Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Hofmannsthal sent a copy of the chapter from Benjamin's Habilitation on melancholy, recently published in the Neue Deutsche Beiträge, to Panofsky, whose response was distinctly unenthusiastic.

Matthew Rampley The Remembrance of Things Past: On Aby M. Warburg and Walter Benjamin, Harrassowitz, 2000  p.11

In a letter dealing with Kracauer’s project, Panofsky described the project’s thesis aesthetically as dealing with the intrinsic conflict between cinematic structure and “story.” He wondered whether this “conflict”was not rather a property inherent in the photographic medium itself, because the photographer is free to determine the composition and the subject of his shots.  This, Panofsky said, had convinced him that photography was an art. In his response, Kracauer made it clear that he was dealing with the “documentary tendency” as against that of telling stories and, therefore, with the ways these tendencies were manifest in the film production. He insisted more pugnaciously on the antagonistic conflict rather than recognizing, with Panofsky, that the photographic medium, like the other arts, combined narrative and representation.

Siegfried Kracauer and Erwin Panofsky; Briefwechsel 1941–1966 ed. by Volker Breidecker.  reviewed by Rudolf Arnheim, Leonardo, Volume 31, Number 1, February 1998, pp. 74-75


2022: more on Panofsky and Benjamin.

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