By Tadeusz Lewandowski
Dwight Macdonald was once the main admired excoriator of mass tradition within the Nineteen Fifties and ’60s. on account that that point his acceptance has now not fared good. Derided as elitist and passé, his tracts now signify every little thing wrong-headed approximately mid-century cultural feedback. still, Macdonald continues to be correct and merits reconsideration. His detractors, notwithstanding uncovering lots of Macdonald’s failings, have partly misunderstood him, whereas the sphere of cultural stories has misclassified his essays within the radical instead of conservative culture of feedback. Dwight Macdonald on tradition seeks to amend prior misconceptions, delivering new views on a determine who grappled with problems with tradition that stay ever-pertinent.
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Extra resources for Dwight Macdonald on Culture: The Happy Warrior of the Mind, Reconsidered (Katowice Interdisciplinary and Comparative Studies: Literature, Anthropology and Culture, Volume 3)
83 Macdonald and PR viewed the Popular Front’s devotion to American expressive forms as an artistic and political dead end that ignored the transformative superiority of the avant-garde in favor of a complacent and dumb patriotism. ”84 Macdonald added that the Popular Front 82 83 84 Bloom, Prodigal Sons: The New York Intellectuals and Their World, pp. 113-15. , The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People, from 1865 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), pp. 747-49. Quoted in Bloom, Prodigal Sons: The New York Intellectuals and Their World, p.
60 Like Macdonald, Phillips and Rahv were drawn to Marxism in the 1930s as they saw the capitalist world crumble around them. 61 Rahv meanwhile endured an impoverished childhood, ending his education prematurely at the age of sixteen when he found himself alone and unemployed in New York City during the height of the Great Depression. Between sleeping on park benches and standing in breadlines, Rahv took advantage of the warmth and stored knowledge of New York’s public libraries to indulge his keen interest in literature.
Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton soon had their own Russian counterparts, chased around Red Square by mock-Keystone cops to the great amusement of audiences across the USSR. The inclination towards light entertainment and easily interpreted Hollywood-style films also resulted in The End of St. Petersburg (a movie about the 1917 revolution that had a clear hero and plot) achieving greater popularity than the more difficult, aesthetically challenging October. This seemingly universal penchant for simplistic enjoyment is not confined to the cinema houses.
Dwight Macdonald on Culture: The Happy Warrior of the Mind, Reconsidered (Katowice Interdisciplinary and Comparative Studies: Literature, Anthropology and Culture, Volume 3) by Tadeusz Lewandowski
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