High and Low Cultures: German Attempts at Mediation

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Reinhold Grimm, Jost Hermand
University of Wisconsin Press, 1994 - History - 140 pages
As the editors write in this volume, "while the dichotomy of 'high' and 'low,' classical and popular, elitist and trivial has occupied theorists of culture for centuries, very few of them have paid more than scant attention to the various attempts at mediating between these two levels of cultural endeavor." The essays collected here, most delivered at the twenty-second Wisconsin Workshop in October, 1991, address exactly this aspect of cultural studies, using modern Germany as their canvas.
The contributors range across the entire breadth of German cultural life, analyzing developments in the arts, literature, poetry, architecture, and cinema, as well as looking at contemporary writing by women and at changes in cultural depictions of sexuality. Germany's political paroxysms throughout the last hundred years figure prominently in the evolution of its cultural consciousness, so there is in these essays a strong sense of "nation": invented, perfected, lost, and recovered, but always fascinating.
A totally homogenized German culture, one devoid of any higher aspirations, will be the impoverished result of postmodernism, the editors warn. It is their goal to "remind those who are all too eager to overlook the losses occurring in this process that this tendency can also--besides its positive democratic aspect--lead to one-dimensionality."

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Anton Kaes
Jost Hermand
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About the author (1994)

Reinhold Grimm is professor of German and comparative literature at the University of California, Riverside. Jost Hermand is professor of German at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

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