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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I concentrated on Levine’s methodology as opposed to the content, in particular.

The effort to separate “high” and “popular” culture was often presented didactically- as a necessary element in the uplift of the less fortunate. It helps me feel better about despising modern art, as Levine would suggest, it only exists to create distinguished groups-you’re not supposed to get it. You have to ask yourself about your This book was interesting in that it addressed culture in America in the 19th century and the segregation into ‘high culture’ and ‘low culture’.

May 05, Heidi rated it really liked it Shelves: That is to say, an elite sincerely desires to enforce and expand the reach of its culture. I learned a lot from this book, but it has two major flaws.

Nov 29, Lucsly rated it really liked it. It jumps back and forth a little too much in time and subject, but the gradual collapse of an inter-class, unified American culture detailed here is almost heartbreaking. Levine explores the shifts from a shared, perhaps ‘popular’ culture, to one of heirarchy at the end of the s.

In his third chapter, “Order, Hierarchy, and Culture,” he walks a fine line: Norbert Elias who gets cited has pointed out how culture did, in fact, trickle down over the centuries in Europe.

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Levlne same transition occurred in concert halls, opera houses, and museums. Jan 26, Niall rated it liked it. Jul 28, Seth rated it liked it. Must read for anyone thinking there is any legitimacy between the labels high and low brow. With varied examples, Levine extends his analysis to other art forms: Found the answers to these questions and more in Levine’s ,owbrow of the shifting divide between “pop” and “high” cultures, a divide that we could pe If you are only going to read one historical analysis of American culture, read this one, if only for the humorous anecdotes about popular audiences in the 19th century.

Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. An excellent, fascinating, and often hilarious demonstration that the distinction between “highbrow” and “popular” culture in the United States is a creation of the order-obsessed later nineteenth century. So Levine is very good on the what and the how, whereas on the why I think he’s a little lacking. The book spends a lot more time on Shakespeare and music, just not my main interest right now.

The format is simple and clear. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Oxford University Press, Edward Lear is an apt character to think about at Christmas-time. Cultural space was more sharply defined, less flexible than it had been.

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.

Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America by Lawrence W. Levine

The story circulated that when he was requested to leave his cane in the [Museum] cloakroom, he responded, “Leave my cane!

According to Levine, in nineteenth-century America Shakespeare was not a literary classic accessible only to the educated, but part of a “shared culture” in which scenes from Shakespeare shared the stage with “magicians, dancers, singers, acrobats, minstrels, and comics” p.

Wealth and technology now are culture game changers. But I have to give the book happy credit for providing me with this: What do you consider highbrow or hoity-toity as it’s known in my house? He’s good for you.



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. Lefine and try again.

In the first half of the ‘s, there was no ‘class’ in culture. Chapters focus on Shakespeare’s popularity, theater and opera, symphonic music, and museums.

Then how do you expect me to poke holes through the oil paintings! The strongest part of the book describes the process of bifurcation. New professional associations such as the Theatrical Trust exported highbrow standards from Eastern cities to the rest of the country.


The wrath of the gallery gods? After reading the booth, I realized I only thought it was highbrow because that’s how our society thinks of it. I wanted to LOVE the subject, but because I volunteer as a museum docent, I hoped to score a big heap of information and insights about art collecting, then and now. Wagner and Beethoven, for instance, were definitely what in cinema would be called an auteur they were very precise about how their work was being performed, had huge and temperamental egos, and were very critical of their audiences.

This is pretty typical s cultural highbgow stuff. Had the book simply leine on nineteenth-century history, it would lefine been worth reading, but the “Epilogue” offers additional controversy.

Might they have been just as enthusiastic about jettisoning their elite fellow theater-goers as the gentry were to leave? Oct 16, Fred R rated it really liked it.

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