Patterns for America: Modernism and the Concept of Culture

By Susan Hegeman | Go to book overview

Notes

Introduction
The Domestication of Culture
1
A. L. Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn, Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions(New York: Vintage, 1952), 3.
2
See Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (London: Croom Helm, 1973).
3
The most influential treatment of this earlier history of “culture” in the British context is Williams, Culture and Society: 1780–1950(1958; reprint, New York: Columbia University Press, 1983); see also Kroeber and Kluckhohn, Culture.
4
Christopher Herbert's important work on the Victorian context of the culture concept supports my point about the significanceof this period for the development of the discourse of “culture.” Though Herbert's study focuses on authors and issues of this other, earlier, context, he nevertheless views figures central to my study—especially Ruth Benedict, whom he describes as “possibly the most influential of all writers in crystallizing the discourse of culture”—as expressing the concept of culture in its most complete form. In other words, his study to some degree locates traces of their “culture” in its Victorian antecedents. Christopher Herbert, Culture and Anomie: Ethnographic Imagination in the Nineteenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 7, 23–24.
5
Warren I. Susman, “The Culture of the Thirties,” in Culture as History: The Transformation of American Society in the Twentieth Century (New York: Pantheon, 1984), 154.
6
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Progress of Culture,” in The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1917), 8:205–34.
7
Lewis Mumford, The Golden Day: A Study in American Experience and Culture (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1926), 3. Historians Charles and Mary Beard showed that “civilization” also comprised an important keyword of this same moment, particularly in the early years of the twentieth century, and in those surrounding World War II. The Beards's usage of “civilization” both overlaps and differs from typical conceptions of “culture” in the period, at times suggesting something more technological or more teleological than “culture,” at times meaning something only perhaps a little grander than “culture.” Some of this complexity is reflected in their statement in the preface of The American Spirit: “Out of our studies extending over many years we have reached the conviction that no idea, such as democracy, liberty, or the American way of life, expresses the American spirit so coherently, comprehensively, and systematically as does the idea of civilization.” Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard, The American Spirit (1942; reprint, New York: Collier, 1971), 7, 19–93. See also their popularly influential history, The Rise of American Civilization (New York: Macmillan, 1930).
8
Randolph Bourne, “A Mirror of the Middle West,” in The Radical Will: Selected Writings 1911–1918, ed. Olaf Hansen (New York: Urizen, 1977), 265.
9
Kroeber and Kluckhohn, Culture, 19–30.

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