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Michael Jennings, Class of 1900 Professor of Modern Languages at Princeton, examines some of the intellectual contexts for the media theory developed by Walter Benjamin in the 1930's. Drawing on his reading and experience in the early 1920's, Benjamin integrates aspects of esoteric Jewish thought (Erich Unger's Politik und Metaphysik), patristics (Origen of Alexandria and the concept of apocatastasis), and avant-garde cultural theory (Moholy-Nagy) into the theoretical armature of the essay "The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility" and especially into the central work of his late career, the book Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism."

Introduced by Hent de Vries, Russ Family Professor in the Humanities and Philosophy, Johns Hopkins University

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