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- Illuminations: Essays and Reflections
- Walter Benjamin
- reflections essays, aphorisms, autobiographical writings walter benjamin - Bing
- Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings.
- Reflections Essays Aphorisms Autobiographical Writings, Benjamin Walter Demetz Peter.
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Preview — Reflections by Walter Benjamin. Edmund F. Jephcott Translator. Peter Demetz Editor. Leon Wieseltier Preface. A companion volume to Illuminations , the first collection of Walter Benjamin's writings, Reflections presents a further sampling of his wide-ranging work. Here Benjamin evolves a theory of language as the medium of all creation, discusses theater and surrealism, reminisces about Berlin in the s, recalls conversations with Bertolt Brecht, and provides travelogues of various cities, i A companion volume to Illuminations , the first collection of Walter Benjamin's writings, Reflections presents a further sampling of his wide-ranging work.
Here Benjamin evolves a theory of language as the medium of all creation, discusses theater and surrealism, reminisces about Berlin in the s, recalls conversations with Bertolt Brecht, and provides travelogues of various cities, including Moscow under Stalin. He moves seamlessly from literary criticism to autobiography to philosophical-theological speculations, cementing his reputation as one of the greatest and most versatile writers of the twentieth century. Also included is a new preface by Leon Wieseltier that explores Benjamin's continued relevance for our times.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published March 12th by Schocken first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Reflections , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details.
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More filters. Sort order. May 27, Jonfaith rated it liked it Shelves: theory. We can remark in passing that there is no better starting point for thought than laughter. The only extravagance of the epic theatre is its amount of laughter. This is a much more disparate collection than Illuminations. Surely this is to be expected The isfting and editing. The indecision. Reflections' opening section A Berlin Chronicle is a cartographic auto We can remark in passing that there is no better starting point for thought than laughter.
Reflections' opening section A Berlin Chronicle is a cartographic autobiography. It is a spatial narrative in the weirdest sense. There is a disorientation present. I also liked the Conversations With Brecht and the Author as Producer though my attentions waned upon approaching the lengthy piece on Karl Kraus. The concluding fragments appear rich with insight but frankly I was spent by that time. May 28, Michael A. I don't really care for them unless I really like the individual and I dont know Benjamin all that great.
However, as it went on I found myself more and more interested in his life growing up in Berlin. Benjamin has a low-key captivating writing style that is hard to describe - it is easy to digest but sophisticated and well-constructed.
I enjoyed read this but im not going to lie was glad when it was over. A travel diary which I also tend not to care for, I did not care at all about Camus's travels in Algeria or whatever but this is set in the winter of Soviet Russia, and being a communist, the setting excited me greatly. It was very cool to read about the daily life and how Benjamin even notes life seems fuller than in his native Berlin.
However, he does say criticize? Despite this, the people seem lively. Its fun and good and I love when philosophers and scholars do trip reports and get high.
A seven-point blueprint to the dark arts of filling pages.
I thought this was an interesting read, it was a nice description of Paris. Not big on travel diaries about places I don't care about and I don't really care about naples! Still wasnt badly written or anything just not my thing. I couldn't quite figure out if Benjamin was criticizing them at the end but he did correctly predict that where they were headed now they might as well join the Communist party, or were close to it or something, which they eventually did.
I love reading about Surrealism and Benjamin is a really good writer, I am a bit surprised to see him write so highly of it though.
Illuminations: Essays and Reflections
And the conversations with Brecht was really good, lots of politics talk of course but also a bit of talk about being a writer. Cool stuff. Very good article, I liked this a lot, I think it was basically trying to get authors to be aware of their situatedness in the role of capitalist production and create truly revolutionary proletariat works of art.
It was an interesting read, and Kraus seems like an interesting writer, and I thought section 3 "Monster" was especially good, and parts in that are very poetic and metaphorical that could apply to any writer. I would have liked this more if I was more familiar with Kraus's work, but Benjamin still made someone who I'll probably never read interesting to read about.
And that's vaguely touched on and this is an essay critiquing violence vis-a-vis the Law through a Marxist I guess? Things get strange when the essay starts getting mytho-poetical, talking about divine and mythical violence.
