28 may. 2012

2nd paragraph of kitsch chapter

My 2009 book, Apocryphal Lorca: Translation, Parody, Kitsch, partially addressed this problem, but without reaching a satisfactory conclusion. One reason for my incomplete treatment of this critical problem was my negative view of certain North-American manifestations of Lorquismo. The word kitsch, of course, bears an unavoidably derogatory charge, and my natural tendency in this study was to privilege American versions of Lorca that side-stepped groan-inducing stereotypes: I preferred the American Lorca before he became completely identified with a cartoonish version of the duende. It was also important for me to exercise my own aesthetic judgment in order to evaluate the degree to which US poets were able to engage with Spanish culture without reducing it to a caricature. What did not occur to me, however, was that kitsch (among other things) is the perfect name for a certain kind of commodification of modernist aesthetics in the postmodern period. In this sense the kitschiness of the American reception of Lorca is not only inevitable but also revelatory of the historical relation between modernism and posmodernism.

4 comentarios:

Vance Maverick dijo...

Glad to see you posting here. And this is an interesting read. The tone, though, is strangely flagellatory -- can you find a way to describe this gap, from the start, as an opportunity for new work rather than a defect in the old?

Andrew Shields dijo...

I'm particularly conscious lately of scholarly work in the mode I call "the drama of experience." Is there too much of the experience of the ideas in here, getting in the way of the ideas themselves?

Jonathan dijo...

Possibly. This paragraph struck the two of you in the same way. It is not "classic" enough, with too much signposting of intentions. What I need to describe is a subtle shift of focus, not a full-scale palinode.

John dijo...

Intrigued by the opposition of modernism and kitsch. Lately I've been toying with a hunch that the "classical" modernist gesture has kitsch inherent in it, or at least its possibility, in its continuation of the Romantic rejection of mainstream, mass society. There's something . . . un-modern in the fantasy of escaping the realities of mass culture.

The introduction to the 1943 Penguin Book of Sonnets -- a very hip book that includes sonnets by Cummings and Edwin Denby -- asked why experimentation in the arts was so unvalued by audiences when the culture embraces experimentation so fervently in science and mechanics. But the editor asked the wrong question. Audiences love experimentation -- in popular media. Experimentation has never slowed in the movies or dance music. Pop modernism avoids the kitschy myth of the artist as alienated hero -- or, at least it did until James Dean!

Fascinating questions. Thanks. And best wishes with your book! Makes me want to reread Apocryphal Lorca, which I really enjoyed.