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The posture of contempt

Roger Scruton's exhilarating tirade against modern culture recommends taking refuge in high art. But art won't tell you how to live

By Ivan Hewett   February 1999

This book could have been predicted. Roger Scruton, the scourge of everything fashionable, could not be content with anathematising modern culture piecemeal. The time had to come when his enjoyable onslaughts on trendy cultural relativism, deconstruction, pop music and modern architecture would at last be gathered together in one annihilating blast.

But his new book is more than a denunciation. It is a lament for the passing of high bourgeois culture, and a search for its roots in the primordial experience of cult and community. What Scruton claims to offer is a theory of culture, but really it is a…

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