Elizabeth Wilson is one of our most radical cultural critics. In Cultural Passions she transcends the division between 'high' and 'low' culture, exploring the emotional commitment people bring to the books, performances, objects and rituals in which they find meaning and challenging an enduring suspicion of the pleasure of the aesthetic.
Ranging from Marcel Proust to tarot readings, from urban planning to interiors, Elizabeth Wilson investigates an underlying Puritanism in critical commentary on matters as wide ranging as Roger Federer and C S Lewis, Surrealism and fashion and the relationship of religion to fan culture.
She questions why pleasure appears suspect, even as consumer society incites it and turns life into entertainment. She questions why there is such fear of elitism when at the same time the fans of mass culture are held in contempt. Subverting conventional views, her oblique point of view provides startling insights on both familiar and marginal cultural experiences.