33. 30. Jones, Social Hygiene in Twentieth Century Britain, p. 6.Google Scholar
  23. 31.
    Ibid., pp. 30, 35.Google Scholar
  24. 32.
    Ibid., p. 31.Google Scholar
  25. 33.
    Ibid., p. 10.Google Scholar
  26. 34.
    Ibid., p. 18.Google Scholar
  27. 35.
    T.W. Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life, trans. E.F.N. Jephcott (London: Verso, 1993) p. 154. According to Adorno, the requirement that people ‘should be wholly and entirely’ (p. 153) what they are, in other words that they should be genuinely themselves, is simply society’s way of encouraging its members to identify with and so perpetuate ‘the monadological form which social oppression imposes on [them] (p. 154). Adorno takes issue with Heidegger on the question of authenticity (see T.W. Adorno, The Jargon of Authenticity, trans. K. Tarnowski and F. Will (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973) which makes him relevant to a consideration of this issue in Leavis, since as Michael Bell has pointed out, Heidegger is ‘the nearest philosophical model for Leavis’s conception of [poetic] language’. Michael Bell, F.R. Leavis (London: Routledge, 1988) pp. 36–54. 36. Adorno, Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life, p. 155.Google Scholar
  28. 37.
  29. 36.
    As the following quotation indicates, without language there is no consciousness. ‘[A] language’, writes Leavis is more than an instrument of expression; it registers the consequences of many generations of creative response to living: implicit valuations, interpretive constructions, ordering moulds and frames, basic assumptions. (F.R. Leavis, ‘Pluralism, Compassion and Social Hope’, in F.R. Leavis Nor Shall My Sword: Discourses on Pluralism, Compassion and Social Hope (London: Chatto & Windus, 1972) pp. 163–98, 184.) Leavis makes a similar point when he remarks that the critic ‘ought to realize vividly... that he [or she] is (or should be) contemplating the basic condition of thought when he turns his [or her] mind on the nature of language’. F.R. Leavis ‘Thought, Language and Objectivity’, in The Living Principle: English As a Discipline of Thought (London: Chatto & Windus, 1975) pp. 19–69, 57. More succinct is the claim that ’[t]here [can] be no developed thought of the most important kind without language’. F.R. Leavis, Thought, Words and Creativity: Art and Thought in Lawrence (London: Chatto & Windus, 1976) p. 20. What emerges from these quotations is a view of language as the basis of thought and also that the quality of thought is dependent on the quality of the language. Hence Leavis’s claim that Modern English... represents drastic impoverishment; the assumptions implicit in it eliminate from thought, and from the valuations and tested judgements that play so essential a part in thought, very important elements of human experience — elements that linguistic continuity once made available. (’Thought, Language and Objectivity’, p. 67) Leavis does not distinguish between thought and consciousness. Indeed, his use of the two terms suggests their meanings are similar. ’The thought in question for us, vindicators of “English”,... involves a consciousness of one’s full human responsibility, purpose, and the whole range of human valuations’ (ibid., p. 21, italics added). Compare this to Leavis’s view of consciousness in ‘Mass Civilisation and Minority Culture’ as a capacity [that] does not belong merely to an isolated aesthetic realm: it implies responsiveness to theory as well as to art, to science and philosophy in so far as these may affect the sense of the human situation and of the nature of life. (MC & MC, p. 15)Nevertheless, it is possible to distinguish between the two terms. While language gives rise to both consciousness and thought, the former seems to have a broader range of meanings than the latter. To begin with, the relation between language and consciousness implies, in phrases such as language being ‘more than an instrument of expression’ (Thought, Language and Objectivity’, p. 67) that there is an unconscious dimension to language in Leavis. This paves the way for a psychoanalytic approach to the relation between consciousness and language in his work, as does the fact that consciousness is seen in terms of the body and its desires. These issues will be discussed in the following chapters, as will the fact that consciousness is bound up with the notion of recognition, a key term in the early psychoanalytic writings of Lacan. Thought, by contrast, is concerned with the problem of continuity in cultural life, creativity, valuation, judgement and significance. Its project is the ’creative reality of human significances, values and non-measurable ends which our technologico—Benthamite civilization ignores and progressively impoverishes, thus threatening human existence’. (F.R. Leavis, “’English”, Unrest and Continuity’, in Leavis, Nor Shall My Sword: Discourses on Pluralism, Compassion and Social Hope, pp. 103–33, 110.) Ultimately, it is impossible to disentangle consciousness and thought in Leavis’s work, if only because he tends to use the terms interchangeably. However, as I have suggested, there is a distinction to be made. My main concern will be with ‘consciousness’.Google Scholar
  30. 39.