I didn't quite understand that part. It seemed sort of vital to his argument. He does say that the only legal subject entitled to violence other than the State is organized labor. It was okay but honestly I expected different. Theologico-Political Fragment - Interesting anti-theocracy argument.
The arrow analogy is tough to conceive in my head, a diagram might help but it sounds very interesting. The last paragraph of nature passing away and the task of world politics becoming nihilism is pretty ominous. I think a big thesis is : "The absolute relation of name to knowledge exists only in God, only there is name, because it is inwardly identicalw ith the creative word, the pure medium of knowledge.
That means: God made things knowable in their names. Man, however, names them according to knowledge. But I should back up, this essay is I guess what language is?
Anyway, it starts out good enough saying its something like a material thing communicating a mental entity but it ends up where in order to buy into his theory that Genesis is true because he uses Judaeo-Christian mythology as key arguments for certain things. He lost me on its believability though it was still interesting to read. However, this is disappointing as a Marxist because he criticizes other language theories as "bourgeois" which to me implies he thinks his proletarian in some way.
I don't think so, i don't think know if it's bourgeois, but it's definitely an theologico-idealist mystification of language rather than a materialist clarification.
Interesting read but he posits the Holy Bible having some sort of argumentative power in this topic but doesn't really argue for it, so I can't really accept the rest of his argument. Perhaps its some mythological allegory and he's using the Holy Bible as an allegory - I don't know. Still worth reading though. This was good because he didn't bring God into it but he could resist ending the book on "magic". Part 1 is by far the weakest part, probably skippable. But parts are all worth reading. In one essay, cant remember which, he identifies power has being "formless" which made me think of a proto or ur-Foucauldian analysis of power where it's distributed throughout a network and doesnt really take a form.
My favorite essay was probably Moscow, Surrealism, and the Brecht correspondence.
reflections essays, aphorisms, autobiographical writings walter benjamin - Bing
I did know Benjamin had a mystic element to him but Part 4 has a theological miasma, at least, if not out right imprint on every essay that I didn't much care for as I felt it diminished the force of some of his arguments. I feel like he was making a convincing theory of language until he brought in the book of Genesis in his "On Language as Such and on the Language of Man".
I also thought Fate and Character was a very strange essay, that was probably the hardest one for me to understand. Definitely interesting thoughts, anecdotes, theories are contained in this book and there is a reason why Benjamin is revered as he is as a thinker not just in Marxist circles. Jun 26, AK rated it it was amazing Shelves: college. I really should revisit this book, as I only remember these two sentences, but it is perhaps my favorite quote of ever: The treasure-dispensing giant in the green pine forest or the fairy who grants one wish - they appear to each of us at least once in a lifetime.
But only Sunday's children remember the wish they made, and so it is only a few who recognize its fulfillment in their own lives.
Apr 15, Kate Savage rated it liked it. It was his premise that nothing is what it appears to be, and this made him into a scholar of appearances. He had an unappeasable appetite for the marginal and the idiosyncratic, because deviance looked to him like an epistemological advantage. Nothing that was not neglected could be true. There were moments as brilli "In his memoirs as in his essays, he seemed to require of every perception that it be a revolution.
There were moments as brilliant as the essays in Illuminations , and then others that felt like an editor had over-zealously hoarded all of Benjamin's bed-side post-it notes and assumed they were all worth publishing. I probably just don't understand its significance, but I could be happy never having read the tedious recounting of detailed memories in "A Berlin Chronicle.
But the raggedy "One-Way Street" is remarkable, as well as some of the notes from conversations with Brecht. I found the direction Marxism and class analysis take in "Surrealism" and "The Author as Producer" to be all kinds of thought-provoking and argument-generating, like all the best ideas. Unfortunately, because Benjamin is such a weird Marxist, it's considered completely appropriate for the foremost Benjamin scholars to be tepid liberals, such as the author of this book's introduction Peter Demetz , who has a few insights and then spends pages decrying Benjamin's political commitments.
I recommend reading Illuminations and then venturing into this volume only if you have a lot of patience, to read through the mind-numbing until you reach the odd Benjaminial gem like this bit from "One-Way Street": "If a person very close to us is dying, there is something in the months to come that we dimly apprehend -- much as we should have liked to share it with him -- could only happen through his absence.
We greet him at the last in a language that he no longer understands. Jan 10, Matt rated it liked it.