Cultural Selection

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BasicBooks, 1996 - Social Science - 325 pages
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What is worth remembering? What gets passed down from one generation to another? What does it mean to be human? Culture, Gary Taylor argues, is not what was done but what is remembered, and the social competition among different memories is as dynamically complicated as the struggle for biological survival. That struggle for culture - driven by emotions as basic as grief, pride, and resentment - is the foundation of personal and national identity. Taylor illustrates his arguments by reintroducing us to imaginative achievements that continue to stimulate us long after their creation, from Stonehenge to Hollywood - including Oedipus, Casablanca, the paintings of Velazquez, Michelangelo's sculptures, Japanese literature, Native American narratives, science fiction, the music of Stravinsky, Shakespeare's plays, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He also discusses the endurance of social phenomena as disparate as the global impact of the Old Testament and the evolving reputation of Richard Nixon.

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CULTURAL SELECTION: Why Some Achievements Survive the Test of Time and Others Don't

User Review  - Kirkus

Calling the current culture wars a battle over ``the right to rule memory,'' Shakespeare scholar Taylor (Univ. of Alabama; Reinventing Shakespeare, 1989) advances a theory of cultural memory and the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - KromesTomes - LibraryThing

It seems like he thought up an analogy between natural selection and culture, and then wrote a book to fill in the blanks ... some interesting points about how memory helps create culture, though. Read full review


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You Must Remember This

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About the author (1996)

About the Author:
Gary Taylor is Associate Professor of English Literature at Brandeis University. He is a joint general editor of Oxford's Shakespeare: Complete Works, co-author of William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion and The Division of the Kingdoms: Shakespeare's Two Versions of "King Lear," and author of To
Analyze Delight: A Hedonist Criticism of Shakespeare.

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