The Relationship of Literature and Society Author(s): Milton C.

Albrecht Reviewed work(s): Source: American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 59, No. 5 (Mar., 1954), pp. 425-436 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 16/02/2012 05:03
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if not to justify the formulation of thetheory of evolution. to maintain thesocialorder. in 1.). (Glencoe. and forms. pothesis and stabilize. though to a limited dynamic societies. Social Theory(New York: AppletonContemporary CenturyCo. "Literature. A third or "shapes" society.' at least as old as Plato's conceptof imitaoutfifteen pointed As Mueller in the UnitedStates have paid tion. 392. pp.expressed in terms as well as of morelimited ofindividual and sohistories an untold num..Ill. House.1950). pp.4 sociologists Systematic application oftheidea did and art. Apparently. which maybe and in the sociological conceptions of soand sanctify.d. 1813).: Free Press.6 the is thatliterature idea is a manifestation ofa changein man's ty. sincesocialstability Socialcontrol. 1936). 1939).and a halfago. which a socialand historical in theartshas theauthor someinterest offered everthereason. Becker. emphasized socialand cultural determinism 3 Bibliographies may be foundin A. articulates withone closely version ofreflection. Mueller. B. 425 . 7 Floyd N. likeother might be aspectsofsocial said tobe Madamede Stae's De la litte'rature on theinstrumental marily social consideree Perhapsthisis becausepractical life. Her outlook was romantic and idealisOfliterary however sporadically. it Macmillan Co. BarDivorceNovel. in Bernard Public Opinion and Berelsonand MorrisJanowitz. "The theory Folkway of Art. The Development of Sociology (New York: McGraw-HillBook Co.1858nett. changing calledthe"social-control" through is successive reflects society ages. qualityand greatness as well 2 Kingsley Davis. 222-38. and socialcontrol are implied. however.cialperfectionism. Barnes and H. In effect. ALBRECHT ABSTRACT In most oftherelationship theories ofliterature and society reflection. H.. style. Introduction 1940). "An Annotated Bibliographyon the Sociology of Literaof Chicago thesis. its supposedconverse hy.ismspreading throughout some of theircharacteristic Europe and from critically assumptions. For Communication many othersourcessee Hugh D.eighteenth-century is thatliterature "reflects" In The Worksof Plato. havegrown problems publishedin 1800.tionssociales. Duncan. IX." is notstrictly thereverse ofreflection. influence. p. trans. Jr.. hypothesis thinkers.7 The idea thatliterature The essentialfunction of the reflection I J. 5 2 vols."Is Art the Productof Its Age?" was to "explain" in social and hisSocial Forces. See also De l'Allemagne (Paris. as revealing theethos ofculture. XIII (March. terpretation of the literature and in recent of severalnapersisted and social tions. Tomars. Jowett(4 vols. 1935). influences crystallized duringthe nineinphilosophies is thatliterature functions socially teenth century in of history. 6Max Lerner and Edwin Mims. 367-76. 146 ff. in H. to literature littleattention untilabout a century pri.6 so urgent-but.' investi. 1800. they.1947). 538-39. of literature. ofsocial andcertain types "Influence" "facts. there are. New York: Dial Press. not appear. 378 ff. in JamesH. inyearshas increased. E.One the environmentalism of seventeenthand points and theoretical socie..THE RELATIONSHIP OF LITERATURE AND SOCIETY MILTON C.perspective. Paris. 1949)..2 dans ses rapports avecles instituwhat. Human Society (New York: as its content.Divorceand theAmerican 1937 (Philadelphia. 1940). ture" (University 4 The Republic. The "beginning" have focused socialscientists. II. n.ofcourse." AmericanJournal of Sociology. 418-21. 889-92. theprocessesofclassstruggle.Ourpurpose view. to the Sociologyof Art (Mexico City.. extent in complex. 1933). Literature is interpreted as reflecting norms andvalues.1938).. and their cieties character theory." in Encyclopediaof theSocial Sciences (New York: Macmillan Co. and cultural idealsareinvolved.however. thetheory gations of in thispaperis to examine reflection aroseout ofthespirit ofnationalber. torical rather than individualterms the XLIV (September. S. pp.

