Mapping Benjamin: The Work of Art in the Digital Age

Overview

“Mapping Benjamin not only distinguishes itself in format, scope, and tone from the mass of Benjamin books published each year, it provides an up-to-date snapshot of the humanities. This lucidly written book uses Benjamin to chart the parameters of a force field of contemporary intellectual efforts, across disciplines and other divides.” —Eva Geulen,New York University

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Overview

“Mapping Benjamin not only distinguishes itself in format, scope, and tone from the mass of Benjamin books published each year, it provides an up-to-date snapshot of the humanities. This lucidly written book uses Benjamin to chart the parameters of a force field of contemporary intellectual efforts, across disciplines and other divides.” —Eva Geulen,New York University

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Mapping Benjamin not only distinguishes itself in format, scope, and tone from the mass of Benjamin books published each year, it provides an up-to-date snapshot of the humanities. This lucidly written book uses Benjamin to chart the parameters of a force field of contemporary intellectual efforts, across disciplines and other divides." —Eva Geulen,New York University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804744362
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2003
  • Series: Writing Science Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht is Albert Guérard Professor of Literature and Professor in the Departments of French and Italian, Comparative Literature, Modern Thought and Literature, and Spanish and Portuguese at Stanford University. Michael Marrinan is Associate Professor of Art History at Stanford University.

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Table of Contents

Editors' Preface
Aura: The Unique Appearance of Distance 9
History: Aesthetics of Media: What Is the Cost of Keeping Benjamin Current? 24
Replication: There Are No Mass Media 30
Technology: Connecting Benjamin: The Aesthetic Approach to Technology 39
Aesthetics: History After Film 53
Aura: Digitized Analogies 63
History: The Photomonteur Recycled: A Benjaminian Epilogue to Heartfield's 1991 Berlin Retrospective 71
Technology: From Aura-Loss to Cyberspace: Further Thoughts on Walter Benjamin 79
Authenticity: How to Make Mistakes on So Many Things at Once - And Become Famous for It 91
Fetish: Between Goethe's and Spielberg's "Aura": On the Utility of a Nonoperational Concept 98
History: From Mechanical Reproduction to Electronic Representation 109
Presence: Aura Hysterica or the Lifted Gaze of the Object 114
Apparatus: "The Cameraman and Machine Are Now One": Walter Benjamin's Frankenstein 133
Presence: Concerning Two "Encounters" with Walter Benjamin: The Reproducibility of Art 142
Ritual: Air From Other Planets Blowing: The Logic of Authenticity and the Prophet of the Aura 147
Technology: What Is Mechanical Reproduction? 158
Absence: The Destruction of Representation: Walter Benjamin's Artwork Essay in the Present Age 179
Aura: Text-Critical Remarks et Alia 188
Apparatus: Toward the Artwork Essay, Second Version 203
Aura: The Reverent Gaze: Toward the Cultic Function of the Artwork in the Premodern and the Postmodern Age 211
History: Walter Benjamin In the Information Age? On the Limited Possibilities for a Defetishizing Critique of Culture 221
Politics: Media Theory After Benjamin and Brecht: Neo-Marxist? 230
Apparatus: Museums of the Present: Rimbaud Reads Benjamin 249
Aura: The End of Aura? 256
Presence: A Commonplace in Walter Benjamin 269
Technology: If It Were Only for Real 274
Authenticity: The Flip Side 291
Fetish: Post-Benjaminian 301
History: Pieta 310
Ritual: Confronting Benjamin 318
Bibliography 325
Indexes: Names and Titles 337
Concepts 343
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Recipe

Since its publication in 1936, Walter Benjamin’s “Artwork” essay has become a canonical text about the status and place of the fine arts in modern mass culture. Benjamin was especially concerned with the ability of new technologies—notably film, sound recording, and photography—to reproduce works of art in great number. Benjamin could not have foreseen the explosion of imagery and media that has occurred during the past fifty years.
Does Benjamin’s famous essay still speak to this new situation? That is the question posed by the editors of this book to a wide range of leading scholars and thinkers across a spectrum of disciplines in the humanities. The essays gathered here do not hazard a univocal reply to that question; rather they offer a rich, wide-ranging critique of Benjamin’s position that refracts and reflects contemporary thinking about the ethical, political, and aesthetic implications of life in the digital age.

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