Download Benjamin Now: Critical Encounters with The Arcades Project by Tom Gunning, Howard Eiland, Henry Sussman, Lindsay Waters, PDF

By Tom Gunning, Howard Eiland, Henry Sussman, Lindsay Waters, Peter Fenves, Claudia Brodsky Lacour, Peter Wollon, Michael Jennings, Samuel Weber, T. J.Clark

The Arcades venture is the incomplete, ultimate paintings of influential cultural theorist, critic, and historian Walter Benjamin. until eventually 1999, this massive, unruly manuscript, which supplies a extra whole photograph of the range of Benjamin’s paintings than previously to be had, had no longer been absolutely translated into English. Benjamin now's the 1st selection of essays in English to target The Arcades Project.While this crucial text’s name refers to its ostensible subject—the nineteenth-century procuring arcades of Paris—The Arcades undertaking is a mass of cultural, political, and social fabric awarded within the kind of an enormous montage. Benjamin Now reconsiders the importance of his theories and writings in gentle of this ultimate venture. The individuals accumulated during this unique issue—several of whom participated within the translation of The Arcades Project—include top students from sleek tradition and media experiences, comparative literature and literary experiences, paintings historical past, philosophy, cultural reviews, and movie studies.Contributors. T. J. Clark, Howard Eiland, Peter Fenves, Tom Gunning, Michael Jennings, Claudia Brodsky Lacour, Kevin McLaughlin, Philip Rosen, Henry Sussman, Lindsay Waters, Samuel Weber, Peter Wollen

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Discovery through alienation—‘‘communication by alienation’’ (ST, 169; BT, 202)—these are Brecht’s formulas for the new experimental theater that he and others (such as the directors V. E. Meyerhold and Erwin Piscator) have established, one where the development of plot gives way to the ‘‘lightninglike’’ (GS, 2:530) illumination of situations and where performance becomes critique. ’’ (1931), ‘‘The discovery of situations is accomplished by means of the interruption of sequences’’ (GS, 2:522). Benjamin lays emphasis on the principle of interruption, which, with its ‘‘retarding character’’ (a term derived from Schlegel and Novalis),4 makes for the distinctively punctuated, intermittent rhythm of Brechtian drama.

I do not think the Paris book is sufficiently aware that its passages were pathetic enclaves of dreaming—reservations of the marvelous—in a great desert of the smart. Benjamin wanted the wonderful too much. One way of putting this (it has the air of a formula, but it gets matters clear) is to say that Benjamin’s Paris is all dream and no spectacle: The apparatus of spectacle is not understood by him to invade the dream life and hold even unconscious imagining in its grip. Not to put one’s full stress on the city as more and more, even in the time of the arcades, a regime of false openness seems to me to miss something essential about bourgeois society—something dreadful and spellbinding.

Roughly speaking, Benjamin seems to have believed that the true history of the recent past could be put together from its high and low literature, its phantasmagoria, and its kitsch. Painting is barely part of his archive, but neither are science and medicine and most other forms of bourgeois inquiry into the world, nor the whole panoply of philosophical and artistic positivism. There is no place for Littré in the arcades, or Pasteur, or Larousse, or Reclus, or Chevreul (he gets a passing mention as the object of Nadar’s first photographic interview in 1886), or Monet, or Cézanne.

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