    See note 21.Google Scholar
  31. 40.
    For an account of the relation between metaphor and money see Allen Hoey, ‘The Name on the Coin: Metaphor, Metonymy and Money’, Diacritics 18:2, Summer 1988, pp. 26–37. See also Marc Shell, The Economy of Literature (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978).Google Scholar
  32. 41.
    See, for example, F.R. Leavis ‘Mutually Necessary’, in F.R. Leavis The Critic As Anti-Philosopher, ed. G. Singh (London: Chatto & Windus, 1982) pp. 186–208, esp. 189–90. See also F.R. Leavis, ‘Standards of Criticism’ in F.R. Leavis, Valuation in Criticism and Other Essays, ed. G. Singh (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986) pp. 244–52, esp. 244.Google Scholar
  33. 42.
    See F.R. Leavis, “‘Under Which King, Bezonian?’”, ‘Marxism and Cultural Continuity’ and ‘Restatements for Critics’, in Leavis, Valuation in Criticism and Other Essays, pp. 38–45, 31–7 and 46–53 respectively. Leavis’s relation to Marxism is discussed in Chapter 3.Google Scholar
  34. 43.
    Norman Angell, The Press and the Organisation of Society (Cambridge: Minority Press, 1922) p. 17, quoted by Leavis in MC & MC, p. 19.Google Scholar
  35. 44.
    See Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, trans. J. Strachey. Edited James Strachey and A. Tyson, revised Angela Richards (London: Pelican, 1976) pp. 628–51. For one account of what Freud means by the conscious and unconscious see Sigmund Freud, ’Conscious and Unconscious’ in Sigmund Freud, On Metapsychology: Google Scholar
  36. The Theory of Psychoanalysis, trans. James Strachey. Edited by Angela Richards (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991) pp. 351–6. 45. Angell, The Press and the Organisation of Society, p. 27, quoted by Leavis in MC&MC,p.20.Google Scholar
  37. 46.
    See, for example, the long quotations from J.B. Watson which Leavis gives in MC & MC, pp. 40–1. The quotations from J.B. Watson, The Ways of Behaviourism (London: Kegan Paul, 1925) are pp. 48, 60–1, 63, 86 and 111 respectively. Further examples that Leavis gives of the instrumental mentality are Major Leonard Darwin, who believes ‘that human excellence may, for practical Eugenic purposes, be measured by earning capacity’ and Sir Richard Paget, who argues that ‘it is time English was deliberately and scientifically standardised as a language of thought’ (MC & MC, p. 42).Google Scholar
  38. 50.
    T.W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, ‘The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception’ in T.W. Adorno and M. Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. J. Cumming (London: Verso, 1992) pp. 120–67, 120.Google Scholar
  39. 51.
    T.W. Adorno, ‘Culture Industry Reconsidered’, in Adorno, The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture, pp. 85–92, 85.Google Scholar
  40. 52.
  41. 56.
    ER. Leavis, ‘Eliot’s “Axe To Grind” and the Nature ot Great Crticism’, in F.R. Leavis, English Literature in Our Time and the University (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969) pp. 85–108, 97.Google Scholar
  42. 57.
