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Cultural Critic
A cultural critic is a critic of a given culture, usually as a whole. Cultural criticism has significant overlap with social and cultural theory. While such criticism is simply part of the self-consciousness of the culture, the social positions of the critics and the medium they use vary widely. The conceptual and political grounding of criticism also changes over time. Terminology Contemporary usage has tended to include all types of criticism directed at culture. The term "cultural criticism" itself has been claimed by Jacques Barzun: ''No such thing was recognized or in favour when we .e. Barzun and Trillingbegan—more by intuition than design—in the autumn of 1934''. It has been argued that in the inter-war period, the language of literary criticism was adequate for the needs of cultural critics; but that later it mainly served academe. Alan Trachtenberg's ''Critics of Culture'' (1976) concentrated on American intellectuals of the 1920s who were "nonacademic" (includi ...
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Critic
A critic is a professional who communicates an assessment and an opinion of various forms of creative works such as art, literature, music, cinema, theater, fashion, architecture, and food. Critics may also take as their subject social or government policy. Critical judgments, whether derived from critical thinking or not, weigh up a range of factors, including an assessment of the extent to which the item under review achieves its purpose and its creator's intention and a knowledge of its context. They may also include a positive or negative personal response. Characteristics of a good critic are articulateness, preferably having the ability to use language with a high level of appeal and skill. Sympathy, sensitivity and insight are important too. Form, style and medium are all considered by the critic. In architecture and food criticism, the item's function, value and cost may be added components. Critics are publicly accepted and, to a significant degree, followed because o ...
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Susan Sontag
Susan Sontag (; January 16, 1933 – December 28, 2004) was an American writer, filmmaker, philosopher, teacher, and political activist. She mostly wrote essays, but also published novels; she published her first major work, the essay "Notes on 'Camp'", in 1964. Her best-known works include the critical works ''Against Interpretation'' (1966), ''Styles of Radical Will'' (1968), ''On Photography'' (1977), and ''Illness as Metaphor'' (1978), as well as the fictional works ''The Way We Live Now'' (1986), ''The Volcano Lover'' (1992), and ''In America'' (1999). Sontag was active in writing and speaking about, or travelling to, areas of conflict, including during the Vietnam War and the Siege of Sarajevo. She wrote extensively about photography, culture and media, AIDS and illness, human rights, and leftist ideology. Her essays and speeches drew controversy, and she has been described as "one of the most influential critics of her generation." Early life and education Sontag was born S ...
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Walter Benjamin
Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin (; ; 15 July 1892 – 26 September 1940) was a German Jewish philosopher, cultural critic and essayist. An eclectic thinker, combining elements of German idealism, Romanticism, Western Marxism, and Jewish mysticism, Benjamin made enduring and influential contributions to aesthetic theory, literary criticism, and historical materialism. He was associated with the Frankfurt School, and also maintained formative friendships with thinkers such as playwright Bertolt Brecht and Kabbalah scholar Gershom Scholem. He was also related to German political theorist and philosopher Hannah Arendt through her first marriage to Benjamin's cousin Günther Anders. Among Benjamin's best known works are the essays "The Task of the Translator" (1923), "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (1935), and "Theses on the Philosophy of History" (1940). His major work as a literary critic included essays on Baudelaire, Goethe, Kafka, Kraus, Leskov, Proust, ...
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Irving Babbitt
Irving Babbitt (August 2, 1865 – July 15, 1933) was an American academic and literary critic, noted for his founding role in a movement that became known as the New Humanism, a significant influence on literary discussion and conservative thought in the period between 1910 and 1930. He was a cultural critic in the tradition of Matthew Arnold and a consistent opponent of romanticism, as represented by the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Politically he can, without serious distortion, be called a follower of Aristotle and Edmund Burke. He was an advocate of classical humanism but also offered an ecumenical defense of religion. His humanism implied a broad knowledge of various moral and religious traditions. His book ''Democracy and Leadership'' (1924), is regarded as a classic text of political conservatism. Babbitt is regarded as a major influence over American cultural and political conservatism. Early career Babbitt was born in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Augusta (Darling) and Edw ...
