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

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

Pub. Date:
Harvard University Press
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The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674024458
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 05/28/2008
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 298,747
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

  • A Note on the Texts
  • Editors’ Introduction

    I. The Production, Reproduction, and Reception of the Work of Art
  1. The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility: Second Version
  2. Theory of Distraction
  3. To the Planetarium
  4. Garlanded Entrance
  5. The Rigorous Study of Art
  6. Imperial Panorama
  7. The Telephone
  8. The Author as Producer
  9. Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century
  10. Eduard Fuchs, Collector and Historian
  11. Review of Sternberger’s Panorama

  12. II. Script, Image, Script-Image
  13. Attested Auditor of Books
  14. This Space for Rent
  15. The Antinomies of Allegorical Exegesis
  16. The Ruin
  17. Dismemberment of Language
  18. Graphology Old and New

  19. III. Painting and Graphics
  20. Painting and the Graphic Arts
  21. On Painting, or Sign and Mark
  22. A Glimpse into the World of Children’s Books
  23. Dream Kitsch
  24. Moonlit Nights on the Rue La Boétie
  25. Chambermaids’ Romances of the Past Century
  26. Antoine Wiertz: Thoughts and Visions of a Severed Head
  27. Some Remarks on Folk Art
  28. Chinese Paintings at the Bibliothèque Nationale

  29. IV. Photography
  30. News about Flowers
  31. Little History of Photography
  32. Letter from Paris (2): Painting and Photography
  33. Review of Freund’s Photographie en France au dix-neuvième siècle

  34. V. Film
  35. On the Present Situation of Russian Film
  36. Reply to Oscar A. H. Schmitz
  37. Chaplin
  38. Chaplin in Retrospect
  39. Mickey Mouse
  40. The Formula in Which the Dialectical Structure of Film Finds Expression

  41. VI. The Publishing Industry and Radio
  42. Journalism
  43. A Critique of the Publishing Industry
  44. The Newspaper
  45. Karl Kraus
  46. Reflections on Radio
  47. Theater and Radio
  48. Conversation with Ernst Schoen
  49. Two Types of Popularity: Fundamental Reflections on a Radio Play
  50. On the Minute

  • Index

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