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The Culture of the Copy: Striking Likenesses, Unreasonable Facsimiles
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The Culture of the Copy: Striking Likenesses, Unreasonable Facsimiles

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  55 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
"The Culture of the Copy" is an unprecedented attempt to make sense of our Western fascination with replicas, duplicates, and twins. In a work that is breathtaking in both its synthetic and critical achievements, Hillel Schwartz charts the repercussions of our entanglement with copies of all kinds, whose presence alternately sustains and overwhelms us.
Paperback, 566 pages
Published September 1st 1998 by Zone Books (NY) (first published 1996)
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Sep 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cultural-studies
The unavoidable influence of Walter Benjamin's essay "Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" is openly admitted at the end of chapter three entitled "Self-Portraits".

"Walter Benjamin, a theorist who for some readers must have been lurking behind each of these pages, did not say it best when he said that through replication the original has lost its aura...What withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is not the aura, the Happen-Stance, of works of art but the assurance of our ow
Dec 19, 2013 rated it liked it
An enjoyably written and beautifully illustrated compendium of anecdotes on twins, copying, human nature, authenticity, and fakes. Hillel Schwartz is an excellent writer. His sentences are clever (if sometimes corny) and enjoyable as language before you even process the information - which is encyclopedic in scope and often artfully connected. Unfortunately, while the individual entries are interesting, there isn't much over-arching analysis of them - of how they fit together, and what they say ...more
Dec 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Doppelgangers
This book is a tragically neglected study of the culture of reproduction, facsimile, simulacra, simulation, et cetera.

If anyone is interested in vanishing twins, automatons, golems, mimicry, Frankenstein's monster, contemporary visual culture/critique (Im talking about you Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, Doug Crimp, and Johnathan Crary), citicism of the mass-produced culture (the youngins all over and their Forefathers/mothers the MAI 68ers), or anything dealing with contemporary philosophy (yea, y
"Why, if advertisers resort to identical twinship for its implicit oracular power, did the estimable gift of prophecy fall so overwhelmingly to identical twin women? Because advertising has become our sibylline medium, for deciphering our dreams, telling us who we are and what we should be doing. Because the intuitiveness, the communitarian sensitivity, the ecstasies of the oracular are qualities linked more tightly to women than to men ever since the Greeks found their Fates and sibyls. Because ...more
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I first read Schwartz's odd but very engaging book for an art history course and have returned to it often since. It's lengthy and ranging in its foci yet the uniting theme is the idea of a "copy", which runs the spectrum in this book from actual copies to fakes (fake people, impostors, faked works of art) to twins to means for making electronic or physical copies of visual information. The author's prime interest is how duplicity and authenticity function in contemporary culture and have throug ...more
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is something that informed a lot of my theoretical writing at uni but it is a really visual book as well, even though there are no pictures it conjures things and tells stories about the image in a way that probably could not be done visually. Its not really creative in the sense of being writing that produces imagery in the reader, but it has this kind of magnetic pull that gives you this open window into human thought and the process of making and reproducing that is mind blowing.

Aug 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
tidak semua bagian sy butuhkan. bagian2 ttg fenomen kembar siam aku lewati, tapi ttg hubungan antara copydan originality itu menarik (bab VI-VII-VIII):
"the copy will transcend the original"
"replications as means to arrive at the truth"
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