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

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. till 1999, this massive, unruly manuscript, which gives a extra whole photograph of the variety of Benjamin’s paintings than previously on hand, had no longer been totally translated into English. Benjamin now could be the 1st choice of essays in English to target The Arcades Project.While this crucial text’s identify refers to its ostensible subject—the nineteenth-century purchasing arcades of Paris—The Arcades undertaking is a mass of cultural, political, and social fabric awarded within the type of an enormous montage. Benjamin Now reconsiders the importance of his theories and writings in gentle of this ultimate undertaking. The members accrued during this unique issue—several of whom participated within the translation of The Arcades Project—include prime students from smooth tradition and media reviews, comparative literature and literary reviews, paintings heritage, philosophy, cultural reports, and picture 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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8 All these instances of ‘‘intoxicated experience’’ [rauschhafte Erfahrung] (AP, M1a,2)—with which Benjamin, at one point, implicitly conjoins Baudelaire’s evocation of the ‘‘religious intoxication of great cities’’ (AP, J34a,3; cf. 27 07:19 7. William Shakespeare, The Tempest, ed. Robert Langbaum (New York: New American Library, 1964), 95–96, 111 (act 3, scene 3, lines 88–90 and 95; act 5, scene 1, line 61). In Prospero’s epilogue, the spell of art entails freedom for artist and audience alike.

27 07:19 Around the middle of the century, the conditions of artistic production underwent a change. The change consisted in the fact that for 6808 boundary 2 / 30:1 / sheet 44 of 224 40 boundary 2 / Spring 2003 the first time the form of the commodity imposed itself decisively on the work of art, and the form of the masses on its public. Particularly vulnerable to these developments . . was the lyric. It is the unique distinction of Les Fleurs du mal that Baudelaire responded to precisely these altered conditions with a book of poems.

And trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), L1,3. Hereafter, this work is cited parenthetically as AP and by convolute. 27 07:19 36 boundary 2 / Spring 2003 The arcades were utter failures and abiding triumphs. They were oldfashioned almost as soon as they declared themselves the latest thing. As early as the 1830s, commentators could be found declaring them hopelessly passé. Their use of iron and glass was premature, naïve, a mixture of the pompous and fantastic.

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