Search - List of Books by Walter Benjamin
"The art of the critic in a nutshell: to coin slogans without betraying ideas. The slogans of an inadequate criticism peddle ideas to fashion." -- Walter Benjamin
Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin (15 July 1892 — 27 September 1940) was a German-Jewish intellectual (philosopher, sociologist, literary critic, translator, essayist) occasionally associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory. His sociologic and cultural critical thought, combining historical materialism, German idealism, and Jewish mysticism, proved a novel contribution to aesthetic theory and to Western Marxism. As a literary critic, his most famous essays are about Charles Baudelaire (1821—67), coiner of the term modernism; as a translator he produced the Tableaux Parisiens edition of Les Fleurs du mal (1857), by Baudelaire, and À la recherche du temps perdu (1913—27), by Marcel Proust (1871—1922).
Total Books: 215
His turn to Marxism in the 1930s resulted from the influence of playwright and friend Bertolt Brecht, whose critical aesthetics developed epic theatre and its Verfremdungseffekt (defamiliarisation, alienation). An earlier influence was friend Gershom Scholem, founder of the academic study of the Kabbalah and of Jewish mysticism.
Influenced by the Swiss anthropologist Johann Jakob Bachofen (1815—87), Walter Benjamin coined the term “auratic perception”, denoting the aesthetic faculty by means of which civilization may recover an appreciation of myth. Benjamin's work is often cited in academic and literary studies, especially the essays "The Task of the Translator" (1923) and "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (1936).
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