Download Cultural Passions: Fans, Aesthetes and Tarot Readers by Elizabeth Wilson PDF

By Elizabeth Wilson

Elizabeth Wilson is one in all our such a lot radical cultural critics. In Cultural Passions she transcends the department among 'high' and 'low' tradition, exploring the emotional dedication humans deliver to the books, performances, gadgets and rituals during which they locate that means and difficult an everlasting suspicion of the excitement of the cultured.

Ranging from Marcel Proust to tarot readings, from city making plans to interiors, Elizabeth Wilson investigates an underlying Puritanism in severe remark on issues as huge ranging as Roger Federer and C S Lewis, Surrealism and model and the connection of faith to fan tradition.
She questions why excitement looks suspect, while client society incites it and turns lifestyles into leisure. She questions why there's such worry of elitism whilst whilst the fanatics of mass tradition are held in contempt. Subverting traditional perspectives, her indirect perspective presents startling insights on either generic and marginal cultural experiences.

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It is by implication imagistic and concrete (although that is not exactly what Benjamin says). And it is because art is concrete, visceral, aesthetic, that it reaches beyond the immediate and superficial. indd 34 30/04/2013 08:26 3 Looking Backwards: Nostalgia Mode 1 Nostalgia is to memory as kitsch is to art. Charles Maier Like so many other pleasures, nostalgia is suspect. In a culture in which the whole movement is forever forward, we not surprisingly take it for granted that to look backwards is a sin.

In a few short paragraphs he described going for a walk with a young poet and a young woman (believed to have been respectively Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas Salome, formerly Nietzsche’s lover and herself a psychoanalyst). The poet looked tragically round at all the beauty of the natural landscape through which they were walking and said that he could not enjoy what he saw because it was transient and would, like everything, disappear. indd 45 L O O K I N G B A C K WA R D S : N O S TA L G I A M O D E took place during the First World War, so Freud’s optimism seems all the more surprising.

Pleasure is identified with ‘lesser’, bodily sensations. It is associated at best with the erotic and at worst with moral laxity and self-indulgence. Cultural experiences are major sources and providers of pleasure. They are aesthetic and so are associated with sensation and often eroticism. Pleasure is seduction. At best it is amoral, unconfined by intellectual or moral critique. There is an implied division between pleasure and the spiritual dimension of life. It is the concrete, visual, aural and tactile nature of pleasure that is so dangerous, and cultural works, appealing as they do to the senses, readily become suspect.

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