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The Architecture and Cultural Hegemony in the First Industrial Nation <Article>
Victorians created a new industrial world-the First Industrial Nation. But, at the same time, they were facinated with antiquarianism. The First Industrial Nation saw many buildings built with the architectural styles of the past, such as Greek and Gothic.
So, it is very important to clarify the meaning and function of the past in the modern industrial world. According to M. J. Wiener, the middle class acceptance of the Gothic style marked the beginning of a yielding by its new men to the cultural hegemony of the old aristocracy. On the other hand, C. Dellheim asserts that middle class businessmen appropriated Gothic style to create pedigree for their values and legitimize their quest for hegemoney. That is to say, he says that they engineered a cultural coup.
I can't agree with these interpretations. Examing the main sources, the articles in Westminster Review, Edinburgh Review, Quarterly Review and Blackwood's Magazine, I found that Victorians, recognizing the prestige of the past and the weakness of the cultural power to translate the industrial power into a distinct cultural expression, managed to reconcil "the new"-the modern industrial world and "the old"-the pre industrial, hierachical world. Within this framework of the reconciliation of "the new" with "the old", Victorians, using the architectural styles of the past, tryed to create the architecture which can satisfy "the modern needs".