Walter Benjamin and Modernity


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Essay #: 071117
Total text length is 4,490 characters (approximately 3.1 pages).

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The beginning:
Walter Benjamin and Modernity
For Benjamin, the modern is infused with myth but not outwardly decorated with the traditional trappings of myth (Leach 22). It is a space of paradox, filled with crowds who are more alone than ever before. This crowd both alienates and absorbs the participant-observer, the flâneur, whose significance is already being subverted in Baudelaire. Baudelaire testifies to the magnetic attraction of the crowd, which is absorbing the flâneur despite the latter's need for an ironic distance between himself and what he observes. The crowd is both his refuge and his destruction (Leach 36). Lingering in not yet modernized nooks and crannies of Paris, the flâneur of Baudelaire's time regards the new crowds that are...
The end:
..... as the theorist of the liminal space and the interrelation of private and public, is not entirely modernistic. But he underlines the fact that the drive behind these developments is toward the stark clarity of modernism. The iron beam may be covered with decorations out of sentimentality, but within, it remains unaffected: simple and uncluttered. He writes of a time when the modern was latent, but had still not broken free of the mythologizing decorativeness of the old.
Works Cited
Gunning, Tom. "The exterior as interior: Benjamin's optical detective." boundary 2, 30.1 (2003): 106-130. Web. EBSCO Academic Source Premier database.
Leach, Neil. Rethinking Architecture -- A Reader In Cultural Theory. Florence, KY, USA: Routledge, 1997. Print.