Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Philistinism, bis

The Guardian's Andrew Bissett asks:
I have a first-class degree and a masters in English Literature, and I've read plenty of difficult books, so if I can't enjoy Finnegan's Wake [sic], or large parts of Ulysses, where does the fault lie? With me? Or with an author who was lucky enough to write baffling, unreadable prose during a period in which it was the vogue to elevate baffling, unreadable prose? Ditto various other modernist works designed principally to exclude the masses.
Neither. The fault lies in the culture of our mainstream arts media, in which it is the vogue to display faux simplicity and crass philistinism (some of its employees don't seem to understand the intentional fallacy), partly to look cool to their audience and colleagues, but principally to make a viable career even when that means betraying precisely what they claim to promote.

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Stephen's currently-reading book montage

Summer in Baden-Baden
Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War
My Secret History
Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp
Luther: An Introduction to His Thought
Friedrich Hoelderlin: Selected Poems and Letters

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