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31 December 2006

From Lowbrow to Nobrow - Peter Swirski

Google Book Search:

'From Lobrow to Nobrow' demolishes the elite argument that popular fiction and popular culture are the underside of civilization. In this innovative book, Peter Swirski goes beyond demonstrating that 'high-brow' has been transformed to 'low-brow,' showing that nobrow art is the interactive factor in the relationship between popular art and highbrow art.

Swirski begins with a series of groundbreaking questions about the nature of popular fiction, vindicating it as an artform that expresses and reflects the aesthetic and social values of its readers, and not a source of ideological brainwashing or the result of declining literary standards. He follows his insightful introduction to the socio-aesthetics of genre literature with a synthesis of the century long debate on the merits of popular fiction and a study of genre informed by analytic aesthetics and game theory.

Swirski then turns to three 'nobrow' novels that have been largely ignored by critics. Examining the aesthetics of 'ascertainment' in Karel Čapek's 'War With the Newts,' Raymond Chandler's 'Playback,' and Stanislaw Lem's 'Chain of Chance,' crossover tours de force, 'From Lowbrow to Nobrow' throws new light on the hazards and rewards of nobrow traffic between popular forms and highbrow aesthetics.

'I would rank this book among the top five in popular culture studies.' Gary Hoppenstand, editor of 'The Journal of Popular Culture' and 'Popular Fiction: An Anthology'

From Lowbrow to Nobrow, by Peter Swirski
Published 2005
McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP
224 pages
ISBN 0773530193

If you click on the title of this post, you will land inside the Books(dot)Google site. Here you have an interesting interface where books are introduced using annotated sample pages off of scans.

Two reasons for pointing this out here on 'Cheap Priceless Editions': 1) this is my first time using the Books(dot)Google site (I had to sign in with my google ID and PW); 2) my first hit there was in a search of pulp fiction and the scan reader showed several book covers from classic romance titles so well I know I soon will be using this web feature for other searches.

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