Theme 2: The Leavisites and T.S. Eliot
F.R Leavis and Q.D Leavis represented a new type of critics at Cambridge. They helped to extend The debate of mass culture. F.R Leavis edited and contributed to a journal Called Scrutiny, they followed the path Arnold opened up in criticism. The Influence of Leavises and Scrunity is fundamental to the development of what Exploring culture meant in English Studies.
The Leavisite approach To culture was divided into two forms: 1) Literary “high” or minority culture, Which could be usefully deployed in the interests of both analysing what is Seen as the damaging effects or tendencies of industrial capitalism, and Providing them cultural antidotes. 2)The Pursuits and habits of the “ordinary” or “common” people which had negative And positive aspects. Regarding the positive aspects: organic, vital and common Folk culture; negatives: products of urban, mass, industrial society.
During 1930, there was A negative view of mass culture due to that was marked by cultural decline, Mass civilization and mass culture was seen as a threat. Besides, civilization And culture came antithetical terms, and the status of the minority has Changed.
On the other hand, Organic popular culture had a positive view because of the results of organic folk Community, the Bible since was considered as the only book at their disposal, And crafty activities, singing, dancing, games etc
As for cultural authority, in these ages the intellectual minority loses authority. It has Traditionally set standards of taste; masses question authority. Loss of Cultural authority comes with the rise of democracy and finally, it must Preserve high literary standards and taste
Discrimination and Informed judgements was seen as a drug habit which provides passive Distraction. In terms of high cultural forms, this was a question of Discrimination. Objects of value did not pre-exist but had to be chosen by Those with the education and training to be able to make informed judgements. The leavises feared that (se temian) the continued spread of mass culture was Characterized by standardization and levelling down. Mass culture appealed to The lowest common denominator. This cultural impoverishment is made worse by The increasing Americanization.
For the leavises, the Debasement of language was a devaluation of emotions and the quality of life. Besides, cinema and advertisement was seen as manipulative. They bring Debasement of language but also of emotions and society must learn forms of Discrimination (close reading); they were suggesting ways in which the public May learn to see through advertising and thus resist its power. One consequence Of this procedure is that cultural analysis is not simply an exercise of Interpretation. That is, to make people more aware of questionable practices And to bring about what is seen as a positive change.
The Leavises were Involved in a consciousness-raising project to warn against, and provide Adequate training to counter, the worst effects of mass culture. (table)