Amsterdam University Press
Walter Benjamin and the Aesthetics of Film
Title
Walter Benjamin and the Aesthetics of Film
Price
€ 99,00
ISBN
9789462980174
Format
Hardback
Number of pages
258
Publication date
Dimensions
15.6 x 23.4 cm
Also available as
eBook PDF - € 98,99

Reviews and Features

"Mourenza’s theoretical elaborations are very strong and his emphasis on an embodied spectator in Benjamin’s writings is especially productive. He manages to develop a coherent theory of his aesthetics of film with implications far beyond the area of film studies and valuable insights for an emancipatory political transformation of society and the role technology is able to play in such a transformation."
- Hanno Berger, The Marx and Philosophy Review of Books, Fall 2020

"Through detailed historical and textual analysis of primary and secondary resources, Mourenza essentially tackles the question of Benjamin’s relationship with film as a medium [...] Mourenza’s book offers valuable new clarifications concerning Benjamin’s view of cinema as a training ground for new political sensibilities and subjective experiences of being-together with a social collective."
- Will Kitchen, Early Popular Visual Culture, Summer 2020

Daniel Mourenza

Walter Benjamin and the Aesthetics of Film

Walter Benjamin is today regarded as one of the leading thinkers of the twentieth century. Often captured in pensive pose, his image is now that of a serious intellectual. But Benjamin was also a fan of the comedies of Adolphe Menjou, Mickey Mouse, and Charlie Chaplin. As an antidote to repressive civilization, he developed, through these figures, a theory of laughter. Walter Benjamin and the Aesthetics of Film is the first monograph to thoroughly analyse Benjamin’s film writings, contextualizing them within his oeuvre whilst also paying attention to the various films, actors, and directors that sparked his interest. The book situates all these writings within Benjamin’s ‘anthropological materialism’, a concept that analyses the transformations of the human sensorium through technology. Through the term ‘innervation’, Benjamin thought of film spectatorship as an empowering reception that, through a rush of energy, would form a collective body within the audience, interpenetrating a liberated technology into the distracted spectators. Benjamin’s writings on Soviet film and German cinema, Charlie Chaplin, and Mickey Mouse are analysed in relation to this posthuman constellation that Benjamin had started to dream of in the early twenties, long before he began to theorize about films.
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Author

Daniel Mourenza

Daniel Mourenza is an Assistant Professor at the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies at Trinity College Dublin.