This book analyses the relationship between commercial and elite culture in Britain in the early twentieth century. The development of popular national daily newspapers, the cinema, the radio, the gramophone, and other forms of mass entertainment threatened to upset traditional patterns of British culture. Writers, artists, musicians, critics, and their sympathizers responded in a variety of ways. Some engaged in detailed polemics against the mass media; others, such as those associated with the BBC, embraced new technology and sought to uplift tastes. These groups struggled against a culture that measured success by popularity rather than aesthetic merit. With the significant extension of the franchise in 1918 and 1928, Britain finally enjoyed full
parliamentary democracy. What culture was appropriate for that democracy became an issue which pitted the forces of the market place against the influence of an articulate minority.
Readership: Scholars and students of twentieth-century history, communications and media studies, twentieth-century literature; sociologists and political scientists.
D. L. LeMahieu, Professor of History, Lake Forest College
"'set out with great lucidity and a wealth of fascinating reference ... contains much shrewd and suggestive commentary on the BBC ... on the documentary movement, on the Leavises ... Its value lies not least in the questions it provokes.'
Paul Smith, Times Literary Supplement"
"'Professor LeMahieu's is an important book, serious but highly readable.'
Asa Briggs, Times Higher Educational Supplement"
"'a first-class piece of work, thoughtful, scholarly and well-written'
Tony Mason, History Today"
"`Professor LeMahieu's strategy is to develop a number of case studies. This seems eminently reasonable and the accounts of changing newspaper styles, broadcasting, and documentary film movement, to give some examples, are clearly presented and thoroughly researched ... His comments are often acerbic and generally interesting in drawing continuities and making comparisions between different cultural settings. Students can read particular chapters with great advantage.
Journal of Newspaper and Periodical History"
"'absorbing and thought-provoking book ... an important contribution ... I have learned much from this bookJeffrey Richards, University of Lancaster."
"'a very interesting book ... LeMahieu without doubt adds very substantially both to our knowledge and understanding of some central historical problems ... The case is not just argued with a wealth of detail and evidence but with considerable verve.'
Colin Sparks, Media Culture & Society Vol 12 1990"