Critiquing the arcades of nineteenth-century Paris--glass-roofed rows of shops that served as early malls--the author, who wrote the work in the 1920s and 1930s, covers thirty-six still-trenchant topics, including fashion, boredom, photography, advertising, and prostitution, among others.
Benjamin's famous “Work of Art” essay sets out his boldest thoughts—on media and on culture in general—in their most realized form, while retaining an edge that gets under the skin of everyone who reads it. In this essay the visual arts of the machine age morph into literature and theory and then back again to images, gestures, and thought. This essay, however, is only the beginning of a vast collection of writings that the editors have assembled to demonstrate what was revolutionary about Benjamin's explorations on media. Long before Marshall McLuhan, Benjamin saw that the way a bullet rips into its victim is exactly the way a movie or pop song lodges in the soul. This book contains the second, and most daring, of the four versions of the “Work of Art” essay—the one that addresses the utopian developments of the modern media. The collection tracks Benjamin's observations on the media as they are revealed in essays on the production and reception of art; on film, radio, and photography; and on the modern transformations of literature and painting. The volume contains some of Benjamin's best-known work alongside fascinating, little-known essays—some appearing for the first time in English. In the context of his passionate engagement with questions of aesthetics, the scope of Benjamin's media theory can be fully appreciated.
The nineteenth century is central to contemporary discussions of visual culture. This reader brings together key writings on the period, exploring such topics as photographs, exhibitions and advertising.
'Benjamin's Arcades' is an innovative text for students and specialists on the intellectual and political context of Walter Benjamin's unfinished masterpiece, 'The Arcades Project'. It includes a special 'convoluted index' to aid the reader in discovering recurrent themes and ideas, both in the book itself and Benjamin's methods.
Taking as its starting point four contemporary visual artists whose work utilizes the conventions of museum display and collecting practices, Memory Fragments examines how these artists have reconfigured dominant representations of Australian history and identity, including viewpoints often marginalized by gender and race. Echoing Walter Benjamin's reflections on history and time, this interdisciplinary volume will be of interest to scholars working in the arts as well as modern and postmodern cultural studies.
Walter Benjamin is often viewed as a cultural critic who produced a vast array of brilliant, idiosyncratic pieces of writing with little more to unify them than the feeling that they all bear the stamp of his “unclassifiable” genius. Eli Friedlander finds an overarching coherence and a deep-seated commitment to engage the philosophical tradition.
This book provides a highly original approach to the writings of the twentieth-century German philosopher Walter Benjamin by one of his most distinguished readers. It develops the idea of "e;working with"e; Benjamin, seeking both to read his corpus and to put it to work - to show how a reading of Benjamin can open up issues that may not themselves be immediately at stake in his texts. The defining elements in Benjamin's writings that Andrew Benjamin isolates - history, experience, translation, technical reproducibility and politics - are put to work; that is, their utility is established in engaging the works of others. The question is how utility is understood. As Andrew Benjamin argues, utility involves demonstrating the different ways in which Benjamin is a central thinker within the project of understanding the nature of modernity. This is best achieved by noting connections and points of differentiation between his work and the writings of Adorno and Heidegger. However, the more demanding project is that 'working with' Benjamin necessitates deploying the implicit assumptions within his writings as well as demanding of his formulations more than is provided by their initial presentation. What is at stake is not the application of Benjamin's thought. Rather what counts is its use. Working with Benjamin engages with the themes central to Benjamin's work with deftness, daring and critical insight while at the same time situating those themes within current academic and cultural debates.
Offers a sustained meditation on the role of interruption in modernity. This book departs from and elaborates an important but overlooked dimension of Walter Benjamin's discourse: the question of style as it bears upon temporality and spatiality. This work suggests that the time has come to revise existing paradigms.