1948).1938). as biological Whetherthis is fullyas true in to ment.. been that literature timeor periodshowa distincofa classes. 83-84. Ruth Benedict. 100-133. Movies: A Psychological Study (Glencoe. 11 ConsultE.and an organizamytbs Looks at the Movies.both of primitive other phraseswereoften oflife. Probably the commonest theplotsof thedramaof reflects predominantlyAs a consequence. reflect whether the mate and landscapes. As DeVoto says.TensionsAffecting International Understanding (New York: Social Science Research Council. less clear."''4 conceptionhas popularmyths. 1950). wellas by sociologists stories. is "too all-embracing" theory needs of audiences. Hirn. apparently." In psychology a recentvariantof this It has led some. complex is that stories.426 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY and sanctions" have usually and it be. Approaches toAmerican Social History(New York: Appleton-Century Co. Artand Society(New York: Macmillan Co. pp. 12 13 General Anthropology. 594) that "the contentsof of the poetryare as varied as the culturalinterests people.p.. manifested societiesand of earlier used. 1950). 373. C. 54. tings. 49-58."but historicalperiods of civilizations."social beliefs insteadof personalinspiration. 1913). Herbert Read. cit."'12 has been thought or anotherliterature civilizations suchas ourownseems cli.'3 and ideasin their in a society behavior patterns. believethat but oftenmerelyimpliedor as. 1946). and sociallife. See also studiesofnationalcharacter. plays and films.8 pectsofenvironment On thesequestions there seemsless from typical.op.Philosophy in a New Key (New York: PenguinBooks.Wolfsometimes stated out of sharedcultural majorforms. 1937). theirmeaningis practically ofIndiantribes canbe abstractThese phraseswereappliedto ina number "reflection. 524.wars.9 sentedin movies.morals."Boas ofsociety"or "mirror pression thattheconditions for example. 1927). The OriginsofArt (London. Franz Boas [New York: D.Lernerand Mims.CCLIV (November.TheBeginnings ofArt(New York: Appleton. Ancient Art and Ritual (New York: HenryHolt & Co. worksdealing with the arts. Susanne of innumerable includedreligious came the broad orientation in myths and otherart forms. 12-13. an indexofsignificant representing matter..arising been ap. 9 "Is ArttheProductofIts Age?" op. 1900).." Henry Commagerinsists (The American Press. PrimitiveArt (Oslo. This diversity but theuse ofliterature agreement. To be sure. Ill. in a society thoseactually ortruly occurring and sociallife. pp.Chrysanand theSword (Boston: Houghton Mifflin themum Co.).emphasizingimportantsocial values are and manyother religion. pp." their traditional tales: "Beliefsand as well ed from socialand cultural everything nearly in lifeand in talesare in fullagreeAt one time customs and believethat the reflection conception reflect thestress patterns to be useful. IrwinEdman." Annals and sanctions. Literature ciety (London: VictorGollancz. Hortense Powdermaker.and it is uncertain usedas vehicles for illustrating or races. at least as prelike Mueller. Grosse.. cit. Y. Arts and theMan (New York: New AmericanLibrary. results. pp. "Literature unconscious is of social sumethata kindofcollective an embodiment social experience. 122-29. attitudes. 10W. p. family economics. interrelationships. David Daiches.part thesources.complex relationships. pliedin a few and Leites. and So1937). maintains(GeneralAnthropology Heath & Co. ofsubject variety has beenwidespread.for instance.enstein explicitly "the common of a culture day-dreams arein social and as historians sumed-by literary in parttheproducts of its and anthropologists. embracesa wide general the fact that literature beliefs and values "set. Langer. 14 Martha Wolfenstein and Nathan Leites. E.1897). a particular valuesandnorms thesignificant Otherinvestigators asis a recordof tive configuration. Franz Boas.suchas "ex. and idealsand aims. Lingelbach(ed. 1950]."'0 These "An Anthropologist tionofsocialbeliefs 8 Cf.1949). Mind [New Haven: Yale University recould faithfully 56) that imaginativeliterature recordof the contemporary place the documentary scene. p. oflife identicalwith finds.politicalevents. Jane Harrison. 600.: Free Press.. .and emotional it has traditionally Nevertheless.1947).p. situations moredetailedas. 1938].p.. of theAmericanAcademy ofPolitical and Social Science. beliefsand customs. surveyed by Otto Klineberg.

Cit. cit. in psychoanalytic reflected. Toynbee.. New York: AmericanBook Co. Parker Tyler. than any other to accountforthe characteristicsmethod tempted ofmeasurement.24 Sorokin.'9 as Fearing there states. Of these. 496: Artreveals"the soul 1937-41). to a mass audience. 201-4. 31-35. 1926-28). otherarts have been used as reflections of whichthe "idealisvari. pp." Annals of the American don: OxfordUniversity Press.22 "ideational"and "sensate"by Soroand kin.The Decline of the West (2 vols.ic and rapidin change. ''mindorspirit" Mayer. CCLIV III. cit. 1946). and dissolution. 76-78.. 382-90).literature and in regarding as proceedhistory as ingthrough framesof reference. 1947). theone or "soul. 306-7. have decay.Social and Cultural Dy18 Cf. 2a Pitirim A. 1947).1947). Comteand Spencer. and of the different Each society is charare acterizedby a numberof otherqualities..20 Wolfenstein Otherdifferences in ideologyand in real-life Al. idea of dominanttendenciesor bent (III.1945).Although regarding ment see Albert Guerard..societies.Cf. Philosophyof History (New York: Collier& Son. 196 ff."AmericanSociological namics (4 vols. 16 FranklinFearing. A Studyof History(LonAttitudesand Behavior. "spiritual principle.Toynbee accepts the 17 Wolfenstein and Leites. These conceptions mentof a culture. I.which are reflected derivedlargelyfrom in literature and art.i" Hegel and otherhis. and bothgivensymbolic literary stresses trends." he was enoughof a positivist terms." schauung.Lee & Shepard Co. Radhakamal Mukerjee."The Meaningand Evolution of Art in Society. maturity.. Knopf. 24 Op. organic concept of cultures. Each set ofterms re"Weltan."Influence of the Movies on 15 J.whoare concerned is no indication withtheunity and of change of civilizations.'7 bee. Introduction. 33-34. . P. Academy of Political and Social Science. X (August..THE RELATIONSHIP OF LITERATURE AND SOCIETY 427 that in "race. passim.390. SiegfriedKracauer. G. ArnoldJ. and theirhistorical 19 of English literature H. Sociologyof the Film (London: Faber & Faber. forsuccessful prediction of future in society.2" isticways the attitudes "yin" and "yang" by Toynencesin society." theother dynamstagesin the develop.pp. I. However. 389 ff. Vol. two main phases in the history of and character.'6 meanings bothin theprinciples ofspirit and may pre. 1935)." ouslycalled "culture to contrasting types ofsocieties.method attitudes. unconscious gain access to thecollective include Spengler. F.pp.destiny or motion pictures less. 1900). culture to thelarger patterns All of them itis assumed thatthese identify notwellunderstood." stableand slowto change.literature of severalmixedforms. ITI. A.both derivedfrom formula content. Magic and Mythof the Movies (New York: Henry Holt & Co. 1934-39). therelationship though but there are is complex and certain general agreements.Literature by applying changes 1-21." mannerthan religion.thought. I. at.. For comand time. 1886).by Spengler."5 Morerecent ofthistradirepresentatives as to how makersof films tion. 20 Oswald Spengler. York: HenryHolt & Co. althoughthe latteralso distinguishes By studentsof culture. DismissingSpengler's (November. science. 300-302.and philosophy. of a cultureand social milieuin a more significant "phase" conceptsof culturesin IV. sent interpretive phasesofgrowth.its growth Taine. or. 295. is Spengler carry thesymbolic the most closely identified actually or whether films with Hegelian Neverthe. forwhomtheyare intended.fers mentality. reflect in significant patterns called''culture" and "civili7ation" and sharedexperi. Hegel. theircounterpart between these representatives liebeofmovieor literary yondthescopeof thisarticle. He surveysvarious Review. and which and Leites suggest. as themaster-idea inherent (Boston: Lothrop. I. meaning. New York: A. IV. 378-79. to presentsa manifestand latent look forward literature to the quantification of his as in dreams.. Sorokin.forexample.. 55-102.tic" is a specialtype. IV. 61-99.23 the fundamental realityof a culture. W. ly establish the timespan of a civilization. From Caligari to Hitler (Princeton:PrincetonUniversity Press. of the earlynineteenth Toynbee torical philosophers finds thatartstyles more accuratecenturyas well as fromthe sociologists. 115-34. Literatureand Society environment.. A. Taine. however. Toynbee. History ofEnglish (New his famous triad:race. a population and Sorokin. 21 22 op. op.

