It is not proper, nor is it improper — in short it is betwixt and between. Attentive to material and social determinants, aware of and opposed to the bias that has excluded much middlebrow culture from history, recent critics have also tried to analyse the specific pleasures of middlebrow cultural practices, and to take their value seriously. Nothing matters to them more. Some of my relations have been highbrows; and some, but by no means all, of my friends. Adaptation, as many of the cases explored in this volume demonstrate, is a recurring middlebrow characteristic, for a strong plot can effectively be retold through a different medium of narration. Then there is the question of games.
He is the man or woman of thoroughbred intelligence who rides his mind at a gallop across country in pursuit of an idea. They are the people, I confess, that I seldom regard with entire cordiality.
These middlebrows pat balls about; they poke their bats and muff their catches at cricket. Of that I am well aware. Here, though, the articles on contemporary culture all suggest a tendency of twenty-first century middlebrow to focus in a quite explicit way, through accessible fictions, on events and questions that also preoccupy the media, politicians and academic scholarship. Critics converge too on the notion that the pleasures offered by these popular but serious fictions cannot be reduced to those of escapism - significant though this may be to a category defined in part by its entertainment value.
And that, to tell the truth, is no easy question to answer. How has such a lie come into existence? They would gladly squelch the desire to know and to understand, to grasp the best that has been said and to enjoy the best that has been wrought, and replace it with…what? Then she will leave. Their brows are betwixt and between. Normally you get advice to be patient and diligent in college or when you get a career, but in this case he gives you this advice to become a batter liar in a humorous and entertaining way.
It takes me hundreds of hours a month to research and compose, and thousands of dollars to sustain. All that lowbrows do is of surpassing interest and wonder to me, because, in so far as I am a highbrow, I cannot do things myself.
We will begin with an outline history of the term itself and its recent critical renaissance in Anglophone scholarship, then introduce the articles collected here through a brief discussion of the questions they collectively address, and the value of this international perspective for the study of the middlebrow. Next moment he rings up the highbrows and asks them with equal geniality whether he may not come to tea. If you find Hamlet difficult, ask him to tea. Bluemel brings out the significance of the materiality of cultural artefacts for their middlebrow status, and the importance of a fully imagined geography to the fictional illusion that is so central to middlebrow reading pleasure. All that lowbrows do is of surpassing interest and wonder to me, because, in so far as I am a highbrow, I cannot do things myself. Critics converge too on the notion that the pleasures offered by these popular but serious fictions cannot be reduced to those of escapism - significant though this may be to a category defined in part by its entertainment value.
I often ask my friends the lowbrows, over our muffins and honey, why it is that while we, the highbrows, never buy a middlebrow book, or go to a middlebrow lecture, or read, unless we are paid for doing so, a middlebrow review, they, on the contrary, take these middlebrow activities so seriously? In all the other inter-war novels explored here too the reader would gain a sense of horizons expanded, knowledge accrued. One does admit of a small number of peers; what would be the good of having such rare intelligence and taste and wit, after all, if there were no one else able to appreciate it? What is the right book to praise?
The Death of the Moth and Other Essays remains a remarkable glimpse into one of the greatest minds humanity has ever known. Ryanne Keltjens too locates her study in the inter-war Netherlands, but in order to consider two international bestsellers and the process of adaptation, through translation and marketing, to a different if similarly middlebrow national context. The reasons for the hostile rejection of an art that aims to treat serious questions in an accessible manner come more clearly into focus when viewed across different national contexts. Caricaturing Woolf, Lynes outlined the perfect world without middlebrows; lowbrows work and highbrows create pure art.