Literary Criticism

This site contains my work during the course of English 300 at Montana State University-Bozeman in the Autumn of 2004.


I am a senior at Montana State University working for a degree in history with a teaching option and also a minor in English. Currently I am working with the students at Bridger Alternative here in town and I am loving every minute of it. I can't wait to get out into the field and teach.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Notes from my Walter Benjamin Presentation

On November 09, I gave this presentation to the class, but in case I was hard to follow, this is what Walter Benjamin is all about!
Quote: "One of the foremost tasks of art has always been the creation of a demand which could be fully satisfied only later." -W. Benjamin
  • Walter became a qualified cultural critic by the age of 28, he wrote on communism, industrial production and modern conceptions of aesthetics.
  • He visited Moscow between the years of 1926 and 1927 and decided that the Bolshevik revolution didn't go far enough.
  • He joined the German Communist Party during the 1920s and 30s.
  • He was exiled to Paris because of his beliefs, yet Germany invaded France in 1940.
  • He attempted to cross the border into Spain to take a flight to the U.S. but was turned away at the border.
  • Afraid of being caught and forced to a concentration camp, he committed suicide instead.
  • He had a concept of "AURA": the quality of artwork that would be equivalent to a sacred object in a religious ritual.
  • Yet the status of artwork is not timeless, it instead changes in its value according to capitalistic production
  • Technology and therefore time alter perceptions of what is aesthetically pleasing. Because of this film and photography have advantages over painting
  • Yet film abolishes its field of AURA and authenticity because it creates participation with the audience instead.
  • Reproduction of art is a forgery, which is not necessarily bad because it makes the piece available to everybody and therefore is a type of communism, or communal sharing.
  • Photography has reproduced prints, asking for the authentic would be unreasonable.
  • Overall, human sense perception changes with humanity's mode of existence, nature and historical circumstances.


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