Louis Harap.Literature resultwhen artistslack a commonsocial idiom. they Probably dexesas usually as probonly one index among many.vanceand significance and elaborated varywiththesociety has described and other than or culture.In assumed..IV." reveals modeofproduction in material and This conceptionthat reflection life. erature culnotable any that Kroeber uses the hypothesis 33Karl Marx and FriedrichEngels. (Berkeley: 1939). 300-306. nota cause. ties or beliefs-the concept of cultural ideological bya number direct and theliterature per. literature and otherartsmaybe are ascetic.. 52-55. 1949). op. on thesequali. theideas oftheruling ofa culture world outlook are in theessential class. Lit826-28. Social RootsoftheArts(New ofCulture Patterns PublishersCo. p..25 ofMarx and his materialism and avoiding followers. cit. characterof culturesand rising. Harap. Bloch. op. Correspondtural achievementpresupposesadherenceto a cerPublishand whichmay ence. inorientation cal thancultural system who selectthe economic the theories of change of the above trio.tematic dealwith thesubjects culture ideational the madeto designate being attempt Conthe principles interaction. 1944). and are elaborate from and thetechniques ralistic derives version ofreflection Another more sociologi... cit.. VIII (June." AmericanSociological 29 Toynbee. are all of which show essentiallythe same trends. ofreligious sonsand events thestyle sequently.The relationship of economic and theirorganization structure is not causally forms.. topics and events. however. and natu. 820-23. 1947).. complex. as thisformulation cal. Cf. 25 Sorokin. cit.). thestyleis sensual. otherworldly.Social Disorganization Sociology a of the Development A.3' But in thediatheidea expressed overlaps epochtheruling ously andvaluesand thestress lectical process. Marx and Engels points and developed focus recognized of anthropologists.agents-a conclusion individualistic that hardlyseemsas tionaland erotic. As They are a symptom. Repudiating the idea of a master-plan.inevitable implies.Configurations Universityof CaliforniaPress. of Literaryand Art Forms. cit. Sensate ently cannotaccountforshifts thetechniques arerelatively secular. and Art. they are passive..1948). 32 Harap. "Towards Harper & Bros.26 by "the theseexpressed are determined other"ideologies. but the latest edition of their text fails to literary indexes(Mabel Elliott and Francis mention 26 Op. pp. Harap. L.the dialectical although Tomars. ty. Ralph Linton (ed.1934 Elliott and Merrillregardedliterature 679." while Sorokinincludes otherculturalaspects.pp. See also Herbert [3d ed.. though without the out. (New York: p. 1. Bloch presentsa Review.pp. op. A.27 28 Spenglerregardsthe arts as "primephenometureand the artsare alwaysas reliablein.. p. manifested in the class norms itrepresents of ethosemphasizes struggle. sensa.which earlier that every ideas."30 obvi. 45-48). along with comes to almost identicalconclusions by Sorokin. 1936).which whether It is questionable literaSpengler. Growth ofCulture Kroeber. develop and becomeexhausted.. rather thanethosorsoulas theindependent as variable. 475. formal. 30 Karl Marx and Friedrich of literarypatternsor themeswhich classification and Engels. op. 3940. 52.pp. 310-20. class.1945).op. p. essentially static commonplace and skepti. 25. attitudes and an indexofcultural and conventional. 164-68. 16. governing their significance. and art whichreflect specific him. 116. 10-11.pp. 1950]. 392-95.33 is thistrueofartistic greatEspecially relaMarx admitshas no direct philosophicovertonesso conspicuousin ness. in "mentalisimple.I. ."29 hand.whose rele.1846-1895 (New York: International whichare limited tainset ofpatterns ers Co.selects on theother literature.pp.28 Betweenliterature ties probably more systematically to culturalproductstherealso seem to exist eitherSpengleror Toynbee. Literatureand art.p. 39.428 THE AMERICAN JOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY index" ofsocial disorganiably "the mostsignificant zation.According any syswithout interrelationships.such. York: International The ScienceofMan in theWorldCrisis (New York: 31 Karl Marx and FriedrichEngels. cit. 112. realistic. New York: apparbut they change. PublishersCo. The German Press. Cf. cit. of a but reflection the tendencies "art expresses patterns. is symbolic. New AmericanLibrary."32 the integrative and therefore revolutionary arounddominant activi. ColumbiaUniversity Ideology(New York: InternationalPublishersCo.1943). Art(New York: International 27 Ruth Benedict.