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Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, writer, and philologist whose work has exerted a profound influence on modern intellectual history.Wilkerson, Dale. 14 October 2015.Friedrich Nietzsche" ''The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.'' .Belliotti, Raymond A. 2013. ''Jesus or Nietzsche: How Should We Live Our Lives?''. Rodopi. pp. 195–201.Wicks, Robert. 9972011.Friedrich Nietzsche" ''Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy'', edited by E. N. Zalta. Retrieved 6 October 2011. He began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. He became the youngest person ever to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in 1869 at the age of 24. Nietzsche resigned in 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life; he completed much of his core writing in the following decade. In 1889, at age 44, he suffered a collapse and afterward a complete los ...
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Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard ( , also ; ; 5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic, and religious author who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. He wrote critical texts on organized religion, Christendom, morality, ethics, psychology, and the philosophy of religion, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony, and parables. Much of his philosophical work deals with the issues of how one lives as a "single individual", giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment. He was against literary critics who defined idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, and thought that Swedenborg, Hegel, Fichte, Schelling, Schlegel, and Hans Christian Andersen were all "understood" far too quickly by "scholars". Kierkegaard's theological work focuses on Christian ethics, the institution of the Church, the differences between pu ...
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Charles Baudelaire
Charles Pierre Baudelaire (, ; ; 9 April 1821 – 31 August 1867) was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and one of the first translators of Edgar Allan Poe. His poems exhibit mastery in the handling of rhyme and rhythm, contain an exoticism inherited from Romantics, but are based on observations of real life. His most famous work, a book of lyric poetry titled ''Les Fleurs du mal'' (''The Flowers of Evil''), expresses the changing nature of beauty in the rapidly industrializing Paris during the mid-19th century. Baudelaire's highly original style of prose-poetry influenced a whole generation of poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé, among many others. He is credited with coining the term modernity (''modernité'') to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility of artistic expression to capture that experience. Early life Baudelaire was born in Paris, F ...
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Aesthete
Aestheticism (also the Aesthetic Movement) was an art movement, both practical and theoretical, of the late 19th century supporting an emphasis on aesthetic value and effects— in preference to the socio-political themes and positions— of literature, fine art, music and other arts. This meant that the art of the movement was produced with a view toward being beautiful first and foremost, rather than serving a moral, allegorical, doctrinal or other such purpose — "art for art's sake". It was particularly prominent in England during the late 19th century, supported by notable writers such as Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde, having started in a small way in the 1860s in the studios and houses of a radical group of artists and designers, including William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, reformers who explored new ways of living in defiance of the design standards of the age as revealed in the 1851 Great Exhibition at Hyde Park, London. Flourishing in the 1870s and 1880s, cr ...
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John Ruskin
John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, philosopher, prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy. His writing styles and literary forms were equally varied. He wrote essays and treatises, poetry and lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and even a fairy tale. He also made detailed sketches and paintings of rocks, plants, birds, landscapes, architectural structures and ornamentation. The elaborate style that characterised his earliest writing on art gave way in time to plainer language designed to communicate his ideas more effectively. In all of his writing, he emphasised the connections between nature, art and society. He was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century and up to the First World War. Aft ...
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Victorian Age
In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period, and its later half overlaps with the first part of the ''Belle Époque'' era of Continental Europe. Morally and politically, this period began with the passage of the Reform Act 1832. There was a strong religious drive for higher moral standards led by the nonconformist churches, such as the Methodists, and the Evangelical wing of the established Church of England. Ideologically, the Victorian era witnessed resistance to the rationalism that defined the Georgian period and an increasing turn towards romanticism and even mysticism with regard to religion, social values, and arts. Technologically, this era saw a staggering amount of innovations that proved key to Britain's power and prosperity. Doctors started moving away from tradition and mysticism toward ...
