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Batteries of Life: On the History of Things…
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Batteries of Life: On the History of Things and Their Perception in…

by Christoph Asendorf

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Reflecting on the technological age, poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote of the intense emotions with which people can endow manufactured objects. We seem to "charge" the world of things as we would a battery. Now German art historian Christoph Asendorf explores this transformation of human sense perception in the industrial age and contributes to a new understanding of European culture and modernity. Drawing from literature, painting, architecture, film, philosophy, anthropology, and popular culture, Asendorf offers rich analyses of works by Manet, Baudelaire, Monet, Zola, Benjamin, Heidegger, and Duchamp. These close readings are combined with a montage of key cultural images and events ranging from Paxton's Crystal Palace to the introduction of electricity. The result is a striking account of the emergence of consumer culture within the developing commodity economy of modern Europe. Certain to challenge the mono-disciplinary perspectives of many specialists, this book will interest historians of art, culture, literature, science, and technology.… (more)

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