. elaborated. of course. of course. 1930). 141-223. writers applicability to American theories and theirreligious seemsof limited theireconomic and thesystem failsto include other as well as the society. Deenced by bothTaine and J. propaganda-unless. Fox.ample. 126-66. 41 op.op..35 the culand thenovel. Calverton. p. The Great Tradition (New York: Macmillan Co. 1945). base. ideasareVeblen. and artistic greatness.37 future literature conactually theeco.tributes which from background nomic it fosters the thatdistinguish able.from whom he derived the concept of economic determinism (III.pp. New York: Harcourt.THE RELATIONSHIP OF LITERATURE AND SOCIETY 429 prothe degreeof social develop. Some are strict forexample. op. 13. 1925). 11-13).. one accepts Brace & Co.38 and negative judgments rathor Hicks. 210-18. Parrington. Clara Zelkin. e Sociology.The NewerSpirit (New York: Boni & Liveright. 125-26. Gordon.basis. As for thenotion that 37Caudwell.pp. Calverton. 1947).4'More recently Gordon on the tionships and expensiveness waste. "Kitty Foyle and theCon- pp.. cit. 39V. there is obviously no 38 Vernon L. The Novel and thePeople (New York: bourgeois flecting theideasand aimsoftheproletarian PublishersCo.36 ideas to theforms classesin theUnitedStates. cit. Cf.. Main Currents in Amer.class struggle themainperiods MuchoftheMarxist writing is full and explored.describes Marxists.. the Marxianorientation has and preofliterature. 1924)."proletarian" describes thana Marxist. it is either wishful thinking orhopeful ican Thought(3 vols. 1934). 18-19.40 ofdoctrinaire less doctrinaire thanCalverton39 analysisor objectivetestof er thanthorough position he tracestheclass and economic The conceptof classes and showshow these "determine" ing of hypotheses.. vii). Illusion and Reality divergent interests. Figures of Transition (New York: Macmillan Co. 1932). Parrington. In methodParrington was influthe wholeheartedly Marxian system. and other shows the intrusion as well. The Theoryof the Leisure derived ortoconsider theinfluence ondrama. classless Parrington. classremains 80. enceof social classeson literature.. 293-98." American Journal of Milton M.43 The problemof how (New York: InternationalPublishers Co.characterand formof theirliterary tionto either ductions. dealingwith severalsocial attemptto relate economic tural traitsthat distinguish respectively. 1947). LIII (November. More comprehensive eraryhistory.for exa liber. tionsofliterary form and expression maybe 35Thorstein Veblen. F. of groupswithconflicting or 36Christopher Caudwell.numberof difficulties. The Liberation ofAmerican Literature (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.34 mentor thetypeof economic One need not. as wellas thecontent influential. International obscure. pp.Reminiscences ofLenin (New mate basis forthe development of literary York: International PublishersCo. 1944]. whichnovelistshave represented poetry and Fox. and competitive classes. al rather to lower-class is questionsolidarity spring there. op. Class (New York: Heubsch. 1933).and howin otherrespects gionaland class differences has not been systematically ofAmerican socialand lit. Harap. and the classlesssocietywill providethe ultiLenin.and illustrates ideas. follow the whohave followers thenumerous Among in investigating the influand applied these Marxian system interpreted. pp. 40 Granville Hicks. writers and artists succeedin reRalph Fox. cit. relaartsand examines interclass of economicmotives. 43LevinL.42 and bourgeois conditions In general. forinstance.. in 1. Caudwell.ofwhichtheclass influence Veblen the subject matterand styleof literature turehas been the mostsuggestive. pp. 168-82. 1939). MacIver'sconcepts of adopting and Hicks. though subjectto a will arise in a beenwidely greatness sume that artistic Whether. Schucking pointsout how heterogeneousaudiences influenced Elizabethan drama (Sociologyof LiteraryTaste [London: Kegan Paul.pp. conspicuous by the accuracywith Caudwell has been impressed characterof aestheticobjects. cit. and political philosophies typesof groupsfromwhichcertainvaria34Literature and Art. Fox.othersadapt and select Marx's corporate on influence their differential on litera. society. cept of Class as Culture. Tomars.

al representations patterns buthe failsto perceive mirror.Cf. history.Richard and Beatrice people in urban settings. youthful in thedirec. Barnett's earlier survey shows more extensiveuse of divorce statisticsand legislationand less awareness of "distortions."47 thefirst typeofreflection described on social rather linewith attention and have focused aspectsof above.pp. 188.cept a historical lag between"public attitudes" and III (August. in relationto a many literary critics. inesinpopularfiction.and and other spitethese These conclusions are largelyin mains that Marx's conceptsare dynamic divorce. 1946). cit.48 another orimplied haveexplored ologists of fifteen hundred moviescurhas arisenevident. cultural thanon themorestrictly and attireflection. is that literature. for example.bias whichtheybelieveto be characteristic forexample.inliterary thesameoccupations.. zine. Barnettand Rhoda Gruen. ofwidespread slantedin thedirection described earlier."Psychiatry. 20). as having trayed at agreewithMarx thattheideas oftheruling as actuallyexistin society portionately. eventhough indeed.p. 1950]. though dominant publicinterests literary yearsseveralsoci. 530-31.and love." AmericanQuarterly.45 Storycontent."exRelationshipbetweenFiction and Society. & index to repression in Eastern cultures("Suppression lead.recognizes fictiondistorting Macmillan Co. Sloan. II [spring. 507-48.thedistortion forsocialproblems. supportthe argument forother inter. 332-37. is an L.who show that Churchill'snovels re50BernardBerelesonand Patricia Salter." Ameri. cit." ''cross sectionof sociallyimportant 49 The Content of Motion Pictures (New York: 41 Guerard.are not reproduced of the distortion the direction thesestudies.. 1942-43.(March." in Radio Research. thathero. tion of distortion Gruen (op. sumption social values or even typical reflects thandesirable in "popular"forms. therefore."Public OpinionQuarterly. 