    F.R. Leavis,’Tragedy and the “Medium’: A Note on Mr. Santayana’s “Tragic Philosophy”’, in F.R. Leavis, The Common Pursuit (Harmondsworth: Penguin/Chatto & Windus, 1962/1993) pp. 121–35, 130.Google Scholar
  43. 58.
    T.W. Adorno, ‘Letters to Walter Benjamin’, in T.W. Adorno, W. Benjamin, E. Black, B. Brecht and G. Lukacs, Aesthetics and Politics, ed. R. Taylor (London: Verso, 1990) no. 110–33,123.Google Scholar
  44. 59.
    For an example of Leavis’s more detailed discussion of value see F.R. Leavis ‘Mutually Necessary’; ‘Valuation in Criticism’ and ‘Thought, Meaning and Sensibility’, in F.R. Leavis Valuation in Criticism and Other Essays, pp. 276–84 and pp. 285–7 respectively. In these essays Leavis rejects the idea that valuation is a process of ‘putting a price on a work’ (’Valuation in Criticism’, p. 279) which of course undermines, albeit retrospectively, the economic metaphor in ‘Mass Civilisation and Minority Culture’. In ‘Mutually Necessary’, however, he does admit that it is very difficult to separate value from price, the word ‘value’ as we have it in ‘value judgement’ brings together in a treacherous confusingness two very different things. The sense that everyone takes seriously is the same the word has when we talk of the value of an article in terms of money’. (’Mutually Necessary’, p. 190) Leavis does not make clear what the other ‘thing’ is. The implication, in a long passage (ibid.), is that it is the opposite of price, or indeed of any process of mathematical or scientific quantification. This lack of definition is consistent with Leavis’s claim ‘that the most important words... are incapable of definition’ (’Pluralism, Compassion and Social Hope’, p. 163). This is not an evasion, rather a recognition that the meanings and connotations of words are always socially formed. The use of a term is the product of, among other things, the speaker’s intention, the receiver’s expectation and the context in which it is uttered. Understood in this way, it is possible to see how Leavis can be used to critique Saussure, who saw language primarily as a system of ‘differences without positive terms’. Ferdinard de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics, trans. W. Baskin (London: Fontana, 1974) p. 120. Leavis seems to acknowledge that meaning is something that individuals and groups struggle over in concrete situations whereas Saussure seems to imply that it arises merely as a function of the internal structure of language alone. It is this ‘difference’ between Leavis and Saussure that may account for the hostility of post-structuralist critics to Leavis. But, if there are differences between Leavis and Saussure, there are also similarities. For example, Saussure’s description of value as something not fixed in itself but determined by its environment or surroundings (Saussure, Course in General Linguistics, pp. 111–12) is echoed in Leavis’s notion of ‘placing valuation’ (’Mutually Necessary’, p. 200), that is, how a new work is placed in ‘an organization of similarly “placed” things that have found their bearing with regard to one another’, F.R. Leavis, ’Criticism and Philosophy’, in Leavis, The Common Pursuit, pp. 211–22, 213. The main point is that Leavis argues for the relative nature of a work’s value and this is precisely what makes it an economic term. The structure of tradition is, indeed, analogous to that of an economy where the value of a work constantly shifts in relation to other works as the value of money is modified according to the movement of currency. Leavis cannot, therefore, separate value from price despite his insistence on their non-commensurability. That is his first problem. His second is that the economic nature of value means that it can never be absolute or unchanging, a characteristic suggested by the notion of implicit standards. What is not seen can be fantasised as secure, fixed and permanent.Google Scholar
  45. 60.
