I’ve received all of your essays and am in the process of grading them. Meanwhile, you’ll be happy to know that your Wiki projects have all been posted to the Yale Modernism Lab. You can check them out via the links below. Thanks for a great semester, and happy holidays to all!
The Last Laugh
All Quiet on the Western Front
Here are the links to the clips I showed at the end of class:
“Triumph of a New Hope” mash-up:
Triumph of the Will dedication ceremony:
Star Wars IV Yavin medal ceremony:
Here are the dates and deadlines for the rest of the semester. All assignments should be submitted to me by email.
Thursday, December 1 @ 7pm in 201 DeBartolo: film screening of Triumph of the Will
Friday, December 2 @ 5pm: final draft for wiki assignment due
Thursday, December 8 @ 7pm: proposed date for dinner at my house
Wednesday, December 14 @ 5pm: final paper due
Friday, December 16 @ 5pm: final paper due for graduate students and those who have not yet taken their optional extension.
On Tuesday, we’ll spend about half of the class period conducting peer review exercises. Here are the peer review groups:
Michael (The Last Laugh)
Leo (“The Storyteller”)
Patrick (All Quiet on the Western Front)
Jerry (Lulu Plays)
William (Doctor Faustus)
We’ll spend most of time on Tuesday discussing Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera. Be sure to read Marcus’ blog post as well as my own guide to Weill’s music, which I put up last week.
During the first 20 minutes or so, however, I want us to briefly return to Benjamin’s essay on “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” and specifically to section XIV, which we never got around to discussing in class. In it, Benjamin discusses the rise of the international art movement called “Dada” during and after the First World War, and makes the following somewhat cryptic statements:
For Thursday, we’ll be reading Walter Benjamin’s essay on “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (German original title: “Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner mechanischen Reproduzierbarkeit” – what would a more accurate English translation of this be?).
This is a complex piece, but also an exciting one, which probably ranks among the top ten most influential essays written in the humanities during the twentieth century. As you read it, try to come up with concrete examples that prove or disprove what Benjamin is talking about.
And by the way, if any of you want to learn more about the history of graphic reproduction techniques, which Benjamin briefly talks about at the beginning of the essay, then I recommend this excellent site created by the Museum of Modern Art.