The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, And Other Writings on Media

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-05-31
  • Publisher: Harvard Univ Pr

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Benjaminrs"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 Benjaminrs"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 Benjaminrs"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 Benjaminrs"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 Benjaminrs"s media theory can be fully appreciated.

Table of Contents

A Note on the Textsp. ix
Editors' Introductionp. 1
The Production, Reproduction, and Reception of the Work of Art
The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility: Second Versionp. 19
Theory of Distractionp. 56
To the Planetariump. 58
Garlanded Entrancep. 60
The Rigorous Study of Artp. 67
Imperial Panoramap. 75
The Telephonep. 77
The Author as Producerp. 79
Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Centuryp. 96
Eduard Fuchs, Collector and Historianp. 116
Review of Sternberger's Panoramap. 158
Script, Image, Script-Image
Attested Auditor of Booksp. 171
These Surfaces for Rentp. 173
The Antinomies of Allegorical Exegesisp. 175
The Ruinp. 180
Dismemberment of Languagep. 187
Graphology Old and Newp. 192
Painting and Graphics
Painting and the Graphic Artsp. 219
On Painting, or Sign and Markp. 221
A Glimpse into the World of Children's Booksp. 226
Dream Kitschp. 236
Moonlit Nights on the Rue La Boetiep. 240
Chambermaids' Romances of the Past Centuryp. 243
Antoine Wiertz: Thoughts and Visions of a Severed Headp. 249
Some Remarks on Folk Artp. 254
Chinese Paintings at the Bibliotheque Nationalep. 257
News about Flowersp. 271
Little History of Photographyp. 274
Letter from Paris (2): Painting and Photographyp. 299
Review of Freund's Photographie en France au dix-neuvieme sieclep. 312
On the Present Situation of Russian Filmp. 323
Reply to Oscar A. H. Schmitzp. 328
Chaplinp. 333
Chaplin in Retrospectp. 335
Mickey Mousep. 338
The Formula in Which the Dialectical Structure of Film Finds Expressionp. 340
The Publishing Industry and Radio
Journalismp. 353
A Critique of the Publishing Industryp. 355
The Newspaperp. 359
Karl Krausp. 361
Reflections on Radiop. 391
Theater and Radiop. 393
Conversation with Ernst Schoenp. 397
Two Types of Popularity: Fundamental Reflections on a Radio Playp. 403
On the Minutep. 407
Indexp. 411
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