TITLE

The Atrophy of Experience: Walter Benjamin and Boredom

AUTHOR(S)
Salzani, Carlo
PUB. DATE
December 2010
SOURCE
Critical Studies;2009, Vol. 33, p127
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The essay relates Walter Benjamin's analysis of boredom, especially in convolute "D" of the Arcades Project ("Boredom, Eternal Return"), to his critique of experience and thus to a number of central concepts in his work, like ennui, spleen and melancholy. In the notes for the Arcades Project and the Baudelaire book, boredom can be related to Erlebnis: it is the "malady" that accompanies the disintegration of the traditional forms of experience, which Benjamin called the "atrophy of experience." However, thanks to its connection to allegory, boredom also plays a fundamental role in Benjamin's revolutionary project: the melancholy gaze of the allegorist reduces the historical event to ruin, showing its facies hippocratica, its "death mask," thus exposing the naked truth of the demise of experience. This is the dialectical potential of allegory and thus of spleen.
ACCESSION #
43222827

 

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