Mass-produced, fake, sentimental, easily digestible: when we think of kitsch these elements often come to mind. Furthermore, kitsch is almost always associated with material culture, but in Daniel Tiffany‘s new book, My Silver Planet: A Secret History of Poetry and Kitsch (John Hopkins University Press, 2014), the author complicates our notions of kitsch by entangling it with the modern development of poetry. By analyzing the ballad-revival of the eighteenth-century and moving the reader through modernism and then right into the avant-garde, Tiffany shows us how poetic kitsch serves as a bridge between elite and vernacular cultures. In My Silver Planet, Tiffany has given us an ambitious genealogy of kitsch and its crucial relationship to diction, showing us how language itself complicates class distinctions, divides and unifies disparate cultural energies, and leaves us to wonder exactly what we mean – what are the social and political implications – when we describe anything as kitsch.
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