Mapping Benjamin: The Work of Art in the Digital Age

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Since its publication in 1936, Walter Benjamin's Artwork essay has become a canonical text about the status and place of the fine arts in modern mass culture. Benjamin was especially concerned with the ability of new technologies-notably film, sound recording, and photography-to reproduce works of art in great number. Benjamin could not have foreseen the explosion of imagery and media that has occurred during the past fifty years. Does Benjamin's famous essay still speak to this new situation? That is the question posed by the editors of this book to a wide range of leading scholars and thinkers across a spectrum of disciplines in the humanities. The essays gathered here do not hazard a univocal reply to that question; rather they offer a rich, wide-ranging critique of Benjamin's position that refracts and reflects contemporary thinking about the ethical, political, and aesthetic implications of life in the digital age.