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The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (Penguin Great Ideas) by [Benjamin, Walter]
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The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (Penguin Great Ideas) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Length: 128 pages

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Product Description

About the Author

Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin (1892 – 1940) was a German-Jewish Marxist literary critic, essayist, translator, and philosopher. He was at times associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory and was also greatly inspired by the Marxism of Bertolt Brecht and Jewish mysticism as presented by Gershom Scholem.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 592 KB
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Aug. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003P9XCNA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #215,233 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book because my Aesthetics professor mentioned it in class. The first thing I noticed is that the cover is absolutely brilliant. As for the book itself, it consists of an essay about how the reproducibility of art changes the way we perceive it and how it relates to the mass media society. This is a classic essay but in my opinion it's still a great read today.

The book also includes two more essays, one on Kafka and another on Proust, which I found very interesting and insightful, albeit unexpected considering the book's title. I did find a few connections between these essays and the one on the mechanical reproduction of art, but not many. It's possible that I'm missing something, and this is definitely a book that I will re-read some time in the future.
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By GH on 24 Jan. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A really good book for anyone interested in contemporary art or media theory. Looking at how the culture of mass media allows an audience to view or hear an artisctic piece repeatedlly and examines the attendant effect that the political and social implications of that viewing can have on the wider society.
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By tallmanbaby TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are curious about Walter Benjamin the German critic who committed suicide fleeing the Nazis, then this is a good place to start, collecting together three of his most iconic essays, on the impact of reproduction on art, on Kafka and on Proust. He shares a wordy, discursive and analytical style with Proust and writes perceptively about him. These essays contain an density of ideas and thought that is rare, while written with a relatively modern clarity of expression.
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Benjamin wrote his essay in the mid-thirties as a philosophical reflection. It's hard going at times, but he's basically making the point that art had moved from something that the elite used for their own ends, often self-aggrandisement, to a much more egalitarian concept. You could well say it had a strong Marxist influence.

John Berger's "Ways of Seeing" was very influenced by Benjamin's essay; you might well find Berger an easier guide to the change in art.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A short work in which the most thought-provoking part was on the film business and its need to make 'stars' of its actors because the medium of film sucks so much life from a person compared with seeing them on stage, live. Interesting thoughts on original and reproduced art. Brings to mind J D Roberts' aphorism:

'The man who appreciates the original will not buy a reproduction; neither will the man who can't.'
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One of the most critical and definitive books/ essays on modern photography (modern as in Modernist era!). Essential reading for all serious students and practitioners of photography who wish to contextualize the medium of today in a critical history!
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By Mr. G. Morgan TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 May 2015
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The tragic suicide of Benjamin in 1941 as he was fleeing Fascism on the Spanish border was a great loss to cultural criticism since at his best he is a profound, preternaturally acute analyst, as anyone who has read his superb accounts of Kafka and Proust in 'Illuminations' knows. Yes Clive James gives him a pasting in 'Cultural Amnesia', and it is true that the mass-production of art may not in fact rob it of its aura; the central argument is misguided. However, Benjamin is one of that rare breed who can be Wrong and worthwhile; he is always stimulating even when his hermetic prose is almost as much poetry as prose, albeit not a Paterian poesy. This set of meditations on mass-production applied to the study of aesthetics is in the usual obscure, somewhat tortured style you may know. At times he will deliver stunning perceptions of such insight and beauty, that you will wish to read his every word (Except 'The Arcades Project.'). One of the century's great thinkers, if a piecemeal one in his own sui generis Marxist fashion, quite at odds with Soviet style philistinism. He was friends with Brecht, which was not easy and suggests a rare gift for friendship [even if he did say that his theory of Epic Theatre was not applicable to his plays and should be ignored. I'd like to have known what Bertolt thought of THAT].
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