The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice Among the Literary Intelligentsia, 1880-1939

Front Cover
Academy Chicago, 2002 - History - 246 pages
4 Reviews
In this landmark study, John Carey analyzes the elitest views of some of the most highly respected literary icons of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This book, as defined in his preface, "is about the response of the English literary intelligentsia to the new phenomenon of mass culture." Readers may be shocked to learn that H.G. Wells liked to think that this newly emerged "mass" would be eliminated by plague and atomic bombs; that Yeats wished them to perish in an apocalyptic war against the educated classes and that D.H. Lawrence visualized a huge lethal chamber in which they could be exterminated. John Carey's devastating attack on the intellectuals exposes the loathing which the mass of humanity ignited in many of the virtual founders of modern culture: G.B. Shaw, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot and others. Professor Carey compares their detestation of common humanity to Nietzsche, whose philosophy helped create the atmosphere leading to the rise of Adolph Hitler. Any student of modern literature and history will find John Carey's incisive book both enlightening and disturbing, an essential read for a full understanding of where we are today.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wonderperson - LibraryThing

That famous intellectuals can have the the most crazy irrational and downright inhuman ideas, you see this in people such as Mary Warnock and Rousseau who abandoned his children. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wonderperson - LibraryThing

I learned what a lot of bigotted prejudiced dickheads [influential:] intellectuals can be. Read this to see the little toe rags argue for eugenics of weaker specimens and prepare to rage! Read full review


Rewriting the Masses
The Suburbs and the Clerks
Natural Aristocrats

7 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2002)

John Carey is Merton Professor of English at Oxford University. A distinguished critic and broadcaster, he is the author of four previous books on history and literature, and the editor of The Faber Book of Science. He lives in England.

Bibliographic information