This chapter introduces the concept of the ‘aesthetic turn’ to describe the
gradual broadening of the meaning of aesthetics after the death of Joseph
Stalin in 1953 and the greater openness of the USSR to the outside world
that followed. The aesthetic turn resulted in the formation in the USSR of
what philosopher Jacques Rancière calls an ‘aesthetic regime of arts’ – a
mode of identifying different arts as equal and valuable in their
specificity. The chapter analyses the new aesthetic regime of arts by
highlighting its key concepts: realism, contemporaneity and taste. These
concepts acquired new meanings during the 1950s–early 1960s: realism was now
seen as a specific quality of things, not depictions; contemporaneity
appeared as a measure of social relevance of an object’ and taste became a
tool for probing the limits between authenticity and appearance.
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In this chapter, the author, through a family history, speaks of how forced exile persists through generations. He narrates the series of events that took place after he left England and moved to United States, including the catastrophic failures of nuclear reactors. The discussion largely focuses on the incidence of cancers caused by exposure to radioactivity in England, and the impact it had on Anglo-American relations. The author also showcases the differences between English and American cultures.
In this chapter, the author discusses the cultural life in Rochester, New York, in the 1920s. The city of the 1920s is often referred to as 'Mr Eastman's town'. Economically, the first three decades of the twentieth century had been described as Rochester's golden age, and the centrality of Eastman-Kodak to the city's prosperity had important cultural consequences. The establishment by George Eastman of the Eastman School of Music and the Eastman Theatre in 1922 was the single most important event marking the 'end of provincialism'. The 'Rochester Renaissance' owed a lot to Eastman's wealth and philanthropy .
In this chapter, the author explains the internment of aliens in Britain during the Second World War. The 'internment of aliens' is a peculiar and rather hysterical measure taken by the British government after Dunkirk. The author describes his father as an alien. He is alien to Britain and to English culture. He came to Britain from Germany in February 1938, was a class C 'enemy alien' (recognised as a genuine refugee, and officially designated a 'friendly' enemy alien). The classifications were made by wartime tribunals set up in Britain in 1939.