The correspondence of Walter Benjamin, 1910-1940

The correspondence of Walter Benjamin, 1910-1940

Editorial: Chicago

Páginas: 652

Año: 1994

EAN: 9780226042374

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Called "the most important critic of his time" by Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin has also emerged as one of the most compelling thinkers of our time, his work assuming a crucial place in current debates over the interactions of art, culture, and meaning. A "natural and extraordinary talent for letter writing was one of the most captivating facets of his nature," writes Gershom Scholem in his foreword; and indeed, Benjamin´s correspondence reveals the evolution of some of his most important ideas. Published here in English, these letters offer an intimate picture of Benjamin himself and the times in which he lived. Written in a day when letters were an important vehicle for the presentation and development of intellectual matters, Benjamin´s correspondence provides an insight into the circumstances behind his often difficult work.Writing at length to Scholem and Theodor Adorno, and exchanging letters with Rainer Maria Rilke, Hannah Arendt, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Max Horkheimer, Max Brod, Bertolt Brecht, and Kafka´s friend Felix Weltsch, Benjamin elaborates his ideas about metaphor and language. He reflects on literary figures from Kafka to Karl Kraus, the "Jewish Question" and anti-Semitism, Marxism and Zionism. And he expounds his personal attitudes toward such subjects as the role of quotations in criticism, history, and tradition; the meaning of being a "collector"; and French culture and the national character.