The development of popular national daily newspapers, the cinema, the radio, the gramophone, and other forms of mass entertainment in early 20th-century Britain threatened to upset traditional patterns of British culture and engendered a determined opposition among writers, artists, intellectuals, and others. This book explores the often antagonistic relationship between commercial and A(c)lite culture during this period. LeMahieu traces the rise of commercial culture, where success was measured by popularity rather than aesthetic merit, explores the responses of the cultivated elites, and charts the gradual emergence of a common culture during the interwar period.
'set out with great lucidity and a wealth of fascinating reference ... contains much shrewd and suggestive commentary on the BBC ... on the documentary movement, on the Leavises ... Its value lies not least in the questions it provokes.'
Paul Smith, Times Literary Supplement
'Professor LeMahieu's is an important book, serious but highly readable.'
Asa Briggs, Times Higher Educational Supplement
'a first-class piece of work, thoughtful, scholarly and well-written'
Tony Mason, History Today
`Professor LeMahieu's strategy is to develop a number of case studies. This seems eminently reasonable and the accounts of changing newspaper styles, broadcasting, and documentary film movement, to give some examples, are clearly presented and thoroughly researched ... His comments are often acerbic and generally interesting in drawing continuities and making comparisions between different cultural settings. Students can read particular chapters with
Journal of Newspaper and Periodical History
'absorbing and thought-provoking book ... an important contribution ... I have learned much from this bookJeffrey Richards, University of Lancaster.
'a very interesting book ... LeMahieu without doubt adds very substantially both to our knowledge and understanding of some central historical problems ... The case is not just argued with a wealth of detail and evidence but with considerable verve.'
Colin Sparks, Media Culture & Society Vol 12 1990
Illustrations. Introduction. Part 1 The rise of modern commercial culture, 1890-1930: Producers and consumers; technology and tradition. Part 2 The response of the cultivated elites: The reassertion of cultural hierarchy; regaining authority - approaches to cultural reform; technology and the quest for aesthetic tradition. Part 3 The 1930s - towards a common culture: Sight and sound - studies in convergence; literature - the strategies and paradoxes of cultural dissent. Works cited. Index.