Consuming Traditions: Modernity, Modernism, and the by Elizabeth Outka

By Elizabeth Outka

In an extraordinary phenomenon that swept throughout Britain on the flip of the 19th century, writers, advertisers, and designers started to create and promote photos of an real cultural realm satirically thought of outdoors undefined. Such photographs have been situated in nostalgic photographs of an idyllic, pre-industrial prior, in supposedly unique items no longer derived from earlier traditions, and within the perfect of a purified aesthetic that will be separated from the mass industry. featuring a full of life, specific examine of what she phrases the "commodified authentic," Elizabeth Outka explores this significant yet ignored improvement within the historical past of modernity with a piercing examine shopper tradition and the selling of authenticity in overdue 19th- and early twentieth-century Britain.

The booklet brings jointly quite a lot of cultural assets, from the version cities of Bournville, Port sun, and Letchworth; to the structure of Edwin Lutyens and Selfridges division shop; to paintings by way of authors comparable to Bernard Shaw, E. M. Forster, Henry James, D. H. Lawrence, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf.

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Extra resources for Consuming Traditions: Modernity, Modernism, and the Commodified Authentic

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3 While such idyllic, natural country visions were repeatedly contrasted with the artificial urban, other commentators decried the increasing poverty and desertion of the countryside. As C. F. G. Masterman complained in his popular book The Condition of England (1909), rural communities were being emptied out to provide workers for the new city factories, threatening ancient skills and traditions: “No one stays [in the countryside] who can possibly find employment elsewhere. . The villages are left to old men and to children, to the inert, unenterprising, and intellectually feeble.

Central to these revival efforts has been a challenge to the alleged separation between modernism and mass culture and the related division between modernism and commerce. 12 The newer critics tend, however, to dismantle the great divide from a similar viewpoint. Standing on the shores of modernism, they discover the various ways that modernist writers and artists have used commercial strategies—both for good and for ill. Although important contributions to modernist inquiries, these studies often neglect two critical parts of the equation: how commercial ventures in fact deployed and dismantled the vexed relationship between high and low culture, and how literary modernism developed not through a reliance on the great divide or its dismantling but on the uneasy movement between the two impulses, a movement intimately connected to the paradoxical impulse to construct authenticity.

As a range of commentators lamented, rampant industrial development was making urban life artificial while simultaneously destroying what was seen as a more organic rural alternative. Cities were plagued by overcrowding, unemployment, poverty, and crime, and increasingly, urban living was considered unnatural, a turn away from the purer life of the country. As one observer noted, As we desert the lanes of Nature for the cities of artificiality, we desert quietude, happiness, and integrity for bustle, unrest, and insincerity.

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