Download PDF by A. L. Kroeber, C. Kluckhohn: Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions

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By A. L. Kroeber, C. Kluckhohn

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Additional resources for Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions (Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Eth)

Sample text

In the third version of the essay, with which he was occupied from 1936 to 1939, and which expands the discussion of distraction, Benjamin quotes the author Georges Duhamel, who voices a complaint made often enough by critics of the cinema during the second and third decades of its commercial existence: ‘‘I can no longer think what I want to think. My thoughts have been replaced by moving images’’ (GS, 1:503). Indeed, comments Benjamin, the train of associations in the person wishing to contemplate one of these images is immediately interrupted by new images, and this, Benjamin goes on to say, constitutes the shock effect of film, ‘‘which, like all shock effects, seeks to induce heightened attention’’ [Geistesgegenwart, meaning also ‘‘presence of mind’’] (GS, 1:503).

1 I am thinking in particular of Benjamin’s sense of what The Arcades Project was for—what the point of historical reconstruction was, in his view, and specifically the reconstruction of something as negligible as these odd, down-at-heel, petit bourgeois remnants (Figures 1 and 2). Partly, the answer to this—the general, overall answer, I mean—is familiar. Bourgeois society, Benjamin thought, was slowly, over the generations, waking up—waking to the reality of its own productive powers, and maybe, if helped along by its wild child, the proletariat, to the use of those powers to foster a new collective life.

Was the lyric. It is the unique distinction of Les Fleurs du mal that Baudelaire responded to precisely these altered conditions with a book of poems. It is the best example of heroic conduct to be found in his life. (AP, J60,6) But this on its own will not quite do as diagnosis. As in the case of the arcades and collective dreaming, it is important that Baudelaire botches and travesties the great work he takes on. ’’ More like pastiche than the real thing. (But is there a real thing to allegory?

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Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions (Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Eth) by A. L. Kroeber, C. Kluckhohn


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