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

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Harvard University Press, 2008 - Social Science - 426 pages

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.


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The work of art in the age of its technological reproducibility, and other writings on media

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This essay collection by German literary critic and philosopher Benjamin (1892-1940) covers his theories on the relationships between and among culture, history, and art media. The editors have chosen ... Read full review

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"Technological reproducibility," eh? A new translation! Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was the author of many works of literary and cultural analysis.

Michael W. Jennings is Class of 1900 Professor of Modern Languages at Princeton University.

Brigid Doherty is Associate Professor of German and of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University.

Thomas Y. Levin is Associate Professor of German at Princeton University.

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