Rubin, Joan Shelley, The Making of Middlebrow Culture (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1992)
One of the foundational studies of middlebrow culture, this book has been very widely cited in subsequent research. It focuses entirely on the US, but Rubin's insights are relevant to a range of other anglophone contexts. The opening chapter, 'Self, Culture, and Self-Culture in America', explores the growing emphasis on self-improvement during the three decades following WWI. The remaining five chapters each focus on one individual or initiative: the 'Higher Journalism' (Stuart Pratt Sherman, Irita Van Doren); the Book-of-the-Month Club; John Erskine and the 'Great Books' syllabus; Will Durant and the 'outline'; and book programmes on commercial radio.
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