Flowers in the Dustbin
Culture, Anarchy, and Postwar England
Explores the connection between high literary culture and popular culture and argues for cultural anarchism as a form of creative resistance.
Flowers in the Dustbin looks at the volatile relations between literature, rock music, and youth subcultures in postwar England. Neil Nehring traces the continuities between the original avant-garde of the twenties and thirties and the postwar youth culture, arguing that anarchism never really disappeared from the world. The author shows that British youth groups like the Mods, the Rockers, Punks, and Teddy Boys and the music that inspired them appear increasingly more acute than their literary counterparts, belying conventional assumptions about the relative powers of "high" and "low" culture. By examining literary texts as part of a larger sampling of cultural forms and their uses in everyday life, Flowers in the Dustbin provides a striking illustration of the significance the field of cultural studies holds for studies in English.
Praise / Awards
"Provides a powerful theoretical argument. Nehring's spirited overview and critique of the field of cultural studies should prove invaluable for the perplexed student and teacher seeking guidance in this field."
--Jonathan Freedman, University of Michigan
"`Popular life should emerge as the ultimate avant-garde,' Neil Nehring tells us, and his Flowers in the Dustbin is a stunning discussion and marvelous enactment of that dictum. This rich book draws on an impressive theoretical background, especially from international situationism, to analyze in trenchant fashion the interweavings of avant-garde experimentation and popular representation in postwar British culture. The fascinating discussion of punk rock's debts to Graham Greene would alone be worth the price of admission. This study represents a very major new step in contemporary cultural studies. A brilliant and compelling accomplishment."
--Dana Polan, University of Pittsburgh
"Bold and ambitious. . . . Nehring takes on the entire gamut of twentieth-century cultural and literary theory, modernism, the avant-garde, postmodernism and postructuralism. His sense of urgency about the moral and political relevance of his argument is both compelling and admirable."
--Patrick Brantlinger, Indiana University
"[Nehring] offers a dynamics of transgressive desire within and across cultural forms and, vitally, insists on the radical possibilities of such a dynamics. A refreshingly committed academic book."
". . . an impressive academic book which constructs and theorises anarchist cultural practice via youth subculture, popular music and literature."
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