The Mass Ornament
By (author) Siegfried Kracauer
Edited and translated by Thomas Y. Levin
Introduction by Thomas Y. Levin
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Mass Ornament by Siegfried Kracauer
Book DescriptionSiegfried Kracauer was one of the 20th century's major cultural critics, a prolific scholar and a theorist of film. In this volume his writings on modern society are translated into English. This book is a celebration of the masses - their tastes, amusements, and everyday lives. Taking up themes of modernity, such as isolation and alienation, urban culture and the relation between the group and the individual, Kracauer explores a kaleidoscope of topics: shopping arcades; the cinema; bestsellers and their readers; photography; dance; hotel lobbies; Kafka; the Bible; and boredom. For Kracauer, the most revelatory facets of modern life in the West lie on the surface, in the ephemeral and the marginal. Of special fascination to him is the United States, where he eventually settled after fleeing Germany and whose culture he sees as defined almost exclusively by "the ostentatious display of surface". With these essays, written in the 1920s and early 1930s and edited by the author in 1963, Kracauer was the first to demonstrate that studying the everyday world of the masses can bring great rewards. This work remains a tribute to popular culture and its interdisciplinary essays continue to shed light not only on Kracauer's later work but also on ideas of the Frankfurt School, the genealogy of film theory and cultural studies, Weimar cultural politics, and the exigencies of intellectual exile. In his introduction, Thomas Levin situates Kracauer in a turbulent age, illuminates the forces that influenced him - including his friendships with Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and other Weimar intellectuals - and provides the context necessary for understanding his ideas.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780674551633
(235mm x 155mm x 30mm)
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 7-Jul-1995
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Siegfried Kracauer
Jacques Offenbach and the Paris of His Time, Paperback (May 2016)
A biography of composer Jacques Offenbach that is also a social and cultural history of Second Empire Paris.
Past's Threshold - Essays on Photography, Paperback (November 2014)
Siegfried Kracauer was one of the foremost representatives of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. This book brings together Kracauer's essays on photography that he wrote between 1927 and 1933 as a journalist for the Frankfurter Zeitung, as well as an essay that appeared in the Magazine of Art after the eminent emigre's exile to America.
Siegfried Kracauer's American Writings, Paperback (June 2012)» View all books by Siegfried Kracauer
Siegfried Kracauer (1889-1966), friend and colleague of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, was one of the most influential film critics of the mid-twentieth century. This book assembles essays in cultural criticism, film, literature, and media theory that he wrote during the quarter century he spent in America after fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe.
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Author Biography - Siegfried Kracauer
Siegfried Kracauer (1889-1966) was the author of Theory of Film, From Caligari to Hitler, and many other works on historical, sociological, and cultural topics. Thomas Y. Levin is Associate Professor of German at , Princeton University.
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