The title essay, Masscult and Midcult, describes cultural phenomenon with Orwellian phrasing. 'Masscult' is the commercialized media and culture produced for mass consumption, and 'midcult' is 'middlebrow' art 'masscult' with the appearance of 'Highbrow' culture, or at least attempting to imitate it.
For Macdonald, midcult is more difficult to describe than masscult, because unlike the latter, it puts on airs of sophistication. It is the mixing of high culture and low, which, unlike masscult, is a danger to actual high culture. Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain by Dwight Macdonald review American critic Dwight Macdonald's searing attacks on the commodification of culture have proved prophetic In Masscult& Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain, first published in 1962, MacDonald turned his formidable critical attention to what he saw as a new, and potentially catastrophic, development in the history of Western civilization: the influenceby turns distorting, destructive, and inadvertently ridiculousof mass culture on high Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain is a smallscale affair by comparison.
It takes its title from a long essay written in 1960 which Louis Menand, in his cheerleading introduction, calls" not Macdonald at his most coherent or persuasive". Masscult definition, the forms of culture, as music, drama, and literature, as selected, interpreted, and popularized by the mass media for dissemination to the widest possible audience.
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com. FREE shipping on qualifying offers. A New York Review Books Original An uncompromising contrarian, a passionate polemicist, a man of quick wit and wide learning