Arts in Society

ISBN: 9781905512072

Format: Paperback, 340 pages,

Available (Published: May 2006)


Book details

Arts in Society comprises a set of lucid essays on photography and painting, films, design, TV and theatre, buildings and towns – discussion points about culture in the 60s and 70s.

Contributors include:

Angela Carter on male pin ups and on make- up
John Berger on war photography and on Francis Bacon
Michael Wood on John Lennon, Roy Lichenstein, A Clockwork Orange, Bob Dylan and WC Fields
Reyner Banham on the potato crisp and on container terminals
EP Thompson on Britain’s penchant for humbug
Paul Barker on “Art Nouveau Riche” and on Kes
Paul Meyersberg on If…
Andrew Weiner on T. Rex and on Tom Jones
Dennis Potter on TV Plays
Albert Hunt on Joe Orton and on Morecambe and Wise
…and more

"Always the essays are strong and authoritative" - The Times

"These aren’t simply essays in criticism. The pieces are about how things actually work: why they are what they are." - The Guardian

"First published in 1977, this path-breaking collection of essays on modern culture from New Society magazine retains all its vigour and verve. Angela Carter writes on Sixties style, and on D H Lawrence; John Berger on Pop Art and Bacon; Dennis Potter on TV drama; Michael Wood on Dylan and Kubrick... These pieces set the gold standard for hip but heretical cultural coverage. The sheer quality of writing, and of thinking, keeps them fresh."
- Boyd Tomkin The Independent

"These days, every university seems to have a chair in Big Brother studies. But back in the Sixties, treating popular culture and mass entertainment as worthy of intelligent, passionate analysis was something of a revolutionary idea. These essays, culled from the pages of New Society and originally published in 1977, treat ice cream vans, crisp packets and cop shows on the telly like they matter. They also, with only one or two exceptions, still read extraordinarily well. While some of the predictions haven't worked out, much of the analysis (of our obsession with nostalgia, for example) is spot on, and the way in which the authors engage with their subjects is thoroughly enviable. These might be archive pieces, but they deserve to be rediscovered, and embraced, by the critics of today." - The Observer

"Arts in Society draws on an extraordinary galaxy of talent... (it) quickly became a classic... immensely enjoyable... reaches out to a broad audience rather than a specialist audience; (giving) the maverick view." - Night Waves (Radio)

About the Author

Paul Barker is the former editor of New Society. He regularly contributes to Radios 4 and 3, and the national press, on social and cultural issues. He also writes regularly for Prospect


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