44Ruth Inglis. love. Study of the Popular Novel.) discovera bias towardprofessional 46Op.1938). toward marriage."Majorflectedhumanisticvalues in revoltagainst acquisiAmericans:An Analysisof Magative and business goals ("Winston Churchill: A ity and Minority X (summer Fiction.rather mainlyfiction subjects.althehypothesis class are in every Although time. they pro.Statistical forthey profitable. Cf. of statistical facts. Lowenthalexamines XII [August. analyzing va.12-28). in popular biography ing characters 224-27).spreadattitudes limitations.the content which ofreflection riety and earlythirties. centeringon norms and values. Like Inglis."Biographiesin Popular Maga48 K.norms."Social Forces."46Barnett and Gruen show that American the Sociology of Literature. facts.the eliteand the economically typesof statistical certain arepor.Inglis. This hypothesis and minority Americans. concern mainly crime. Barnett and (op.with suppression Pearce. 1948). tion.XXVI "divorce" novels are sensitiveto "wide. and biography In this case the social "facts": vocational and divorce or "average" situations. Hofstadter. population Berelson and Salter."Recent "certain typical Americanattitudesand Divorce Novels. finds data and a rentin thetwenties sociological accumulated ly from in thedirection ofsensational Theirbasic as. in Westernculturesas compared feldand FrankStanton (New York: Duell. zines.. 1938-1945: A Study in ideals. In viewoftheseseveral versions ofreflecnot actual jobs mirrors thatpopularfiction but rather circumstances or their of women 47JamesH. sex.then.theory composition trends.pp. epochtheruling ideas. Leo Lowenthal.seems to be On thecontrary." people and wealthyratherthan poor.Dale finds is "a dangerously literature that artistic favoring unmarried. "An Objective Approach to the .sinceitpostulates majority version mechanistic to that popularstoriesare biased in favorof correspond data somehow that literary powerful-a data. cit. in fiction. Hsu believesthatliterature Francis LazarsPaul eds. been somewhat in fiction.tudes may not be identical with social thelast fifteen Within EdgarDale. indicate tain traitsof hero and heroine.indirectly.430 THE AMERICAN JOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY thefactre. 1944). 526-31. concerned with is perhapsthe most implied. discovers typesofreflection. for instance. occupations.50 In effect. 1933). theirrepresentation can SociologicalReview.44 a particular ideas less thancerthe resultshave thoughtheyemphasize seems hardlypromising. estsand ideals. observe ofall.1949].49 needsand stresses seems ofemotional and distribu.

jee holdsthat"artis at oncea socialproduct ty"is a misnomer.Psychologically. ofultimate It shouldbe keptin agreement. without and Salter. general orientations and frustraanxieties." social Sociologyand Social Research.finding states.58 More comingto gripswiththe problem social conditionsare responsible for the systematically it is however..also. or influential as mutually fallacy. Brown & Co. that to ly been regarded Mukerof socie. attitudes and ideals.ular literature "'shapes" society. might be checked society and culture has on reflection is avoided emphasis other indexes. ofspecific literary supported existence and popularity and Henry'sinvestiby Warner Andinevitably it stresses gationof Big Sister. the conception pects. cul. op.59 and artistic forms. 4-5. 1944). so thatthedanger The historical from attention its naturally tendedto distract of deducing the "spiritoftheage" from itin itsart5" the thequestion artand then on oftheinfluence ofliterature rediscovering havefrequentbutthetwoconcepts danger which DeVoto calls "the literary society. 3-73.THE RELATIONSHIP OF LITERATURE AND SOCIETY 431 and aesis not tives to exclusively biographical tion. it does not just society.1935).The reliability in place of absolutist and social determinism principles erature and art as indexesof the state of aesthetic against in place ofartistic individualism."55 no evidence thatpoptural thansocial. forexample. 54See Barnett." ibid. Henry. XXXVII (February. Sorokin Inglis."The 52 Bernard DeVoto. 69 W. their itslisteners. norms.1942). ventive It has provided imaginations. as agentsofsocialforces than artists rather as individual or greatmenwithingeniuses 58 "Folk Songs as a Means of Social Control.It has emphasized 57Op.but thatit results in a measure ofsocialcontrol tion to the influence other socialaspectsmight be explored.57 pectsofliterary and BettyWang finds that it of what applies to the folksongsof China. cit. "Folk Songs as Regulatorsof and historical 51SchUcking.and an establishedmeans of social conreflects is specifically turepresumably rather explicitly trol. and directly. .ifliterature differences in aesthetictaste or determine flects.tober.56 one can forrewhat social processesdevelop and sustain mulatetheproposition that. XX (November-December. 53Op. seems to accountfor of literathe reflection theory This "social control"function and certainbroad as. by supporting many the statusquo of American In brief.believes of social wouldseem that the theory in."52 It seems evident. that historically of Art. 1948). 161-66.pp.It has directed attention to thesocial 56Inglis' use of "social control"as a form of "inin fluence"seems to lead to some confusion. so that Theyconclude the external product thatthisdramais essentially minimizeor deny the a minor some investigators play adaptedto a secular morality possible roleoftheartsin socialchange.also. a radioserialdrama.tureis suggested some of the content in the articleby Berelson and artistic styles. It is not clearlyunderstood.. 496. 64-69. olderinsights and established lenging tions. p. and strengthens thenit also confirmns At present cultural and beliefs.. Politics. 188.Research. 124-28.54 someextent thephrase"reflection sincemuch ofwhatlitera. theory XXVI (March-April. the reflection "Social Determination mind. XIX (September-Ocmodesof analysisas alterna... butit releases showsomepossibilities antisocialimpulses. these "entertain" Despite gaps and uncertainties. op.. 1934). whatis calledartistic opposite sidesofthesamecoin." ton:Little. Lloyd Warner and WilliamE. 310-13.preferable to restrict the termto itsmorelimited and of precisecontext. cit. The LiteraryFallacy (BosRadio Daytime Serial: A Symbolic Analysis."Sociology and Social has done valuable servicein chal. cit.culturalrelativism vestigation is needed. Paul Meadows. cit. 11. IV.53 Marx and others have calledatten.. greatness.p.theticapproachesand offered conceptsof entirely uselessbut thatmoreextensive of lit. Genetic Psychological Monographs. tradi"I Op. p. as an artifact. of literature and cultural characteristics It seems additionto its more narrowly formalas.

