One of the most important works of cultural theory ever written, Walter Benjamin's groundbreaking essay explores how the age of mass media means audiences can listen to or see a work of art repeatedly – and what the troubling social and political implications of this are. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves – and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives – and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction is an essay by German cultural critic Walter Benjamin that has been influential across the humanities, especially in the fields of cultural studies, media theory, architectural theory, and art history. Walter Benjamin wrote the work in an effort to describe a theory of art that would be useful for the formulation of revolutionary demands in the politics of art. He argued that, in the absence of any traditional, ritualistic value, art in the age of mechanical reproduction would inherently be based on the practice of politics. Walter Benjamin was a German Jewish philosopher and cultural critic. An eclectic thinker, combining elements of German idealism, Romanticism, Western Marxism, and Jewish mysticism, Walter Benjamin made enduring and influential contributions to aesthetic theory, literary criticism, and historical materialism. In addition, Walter Benjamin's work has also influenced politics & social sciences, politics & government, ideologies & doctrines, communism & socialism, and arts & photography.
A beautiful collection of the legendary thinker’s short stories The Storyteller gathers for the first time the fiction of the legendary critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin, best known for his groundbreaking studies of culture and literature, including Illuminations, One-Way Street and The Arcades Project. His stories revel in the erotic tensions of city life, cross the threshold between rational and hallucinatory realms, celebrate the importance of games, and delve into the peculiar relationship between gambling and fortune-telling, and explore the themes that defined Benjamin. The novellas, fables, histories, aphorisms, parables and riddles in this collection are brought to life by the playful imagery of the modernist artist and Bauhaus figure Paul Klee. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Walter Benjamin’s 1931 essay “A Short History of Photography” is a landmark in the understanding and criticism of the medium, offering surprising new takes on such photographic pioneers as David Octavius Hill and Nicéphore Niépce and their aesthetic and technical achievements. On Photography presents a new translation of that essay along with a number of other writings by Benjamin, some of them presented in English for the first time. Translator and editor Esther Leslie sets Benjamin’s work in context with prefaces to each piece and contributes a substantial introduction that considers Benjamin’s engagement with photography in all its forms, including early commercial studio photography, the uses of photography in science, and much more.
Walter Benjamin was one of the most original cultural critics of the twentieth century. Illuminations includes his views on Kafka, with whom he felt a close personal affinity; his studies on Baudelaire and Proust; and his essays on Leskov and on Brecht's Epic Theater. Also included are his penetrating study "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," an enlightening discussion of translation as a literary mode, and Benjamin's theses on the philosophy of history. Hannah Arendt selected the essays for this volume and introduces them with a classic essay about Benjamin's life in dark times. Also included is a new preface by Leon Wieseltier that explores Benjamin's continued relevance for our times.
Written at a time when most of Europe supported the French Revolution, Edmund Burke’s prescient and, at the time, controversial denunciation of its mob rule predicted the Terror, began the modern conservative tradition and still serves as a warning to those who seek to reshape societies through violence. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves – and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives – and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
No other country and no other period has produced a tradition of major aesthetic debate to compare with that which unfolded in German culture from the 1930s to the 1950s. In Aesthetics and Politics the key texts of the great Marxist controversies over literature and art during these years are assembled in a single volume. They do not form a disparate collection but a continuous, interlinked debate between thinkers who have become giants of twentieth-century intellectual history.
The Das Kapital of the 20th century,Society of the Spectacle is an essential text, and the main theoretical work of the Situationists. Few works of political and cultural theory have been as enduringly provocative. From its publication amid the social upheavals of the 1960's, in particular the May 1968 uprisings in France, up to the present day, with global capitalism seemingly staggering around in it’s Zombie end-phase, the volatile theses of this book have decisively transformed debates on the shape of modernity, capitalism, and everyday life in the late 20th century. This ‘Red and Black’ translation from 1977 is Introduced by Notting Hill armchair insurrectionary Tom Vague with a galloping time line and pop-situ verve, and given a more analytical over view by young upstart thinker Sam Cooper.
In these inspiring essays about why we read, Proust explores all the pleasures and trials that we take from books, as well as explaining the beauty of Ruskin and his work, and the joys of losing yourself in literature as a child. Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves – and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives – and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
"Clement Greenberg is, internationally, the best-known American art critic popularly considered to be the man who put American vanguard painting and sculpture on the world map. . . . An important book for everyone interested in modern painting and sculpture."—The New York Times
Translated by J. A. Underwood With an Introduction by Amit Choudhuri 'There has been no more original, no more serious, critic and reader in our time' George Steiner Walter Benjamin - philosopher, essayist, literary and cultural theorist - was one of the most original writers and thinkers of the twentieth century. This new selection brings together Benjamin's major works, including 'One-Way Street', a series of aphoristic observations prompted by urban life in 1920s Europe; 'Unpacking My Library', a delightful meditation on book-collecting; the confessional 'Hashish in Marseille'; and 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction', his seminal essay on how technology changes the way we appreciate art. Also including writings on subjects ranging from Proust to Kafka, violence to surrealism, this is the essential volume on one of the most prescient critical voices of the modern age. 'One of the most celebrated intellectuals of the twentieth century' Guardian
Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are. Perhaps the most widely read thinker of all time, Confucius transformed Chinese philosophy with his belief that the greatest goal in life was pursuit of 'The Way': a search for virtue not as a means to rewards in this world or the next, but as the pinnacle of human existence.
Pressing Freudian and Saussurean categories into the service of a basically Marxist perspective, The System of Objects offersa cultural critique of the commodity in consumer society. Baudrillardclassifies the everyday objects of the "new technical order" asfunctional, nonfunctional and metafunctional. He contrasts "modern" and"traditional" functional objects, subjecting home furnishing andinterior design to a celebrated semiological analysis. His treatment ofnonfunctional or "marginal" objects focuses on antiques and thepsychology of collecting, while the metafunctional category extends tothe useless, the aberrant and even the "schizofunctional." Finally,Baudrillard deals at length with the implications of credit andadvertising for the commodification of everyday life. The System of Objectsis a tour de force of the materialist semiotics of the earlyBaudrillard, who emerges in retrospect as something of a lightning rodfor all the live ideas of the day: Bataille's political economy of"expenditure" and Mauss's theory of the gift; Reisman's lonely crowdand the "technological society" of Jacques Ellul; the structuralism ofRoland Barthes in The System of Fashion; Henri Lefebvre's workon the social construction of space; and last, but not least, GuyDebord's situationist critique of the spectacle.
John Berger's Ways of Seeing changed the way people think about painting and art criticism. This watershed work shows, through word and image, how what we see is always influenced by a whole hose of assumptions concerning that nature of beauty, truth, civilization, form, taste, class and gender. Exploring the layers of meaning within oil paintings, photographs and graphic art, Berger argues that when we see, we are not just looking - we are reading the language of images.
It takes a very inclusive anthology to encompass the protean personality and range of interests of Benjamin Franklin, but The Portable Benjamin Franklin succeeds as no collection has. In addition to the complete Autobiography, the volume contains about 100 of Franklin’s major writings—essays, journalism, letters, political tracts, scientific observations, proposals for the improvement of civic and personal life, literary bagatelles, and private musings. The selections are reprinted in their entirety and organized chronologically within six sections that represent the full range of Franklin’s temperament. The result is a zestful read for Franklin scholars and anyone wanting to know and enjoy this American icon. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. From the Trade Paperback edition.