Whatever Happened to High Culture?
In the day when high culture reigned, commercial success for an artist, at any rate in his lifetime, was a near-guarantee that his work didn’t qualify as high culture. How could he be read or heard or viewed and enjoyed by a mass audience and still be serious? Even winning a Nobel Prize in Literature could subtract from one’s prestige. Think of all the great writers who failed to win one—Tolstoy, Henry James, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, Vassily Grossman, and others—and how superior a club they constitute next to that containing so many of the rather cloddish figures who have won it.
Read the rest of Joseph Epstein in The Weekly Standard.