Rilke, who had described the same phenomenon in the episode of the coverlet from Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, observed, with a revealing expression, that the ‘relations of men and things have created confusion in the latter’. The bad human conscience with respect to commodified objects is expressed in the mise-en-scène of this phantasmagorical conspiracy. The degeneration implicit in the transformation of the artisanal object into the mass-produced article is constantly manifest to modern man in the loss of his own self-possession with respect to things. The degradation of objects is matched by human clumsiness, that is, the fear of their possible revenge . . ."
—Giorgio Agamben, Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture (1977)