Words of Light: Theses on the Photography of History by Eduardo CadavaWords of Light: Theses on the Photography of History by Eduardo Cadava

Words of Light: Theses on the Photography of History

byEduardo Cadava

Paperback | August 23, 1998

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Here Eduardo Cadava demonstrates that Walter Benjamin articulates his conception of history through the language of photography. Focusing on Benjamin's discussions of the flashes and images of history, he argues that the questions raised by this link between photography and history touch on issues that belong to the entire trajectory of his writings: the historical and political consequences of technology, the relation between reproduction and mimesis, images and history, remembering and forgetting, allegory and mourning, and visual and linguistic representation. The book establishes the photographic constellation of motifs and themes around which Benjamin organizes his texts and thereby becomes a lens through which we can begin to view his analysis of the convergence between the new technological media and a revolutionary concept of historical action and understanding.


Written in the form of theses--what Cadava calls "snapshots in prose"--the book memorializes Benjamin's own thetic method of writing. It enacts a mode of conceiving history that is neither linear nor successive, but rather discontinuous--constructed from what Benjamin calls "dialectical images." In this way, it not only suggests the essential rapport between the fragmentary form of Benjamin's writing and his effort to write a history of modernity but it also skillfully clarifies the relation between Benjamin and his contemporaries, the relation between fascism and aesthetic ideology. It gives us the most complete picture to date of Benjamin's reflections on history.

Eduardo Cadava is Associate Professor of English at Princeton University. He is the author of Emerson and the Climates of History and coeditor of Who Comes after the Subject?
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Title:Words of Light: Theses on the Photography of HistoryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9.25 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:August 23, 1998Publisher:Princeton University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691002681

ISBN - 13:9780691002682

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Reviews

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Abbreviations

Preface: Photagogos

History 3

Heliotropism 5

Origins 5

Mortification 7

Ghosts 11

Mimesis 13

Translations 15

Inscriptions 18

Lightning 21

Stars 26

Eternal Return 31

Reproducibility 42

Politics 44

Danger 47

Caesura 59

Traces 64

Nightdreams 66

Twilight 71

Awakening 81

Language 84

Matter 87

Reflections 92

Psyches 97

Shocks 102

Similarity 106

Petrification 115

Death 128

Epitaphs 128

Notes 133

Bibliography 157

Index 169




Editorial Reviews

"Cadava presents a series of sensitive meditations on Benjamin's work, in which, like Benjamin himself, he explores the mass image and its role in the making of popular memory."--The Times Literary Supplement