Category Archives: Benjamin

On Aesthetic Theory

Aesthetic theories seem to fail insofar as they forgo their obligation to accept themselves as subjective. Kant seems least to attempt to disguise this fact. Judgment as a word retains its true subjective uncertainty. As used in court (and at … Continue reading

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Teaching Benjamin

“The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility” (reprinted in my Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 2nd Edition) represents my first exposure to the work of Walter Benjamin. Since I first read it over the summer, … Continue reading

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>A Quick Look at (McKeon’s) Structuralism

>Walter Benjamin (in “The Storyteller”) laments the loss of reminiscence represented by Modernity. He relates this form of memory to the storyteller, who has his roots in oral tradition. These days, he argues, we are attracted by the verifiability of … Continue reading

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>Metadrama and Metacinema

>Insofar as a play is metadramatic, it is a commentary on social conditions. By commenting on its own status–as play, as entertainment–it comments also on the status of the play as philosophy, i.e. it comments on its own performance in … Continue reading

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>Reception in Distraction, or the Habitual Aesthetic

>Walter Benjamin is extremely interested in the phenomenon he calls “reception in distraction” (The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproduciblity and Other Writings on Media, Harvard University Press, 2008, p. 40). He sees this sort of … Continue reading

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>The Role of Performance, The Roll of Print

>Marshall McLuhan saw a certain affinity between Shakespeare’s time and our own. Both times, argued McLuhan, represented periods of transition in the status of print media. Of course, Shakespeare and we stand on opposite ends of the spectrum. What for … Continue reading

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