By Andreas Huyssen
Today's problem to the divide among mass tradition and modernism is going by means of the identify of the postmodern. Huyssen argues that postmodernism itself can't be considered as a thorough holiday with the earlier, as its creative and political thoughts are indebted to that different pattern in the tradition of modernity - the ancient avant garde.
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Extra info for After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism
7 Clearly, Adorno and Horkheimer's concept of the culture industry does not yield much with regard to specific historical and textual analyses of 19th-century mass culture. Politically, adherence today to the classical culture industry thesis can only lead to resignation or moralizing about universal manipulation and domination. Blaming the culture industry for capitalism's longevity, however, is metaphysics, not politics. Theoretically, adherence to Adorno's aesthetics may blind us to the ways in which contemporary art, since the demise of classical modernism and the historical avantgarde, represents a new conjuncture which can no longer be grasped in Adornean or other modernist categories.
Allegorical rigidity" has not only infected the motiv like a disease, it has infected Wagner's oeuvre as a whole-its music and its characters, its images and myths, and last but not least its institutionalization in Bayreuth as one of the major spectacles of the times. Adorno goes on to discuss reification, which can be regarded as the effect of commodification in the musical material, on the levels of melody, color, and orchestration. The overriding concern here is the question of what happens to musical time in Wagner's oeuvre.
Secondly, the theory of the culture industry has exerted a tremendous influence on mass culture research in Germany and, to a somewhat lesser extent, also in the Uni ted States. 8 Recalling the ways in wh ich Adorno theorized about modern mass culture may not be the worst place to start. After all, a critical, yet sympathetic discussion may be quite fruitful in countering two current trends: one toward a 20 AFTER THE GREAT DIVIDE theoretically decapitated and mostly affirmative description of "popular" culture, the other toward a moralizing condemnation of imperial mind management by a media apparatus allegedly totally in the grip of capital and profit interests.
After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism by Andreas Huyssen