The Arcades Project Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 37 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Arcades Project.
This section contains 444 words
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The Arcades Project Summary & Study Guide Description

The Arcades Project Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Arcades Project by Walter Benjamin.

This is classic of the 20th century. The European man is used as the main model for this extensive work. The structure of this work is highly unusual. It is a vast assemblage of quotations made and drawn from diverse sources. The author educates readers in how to interpret his writings and the work. He does this way of example. He shows readers how it is that he has formulated his thinking. The reason is simple. He is a psychological product of his time and place. He includes numerous quotations and citations from a wide range of sources. The vast majority of these speak to the time during which he lived. Through the written media he is able to share with readers a quasi-natural sense for the context of his life. With this understood, interpreting his remarks becomes easier and is more apt to be accurate.

The author's own ideas are provided in a unique font. This makes them easier to distinguish from the over all dialogue. On another level, what is really going on is that author is using quotes to show the sources of much of his thinking. For this reason, readers can see when his own remarks reiterate another's ideas or when his idea makes a real "break from" or stride forward from other ideas. Thanks to the context he has provided people can see how his idea relates to those at are floating around in the cultural discourse of 19th century Paris.

By the end of the work, readers have an entirely new understanding of the psychological terrain of 19th century Europe. The emphasis is on Germany, France and Britain. Even so, other nations of the Western continent are also mentioned when relevant. The work is unusual in that it combines extensive writings by other figures and has been compiled along with his own. This has not been done merely as a research document, because the amount of others' works included is so great. Instead, this is a literary collage. Culture is a mass scale project. The idea of the collective is embodied by the way the manuscript has been brought together. The individual, and the society are shown to be reflections of one another. There is a mutually responsive feedback system. The 20th century has provided an early review of the 19th century. It will be for the future to decide: 500 years from now, will Benjamin's account be viewed as accurate? Surely by then, his biases will show clearly in ways that they are invisible now, as transparent glass to the minds of people now; we don't even see it because we are all affected.

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