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History and Its ObjectsAntiquarianism and Material Culture since 1500$
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Peter N. Miller

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453700

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453700.001.0001

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History and Things in the Twentieth Century

History and Things in the Twentieth Century

(p.21) Chapter 1 History and Things in the Twentieth Century
History and Its Objects

Peter N. Miller

Cornell University Press

This chapter details notable instances of artistic and intellectual engagements with material culture during the twentieth century, including poetic ruminations on the metaphysical nature of objects as well as their value in artistic tradition. It portrays these material engagements not as a marginal phenomenon relegated to the sidelines of history, but as active influences which have pervaded some of the most significant cultural creation of the twentieth century. Thus, when academics started using the term “material culture” in the last decades of the twentieth century, they were joining a conversation that had been going on for a long time, although this phenomenon somehow remained largely neglected in more contemporary discussions.

Keywords:   material culture, twentieth century, Rainer Maria Rilke, Aby Warburg, metaphysics, antiquarianism, Friedrich Nietzsche, Giorgio de Chirico, art objects, Walter Benjamin

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