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A Study on Existential Aesthetics and Mass Culture Theory of Siegfried Kracauer

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2019, 58(), pp.209-243
  • DOI : 10.17527/JASA.58.0.07
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Received : August 15, 2019
  • Accepted : September 14, 2019
  • Published : October 31, 2019

Sun Kyu Ha 1

1홍익대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Siegfried Kracauer(1889-1966) is often referred to as theorist of cinematography or sociologist. He was, however, a genuine philosopher from a young age who explored new ways of thinking and critical writing. But to properly understand Kracauer as an original philosopher, one must pay attention to two motifs that have constantly moved his thinking. It is the motive for diagnosing the modern capitalist world as an era of de-realization of reality and ideological emptiness, and the motive to existentially and theologically save ‘surface’ cultural phenomena. In order to confirm and analyze this, this paper has focused on his early major essays, his unique appropriation of philosophical anthropology of Kierkegaard, and his philosophical main-work Detective Novel(1925/71). Kracauer appropriates Kierkegaard's anthropology of existential freedom in his own way. In other words, he transforms Kierkegaard's anthropology to ‘anthropology of historical existence’ in terms of historical materialism and theological redemption. In particular, he focuses on the existence of the tensioned subject between this life and eternity, the secular world and the transcendental realm. Based on this anthropological concept, Kracauer presents an unique existential aesthetics of the origin and goal of art. He emphasizes that the theoretical reflection on the art must grasp the existential tension of the subject underlying the work of art, and furthermore, it must be historically and philosophically explained and rescued the way the tension is resolved in the work of art. The impressive result of applying this historical and philosophical criticism to the genre of popular literature is the Detective Novel.

Citation status

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.