Cinema and Experience: Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and Theodor W. Adorno (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism)

Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and Theodor W. Adorno—affiliated via friendship, expert ties, and argument—developed an astute philosophical critique of modernity within which technological media performed a key function. This ebook explores intensive their reflections on cinema and images from the Weimar interval as much as the Nineteen Sixties. Miriam Bratu Hansen brings to lifestyles a magnificent archive of identified and, when it comes to Kracauer, much less identified fabrics and divulges incredible views on canonic texts, together with Benjamin’s paintings essay. Her lucid research extrapolates from those writings the contours of a conception of cinema and adventure that speaks to questions being posed anew as relocating photograph tradition evolves in accordance with electronic technology.

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The next chapters flow outward from the textual physique (or our bodies) of the paintings essay, focusing in its place on key ideas both found in all types, resembling air of secrecy, self-alienation, and the optical subconscious, or lower from the second one (first typewritten) model of 1936, akin to innervation, play, and, to not be forgotten, the determine of Mickey Mouse. i'm going to hint those thoughts via Benjamin’s paintings of the encompassing interval, really his writings on surrealism, cannabis, images, and the “mimetic faculty,” on Proust, Kafk a, and Baudelaire, in addition to the Arcades undertaking. certainly one of my targets is to defamiliarize the paintings essay, reconsider its claims extra more often than not, and make it to be had for various readings. the opposite, higher objective is much less a devoted reconstruction of what Benjamin acknowledged approximately movie and the technological media (though that, too) than an try and extrapolate from his observations and speculations parts of a Benjaminian thought of cinema, of a media aesthetics and politics in his extended experience of either phrases, that may nonetheless declare reality. THE paintings ESSAY: TEXTUAL suggestions, CONCEPTUAL CASUALTIES there has been by no means a time while Benjamin’s paintings essay used to be no longer arguable— from the instant the typewritten, “second” model (the first was once a handwritten draft) arrived on Horkheimer’s table and provoked Adorno’s significant reaction of March 18, 1936; throughout the cuts imposed by way of Horkheimer at the essay’s first publication—translated into French by means of Pierre Klossowski—in the Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung (vol. five. 1, 1936); to the revised, “third” German model, which remained a piece in development as overdue as 1939 and seemed merely posthumously in Illuminationen (1955), edited by way of Adorno and Friedrich Podszus. 28 There it rested till the overdue sixties whilst Benjamin’s writings have been chanced on through the German new left and scholar stream. 29 The paintings essay turned anything of a crimson flag, in a literal feel, held up as a innovative replacement to Horkheimer and Adorno’s pessimistic critique of the “culture undefined” in Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944; 1947). a part of the continued revival of the repressed legacy of left ist debates of the Twenties and ’30s, the essay—along with different Benjamin texts written below the impact of Brecht, resembling “The writer as manufacturer” (1934)—offered scholars a special imaginative and prescient of highbrow and cultural perform than that represented through their lecturers, even and particularly students at the left affiliated with the Frankfurt institution. Adorno specifically was once attacked for his mandarin stance, and he quickly turned the objective of a chronic polemic opposed to the textual and interpretive monopoly of Benjamin’s Frankfurt editors, with fees of censorship pointing again to the institute’s dealing with of Benjamin’s extra explicitly Marxist and Brechtian writings of the Thirties. 30 those controversies set the development for the extra genteel quarrels to return, with critics and neighbors saying the concern of a main, singular identification for his or her elusive topic, be it that of Jewish-messianist, Brechtian modernist, surrealist, esoteric guy of letters and elegiac critic of modernity, materialist historian, media theorist, or deconstructionist avant-la-lettre.

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