The Loss of High Culture


This loss of high culture is not an American phenomenon alone. English intellectual and artistic life has fallen off greatly since the generation of Evelyn Waugh, Isaiah Berlin, and Hugh Trevor-Roper. England now appears to be Mick Jagger’s country. The English novel, as written by Martin Amis, Ian -McEwan, and Salman Rushdie, attracts more publicity than genuine literary interest. The London Times Literary Supplement, an exception, continues to review scholarly books of highbrow quality. English acting, too, much of which is shown in America over PBS, remains on a high level. Yet the Proms, the famous summer English classical music concerts held at Albert Hall and broadcast over the BBC, have been cut back and dumbed down, owing to the need, it was announced, to bring in a younger audience. “Now,” Norman Lebrecht, the English music critic, has recently written, “Visigoths rule the roost.”

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Whatever Happened to High Culture?  By JOSEPH EPSTEIN

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