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Swirski begins with a series of groundbreaking questions about the nature of popular fiction, vindicating it as an artform that expresses and reflects the aesth. From Lobrow to Nobrow demolishes the elite argument that popular fiction and crossover tours de force, From Lowbrow to Nobrow throws new light on the. Swirski then turns to three “nobrow” novels that have been largely ignored by crossover tours de force, From Lowbrow to Nobrow throws new light on the.

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He follows his insightful introduction to the socio-aesthetics ofgenre literature with a synthesis of the century-long debate on the merits ofpopular fiction and a study of genre. Browne ” bracing reproof to thosewho moan about the death of reading or the brain-rotting effects of readingonly popular fiction.

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Swirski begins with a series of groundbreaking questions about the nature of popular fiction, vindicating it as an artform that expresses and reflects the aesthetic and social values of its readers. He follows his insightful introduction to the socio-aesthetics of genre literature with a synthesis of the century long debate on the merits of popular fiction and a study of genre informed by analytic aesthetics and game theory.

Swirski then turns to three “nobrow” novels that have been largely ignored by critics. Examining the aesthetics of “artertainment” in Karel Capek’s War with the Newts, Raymond Chandler’s Playback, and Stanislaw Lem’s Chain of Chance, crossover tours de force, From Lowbrow to Nobrow throws new light on the hazards and rewards of nobrow traffic between popular forms and highbrow aesthetics.

Read more Read less. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. When Highbrow Meets Lowbrow: Popular Culture and the Rise of Nobrow. Customers who bought this item also bought. Review “Swirski writes intelligently, quotescopiously, and approaches his themes passionately”. I’d like to read this book on Kindle Don’t have a Kindle?

Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention lowbrow to nobrow popular fiction popular fictions peter swirski raymond chandler reading this book highbrow and lowbrow literary cultural arguments artertainment cultures genres indeed simply canon chinese general interested previous. Showing of 16 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews.

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From Lowbrow to Nobrow – Peter Swirski – Google Books

It also involves a survey of book publishing and selling, and a discussion of genres, aesthetics and others. What is the tenor behind all this? In a word, doing justice to popular fiction that has become too predominant to ignore. Swirski soon proves it a modern myth by the use of ample nobow convincing data indicating that far from dwindling the book publishing and selling have kept growing either in absolute number or per capita since WWII. But why this myth? Hence, He sets out to expose the cultural myopia and bigotry entertained against ubiquitous popular fiction and at the same time turn down many a groundless critique on popular fiction.

He goes one step further by defining aesthetics of popular lpwbrow that necessarily is of different kind from that of the highbrow. This time Swirski pushes forward with his study slowly but surely, towards making his points.


And the points he has made do solve our problems. My generation in China witnessed the high popularity of Kongfu fiction grom romantic fiction, the former championed by Jin Yong a Hongkong writer while the latter by the Taiwanese Qiong Yao. In my school years, nobrkw boy read Jin and every girl Qiong, but not without feeling guilty. Our teachers and parents would say that it was bad ho even nobgow to read Kongfu rubbish and obscene love stories.

Suspicions about them have kept up ever since. Even today, we are still obsessed with the question: Swirski urges us to shake off the aesthetics of canon and instead take on new aesthetics by which to view popular fiction.

That is, literature should entertain well and fulfill the art of compromising highbrow and lowbrow and blurring genres. Still half of the story. Swirski also assures us that popular fiction is no more degenerate than the highbrow canon in terms of value or moral. Indeed, most Kongfu and romantic fictions teach positive values as well, such as integrity, valor, goodness, patriotism and nationalism, faithfulness, endurance, lwobrow, dignity and so on.

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Certainly, they teach them in no self-important tone. Today, popular fictions are still underrated popular as they are. Doyle and Agatha Christie are simply excluded from a literary history; that Jin Yong enters into a certain middle school textbook is still a disputable phenomenon in China.

But as long as it continues to entertain, educate and change people, popular fiction should be recognized and justified as a cultural fact. Hopefully, timely justice has been done to it by Swirski.

One person found this helpful. Enjoy reading this book, hope one day someone would translate it into my mother tounge Chinese as its worthy reading by more people. Preliminarily, I was simply intersted in the shock I had when reading the book title. Previously, I only have some rough ideas about highbrow and lowbrow, and have never thought of the degradation to “nobrow”.

It’s really an fascinating and exciting reading experience especially when I come across numerous inventive words, such as nobrow, artertainment, which greatly boost anticipation for reading more. Actually, while reading, I can feel the pulse race of the writer at places of reinforcement and hear the sighs when he tries to defend for those biased literature works. Swirski is the one who plainly exploits his personal literary intelligence to guide public views.

His perspectives are not merely scholarly but of social concerns. I strongly support the claim that aesthetic standards renew in different ages. Literature embraces new genres and themes which are of “time-matching” favors. Just like literature works centred on migrant workers are becoming the latest spotlight of Chinese literature.

It is my favorite book of Peter Swirski is on a mission! Peter Swirski’s book From Lowbrow to NoBrow is a compelling and ambitious work in the area of literature studies. As has been mentioned, Swirski’s main argument lies in the fact that he is trying to “wipe the brow” pun intended of distinction amongst works of literature, essentially calling for the banishment of the title “lowbrow” for those books deemed “not sophisticated enough for serious academic study”.

Swirski contends that while there are many books out there that don’t warrant said serious academic study, there are just as many that do, and should be examined through an academic framework. It is my belief that Swirski is correct in this line of thinking; it is sad and indeed flippant to dismiss a novel and reserve academic study of it, because it is considered “genre fiction” or simplistic. There is a great distinction in the halls of academia concerning what is studied and what is not, what is worthy and what is worth glossing over or not covering at all.


Swirski is saying, and indeed proving with his examples, that many previously glossed over works, which would be looked at with disdain, and more than a little contempt, need to be truly examined, and not simply pushed to the side because of their sources or content. It is a very provocative idea indeed to challenge the academic snobbery that is present in the study of literature, and even more admirable to submit that not only should the “canon” be studied, but things like genre fiction, at that, should be examined also, expanding the scope of investigation and getting a look at the whole picture, not just a segment of it.

This is a rather bold idea, and Swirski, armed with his examples, wit, a wealth of knowledge about what he is writing about, and a little bit of attitude, tries to prove this to the reader.

Swirski blazes forward with his contention that genre fiction, whatever type it may be, may stand on its own merit, should not be considered “lowbrow”. In fact, wait for it – the study of literature should not pit “highbrow” versus “lowbrow”, and in the end, we should have “nobrow”, simply evaluating books on their own strengths and weaknesses, not placing labels on them.

It is my opinion that Swirski takes a wonderful swipe at the “looking down the nose” of academia, and that he is successful at his attempt.

By no means can this book cover all arguments and examples in terms of this debate, but it exerts a valiant effort to do so, and to change people’s minds.

I highly recommend this book – prepare to have a shift in your “brows”! See all 16 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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