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By Donald Sassoon

Compelling, wide-ranging, and highly formidable, this book deals an built-in background of the tradition produced and fed on by way of Europeans considering that 1800, and follows its transformation from an elite task to a mass market—from lending libraries to the net, from the 1st public concert events to song downloads. In itself a cultural journey de strength, the publication covers low and high tradition, readers and writers, audiences and prima donnas, Rossini and hip hop, Verdi and the Beatles, Zola and Tintin, Walter Scott and Jules Verne, the serialized novel of the nineteenth century in addition to Dallas and Coronation Street. integrated in its enormous scope are fairy stories, best-sellers, crime and sci-fi, non-fiction, magazines, newspapers, comedian strips, performs, opera, musicals, pop track, sound recording, movies, documentaries, radio, and tv. A continent-wide survey, this majestic paintings contains discussions of rock track lower than communism, Polish and Danish bestsellers, French melodramas and German cabarets, fascist and Soviet cinema. It examines the methods tradition travels—how it truly is produced, remodeled, tailored, absorbed, offered, and fed on; the way it is formed by way of audiences and politics, and regulated via legislation and traditional morality; and why a few nations excel particularly genres. It examines the anxiousness and allure felt through Europeans in the direction of American tradition, and asks to what quantity eu tradition has develop into Americanized. Stylishly written, with out jargon, this is often worldwide non-fiction narrative at its most sensible.

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Extra resources for The Culture of the Europeans: From 1800 to the Present

Sample text

And when I say that anyone can – given enough time and effort – ‘learn’ or ‘adopt’ Englishness, I am not suggesting that they ought to do so. The degree to which immigrants and ethnic minorities should be expected to adapt to fit in with English culture is a matter for debate. Where immigrants from former British colonies are concerned, perhaps the degree of acculturation demanded should match that which we achieved as uninvited residents in their cultures. Of all peoples, the English are surely historically the least qualified to preach about the importance of adapting to host-culture manners and mores.

When we use the term ‘rule’ in this way, we do not mean – and this is important – that all English people always or invariably exhibit the characteristic in question, only that it is a quality or behaviour pattern that is common enough, or marked enough, to be noticeable and significant. Indeed, it is a fundamental requirement of a social rule – by whatever definition – that it can be broken. Rules of conduct (or standards, or principles) of this kind are not, like scientific or mathematical laws, statements of a necessary state of affairs: they are by definition contingent.

This is another term that requires definition: by ‘culture’ I mean the sum of a society’s or social group’s patterns of behaviour, customs, way of life, ideas, beliefs and values. And this is essentially what we mean when we talk about ‘national character’. Those who insist that there is no such thing often seem to fail to grasp that the term is a metaphor, a colloquial way of talking about ‘culture’. Most would accept that there is such a thing as ‘culture’ and that there are differences between cultures.

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