“Studies in a Dying Culture”


by Ralph Dumain
“The escort service of the intellect”

Dedicated to Christopher Caudwell (1907-1937)
(Pseudonym of Christopher St. John Sprigg)
Martyr of the Spanish Civil War

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Rouze up O Young Men of the New Age! set your foreheads
against the ignorant Hirelings! For we have Hirelings in the
Camp, the Court, & the University: who would if they could,
forever depress Mental & prolong Corporeal War.

— William Blake, Preface to Milton


“Everybody wants to get into the act!” Even the culture of critique is overloaded, as the dumbing down of America gets more lowdown than anyone imagined possible, and American culture scrapes the dirt way below the bottom of the barrel. Yet no one manages to dig deep enough to undermine this process. The benumbed and demoralized general populace remains uncritical as ever, but what of critical culture? Can critique be reduced to an algorithm? Can critique mystify as well as reveal? Is it possible to escape being overwhelmed by the propaganda environment? How does one climb out from under layers piled upon ideological layers? How to think one’s way out of this morass? How to escape the confines of popular, middlebrow, and academic culture? How to avoid entrapment and stasis, and creatively surmount the limitations of the age? With these thoughts as well as reservations I approach the already bloated blog culture. This cultural crisis is not just a replay of the 1930s, but aside from taking note of discomfiting historical parallels, we can pay tribute to the courageous resistance of the past. Christopher Caudwell’s Studies in a Dying Culture (1938) and Further Studies in a Dying Culture (1949) were my inspiration when I first publicly spoke on this crisis in December 1988, a year that was a turning point for me. My framework has since grown more sophisticated, but the political decline of the USA has now reached crisis proportions. Hence again I borrow Caudwell’s title for my own. (RD—10 July 2006)



Reason's Greetings

December 2006

November 2006

October 2006

September 2006
August 2006

July 2006


“I labour upwards into futurity.”
— William Blake?, 1796
[Keynes, 262]

5 January 2007

Reason's Greetings

I am still behind the curve in blog culture. The two primitive blogs on this site have hitherto lacked proper blogware and interactivity. I have long needed to do something to make this blog more state-of-the-art, not to mention more attractive. Suggestions are welcome, but I have taken the first step, by using Blogger to re-organize this blog on my own site. It will take some time to replicate the archives at the new location, but for future blog entries, please go to the new location:

Studies in a Dying Culture

I have started yet a third blog on another site, devoted to conceptual and sociological issues concerning religion, superstition, atheism, freethought, and secularism:

Reason & Society
Blog (current location)

Note: this blog was originally set up on this site, where initial entries with all readers' comments remain:

Reason & Society
Blog (former location)



On this site:

Christopher Caudwell: Selected Bibliography

Emergence Blog

The Frankfurt School: Philosophy in Relation to Social Theory, Cultural Theory, Science, and Interdisciplinary Research.
Phase 1: Horkheimer, Adorno, and Marcuse in the 1930s.
Study Group Syllabus

Ideology Study Guide

Irony, Humor, & Cynicism Study Guide

Links to Philosophical & Related Web Sites
(also critical thinking links)

Positivism vs Life Philosophy (Lebensphilosophie) Study Guide

Marx and Marxism Web Guide

Blog archives:


December 2006

November 2006

October 2006

September 2006

August 2006

July 2006

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Blog started 10 July 2006
This archive started 5 January 2007
Last updated 29 October 2007

©2006-2007 Ralph Dumain