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Walter Benjamin, Or The Commodity As Phantasmagoria

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Chapter Summary

In History and Class-Consciousness Lukacs, departing from the Marxian analysis of commodity as the elementary and universal form of social wealth under capitalist conditions, developed the theory of reification. It was the Lukacsian theory of reification as well as the direct experiences of the commercialisation of arts, especially palpable in the new mass media that constituted the general starting point of attempts to utilise the basic categories of the Marxian commodity-analysis in the realm of aesthetics. It was, as he repeatedly underlined, the concept of the commodity that should have constituted the theoretical fulcrum of both the great interconnected and equally unfinished projects of his late intellectual career aimed at the disclosure of the origin of modernity: the Arcades-Work and the book on Baudelaire. Some of the late writings of Walter Benjamin seem to echo and supplement these views of Brecht.

Keywords: Arcades-Work; Brecht; commodity; Lukacsian theory; Marxian analysis; phantasmagoria; Walter Benjamin



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