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Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle (4 December 17955 February 1881) was a Scottish historian, satirical writer, essayist, translator, philosopher, mathematician, and teacher. In his book ''On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History'' (1841), he argued that the actions of the "Great Man" play a key role in history, claiming that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men". Other major works include ''The French Revolution: A History'', 3 vols (1837) and ''The History of Friedrich II of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great,'' 6 vols (1858–65). His 1837 history of ''The French Revolution'' was the inspiration for Charles Dickens' 1859 novel ''A Tale of Two Cities'', and remains popular today. Carlyle's 1836 ''Sartor Resartus'' is a notable philosophical novel. A noted polemicist, Carlyle coined the term "the dismal science" for economics, in his essay "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question", which satirically advocated for the reintroduction of slavery to the West Indie ...
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Culture And Anarchy
''Culture and Anarchy: An Essay in Political and Social Criticism'' is a series of periodical essays by Matthew Arnold, first published in Cornhill Magazine 1867–68 and collected as a book in 1869. The preface was added in 1869.Robert H. Super, ''Culture and Anarchy with Friendship's Garland and Some Literary Essays'', Volume V of ''The Complete Works of Matthew Arnold'', The University of Michigan Press, 1965. Arnold's famous piece of writing on culture established his High Victorian cultural agenda which remained dominant in debate from the 1860s until the 1950s. According to his view advanced in the book, "Culture ..is a study of perfection". He further wrote that: "ultureseeks to do away with classes; to make the best that has been thought and known in the world current everywhere; to make all men live in an atmosphere of sweetness and light ... His often quoted phrase "ulture isthe best which has been thought and said" comes from the Preface to ''Culture and Anarchy'': :The ...
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Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the celebrated headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Delafield Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator. Matthew Arnold has been characterised as a sage writer, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues. He was also an inspector of schools for thirty-five years, and supported the concept of state-regulated secondary education. Early years He was the eldest son of Thomas Arnold and his wife Mary Penrose Arnold (1791–1873), born on 24 December 1822 at Laleham-on-Thames, Middlesex. John Keble stood as godfather to Matthew. In 1828, Thomas Arnold was appointed Headmaster of Rugby School, where the family took up residence, that year. From 1831, Arnold was tutored by his clerical uncle, John Buckland, in Laleham. In 183 ...
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Richard Wolin
Richard Wolin (born 1952) is an American intellectual historian who writes on 20th Century European philosophy, particularly German philosopher Martin Heidegger and the group of thinkers known collectively as the Frankfurt School. Life Wolin graduated B.A. at Reed College, and M.A. and Ph.D. at York University, Toronto. He then worked at Reed College and Rice University. Since 2000, he has been Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center. Works Books *''Walter Benjamin: An Aesthetic of Redemption''. (1982) *''The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger'' (1990) *''The Heidegger Controversy: A Critical Reader''. Editor (1991) *''The Terms of Cultural Criticism: The Frankfurt School, Existentialism, Poststructuralism'' (1992) *''Karl Löwith, Martin Heidegger and European Nihilism''. (1995) editor). *''Labyrinths: Explorations in the Critical History of Ideas''.(1995) *''Heidegger's Children: Philosophy, Anti-Semitism, ...
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American Culture
The culture of the United States of America is primarily of Western origin, but is influenced by a multicultural ethos that includes African, Native American, Asian, Pacific Island, and Latin American people and their cultures. It has its own distinct social and cultural characteristics, such as dialect, music, arts, social habits, cuisine, and folklore. The United States is ethnically and racially diverse as a result of large-scale immigration throughout its history, its hundreds of indigenous tribes and cultures, and through African-American slavery followed by emancipation. American culture promotes homogeneity in its diversity, often referred to as the "American Melting Pot." Origins, development, and spread The European roots of the United States originate with the English settlers of colonial America during British rule. The varieties of English people, as opposed to the other peoples on the British Isles, were the overwhelming majority ethnic group in the 17th century ...
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