    The difficulty of the concept of culture is occluded in models such as that proposed by John Fiske, who claims that society can be understood in terms of the subordinate group resisting the attempts of the dominant one to impose its values upon it. See John Fiske, Understanding Popular Culture (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989). This account irons out the differences between one cultural pursuit and another, as does Fiske’s use of the term pleasure which, he claims, characterises the experience of popular culture. Pleasure, in conferring a spurious democracy on different activities, consequently evades questions of ethics and aesthetics: it sanctions badger baiting as much as reading a Jane Austen novel. Fiske’s approach to culture reflects an age when relativistic thought has come more and more to the fore. One problem with relativistic thought is that it assumes all cultural practices are of equal value. But, if this is the case, then what sense can be made of the term relative since it implies that all things are different? There thus seems to be something paradoxical in the relativist’s position. Another problem with relativistic thought is its attitude towards ‘high culture’ which it sees as standing for ‘universal value standards’, Anthony Giddens, David Held, Dan Hubert, Steve Lloyd, Debbie Seymour and John Thompson, ‘Some Theoretical Considerations’, in A. Giddens et al. The Polity Reader in Cultural Theory (Cambridge/Oxford: Polity Press/Blackwell, 1994), pp. 15–23, 21. What this ignores is that ‘high’ culture is produced only in relation to ‘mass’ or ‘popular’ culture. It is therefore of its nature relativistic. All these terms, ‘high’, ‘mass’ or ‘popular’ culture are extremely complex and need to be approached with care. The aim should be to find better and more productive ways of discussing them; something which is not achieved by dismissing the challenges and claims of ‘high’ culture as something irrelevant or outmoded. Ironically, the argument against ‘high’ culture is conducted in the idiom developed by high culture, that is the language of value. What this ignores is how culture, whether ‘high’, ‘mass’ or ‘popular’ is coming to be seen increasingly in terms of technology. For a good overview of this approach see Gretchen Bender and Timothy Druckery (eds) Culture on the Brink: Ideologies of Technology (Seattle: Bay Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  46. 61.
    J.A. Cuddon, The P enguin D ictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Criticism (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991) p. 545.Google Scholar
  47. 62.
    This, in fact, is Leavis’s position throughout most of his later work. ’[L]anguage’, he writes, gives us so much more than a felicitous analogy. A language is a life, and life involves change that is continual renewal. A language has its life in use - use that, of its nature, is a creative human response to changing conditions, so that in a living language we have a manifestation of continuous collaborative creativity. (F.R. Leavis, ‘Pluralism, Compassion and Social Hope’, in Leavis, Nor Shall My Sword: Discourses on Pluralism, Compassion and Social Hope, pp. 163–98, 183.)Google Scholar
  48. 63.
    See Roman Jakobson, ‘Two Types of Language and Two Types of Aphasia Disturbance’, in Roman Jakobson and Morris Halle, Fundamentals of Language (New York: Moulton, 1956) pp. 69–76.Google Scholar
  49. 64.
    On the difficulty of distinguishing metaphor from metonymy see David Lodge, ‘Metaphor and Metonymy’, in David Lodge, The Modes of Modern Writing (London: Edward Arnold, 1977) pp. 73–124, pp. 75–6; 81 n., 100 and 111. For a general discussion of the relation of metaphor to thought see Andrew Ortony (ed.) Metaphor and Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979).Google Scholar
  50. 65.
    See Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony ana Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989). See also Stanley Fish, Doing What Comes Naturally: Change, Rhetoric and the Practice of Theory in Literary and Legal Studies (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  51. 66.
    I am grateful to Christopher Norris for the observation that an antifundamentalist’s argument would be that criteria, standards and cultural values could still be invoked as long as these were understood as relativised to a given cultural place and time.Google Scholar
  52. 67.
    See, for example, F.R. Leavis, ‘Elites, Oligarchies and an Educated Public’, in Leavis, Nor Shall My Sword: Discourses on Pluralism, Compassion and Social Hope, pp. 201–28, 205.Google Scholar
  53. 68.
    T.W. Adorno, ‘Culture and Administration’, in Adorno, The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture, pp. 93–113, 93.Google Scholar
  54. 69.
    lbid., p. 111.Google Scholar
  55. 70.
    Ibid., p. 101.Google Scholar
  56. 71.
