Fragments of Modernity, first published in 1985, provides a critical introduction to the work of three of the most original German thinkers of the early twentieth century. In their different ways, all three illuminated the experience of the modern urban life, whether in mid nineteenth-century Paris, Berlin at the turn of the twentieth century or later as the vanguard city of the Weimar Republic. They related the new modes of experiencing the world to the maturation of the money economy (Simmel), the process of rationalization of capital (Kracauer) and the fantasy world of commodity fetishism (Benjamin). In each case they focus on those fragments of social experience that could best capture the sense of modernity.
"[A] systemically organised and meticulously documented study … This rich and sensitively argued book will be an essential guide to at least one important strand of contemporary thinking about modernity" – Times Higher Education Supplement
"An essential resource not only for students of 20th-century German thought, but also for anyone wrestling with the dilemmas of contemporary existence" – Martin Jay, University of California, Berkeley
Acknowledgments; Introduction; 1. Modernité 2. Georg Simmel: Modernity as an Eternal Present 3. Siegfried Kracauer: ‘Exemplary Instances’ of Modernity 4. Walter Benjamin: Prehistory of Modernity; Conclusion; Notes, Bibliography; Index
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