Anxieties over Technology in Yugoslav Interwar Music Criticism: Stanislav Vinaver in Dialogue with Walter Benjamin

  • Žarko Cvejić Faculty of Media and Communication, Singidunum University, Belgrade
Keywords: Stanislav Vinaver, Walter Benjamin, aura, mechanical reproduction of art, aesthetic autonomy, early German Romantics, communism, fascism


The text sheds light on a previously little known piece written in 1935 by the Jewish-Serbian poet and literary and music critic Stanislav Vinaver, from the perspective of the much more famous ‘artwork essay’ by Walter Benjamin, likewise from 1935, as well as some of Vinaver’s many writings on music. The purpose is to offer an interpretation of Vinaver’s views on the mechanical reproduction of music, seemingly close to Benjamin’s views on technological reproducibility in the visual arts and its effects but ultimately drawing very different conclusions. The reasons for this may be found in Vinaver’s passionate advocacy of modernism in Yugoslav literature and music alike and a sort of nostalgic, metaphysical reverence for music, reminiscent of its apotheosis in early German Romanticism.

Author Biography

Žarko Cvejić, Faculty of Media and Communication, Singidunum University, Belgrade

Ž. Cvejić acquired his B.A. degree in music from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, in 2003 and a Master of Studies degree in musicology from the same university in 2004. He also holds an M.A. degree in musicology (2008) and a Ph.D. degree (2011), both from Cornell University in the United States. Since 2011, Cvejić has taught at the Faculty of Media and Communication of Singidunum University in Belgrade, first as an assistant professor and since 2016 as an associate professor.