Aura: The aesthetic of redemption?

Philosophy and Social Criticism 24 (1):25-41 (1998)
Adorno and Benjamin offer us an aesthetic concept, that of aura. The analysis of this has tended to circumnavigate the concept, that is, it has examined the historical dimension to aura, or turned to the texts of Adorno and Benjamin with a view to finding discrepancies between their theses. However, the important conceptual detail has not been explored with suf ficient rigour. My question is a simple one: what is aura? How do we piece together its various features such as 'a feeling of distance', 'pointing beyond a work's givenness' and 'a capacity to look back'? I provide a more in-depth and thoroughgoing analysis of these qualities and their interrelation than has so far been offered. I also argue for the relevance of aura to modernity. Key Words: Adorno • . aesthetic • . aura • . Benjamin • . indeterminacy • . modernity.
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