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Walter Benjamin


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Table of Contents

Paris Old and New, 1935 Brecht's Threepenny Novel Johann Jakob Bachofen Conversation above the Corso: Recollections of Carnival-Time in Nice Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century Exchange with Theodor W. Adorno on the Essay "Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century" Problems in the Sociology of Language: An Overview The Formula in Which the Dialectical Structure of Film Finds Expression Rastelli's Story Art In a Technological Age, 1936 The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility: Second Version A Different Utopian Will The Significance of Beautiful Semblance The Signatures of the Age Theory of Distraction The Storyteller: Observations on the Works of Nikolai Leskov German Men and Women: A Sequence of Letters Letter from Paris (2): Painting and Photography Translation-For and Against The Knowledge That the First Material on Which the Mimetic Faculty Tested Itself Dialectics and History, 1937 Addendum to the Brecht Commentary: The Threepenny Opera Eduard Fuchs, Collector and Historian Fruits of Exile, 1938 (Part 1) Theological-Political Fragment A German Institute for Independent Research Review of Brod's Franz Kafka Letter to Gershom Scholem on Franz Kafka The Land Where the Proletariat May Not Be Mentioned: The Premiere of Eight One-Act Plays by Brecht Diary Entries, 1938 Berlin Childhood around 1900 A Note on the Texts Chronology, 1935-1938 Index Illustrations The Galerie Vivienne, Paris, 1907 Walter Benjamin at the Bibliotheque Nationale, 1937 Honore Daumier, La Crinoline en temps de neige The Kaiser Wilhelm Bridge, Berlin, early twentieth century The Victory Column on Konigsplatz, Berlin, early twentieth century The goldfish pond in the Tiergarten, Berlin, early twentieth century Berlin's Tiergarten in winter, early twentieth century Market hall on Magdeburger Platz, 1899 Interior of a typical middle-class German home, late nineteenth century Courtyard on Fischerstrasse in Old Berlin, early twentieth century Walter Benjamin and his brother Georg, ca. 1902

About the Author

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was the author of many works of literary and cultural analysis. Howard Eiland teaches literature at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Michael W. Jennings is Professor of German, Princeton University.


This latest volume of Harvard's majestic annotated edition of the essays and fragments includes reflections on Brecht, Kafka and the collector Eduard Fuchs, an early version of the famous analysis of art in the age of mechanical reproduction (here more accurately translated as "technological reproducibility") and the equally exhilarating inquiry into the nature of narrative, "The Storyteller." You feel smarter just holding this book in your hand. -- Michael Dirda * Washington Post *
Over the past few years, Harvard's systematic presentation of the work of German cultural critic Benjamin has proved a revelation...This third of four planned volumes...offers two major texts that are new to English...as well as a fascinating re-translation of one of the cornerstones of Benjamin's reputation, here rendered as the essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility"...This is another splendid volume that will leave aficionados on campus and off awaiting the final installment. * Publishers Weekly *
While the Harvard Series does include Benjamin's epochal contributions to Marxist theory and literary criticism, it also does English-language readers a great service by emphasizing his more accessible writings: fanciful personal essays, journalistic articles, and book reviews. These pieces are, at times, giddily delightful; at other moments, they offer lightning-quick, piercing insights. * Publishers Weekly *
Benjamin attracts such metaphorical fancies, symbols of a life's work at once supernaturally precise and rigorously mysterious. His own favoured symbol for the scattered unity of his writing was that of the constellation: a stellar array of apparently unrelated points rendered into magical coherence by the powers of thought and intuition. This third volume in Harvard's essential selection from his huge corpus offers something like a deep-space photograph of Benjamin's enigmatic universe: a book as fascinating for scholars as it is enrapturing for any reader as yet unseduced by this most sensitive and audacious of writers...Benjamin's autobiographical masterpiece ['A Berlin Childhood Around 1900'] might alone justify this sedulously edited and beautifully translated volume. But here, too, alongside an outline of The Arcades Project and an early version of the 'Work of Art [in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction]' essay, are his thoughts on a wondrous variety of subjects--Kafka, Brecht, painting and photography, carnivals, the problem of translation--as well as a host of supposedly 'minor' writings (fragments, letters, diary entries) which often turn out to be among his most beautiful or thought-provoking...It is no exaggeration to say that Benjamin's writing changes lives, lights up unknown landscapes of art and politics, even at this historical remove. If his thought lives on...it does so in the sense that Baudelaire's 19th century survived for Benjamin in the 20th: less a reminder of the past than a signpost to the future. There is no more incisive or elegant guide to that territory. -- Brian Dillon * Irish Times *
The quintessential Benjamin gesture of Volume 3 is the 1936 selection of letters by a wide assortment of figures from the German Romantic era, together with his brief, meticulously sympathetic commentaries, contained in German Men and Women...It is the story primarily of friendships amidst the passages and misfortunes of time, and of ideas as the substance of friendship: Their exchange becomes the fabric that connects one individual to another, and binds each to their precarious, uncertain lives. -- Howard Hampton * Village Voice *
Howard Eiland's translation [of "Berlin Childhood around 1900"] in Harvard University Press's Selected Writings, Volume 3 is incomparable. -- Charles Mudede * The Stranger *

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