A collection of essays by the German sociologist and cultural theorist Siegfried Kracauer on mass art and its relationship with the technological advancements of the first half of the twentieth century.
The compilation of texts by the German sociologist and cultural thinker Siegfried Kracauer features works written in the 1920s and 1930s, edited by the author in 1963. Kracauer reflects on tastes, mundane life, and collective leisure of human masses, touching upon the themes of individual isolation and alienation, urban culture and planning, and the relationship between personality and the group. Various phenomena typical of twentieth-century culture, such as shopping galleries and hotels, film and photography, popular fiction literature, science and religion, are also examined in the book. Kracauer discusses the similarity between the mechanism of a photo camera and human memory, the phenomenon of general dehumanization and automation of life, critiques humanity’s strive to become a “clean, polished” machine, and analyzes the inevitable effect of capitalism on art.
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