Critical theory has made little use of “aura” and virtually none of “charisma.” Drawing on passages from Homer and Marcel Proust, this article broadens the view of aura that has developed among Walter Benjamin and his commentators and adds to the view of Max Weber and his commentators charisma as a useful concept for understanding elements of fiction and of representation generally. Charisma is a quality of persons; aura can rise up from things, places, events, and persons. Whereas charisma of art is a problem in aesthetics, aura is a product of the individual imagination projecting entirely subjective associations onto things, places, events, and persons.
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© 2011 by New German Critique, Inc.