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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Everything New Is Old Again

I came across the following quote last night.
For centuries a small number of writers were confronted by many thousands of readers. This changed toward the end of the last century.... And today there is hardly a gainfully employed European who could not, in principle, find an opportunity to publish somewhere or other comments on his work, grievances, documentary reports, or that sort of thing. Thus, the distinction between author and public is about to lose its basic character. The difference becomes merely functional; it may vary from case to case. At any moment the reader is ready to turn into a writer. As expert, which he had to become willy-nilly in an extremely specialized work process, even if only in some minor respect, the reader gains access to authorship.
What's the source? Some high-brow, European news magazine trying to explain blogs to its grey-haired readership? Not quite. It's Walter Benjamin 70 years ago in "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction."



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