Levine, Lawrence W. () Highbrow/Lowbrow: The. Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America. Cambridge,. MA: Harvard University Press. Every once in a . Highbrow/Lowbrow has ratings and 28 reviews. Jacques said: Levine brings to light the history behind the current cultural hierarchy that exists in America. Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in. America (review) According to Levine, in nineteenth-century America Shakespeare was not a.

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Highbrow/Lowbrow — Lawrence W. Levine | Harvard University Press

A wonderful book into the emergence of contemporary cultural categories in historical America. Dec 20, Kodiaksm rated it did not like it Shelves: Levine’s approach to the topic is broad and inclusive, but I’m inclined to wonder about other “lenses” through which to assess this shift in American culture. Mark Twain ridiculed these precautions. But, I contend that a cross-cultural analysis of “folk” forms just might establish some similarities that distinguish them, collectively, from those forms which different cultures have deemed “highbrow.

Levine suggests that our own time continues to manifest the dynamic process ofculture and the permeable nature of labels. If you come away from this book with nothing more than an appreciation of the question and why it’s important, then you will have gained something valuable. Is “culture” something that hghbrow group has in other words, is it simply the system of beliefs, values, and practices that conditions how that group of people interacts with the world around themor is “culture” the possession of only a certain segment of society that is, those who have been properly initiated and taught to interpret art, music, and literature according to certain evaluative standards?


O An excellent, useful cultural history.

Lowbow professional associations such as the Theatrical Trust exported highbrow standards from Eastern cities to the rest of the country. He received numerous awards and accolades over the course of his career, most of which was spent in the History Department at the University of California, Berkeley.

In the nineteenth century Americans in addition to whatever specific ethnic, class, and regional cultures they were part of shared a public culture less hierarchically organized, less fragmented into hhighbrow rigid adjectival groupings than their descendants were to experience. Levine is quite critical about lowbros process the changing of orchestras, concert halls, performance practices towards a much more highbrow set of standards although I think he forgets the role played by composers themselves: However his conclusion is that culture should be thought about somewhat subjectively, or better said, culture should not be fixed.


Levine, however, focuses more on how Americans came to sacralize art through wealthy benefactors paying for symphony orchestras, desiring them to play only what they liked, etc. I’m so glad that this book lived up to my expectations.

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. PaperbackFirst paperback editionpages. Open Preview See a Problem? The effort to separate “high” and “popular” culture was often presented didactically- as a necessary element in the uplift of the less fortunate. Although the author touch the subject of jazz very briefly oevine by the end of the study, to those who know about the placing of the music between two categories, the book will be of a huge interest and enlightenment.

Oct 21, John rated levvine really liked it. Feb 12, Seth Moko rated it really liked it. Mar 13, Kate rated it liked it. The same transition occurred in concert halls, opera houses, and museums.

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Levine clearly shows a higjbrow whereby cultural hierarchies were established. Levine stresses, however, that the impetus behind the move was just as often a desire to cordon off “respectable” performances from the unworthy. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Review of ‘Highbrow/Lowbrow: the Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America’ (Levine)

This was a very interesting book about how we ended up with one “high culture” for educated or wealthy folks, and another “low culture” for the rest of us.

Second, Levine suggests that an impervious boundary between high and low culture existed for most of the twentieth century. Levine has written a lively and well-researched book on the creation of highbrow aesthetics in the Gilded Age. If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click ‘Authenticate’.

Martin Bernal’s thesis is bound to raise a few eyebrows. He highlights the second-generation Straussian tendency towards radical esotericism.

Edward Lear is an apt character to think about at Christmas-time. The eclectic collection of Victorian museums? A must read for all jazz music lovers. I don’t expect to become an aficionado of highbrow culture, but I do expect that I’ll enjoy learning more about it.

You have to ask yourself about your own ideas of culture. The book spends a lot more time on Shakespeare and music, just not my main interest right now.