Advertising and popular culture — страница 15

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Martin Chuzzlewit, Bleak House, and Our Mutual Friend), advertising figures prominently. In Sketches by Boz he wrote: "...all London is a circus of poster and trade bill, a receptacle for the writings of Pears and Warren's until we can barely see ourselves underneath. Read this! Read that!" Dickens knew intimately of what he wrote. Before establishing himself as a novelist, he worked in Warren's blacking factory where shoe polish was manufactured. It seems that he sometimes helped write the copy for advertisements and that for a while he was placed in a window polishing shoes as a form of advertising. Later, when he wrote his novels, the power and presence of factory work and the promotion of goods played significant roles. In addition, Dickens engaged with advertising

yet another way by taking great interest in the advertising of his own novels—choosing or writing ads for them. The great popularity of his stories led to the incorporation of many of his characters into a broad range of advertisements in ways that are familiar today. Player's cigarettes issued in 1912 a set of trade cards (one inserted in each pack of cigarettes) for Dickens's characters. Various commercial products mimicked the style or used the name of one or more of his characters—from Dolly Vardon aprons to chintz fabrics emboldened with Dickensiana. This trend continues even today as various brands make reference to "A Christmas Carol" or ask "Oliver Twist." The American author Henry James similarly engaged advertising in his novels. The American

stage for spectacle, exaggeration, and outrageous claims was set earlier in the 19th century by P.T. Barnum and his extravagant and outlandish publicity for his traveling shows, circus, and museum. An America that succumbed to Barnum and unchecked advertising claims of every sort fascinated James. This fascination is reflected in his novels. According to Wicke, James's own style of fiction "bears a confessed kinship to the melodramatics of advertising." His late work The American Scene (1907) takes up the subject of the consumer society. His book commemorates the trip he took in 1904, after returning from twenty years in Europe, a "pilgrim" come to see his own native land. The patchwork of places and sights—St. Augustine, Newport, the Waldorf-Astoria,

Hoboken—may seem impressionistic renderings of his journey, but above all the text explores the phenomenon of a capitalist culture that has come into its own since his departure.43 Irish author James Joyce, like Dickens before him, wrote advertisements at an early stage of his career. (He ran a film theatre and often wrote the ads for it.) It is his masterful Ulysses (1922) that directly conjoins literature and advertising. Leopold Bloom, the central character in the novel, works as an advertising canvasser thus occasioning many references to advertisements in the novel. More profoundly, "the constantly unfurling 'stream of consciousness' that is Bloom's narrative style is largely made up of his 'mind' wending its way through the eddies, currents, and shorelines of

advertising or advertised goods." Many literary theorists have recently noted connections like those above between literature and the culture of consumption for which advertising is the mouthpiece. The James Joyce Quarterly asserts that advertising influenced the writer at least as much as Thomas Aquinas, Dante, or Shakespeare did.44 Other writers like George Eliot and Sherwood Anderson have been studied for their connections to advertising discourse as well. Eliot's Middlemarch (1871-2) contains passages reflective of Bloom's interior monologues about consumer goods in Ulysses.45 Anderson himself had a long career in advertising before writing his many observations about its practices. Thus, what all these connections between literature and advertising show is the

impossibility of maintaining any strict division between the "high" culture of literature and the mass culture of advertising. Some writers of great literature were also authors of many advertisements to which and from which they took their style of writing. More importantly, many influential writers have brought advertising into their stories in order to analyze the role of advertising in society. Finally, the study of literature has opened itself to the examination of many kinds of non-canonical texts such as advertisements in order to understand the culture that generates them. Advertising and Art The relationship between advertising and art is even more intimate than that with literature. Over the centuries, artists have been hired to paint signboards, shop walls,