Consuming Pleasures: Intellectuals and Popular Culture in the Postwar World

By Inglis, Fred | The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE, July 12, 2012 | Go to article overview

Consuming Pleasures: Intellectuals and Popular Culture in the Postwar World


Inglis, Fred, The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE


Consuming Pleasures: Intellectuals and Popular Culture in the Postwar World. By Daniel Horowitz. University of Pennsylvania Press. 528pp, Pounds 23.00. ISBN 9780812243956. Published 15 April 2012

Daniel Horowitz is a leading cartographer of cultural studies, as much at home with the quaggy contents of the bog as with the high, dry sierra of theory. He writes big books on one big theme: the attitudes of cultural critics to his beloved America. American intellectuals can carry off a simple and patriotic pride in their nation inaccessible to the British and French, who sing the caustic counterpoint in this huge work to the author's artless yet fashionable applause for all that pop has made of painting, music, movies and the architecture of Las Vegas.

His prior books, classics in their way - The Morality of Spending: Attitudes Toward the Consumer Society in America 1875-1940 and The Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939-1979 - stood out reproachfully against the severity of John Kenneth Galbraith and the horrified amazement with which Theodor Adorno responded to Manhattan's Morningside Heights neighbourhood after Weimar Germany. In those books, as in this one, Horowitz is at pains to put down, in his words, "the tradition of moralistic scorn", and to speak up for a school of cultural critics, most of them pictured here as much cheerier, more gregarious and endearing if American rather than British, who put off the awful robes of puritanical (boo!) prophecy and decked themselves out in the manner of Scott Fitzgerald's "gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover" (hurrah!).

He brings off this formidable task by designing a vast biographical fresco, at once chronological (starting off in 1945 and ending rather abruptly in 1972), political (left of arc and that), generational (youth wins, though the young in his roll call are getting on a bit), racial and sexual.

In all these allocations Horowitz is a bit painfully correct, moralising and elitism being the two worst things, playfulness and irony badges of honour, identity and polymorphous pleasuring the goals of life. It is a tableau vivant of how to live well by his precepts, and the crowded figures arguing, gesticulating, enjoying and sermonising in the streets of his perspectives are excellently delineated. He has worked prodigiously hard in the archives and produces in each compressed, but never caricatured, miniature exemplary accounts of, for instance, Walter Benjamin, Dwight Macdonald, Roland Barthes, David Riesman, C.L.R. James among the oldies; Tom Wolfe (a surprise inclusion), Herbert Gans (this summary is quite superb) and Susan Sontag, in the next row.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Consuming Pleasures: Intellectuals and Popular Culture in the Postwar World
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.