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English as a VocationThe 'Scrutiny' Movement$
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Christopher Hilliard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199695171

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695171.001.0001

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Culture and Environment

Culture and Environment

(p.46) 2 Culture and Environment
English as a Vocation

Christopher Hilliard

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 examines the cultural criticism of the Leavises, Denys Thompson, and L. C. Knights. It argues that the importance of the ‘organic community’ to the movement's thinking has been vastly exaggerated, and that the ‘undissociated’ language and culture of early modern England was more important as a reference point in Scrutiny theses on culture. The group's understanding of modernity was decisively shaped by a strand of American commentary—above all the work of the popular economist Stuart Chase and the sociologists Robert S. Lynd and Helen M. Lynd, authors of Middletown—and centred on the changes in ‘industrial society’ beginning around the turn of the twentieth century. Advertising and popular fiction alike were in the business of manufacturing desires: literary studies offered access to genuine emotional experiences and ways of exposing and resisting the operations of mass culture.

Keywords:   Denys Thompson, Denys, Queenie Dorothy Leavis, Lionel Charles Knights, Stuart Chase, Middletown, Americanization, organic community, advertising, popular fiction

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