Carolina Press. those norms and values commonto all warrant ofantiquity.Myth comesinto ed with Trobriandsociety. however. and essentially the same. Ill. 63 Ibid. Waples (Chicago: University of Chicago Press.ranging from comicbooksto stories Although no mention is made of Mali. as .as mayothersubdifferent and importance. thefamily. 64. thatare adaptiveto newconditions. customs. or a through to be limited literature may either social or moralrule demandsjustification.ceremony."63 It thus contributes to social tainwidespread socialbeliefs and practices.: Free Press. and it strengthens and classesor groupsin our societymay select stabilizesthebasic social institution of our and emphasize distinct social and aesthetic society. control play.p. his statements on the roleof mythamong as contrastIn ourcomplex society. ceropposing ancestress. tionsand provides themwithbotha feeling these women would preferprogramsexof beinginstructed and a senseof security pressing values. and strengthens the Groupdifferences. "whenrite. may minimize clude careerwomen the uppermiddle from 64 This conservative effect of literaturemay be class (thecontrol for group). In short."common man. in one may logically expectliterature tions. fiction to orfrom popular nowski inthisstudy." in Magic." as some anthropologists have somedegree and to further their antagonism but waysofinstruction thought. and Film in a Democracy. myths help to stilldoubts eachclassorgroup to theartand responding andcalmfears." yet operate simultafindings ner and Henry are apparently consistent neously. Douglas 62Ibid. It should be tutionsat various social class levels may recognized.Writers satirizebusigroupofpeopledescendent from a common nessmen and businessethics. Print. different social valuesoffamily life."62Myths of originare not "explana. 1948).. thefamily. 93..1937) and in WalterTaylor's The Economic of North Psychology.64 rather thanas a dynamic modern American society.432 THE AMERICAN JOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY seems demonstrated in L. Sociallytheprogram pro. Psychologically. Myths ofdeath.quo in thefamily instiand in other system holdthetheory ofsocialcontrol."6' groups reality. 1942). trawhichsupports society. to though perhaps unintentionally. so that whereasTrobriand the total theliterature mythsaffect theolder.p. 60Ibid. pp. literaturethat confirms its own set of bring down"a vaguebutgreat apprehension values.intheNew Yorker. to the compassof a trivial. Both investigations up. Conservative programs are pointed out by Paul Lazarsfeld in 84-85. to Big ditionalsocial forms may serve as a conSisterare confined to the"common man" of servative force. Such a myth to intergroup conflict and to socialdisunity. or appliedto class or groupcontrol. In the latter and beliefs.. these conclusions recall classicalart. cf. pp. 85-89. K. the Trobriand Islanders.Radio. thatBig Sisterapplies also helpto impede orreducesocialchanges to onlya single socialinstitution.theydo not inSome literature. Science and Religion and Novelin America(Chapel Hill: University aspects ofradio OtherEssays (Glencoe. as Marxiantheory literature indicates.flict. 109. in and jus.expresses. theradiolisteners Moreover. both in psycho.ifthesesetsare to someextent in conty. maytendtoperpetuate thestatusquo ofthe Malinowski's and thoseof War.confirm ecoand strengthen an intrenched logical and in social functions of certain nomicpowerelite. Maintaining the status typesof literature. p. 1942). "Myth in Primitive Windus. ed.groups. for example. "conveys. solidarity and supports the existing social Or. whom theprogram has littleor no appeal. Presumably conspicuousin periods of rapid social change.thuscontribute but not to social solidarity tification of thesocialsystem. and sanctity. however. Knight's Drama and Societyin the Age of Jonson (London: Chatto & 61 Bronislaw Malinowski. forexample. order. domestic reali. may be exfundamental fact of the local unityof the posed and attacked.60 such as members of the upperand motes understanding of the ideals and lower classes. 66-78. he says. 113. then.

