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20세기 후반 미국문학과 대중문화: 대립과 타협American Literature of the Late 20th Century and Popular Literature: Conflict and Compromise

Other Titles
American Literature of the Late 20th Century and Popular Literature: Conflict and Compromise
Authors
박인찬
Issue Date
Dec-2011
Publisher
영미문학연구회
Keywords
popular culture; high culture; postmodern popular novels; avant-pop; masscult; midcult; eclecticism
Citation
영미문학연구, v.21, pp 41 - 66
Pages
26
Journal Title
영미문학연구
Volume
21
Start Page
41
End Page
66
URI
https://scholarworks.sookmyung.ac.kr/handle/2020.sw.sookmyung/6886
ISSN
1976-197X
Abstract
The primary purpose of this paper is to study the relations between high culture and popular culture in the late 20th-century American literature. In the American context, popular culture has tended to be ambivalently regarded as the culture of ‘people’ and the culture of ‘mass.’ The former positively implies the equalitarian aspect of the culture for people in a democratic society who are ‘many’ as opposed to ‘a few,’ while the latter negatively does the culture manufactured for the homogenized crowd in free market. This ambivalent nature of popular culture has deeply to do with the democratic and capitalist nature of American society. Defining popular culture in the context of American society mentioned just above, this paper traces how the relations between high culture and popular culture have changed in the latter half of the twentieth century. In the 1950s when popular culture, or what Dwight Macdonald and J. D. Salinger called ‘masscult’ and ‘phony,’ respectively, began to rapidly permeate and dominate over the everyday life of people, many critics and writers threw severe criticisms and contempt for popular culture. In the sixties and after, however, those harsh perspectives began to switch into an attitude of compromise and dialogue, as shown off in the writings of Susan Sontag, Leslie Fiedler, and a series of novelists of the 1980s and 1990s, such as Kurt Vonnegut, Paul Auster, Cormac McCarthy and so on. Their novels are devoid of the high culture anger against mass culture and avant-guard's subversive experiments as in the aborted works of Avant-Pop. Instead, as this paper argues, increasing affinity with popular culture defines those contemporary novels which are primarily marked by eclecticism between high/serious literature and popular literature.
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