    Jacques Lacan, Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis, trans. Anthony Wilden (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994) p. 31. It should be noted that this idea can be interpreted in a number of different ways, not least because, as William J. Richardson has pointed out, Lacan has repeated the claim in a number of different contexts. See William J. Richardson, ‘Psychoanalysis and the BeingQuestion’, in Joseph H. Smith and William Kerrigan (eds) Interpreting Lacan (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983) pp. 139–59,153. On the difficulty of this question in Lacan see Anika Lemaire, Jacques Lacan, trans. David Macey (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul,1977) p. 170 and Malcolm Bowie, ‘Jacques Lacan’, in John Sturrock (ed.) Structuralism and Since: From Levi Strauss to Derrida (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979) pp. 117–53, 135–6.Google Scholar
  57. 72.
    The Book Guild cater[s] for the ordinary intelligent reader not for the highbrows — [it is] an organisation which realise[s] that — a book can have a good story and a popular appeal and yet begood literature’. Book Guild publicity leaflet, quoted by Leavis in MC & MC, p. 33. Leavis gives no reference for the quotation. For an ideological account of book clubs in the 1930s and beyond see Janice Radway, ‘Mail-Order Culture and Its Critics: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Commodification and Consumption’, in Lawrence Grossberg, Gary Nelson and Paula Treichler (eds) Cultural Studies (London: Routledge, 1992) pp. 512–30.Google Scholar
  58. 73.
    Leavis took this idea from Q.D. Leavis, Fiction and the Reading Public (London: Chatto & Windus, 1932). See esp. pp. 83–96.Google Scholar
  59. 74.
    Gilbert Russell, Advertisement Writing (London: Earnest Benn, 1927) p. 34, quoted by Leavis in MC & MC, p. 35.Google Scholar
  60. 75.
    Sigmund Freud, ‘Beyond the Pleasure Principle’, in Freud, On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psychoanalysis, pp. 275–338, esp. 308.Google Scholar
  61. 76.
    Robert and Helen Lynd, Middletown (New York: Constable, 1929).Google Scholar
  62. 77.
    In connection with this ‘something more’, it is worth noting that America was perceived, in the inter-war years, in terms of consumption, as indeed the land of ‘something more’. See Gary Cross, Time and Money: The Making of Consumer Culture (London: Routledge, 1993) p. 15.Google Scholar
  63. 78.
    Lynd, Middletown, p. 204, quoted by Leavis in MC & MC, p. 17.Google Scholar
  64. 79.
    The notion of ‘something more’ also draws freely on Derrida’s essay, ’That Dangerous Supplement’, in Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976) pp. 141–64.Google Scholar
  65. 80.
    Here, as with all translations, caution is necessary. However, even it allowances are made for flexibility in the translation of specific words, the ideas are sufficiently similar as to warrant comparison. See Adomo, ’The Schema of Mass Culture’, p. 53, and ‘Culture and Administration’, pp. 101, 104, 106.Google Scholar
  66. 81.
    It would be possible to extend and refine these remarks in the context of Derrida’s notion of differance. See Jacques Derrida,’Differance’, in Derrida, Margins of Philosophy, pp. 3–27.Google Scholar
  67. 87.
    Adorno, ‘How To Look at Television’, in Adorno, The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture, pp. 136–53,138.Google Scholar
  68. 88.
    Leavis, Thought, Words and Creativity: Art and Thought in Lawrence, p. 148.Google Scholar
  69. 89.
    I.A. Richards, Practical Criticism (London: Kegan Paul, 1929), pp. 319–20, quoted by Leavis, MC & MC, p. 30.Google Scholar
  70. 90.
    See, for example, Steven Connor, Theory and Cultural Value (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1992), Antony Easthope, ‘The Question of Literary Value’, Textual Practice 4:3, 1990, pp. 376–89, and John Frowe, Cultural Studies and Cultural Value (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gary Day 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.De Montfort UniversityBedfordUK

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