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  • Middlebrow Modernism

    Christopher Chowrimootoo

    Chapter from the book: Chowrimootoo, C. 2018. Middlebrow Modernism: Britten’s Operas and the Great Divide.


    After a short discussion of the reception of Britten’s Paul Bunyan (1941), chapter one delves into the vexed relationship between high, middle and low in the early decades of the twentieth century. It advocates recovering the historical category of the middlebrow as a way of unsettling the legacy of modernism on the history and historiography of twentieth-century music. In the process, it offers a distinctive understanding of the middlebrow term, focused on aesthetic duplicity and reciprocity between composition and criticism. It proposes Benjamin Britten’s operas as ideal case studies for teasing out the tensions in the relationship between modernism and middlebrow culture.

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    Chowrimootoo, C. 2018. Middlebrow Modernism. In: Chowrimootoo, C, Middlebrow Modernism. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.57.a

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Oct. 8, 2018