In In Search of Lost Time, Proust describes a high society that grudgingly allows entrance to literary figures, as long as they are witty and entertaining, however pays no consideration to their works. Indeed, Marcel is shocked by how distant many writers are from the heights of the modern society they write about, and by how shortly a author is dropped by high society if he starts to talk of intellectual matters. Over the course of the twentieth century, three developments gathered energy. The first was the rising proportion of jobs screened for top academic ability as a result of superior degree of schooling they require—engineers, physicians, attorneys, school teachers, scientists, and the like.
The concept of anti-intellectualism has changed and advanced over time, without one single definition. Preeti Gupta is Director of Youth Learning and Research on the American Museum of Natural History. She earned her Ph.D. in Urban Education from the City University of New York Graduate Center.