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Actualities of Aura

Twelve Studies of Walter Benjamin

A part of the series NSU-press og the subject areas og


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297 pages
Paperback
ISBN 91 88484 25 4

Edited by

With contributions by
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About the book

This volume provides an invaluable overview of Walter Benjamin's writings about technology, history, politics and the visual. From a variety of theoretical viewpoints, twelve brilliant scholars have come together to map the aura - perhaps the most elusive concept in Benjamin's philosophy. The collection is a scholarly feat that serves as an introduction to one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, while at the same time providing new perspectives for the advanced reader.

The writings of Walter Benjamin once hovered on the margins of modern literary genres. From there he developed a unique type of critical writing, positioned between the technical, historical and political ramifications of dialectical thinking.

Today Benjamin is centrally placed in most curricula for modern art, literature, and social sciences, and his text "The Work of Art in the Age of its Technical Reproducibility" is often referred to in contemporary critical theory. It is in this article that readers have to confront the notorious concept of the aura. This concept characterizes the typically bourgeois way of relating to art, history, media and perception, but the aura is also a philosophical concept with complex implications for a dialectical sociology, aesthetics and history. Assessing the critical force of Benjamin's concept in our time is the prime achievement of this collection. <i>Actualities of Aura</i> will be indispensable reading for anyone engaged in the discourses of visual culture, critical theory and continental philosophy.

Table of contents

Introduction: Collecting Twelve Studies of Walter Benjamin

Dag Petersson and Erik Steinskog

Fabricating Aura: The Face in Film

Graeme Gilloch

The Politics of Aura and Imagination in Benjamin's Writings on Hashish

Tara Forrest

Transformations of Readability and Time: A Case of Reproducibility and Cloning

Dag Petersson

The Aura in Photography and the Task of the Historian

Catherine D. Dharvernas

Ruinous Aura: From Sunset Boulevard to Mulholland Drive

Claus Krogholm Sand

The Inactuality of Aura: Figural Relations in Walter Benjamin's "On Some Motifs in Baudelaire"

David Kelman

Is There an Answer to the Aestheticization of the Political? Some Remarks on a Passage in Benjamin's "Work of Art" Essay

Peter Fenves

In the Midst of the Monad: Reflections on Auratic Alignments of the Everyday in Leibniz and Benjamin

Mikkel Bruun Zangenberg

The Afterlife of Judaism: From the Book of Splendor to Benjamin's Shooting Stars

Henry Sussman

The Decay of Aura/The Aura of Decay

Erik Steinskog

The Phantasmagoria of the Spectacle: A Critique of Media Culture

Jae-Ho Kang

Images of the Aura: Some Motifs in French Modernism

Beryl Schlossman

Contributors

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