Balzac pre-Benjamin

oil painting factory in China

Add to my list of overrated thinkers, Mr. Walter Benjamin.  Much is made of his arcane and metaphysical piece, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Mass Production.”  In fact, my college senior thesis borrowed most of the title – “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Mass Reproduction.”  Clever, eh?

Well, here is the gist of that esoteric work, en avance, in a sentence, from Balzac’s Beatrix, one hundred years before:

While working for the masses, modern industry progressively destroys works of art that had been as personal for the buyer as for the creator.  Nowadays, we have products; we no longer have works.

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