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Culture as Popular Culture

Culture as Popular Culture June 25, 2008

As we head into the summer doldrums, I know that many of our readers here at Vox-Nova are probably suffering severe withdrawal from their favorite TV programs. Luckily, I have just the thing: A ten part lecture series! The lectures, by Prof. Paul Cantor of the University of Virginia, examines the interactions between commerce and art, and studies the myriad ways in which artists have been influenced by economic concerns.

Lecture One introduces the topic.

Lecture Two focuses on Shakespeare, and the ways in which his plays were influenced by economic considerations arising out of the Globe Theater, and Royal patronage.

Lecture Three examines the economics of painting, dealing in particular with the rise of painting in the merchant cities of Italy and the Netherlands.

Lecture Four examines the economics of classical music, and the different ways, from patronage to performance, to selling sheet music, that musicians managed to make a living.

Lecture Five deals with the rise of the novel, and examines the way serialization, and mass publishing affected its development.

Lecture Six deals with the Modernist movement, and its reaction to commercial society.

Lecture Seven looks at the plight of artists under totalitarian regimes, as well as the sympathy of many artists for totalitarian ideologies.

Lecture Eight looks at the rise of the motion picture, and the film as an art-form.

Lecture Nine examines television, and in particular the way that government regulation affected the history of television programing.

Lecture Ten concludes, drawing the ultimate and provocative conclusion that culture and popular culture are not so different as we might initially believe.

There is, I will admit, a lot of questionable material put out by the Mises Institute (where the lecture series was held), but I found the above lectures to be quite insightful.


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