Das Ornament Der Masse: Essays: Weimar Essays

Das Ornament Der Masse: Essays: Weimar Essays

Siegfried Kracauer was one of the twentieth century's most brilliant cultural critics, a daring and prolific scholar, and an incisive theorist of film. In this volume his finest writings on modern society make their long-awaited appearance in 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. The Mass Ornament today remains a refreshing tribute to popular culture, and its impressively interdisciplinary essays continue to shed light not only on Kracauer's later work but also on the ideas of the Frankfurt School, the genealogy of film theory and cultural studies, Weimar cultural politics, and, not least, 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. Until now, Kracauer has been known primarily for his writings on the cinema. This volume brings us the full scope of his gifts as one of the most wide-ranging and penetrating interpreters of modern life.

Title:Das Ornament Der Masse: Essays: Weimar Essays
ISBN:9780674551633
Format Type:

    Das Ornament Der Masse: Essays: Weimar Essays Reviews

  • Adriana Scarpin

    Estou dando apenas três estrelas porque o livro é bom, mas não é excepcional, e o Kracauer me exasperou com o capítulo sobre cinema, que homenzinho mais chato do caralho, pra ele o único cinema ...

  • Colie!

    The beginner's guide to the Frankfurt School! If Adorno spins you round round, baby, round round, like a record, and Benjamin keeps you a-scratchin' your head, this may be your in. Then you can move o...

  • g

    This compilation of essays puts together a thorough analysis of cultural forms and seeks to uncloak modernity through reading the aesthetic that it propagates: Kracauer talks about dance, travel, phot...

  • Tosh

    Thomas Levin did a fantastic job in translating and edting these great essays. What would be fascinating is to read these works along with Walter Benjamin. One of the first cultural critics, he really...

  • Gyewon

    one of the best texts to reflect fascism and its visual regime ...

  • Sencer Turun

    Sinema çalışmaları baplamında ele aldığım bu kitaptan "orta sınıfın isyanı" adlı farklı bir bölümden alıntılar bırakmak istedim.Kracauer'in toplumsal tecrübeleri malum; halk kavram...

  • Minh Nguyen

    written almost a hundred year ago, yet strikingly relevant today as it formerly was during turbulent times of Hitler's rise to power in Germany and with it the philosopher himself forcibly in an event...

  • Benjamin

    I was just talking to a friend who agreed that Kracauer's essays should really be taught alongside (if not, I might go so far as to say, instead of) Walter Benjamin's essays as a way of unfolding the ...

  • Blair

    For me this is an underr-recognized work in the development of the Frankfurt School. Kracauer applies once-lofty and intellectual notions to the "common" art of the time, like stage dancing and plays,...

  • Dhandayutha

    I Will update the review soon!...