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Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 2, Part 1: 1927-1930 / Edition 1

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Overview

In the frenzied final years of the Weimar Republic, amid economic collapse and mounting political catastrophe, Walter Benjamin emerged as the most original practicing literary critic and public intellectual in the German-speaking world. Volume 2 of the Selected Writings is now available in paperback in two parts.

In Part 1, Benjamin is represented by two of his greatest literary essays, "Surrealism" and "On the Image of Proust," as well as by a long article on Goethe and a generous selection of his wide-ranging commentary for Weimar Germany's newspapers.

Part 2 contains, in addition to the important longer essays, "Franz Kafka," "Karl Kraus," and "The Author as Producer," the extended autobiographical meditation "A Berlin Chronicle," and extended discussions of the history of photography and the social situation of the French writer, previously untranslated shorter pieces on such subjects as language and memory, theological criticism and literary history, astrology and the newspaper, and on such influential figures as Paul Valery, Stefan George, Hitler, and Mickey Mouse.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review

[Praise for the one-volume hardcover edition]

For those who know only the small selection of essays and longer texts previously translated into English, this book may be a revelation. Selected Writings: Volume 2 spanning the period from his abandonment of academia and his emergence as an important literary journalist in 1927 to his near silencing after the Nazis seized power and his exile in 1934, shows the writer at his sparkling best.
— Paul Mattick

The Observer

[Praise for the one-volume hardcover edition]

The period from 1927 to 1934 spanned in this volume was for Walter Benjamin both grievous and fertile...The range of topics and perspectives is immense. It extends from considerations on kitsch and pornography to repeated encounters, personal or indirect, with Gide, Kierkegaard and surrealism. The cultural history of toys fascinates Benjamin as he records his own Berlin childhood. Insights into 'Left-Wing Melancholy' alternate with thoughts on Mickey Mouse, on Chaplin, and on graphology.
— George Steiner

New York Times Book Review - Paul Mattick

[Praise for the one-volume hardcover edition]

For those who know only the small selection of essays and longer texts previously translated into English, this book may be a revelation. Selected Writings: Volume 2 spanning the period from his abandonment of academia and his emergence as an important literary journalist in 1927 to his near silencing after the Nazis seized power and his exile in 1934, shows the writer at his sparkling best.

The Observer - George Steiner

[Praise for the one-volume hardcover edition]

The period from 1927 to 1934 spanned in this volume was for Walter Benjamin both grievous and fertile...The range of topics and perspectives is immense. It extends from considerations on kitsch and pornography to repeated encounters, personal or indirect, with Gide, Kierkegaard and surrealism. The cultural history of toys fascinates Benjamin as he records his own Berlin childhood. Insights into 'Left-Wing Melancholy' alternate with thoughts on Mickey Mouse, on Chaplin, and on graphology.

The Observer
[Praise for the one-volume hardcover edition]

The period from 1927 to 1934 spanned in this volume was for Walter Benjamin both grievous and fertile...The range of topics and perspectives is immense. It extends from considerations on kitsch and pornography to repeated encounters, personal or indirect, with Gide, Kierkegaard and surrealism. The cultural history of toys fascinates Benjamin as he records his own Berlin childhood. Insights into 'Left-Wing Melancholy' alternate with thoughts on Mickey Mouse, on Chaplin, and on graphology.
— George Steiner

New York Times Book Review
[Praise for the one-volume hardcover edition]

For those who know only the small selection of essays and longer texts previously translated into English, this book may be a revelation. Selected Writings: Volume 2 spanning the period from his abandonment of academia and his emergence as an important literary journalist in 1927 to his near silencing after the Nazis seized power and his exile in 1934, shows the writer at his sparkling best.
— Paul Mattick

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674015883
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 502,004
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was the author of many works of literary and cultural analysis.

Michael W. Jennings is Class of 1900 Professor of Modern Languages at Princeton University.

Howard Eiland teaches literature at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Gary Smith is an editor at work on the Einstein Papers project.

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Table of Contents

Moscow, 1927

Dream Kitsch

The Political Groupings of Russian Writers

On the Present Situation of Russian Film

Reply to Oscar A. H. Schmitz

Introductory Remarks on a Series for L'Humanité

Moscow

Review of Gladkov's Cement

Journalism

Gottfried Keller

Diary of my Journey to the Loire

Review of Soupault's le Coeur d'or

The Idea of a Mystery

Review of Hessel's Heimliches Berlin

A State Monopoly on Pornography

Image Imperatives, 1928

Curriculum Vitae (III)

André Gide and Germany

Main Features of My Second Impression of Hashish

Conversation with André Gide

Old Toys

Hugo von Hofmannsthal's der Turm

Moonlit Nights on the rue la Boétie

Karl Kraus Reads Offenbach

The Cultural History of Toys

Toys and Play

Everything is Thought

Books by the Mentally Ill

Review of the Mendelssohns' der Mensch in der Handschrift

Food Fair

Paris as Goddess

The Path to Success, in Thirteen Theses

Weimar

The Fireside Saga

News about Flowers

Review of Green's Adrienne Mesurat

Goethe

Karl Kraus (Fragment)

The Return of the Flâneur, 1929

Chaplin

Program for a Proletarian Children's Theater

Surrealism

Chaplin in Retrospect

Chambermaids' Romances of the Past Century

Marseilles

On the Image of Proust

The Great Art of Making Things Seem Closer Together

Milieu Theoreticians

Children's Literature

Robert Walser

The Return of the Flâneur

Short Shadows (I)

A Communist Pedagogy

Notes on a Conversation with Béla Balász

Some Remarks on Folk Art

Tip for Patrons

Crisis and Critique, 1930

Notes (II)

Notes (III)

Program for Literary Criticism

Notes on a Theory of Gambling

The Crisis of the Novel

An Outsider Makes His Mark

Theories of German Fascism

Demonic Berlin

Hashish, Beginning of March 1930

Julien Green

Paris Diary

Review of Kracauer's die Angestellten

Food

Bert Brecht

The First Form of Criticism that Refuses to Judge

From the Brecht Commentary

Against a Masterpiece

Myslovice—Braunschweig—Marseilles

A Critique of the Publishing Industry

Graphology Old and New

Characterization of the New Generation

The Need to Take the Mediating Character of Bourgeois Writing Seriously

False Criticism

Antitheses

A Note on the Texts

Chronology, 1927-1934

Index

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