Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life

Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Walter Benjamin is one of the twentieth century's most important intellectuals, and also one of its most elusive. His writings—mosaics incorporating philosophy, literary criticism, Marxist analysis, and a syncretistic theology—defy simple categorization. And his mobile, often improvised existence has proven irresistible to mythologizers. His writing career moved from the brilliant esotericism of his early writings through his emergence as a central voice in Weimar culture and on to the exile years, with its pioneering studies of modern media and the rise of urban commodity capitalism in Paris. That career was played out amid some of the most catastrophic decades of modern European history: the horror of the First World War, the turbulence of the Weimar Republic, and the lengthening shadow of fascism. Now, a major new biography from two of the world's foremost Benjamin scholars reaches beyond the mosaic and the mythical to present this intriguing figure in full.

Howard Eiland and Michael Jennings make available for the first time a rich store of information which augments and corrects the record of an extraordinary life. They offer a comprehensive portrait of Benjamin and his times as well as extensive commentaries on his major works, including "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility," the essays on Baudelaire, and the great study of the German Trauerspiel. Sure to become the standard reference biography of this seminal thinker, Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life will prove a source of inexhaustible interest for Benjamin scholars and novices alike.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674970779
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 11/21/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 768
Sales rank: 731,479
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Howard Eiland is an editor and translator of Benjamin’s writings.

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

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 A Berlin Childhood: 1892-1912 12

2 Metaphysics of Youth: Berlin and Freiburg, 1912-1914 32

3 The Concept of Criticism: Berlin, Munich, and Bern, 1915-1919 75

4 Elective Affinities: Berlin and Heidelberg, 1920-1922 117

5 Academic Nomad: Frankfurt, Berlin, and Capri, 1923-1925 177

6 Weimar Intellectual: Berlin and Moscow, 1925-1928 235

7 The Destructive Character: Berlin, Paris, and Ibiza, 1929-1932 314

8 Exile: Paris and Ibiza, 1933-1934 391

9 The Parisian Arcades: Paris, San Remo, and Skovsbostrand, 1935-1937 483

10 Baudelaire and the Streets of Paris: Paris, San Remo, and Skovsbostrand, 1938-1939 576

11 The Angel of History: Paris, Nevers, Marseilles, and Port Bou, 1939-1940 647

Epilogue 677

Abbreviations 681

Notes 682

Selected Bibliography 719

Acknowledgments 734

Index 735

Customer Reviews