Uniform (New York: A. was lateradoptedby the Christian tion.In genThe conceptof socialcontrol. P.altered possibilities."68 by shifts This the degreeof freedom forac. 1951). op. p." (New York: OxfordUniversity Fearing in the history of Western disrupt ture and art.ed States censorship theory have beendirect to attempts plaininga number of directand "hidden" suchmeasures artistic or prevent socialeffects its ofliterature in a complex production soci." thougha fewwereinflu65 Milton Barron. as in theory. Nev. manyoftheseare wellknown.66 In Plato in TheRepublic..or introduce ofan existing socialorder. 537-38."67 In theseand probably output. on whether forms. theareasofsignifi. JournalofSociology.. New JuriJelagin.acterofaesthetic is morelimited. recognition and supportof this works extend and perpetuatevalues anto an emerging socialorder.65 held. RichardStephenson. forinand somemay have been widely contribute to socialmobility. 1947). in similarfashion.children tal to society.It seemspossiblethat.Taming of theArts (New York: E. 1951). p. Knopf. expresand someofthenewvalueswouldpromote Catholicism social sion in sixteenth-century Today.XV 69 Lernerand Mims. 1945). 140. "Conflictand Control Functions of Humor. . Black Boy (10th ed. 1950).1934). the influence nal behavior. Richard Wright. his awarenessof the rangeof thefundamental laws of thestatewouldbe in modesof"music.. op. fordifferent racial groups.Radio." AmericanSociologicalReview. York: WorldPublishing Co.investigations bly the commonest version of reflection."A ContentAnalysisof Inter68 Op. 370-71.70 All cial control seemsinadequate forex.. Cit. 74. Artists in 66Op.88-95..remainedcurrent and found itsstrongest panded. cit.A popularaccount pictured depending as "moldedby movies.. ifnotall. wouldbe increased." as "movieas beneficial has beenregarded or detrimen. 299-301. as in the tanceto students of thegeneral problem of ruptive thefunction ofliterature and artin society.Russia.pp. It had been my accidental reading of (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. portant or to corrupt cultural valuein oursociety.226. ertheless. 217-22. Inglis. 33-38.. ways of lookingand ship see Ruth A.pp. eithercase. (February.thatsomeliterature.especially wellbe considered are moreor less passive and can from theinfluence theory which emphasizes children. but they like humor judgmentsratherthan theories. and literary fiction that had evoked in me Charles A. then.Actually. so 1930'sby thePayne Fund and ofa number studies. and the tithetical particularly by Malinowski and display valuesdisWarner-Henry study. literature as "shaping" society. of the seriesof This was the orientation Its significance is increased by thefactthat on moviessponsored in the it articulates so closelywithwhatis proba. cit. Siepmann. UnitedStates. The theory. MiddleAges.stance.indicatesits impor. cit..circulation. whilein theUnitother waystheso. to a fewaspects. For Americancensor28: "I hungered forbooks. mobility rather thanreconciling one to his in Puritanism. Freedom of the Movies seeing.concept cantmeanings throughout the enlarged. 186-87. Television criticism and Society vague glimpsesof life'spossibilities. behavior where he feared that which he mayacceptorreject. LVI (May." American 70 For Soviet controlof the arts see Tomars. mayrevealto hardyperennial an individual a wide variety Its traditional form was set by of patterns of civilization. society has been a Litera.prescribe on the assumption that some ety-effects thatawaitfurther testing..pp.Since thateachtendsto reinforce theother and to of more recentindependent we shallconupholdinparttheproposition statedearlier.1950). 76..69 controls the charthe SovietUnionstrictly " was assumedthatpeople. 569-75. A. easily be swayed by the stimuliof the artistic fornsto act in given theidea ofliterature as shaping or molding moviesorother usuallytoward immoral orcrimisociety seems to have taken two broad directions.Both are obviouslyvalue made criminals. and hishorizon ex. 67 tends which is an im.THE RELATIONSHIP OF LITERATURE AND SOCIETY 433 or reconcile intergroup conflict. Max Eastman.Dutton & Co. group Humor. may fineourdiscussion as separateand distinct eral.

it leaves unresolved tentto which artistic products maynotonly 71 OurMovieMade Children reflect HenryJ.forexample. Thurstone. beingde.alreadydealt within connection Streets (New York: Macmillan Co. but opposing forces in tramayalso be media-a respect deeplyintrenched presentto cancel or modify of dition. and City ture. L. it is selective. 263-75. 337. are sociallydisruptive indicates apparently manners. 1935)." AmericanSociological Review. Hauser. 516-25.The conception also seemsto manithe effect fears theseinfluences. such as a "fatal 76J.Albert sonality. studies. That The complexity oftheproblem as yetdefies moviesdo have measurable effects on atti. 1933). Cole. 151-71.434 goals. HerbertBlumer and exceedingly great. Guerard. The consensus of all these fest which arise andbecome widespread studies seemsto be thatmovieshave differ. Movies and Conduct (New the traditional claimshave been manyand York: Macmillan Co.television. pervasive seemto find one outletby attackto discover ofa com.prove to be a curious mixture.anxieties theneteffect tempted mercial or by motion picture. Cressey with and FrederickM.although certainlythe tudes of children Thurstone and Peterson naive assumption of a one-directional type clearly demonstrate.however. cit. . for thepower or courtship an enormous respect ofartistic techniques.Whenunderlying and cultural background. in a wholecommunity publicopinion rather curbing their publishersand producers."and thatGoethe's was "reWerther a CommercialMotion Picture upon the Trend of for" a sponsible wave of suicides. upon ing movies or otherartisticforms. p. society to say The bulkoftheevidence from thePayne nothing of theinfluence ofliterature or art. and Crime claim refers to the "moral" value of litera(New York: Macmillan Co. though thebeneficial effects 73Herbert Blumer.. XIV (April. "American Sociological Review. at mayalso be affected is evident from several leastamong socialscientists.72 and that conduct of influence is thoroughly discredited. Forman.76 negative but theproblem It mustbe admitted of the exthatthelarger ques. 1933). M4lovies. 1933). social change but also contribute (New York: Macmillan Co.Boys."EstimatingtheNet Effort of pallor. Motion If the detrimental effects of moviesor Pictures and theSocial Attitudes of Children(New literature on society are stillundetermined. he obtained That this processis a channeling displacement ofanxiety seemspossible."The Motion PictureExperiWhenone examines variousclaims. Thrasher.and on his social ganized. Historically. works have set fashions..during periodsof rapid social and cultural is moreorless disorentialeffects depending on moviecontent. Cressey."JournalofPsychology. 1933). termined primarily by an individual's backThe very persistence of the idea that ground and needs.7' THE AMERICAN JOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY enced to adopt more ideal attitudesand tion of the negative impact of filmson or culture is stillunanswered.1949). a powerwhich XXI (1946).Delinquency. is to the contrary. Weise and Steward G. 72 Ruth C. the social control of but the effects theory. Paul G...74 A person mayfocuson moviesor otherforms of literature and art particular items suchas hairor dressstyles. if not a than on specificindividuals. SisterKenny. Toynbeeand others 75Paul G.. III (August. Movies. one such Philip M. change.73 is andsome"experts" But the influence theideapersists and has not a simplecause-effect as again foundexpression relationship. "A theartsbeyond Study of Children's Attitudes of a may moreappropriately and the influence be classified as inCommercial MotionPicture. Hulett.75 WhenHulettat.adequate testing..states that literary 1938). results. fluence in "shaping"society. whena society on an individual's causesof change needs. 77 Op.they ence as Modified by Social Backgroundand Per.77 He beLocal Public Opinion. York: Macmillan Co. E. Among laymen of the investigations. methods or robbery. Peterson and L. to it. are evenlessso.. have deniedto thearts. their socialcontrol function 74Mildred J. recently concerning commonly assumed. passim.Jr.are obscured or unrecognized.

