Trash Culture Popular Culture and the Great Tradition

ISBN-10: 0520222237

ISBN-13: 9780520222236

Edition: 1999

List price: $29.95
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Description: Seinfeld as a contemporary adaptation of Etherege's Restoration comedy of manners The Man of Mode? Friends as a reworking of Shakespeare's romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing? Star Wars as an adaptation of Spenser's epic poem, The Faerie Queene? The popular culture that surrounds us in our daily lives bears a striking similarity to some of the great works of literature of the past. In television, movies, magazines, and advertisements we are exposed to many of the same stories as those critics who study the great books of Western literature, but we have simply been encouraged to look at those stories differently. In Trash Culture, Richard K. Simon examines the ways in which the great literature and cultural work of the past has been rewritten for today's consumer society, with supermarket tabloids such as The National Enquirer and celebrity gossip magazines like People serving as contemporary versions of the great dramatic tragedies of the past. Today's advertising repeats the tale of the Golden Age, but inverts the value system of a classic utopia; the shopping mall combines bits and pieces of the great garden styles of Western history, and now adds consumer goods; Playboy magazine revises Castiglione's Renaissance courtesy book, The Book of the Courtier; and Cosmopolitan magazine revises the women's coming-of-age novels of Jane Austen, Gustave Flaubert, and Edith Wharton. Trash Culture concludes that the great books are alive and well, but simply hidden from the critics. It argues for the linking of high and low for the study and appreciation of each form of literature, and the importance of teaching popular culture alongside books of the great tradition in order to understand the critical context in which the books appear.

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Book details

List price: $29.95
Copyright year: 1999
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 11/23/1999
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 200
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.594
Language: English

Acknowledgments
Trash and Literature
The Critical Context
Case Studies
Star Wars and The Faerie Queene
The Trash Talk Show
Friends, Seinfeld, and Days of Our Lives
Tragedy, the Enquirer, and the Critics
Values
Advertising and Utopia
The Shopping Mall and the Formal Garden
Playboy and The Book of the Courtier
Cosmopolitan and the Woman's Coming-of-Age Novel
History
Star Trek, Gulliver's Travels, and the Problem of History
The Great Books in Vietnam
Matthew Arnold Meets Godzilla
Works Cited
Index
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