Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Menace of the philistines

[In Menace of the Masses] Professor Carey argues that writers such as DH Lawrence, EM Forster and WB Yeats attempted to elevate reading beyond the reach and understanding of ordinary people as soon as ordinary people were finally able to read. Influenced by philosophers such as Nietzche, this elitism and contempt for the common man eventually mutated into a fascination with eugenics and a belief that the survival of civilisation demanded the extermination of certain types of people.
If "ordinary" people can read, is reading English written by DH Lawrence, EM Forster and WB Yeats "beyond" them? Is it beyond you? Does your answer suggest that the greatest works of the greatest artists transcend any supposed intention and speaks to everyone, even the little people John Carey wants to protect from such blinding light?

And what does Carey know about Nietzsche? He couldn't even spell it.

See also Lesley Chamberlain's note in the excellent Nietzsche in Turin.


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