Daiches. cit. 1947). In fact. IV.both emphasizethe complexity of manity. cit. To the complexity ofa work.. including literatureand art.selvesto scientific test. poratesociety. when we enter intothe spirit of Negroor Polynesian art.79 Essen. of LiteraryInfluence"(unpublishedpaper. cit. ceptions of nationaltypesand thatliterary whether or any other literature kindof art ideaspreceded first in timeor moresuccessand "guided"political move. nomena.. perpetuate such ideals or contribute to cludeat leastthedegree of"refinement" and theiracceptanceby othercultures.achievement means thechief hensively statedsomeapproximate thestature ofa society. p. Gotshalk. cit."85 Consistent withthese judgments oftheartsas thecrowning as contrasted competitive society to a cor. 197-289. limiting prejudices melt Some of theseso-called"influences.Balch Rinehart.away. "bad" influence in. whichin. 86Dewey. theyreston thesamekindofsimpli.which is supposed to have of thepacking teredin othertraditional assertions about "brought about" the reform of art. Auguste Rodin. 212-13. especially houses in 1906. bol of its internal These statements and diffusion of culturalpherefer to the "highest" circulation. pp. 82 Ibid."84 Developing thisthought." deed. sionofcertain at maintaining typesofliterature orartmay. sityofBuffalo). fied notionof causation as those for the example. Mead & Co..thosepertaining and to personalcharacter JohnDewey.80 Sorokin has morecompre. Cf. op.pp. ofbrotherhood. op.for tially. 294-95. W. by Up. a symuniform.Perhaps theartshelp volves a numberof conditions..extentthat theyreinforce thesevalues in ture or subculture being "influenced. has produced thecon. however."penetrates" cultural mentsand reforms.. ideal humanexistence. thenatureofthecul. pp.these the "shaping" influence claims havenotbeensubstantiated.82 As Eastmanpointsout.they would presumably pertypeof communication system beingused. Albert R... p. Gotshalk sionas related thatthefine which have declares artsare "an indispento socialchange.are mainly problems ofcultural diffu. theevaluation ofcivilization. even if true. 1934).it is clearly workssuc-h not the merely of the workof art itself.. 51. op.. Art (New York: Dodd. 202 ff. pp. As Sorokin points out. 203.forothers. 282-88. 345. Chandler. 334 ff.. though and sometimes forcertain theamount and character elitegroups of probably morethan coercion orforce thatis applied. ent attempts this supreme evaluation oftheartsareprimarily directed 78Ibid. the religious essentially conception such processes. 80 Op. formthe social controlfunction..then. p.pp.ofmeasuring ities of spatial displacement. Gotshalk.are dissolved." culturalideals forindividuals and forhuAgain." Donald Grant Beauty and Human Nature (New York: Appletoncame to similarconclusions in "The Jungle:A Study CenturyCo. 7-9.op.thepresThe diffu.88 mobility. beendealtwith of congruity Tomars and Sorokin. 141-23. sable foundation of feeling or by both betweenindividualsand amongothers." the our culture. pp. 1928).83 UncleTom'sCabinand TheJungle. Art and the Social Order well known. Op. 210. be involved However. 10.p.. 1932) Sinclair acknowledgesthat he is supposed to have helped clean up the stockyards & Co. cit. insists that.THE RELATIONSHIP OF LITERATURE AND SOCIETY 435 lievesthatliterature in socialchange. powerand worth. .78 objectsor ideas is Similarclaims have fullythanother been made about particular as doubtful. p. 84Artas Experience(New York: Minton. Edman. pp. 81 791 In American Outpost (New York: Farrar & 83 Ibid.Materialson Uncle Tom's Cabin are 86D. 1934). Obviously theyare notforwhether or art forms"penetrate" mulated in ways that would lend themliterary socialclass or a different another culture in.function Much the same difficulty is encounton Sinclair. Tomarshas concentrated on social solidarity interclass currents and fashions of art in a peoples. (Chicago: Universityof Chicago Press. "barriers ofthemovies. Univer. but insists"this is mostlydelusion.

"87 To define theproblem in thisway would be to investigate the historical and origins thesocialstructures thatsupport and maintain the highcultural value placed on the arts-the finearts especially. Can Science Save Us? (New York: Longmans. 87 Max preachersand radio wrights. The Literary Mind (New York: CharlesScribner's Sons. 89 H. Wright Mills (eds.which ofindependent and whichtake over tensionwithreligion salvation. Lundare today bergthinks that "social relations managedon the basis ofwhat poets.. Today their position is beingundermined by the encroachments of experimental science.89 theoretical and practical UNIVERSITY OF BUFFALO 88 George A.Green& Co. From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology(New York: Oxford Press." "the function of a this-worldly of pressures especially fromthe increasing rationalism. 1932).playEastman. once rated low in the social scale as "the ofuseful vulgar pursuit knowledge.436 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY at preserving the highstatusof embattled men-of-letters. University . arein dynamic values. ofhuman nature to be principles experience. tracemoreclearlythe extentto whichart a cosmos as Max Weberstates. in comparison to other kinds ofcultural interest. research will Future and human relations. pp. 1946). 342. Gerthand C. who seek to recapturethe position they enjoyed inthepast. has become.literature.). p. Lundberg. H. p. 1947).on thebasis off4kcommentators limited personal and highly lore. 63. journalists.when their association with religionand "superior" knowledge gaveto theartssingular prestige. but popular arts as well-and to assess theireffects on socialbehavior in manygroups. 36-53. assume."88 of thisstatethe truth no doubtdetermine and eventually we mayalso be able to ment.

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