• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

In this book, one of the most accomplished and thoughtful cultural commentators of the day, considers the contradictory nature of cultural relations. Elizabeth Wilson explores these themes through an examination of fashion, feminism, consumer culture, representation and postmodernism. Debates within feminism on the nature and effects of pornography are used to illustrate a particular kind of cultural contradiction. Wilson recognizes that postmodernism permitted the reappropriation of subjects that were not previously considered worthy of attention, or opposed to the idea of emancipation, chief among these was fashion. She shows that the association of an interest in this culturally significant subject with a revisionist project raises doubt

Looking Backward: Urban Nostalgia
Looking backward: Urban nostalgia

Ay, in the very temple of delight

Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine.

John Keats, ‘Ode on Melancholy’

For a few years in the 1960s I left London to live in the Midlands city of Leicester. To return thirty years later in very different circumstances, to address a conference, naturally awoke a sense of the past and of change. More unexpectedly, I experienced a feeling of warmth towards a city I had disliked and where I had not been happy. Indeed, the visit was more than a trip to a no-longer-existing past. It was also an encounter with a long-vanished self. And it was filled with a sense of nostalgia.

This ghost of my past self was someone I did not wish ...

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