R.M. Engelhardt

Chapter & Verse: On poetry and kitsch

Johns Hopkins University Press Blog

With the Modern Language Association’s 2014 meeting now in full-swing, we’re pleased to publish a second installment of Chapter & Verse today. This post draws from Daniel Tiffany’s work discussing the idea and history of “kitsch” as it relates to poetry. 

tiffany“Once upon a time, long before it had been reduced to a synonym for mediocrity in the arts, the term ‘kitsch’ functioned as a lightning rod in debates about mass culture and the fate of modernism confronting the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  For a word now applied quite casually to trivial and spurious things, ‘kitsch’ has a surprising history of provoking alarm and extreme reactions.”— From My Silver Planet: A Secret History of Poetry and Kitschby Daniel Tiffany

My Silver Planet makes the case for fundamentally redefining “kitsch” as a bridge between the elite and vernacular, as opposed to something to…

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