By Janice A. Radway
Janice Radway means that the numerous selection of books suggested by means of the Book-of-the-Month membership through the years has been instrumental in formulating middlebrow literary style in the United States and in defining the needs of the center classification. here's her passionate exploration of analyzing, literary execs, and the nature of tradition.
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Extra info for A feeling for books: the Book-of-the-Month Club, literary taste, and middle-class desire
I try to explain just what middlebrow culture taught us to think, to desire, and to do. For it seems clear to me that middlebrow organizations such as the Book-of-the-Month Club helped acclimate us to the business of consumer culture and ushered us into a particular life world still too complacent about certain social hierarchies. Middlebrow books may have endowed us with an ample Page 13 and refined vocabulary for articulating and achieving affective states, but too often the solution they ventured with respect to serious social problems involved the moral, ethical, and spiritual rehabilitation of the individual subject alone.
When I first began to travel regularly to the editorial offices of the Book-of-the-Month Club in midtown Manhattan, I was struck by the similarity between the editors and the literary professors who were my colleagues. " The academic, it gradually became clear, was something the people at the Book-of-the-Month Club defined themselves against. They used the word "academic" to dismiss books they did not like in much the same way my academic colleagues and I had used the word "middlebrow" to dispense with texts we judged inadequate.
She has been immensely supportive and always understanding of its claims on my time. And I thank her, too, for reading to me and for introducing me to the magic of the library. Last but certainly not least, there is the matter of my debt to the two people with whom I have shared the most Kathy and Kate. Without their sustaining presence in my life, this book would never have been completed. In the years since I began this project, Kate has grown from a toddler bouncing along at my side into a funny, assured, and very strong young woman.
A feeling for books: the Book-of-the-Month Club, literary taste, and middle-class desire by Janice A. Radway