By David Frisby
Fragments of Modernity, first released in 1985, presents a severe creation to the paintings of 3 of the main unique German thinkers of the early 20th century. of their alternative ways, all 3 illuminated the adventure of the trendy city lifestyles, no matter if in mid nineteenth-century Paris, Berlin on the flip of the 20th century or later because the forefront urban of the Weimar Republic. They similar the recent modes of experiencing the realm to the maturation of the cash financial system (Simmel), the method of clarification of capital (Kracauer) and the delusion global of commodity fetishism (Benjamin). In every one case they concentrate on these fragments of social event that may most sensible catch the experience of modernity.
"An crucial source not just for college students of 20th-century German concept, but additionally for an individual wrestling with the dilemmas of up to date existence." Martin Jay, college of California, Berkeley
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Extra info for Fragments of Modernity (Routledge Revivals): Theories of Modernity in the Work of Simmel, Kracauer and Benjamin
Atom istic revolution’, ‘in the age of atom s, of atom istic chaos’. T his fragm ented universe is indeed a frail construct since ‘everything in o u r m o dern w orld is so dependent on everything else that to rem ove a single nail is to m ake the whole building trem ble and collapse’. 72 W hat m odern culture symbolizes is, then, the fleeting, the transitory and the fortuitous n atu re of m odernity. All m odern culture requires extreme mannerliness and the newest fashions, inward hasty grasp and exploitation of ephemera, indeed of the momentary: and absolutely nothing else!
19 But Sim m el sees the interest in socialism having declined am ong n o n w orking class groups once the Social D em ocrats becam e ‘a reform p arty on the basis of the existing social o rd e r’. Sim m el sees the interest in social issues as em an a tin g from another source, in p art in the philosophy of Schopenhauer em bodying the notion th at there is no final end in life, only the h u m an will. H ence, ‘the lack th at m en felt of a final object, and consequently of an ideal th at should dom inate the whole of life, was supplied in the eighties by the alm ost spontaneous rise of the idea of social ju s tic e ’.
79 T his capacity is not in the possession of the levelled, chaotic masses of m odern society, only those who possess o u tstan d in g gifts of excellence ( Vornehmheit). T h ey alone can grasp this eternal m om ent. N ietzsche confesses th at he w ould ‘gladly exchange a couple of G o e th e’s “ outliv ed ” years for whole cartloads of fresh m o dern lifetim es . . 80 T h e context for such reflections is N ietzsche’s critique of the relationship betw een m odernity and history. If m o dernity is characterized by an em phasis upon a transitory fleeting present, then it also takes on an o th er seem ingly co n trary feature, nam ely, ‘the ov ersatu ratio n .