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The Socio-Political Influence on Literature & Art

If we look at the criticism and theories of Virginia Woolf, Walter Benjamin, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., we see how socio-political influences impact literature and art. In the case of Woolf and Gates, we see that socio-political influence often silences or distorts artworks by those marginalized by mainstream socio-political groups. This is true with women in the sixteenth century, as Woolf argues, as it was true of African Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries. BenjaminÆs (1998) theories provide an analysis of the impact of technology and innovation on art, an impact that often serves to undermine the impact of time and space on art when originally produced, ôEven the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to beö (p. 1107). This analysis will compare and contrast the interpretations of Woolf, Gates, and Benjamin, including aspects of art and/or literature they leave uncovered.

In BenjaminÆs The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, the author theorizes that mechanical means of reproducing art serve to remove the artist and the era by whom and in which it was created. Absent of the impact of the eraÆs values and beliefs in which art was created, its meaning changes. Art has always ôbeen reproducible,ö in BenjaminÆs (1998) view, but mechanical reproduction changes the ways in which art is experienced and distances it from the view of its creator, (p. 1106). Such capability undermines the authenticity of an original work of art, ôthe quality of its presence is always depreciatedö (Benjamin, p. 1108).

These concepts put forth by Benjamin are significant, because a materialistic society tends to concentrate its resources in the hands of a small group or social class who control the production of art itself. Therefore, reproduction of art undermines authenticity and enables it to be ba...

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The Socio-Political Influence on Literature & Art. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 08:23, February 18, 2019, from