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Used colloquially as a noun or adjective, highbrow is synonymous with intellectual; as an adjective, it also means elite, and generally carries a connotation of high culture. The word draws its metonymy from the pseudoscience of phrenology, and was originally simply a physical descriptor. "Highbrow" can be applied to music, implying most of the classical music tradition and much of post-bebop jazz;Henry T. Finck wrote of Percy Grainger, "Highbrow jazz, in the widest and most flattering meaning of the word, reaches its pinnacle in such works as his In a Nutshell" (quoted in Karl Koenig, Jazz in print (1856-1929): an anthology of selected early readings, 2002:347); "Parker took that melody of the black masses and filtered it through his polyrhythms and technical virtuosity, turning it into a highbrow jazz feature" (Cornel West, "Black Postmodernist practices" in John Storey, ed., Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: A Reader, 1998:389 to literature, i.e. literary fiction; to films in the arthouse line; and to comedy that requires significant understanding of analogies or references to appreciate. As the former buzzword highbrow has lost some currency and sounds slightly passé, its use now gives an impression of mild irony."...such crude labels as 'highbrow', 'middlebrow' 'lowbrow' (Lawrence W. Levine, "Prologue", Highbrow/lowbrow: the emergence of cultural......
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