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Surfing the Zeitgeist is a collection of essays by Britain’s preeminent post-modernist. Confronted with a world in which too much is changing too fast, the attitude of most British critics is simply to ignore the fact that today’s culture is in a state of constant ebullience and continue turning out, or churning out, week after week, month after month, the kind of article, a complacent conflation of artistic impressions, that could have been written thirty, fifty or a hundred years ago. Gilbert Adair is a critic with a difference. Witty, perspicacious and in love with language, he is prepared to engage with the multifarious realities of our culture – culture in the least restricted sense of the word. He is prepared to embrace them, if not unconditionally, then at least without encumbering hinself with any twinges of nostalgia for the past’s redundant credos and repertories. The essays which make up this collection – on subjects as various as postmodernism and pop music, AIDS and art movies, Tintin and the Titanic – thus constitute a uniquely stimulating record of the nineties and, like the cool, glinting surfaces of a Calder mobile, reflect the most significant fragments of our cultural agenda.
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