Culture, 1922

Culture, 1922: The Emergence of a Concept

Marc Manganaro
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 256
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7sdqf
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    Culture, 1922
    Book Description:

    Culture, 1922traces the intellectual and institutional deployment of the culture concept in England and America in the first half of the twentieth century. With primary attention to how models of culture are created, elaborated upon, transformed, resisted, and ignored, Marc Manganaro works across disciplinary lines to embrace literary, literary critical, and anthropological writing. Tracing two traditions of thinking about culture, as elite products and pursuits and as common and shared systems of values, Manganaro argues that these modernist formulations are not mutually exclusive and have indeed intermingled in complex and interesting ways throughout the development of literary studies and anthropology.

    Beginning with the important Victorian architects of culture--Matthew Arnold and Edward Tylor--the book follows a number of main figures, schools, and movements up to 1950 such as anthropologist Franz Boas, his disciples Edward Sapir, Ruth Benedict, and Zora Neale Hurston, literary modernists T. S. Eliot and James Joyce, functional anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski, modernist literary critic I. A. Richards, the New Critics, and Kenneth Burke. The main focus here, however, is upon three works published in 1922, the watershed year of Modernism--Eliot'sThe Waste Land, Malinowski'sArgonauts of the Western Pacific, and Joyce'sUlysses. Manganaro reads these masterworks and the history of their reception as efforts toward defining culture. This is a wide-ranging and ambitious study about an ambiguous and complex concept as it moves within and between disciplines.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2522-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. Introduction CULTURE, ANTHROPOLOGY AND THE “LITERARY” MODERN
    (pp. 1-15)

    IN THE 1987 VOLUMECritical Terms for Literary StudyStephen Greenblatt opens his entry onculturewith the Victorian anthropologist Edward Tylor’s famous founding definition (1871) of the anthropological concept of culture as “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” Greenblatt then follows with the question whether culture as a “concept” is “useful to students of literature.” “The answer,” Greenblatt quickly responds, “may be that it is not.”¹

    The problem withculture, Greenblatt continues, is that “the term as Tylor uses it...

  5. Chapter 1 MAKING UP FOR LOST GROUND: ELIOT’S CULTURAL GEOGRAPHICS
    (pp. 16-55)

    THE FOLLOWING treatment of the work of perhaps the century’s preeminent architect of the culture concept, T. S. Eliot, operates essentially backwards, beginning with Eliot’s relatively late (1948) disquisition on the culture concept,Notes towards the Definition of Culture, and progressing back to his poetic masterwork of 1922,The Waste Land. This perhaps counterintuitive move back in time is made quite deliberately, in the hope that demonstrating where Eliot ultimately arrived in his wrestling with complex models for culture can make us better appreciate where he started and what his start, withThe Waste Landand the early literary criticism,...

  6. Chapter 2 MALINOWSKI: WRITING, CULTURE, FUNCTION, KULA
    (pp. 56-77)

    NINETEEN TWENTY-TWO, the stellar literary year that saw the appearance ofThe Waste Landand Joyce’sUlysses, also saw the presentation of another paradigm-shifting modernist text, Bronislaw Malinowski’s ethnographyArgonauts of the Western Pacific, which narrates and provides an impressive theoretical framework for the several years (1914–15, 1917–18) he spent among the Trobriand islanders of the Pacific. For his publication of this book Malinowski has been credited with creating, virtually overnight, the seminal twentieth-century anthropological discourse known as the monograph (though as George Stocking and others have amply demonstrated, its influences and models lie deep in the history...

  7. Chapter 3 MALINOWSKI, “NATIVE” NARRATION, AND “THE ETHNOGRAPHER’S MAGIC”
    (pp. 78-104)

    AT THE OPENING of the concluding chapter ofArgonautsMalinowski effectively closes the book by announcing the completion of the Kula ring itself: “We have been following the various routes and ramifications of the Kula, entering minutely and meticulously into its rules and customs . . . till, arriving at the end of our information, we have made its two ends meet.”¹ The purpose of the final chapter, then, is not to acquire new “information” but rather to dispense with “the magnifying glass of detailed examination and look from a distance at the subject of our inquiry, take in the...

  8. Chapter 4 JOYCE AND HIS CRITICS: NOTES TOWARD THE DEFINITION OF CULTURE
    (pp. 105-131)

    LIKE MALINOWSKI’SArgonautsof the same year, and indeed many of the ethnographic monographs that were to follow, Joyce’sUlyssesfunctions as the record of a particular culture or people, the rendering of a day in the life of Dubliners. That day, 16 June 1904, comes to synechdochically represent all days, or any day, much as Malinowski’s present-tense rendering of Trobrianders is meant to capture the spirit and essence of Trobriand experience. And just as Malinowski’s cast of informants symbolically expands outward to represent the Trobriand way of life, so Joyce’s characters, chief among them Leopold and Molly Bloom and...

  9. Chapter 5 JOYCE’S WHOLES: CULTURE, TALES, AND TELLINGS
    (pp. 132-150)

    NEAR THE end of Joyce’sPortrait of the Artist as a Young Man(1916) the protagonist hero-as-artist Stephen Dedalus engages his friend Lynch in a discussion on the universality of the beautiful. When Lynch asks outright “But what is beauty,” Stephen proposes woman as object. “The Greek, the Turk, the Chinese, the Copt, the Hottentot,” Stephen opens, “all admire a different type of female beauty.”¹ While this difference “seems to be a maze out of which we cannot escape,” Stephen asserts that there are “two ways out.” The first of these is the “hypothesis” that “every physical quality admired by...

  10. Chapter 6 PATTERNS OF CULTURE: RUTH BENEDICT AND THE NEW CRITICS
    (pp. 151-174)

    IN 1922, in a graduate course taught by Boas, Ruth Benedict met both Margaret Mead and Edward Sapir, who over the years would become a close friend and colleague. (Also in that year, according to Mead, Boas became known to his students as “Papa Franz.”)¹ That year also saw Benedict’s first essay in print, “The Vision in Plains Culture,” appearing inAmerican Anthropologist, a piece that, according to Mead, while it “uses the basic concepts which were to inform all her work,” was nonetheless resolutely within the Boasian diffusionist mode, tracing as it does “the great diversity of the vision-pattern”...

  11. Chapter 7 HURSTON, BURKE, AND THE NEW CRITICS: NARRATIVE, CONTEXT, AND MAGIC
    (pp. 175-199)

    SINCE ITS publication in 1934, Benedict’sPatterns of Culturehas become an important version of what can be called aliterary anthropology. The book’s authoritative voice, stylistic seamlessness, poetic resonance, narrative vividness, and the wholeness of its structure, shot through with that elegiac tone, says of Benedict’s style that, in Geertz’s words, “whatever sort of writing this is, it is all of a piece.”¹

    Indeed,Patterns of Culturein many respects might be referred to as anthropology’s well-wrought urn, especially in the modes by which its ambiguity or tension is brought into a careful and graceful equilibrium, its paradoxical temper...

  12. Afterword CULTURE’S PASTS, PRESENTS, AND FUTURES
    (pp. 200-202)

    THIS HISTORICAL treatment of the culture concept inevitably must and should have some bearing on current uses of the term and debate over its usage. And indeed, such rumination is not limited to (afterword-oriented) post-speculations on where are we now; rather, this project in its insistent reading of readers of earlier “culture” readers suggests that the history of a concept is what we make of it and, echoing Eliot, underscores that we know more than those earlier cultural architects but that they are that which we know. Reading our contemporaries reading earlier readers shows consistently, persistently, that history repeats itself,...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 203-224)
  14. Index
    (pp. 225-231)