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Illuminations: Essays and Reflections #2020

Illuminations Essays and Reflections Studies on contemporary art and culture by one of the most original critical and analytical minds of this century Illuminations includes Benjamin s views on Kafka with whom he felt the closest perso

  • Title: Illuminations: Essays and Reflections
  • Author: Walter Benjamin Hannah Arendt Harry Zohn
  • ISBN: 9780805202410
  • Page: 312
  • Format: Paperback
  • Illuminations: Essays and Reflections By Walter Benjamin Hannah Arendt Harry Zohn, Studies on contemporary art and culture by one of the most original, critical and analytical minds of this century Illuminations includes Benjamin s views on Kafka, with whom he felt the closest personal affinity, his studies on Baudelaire and Proust both of whom he translated , his essays on Leskov and on Brecht s Epic Theater Also included are his penetrating study onStudies on contemporary art and culture by one of the most original, critical and analytical minds of this century Illuminations includes Benjamin s views on Kafka, with whom he felt the closest personal affinity, his studies on Baudelaire and Proust both of whom he translated , his essays on Leskov and on Brecht s Epic Theater Also included are his penetrating study on The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, an illuminating discussion of translation as a literary mode, and his thesis on the philosophy of history Hannah Arendt selected the essays for this volume and prefaces them with a substantial, admirably informed introduction that presents Benjamin s personality and intellectual development, as well as his work and his life in dark times Reflections the companion volume to this book, is also available as a Schocken paperback.Unpacking My Library, 1931The Task of the Translator, 1913The Storyteller, 1936Franz Kafka, 1934Some Reflections on Kafka, 1938What Is Epic Theater , 1939On Some Motifs in Baudelaire, 1939The Image of Proust, 1929The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936Theses on the Philosophy of History, written 1940, pub 1950

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    1. The introductory essay by Hannah Arendt who also did duty as editor of this wonderful collection serves up her usual insight and reliably delivered via her rather dense language in categorizing Benjamin as a poetic mind who approached cultural and literary criticism in a unique manner, one that left a lasting influence upon those who followed in his wake Benjamin s opening sally, a short piece on the eccentric inner workings of the book collector, resonated in a warmly satisfying way, describing [...]

    2. These are meandering thoughts on the book especially on Benjamin s Mechanical Reproduction essay If you have any thoughts, insights, critique on my view I appreciate any comments The topic of art is something I m endlessly fascinated by and always love discussing I loved the preface by Hannah Arendt, gives insight into mindset and analytical style of Benjamin Offers perceptive bio framing his life against historical issues and cultural landscape including situation of Jewish bourgeoisie in Europ [...]

    3. For every second of time was the strait gate through which the Messiah might enter.There are hardly enough superlatives for this amazing collection of essays concerning Baudelaire, Proust, Kafka, messianism and the aesthetic tension between the cultic and the exhibitional I had read Unpacking My Library a half dozen times previously and it still forces me to catch my breath The thoughts on Kafka explore the mystical as well as the shock of the modern The shock of the urban and industrial is a re [...]

    4. SentimentalityI still talk about The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction 30 years after I first read it.I don t remember it as a purely political tract, even though that is how it is all dressed up.I think Benjamin displayed some degree of sentimentality and attachment to the original work of art Its uniqueness, its cult value, its authenticity, its ability to illuminate.Ironically, the way that we relate to mechanically reproduced books now replicates this sentimentality, even tho [...]

    5. Benjamin s writings on Proust, Kafka, Baudelaire and Leskov are really brilliant and engrossing I was especially taken with his history of the storyteller in relation to Leskov s stories, how the verbal communication that was the initial component of storytelling dissipated after the fragmenting of human experience that came along with the realities of the industrial revolution and the barbarism of World War I, as if history itself killed mankind s ability to actually feel and process experience [...]

    6. Reading Benjamin makes me realize how 98% of the conversations I have are a waste of time His depth reaches far and his reading spreads vast.

    7. I d lie if I said that I understood than charitably fifty percent of these essays Besides for the mountains of literary references and the oblique angles from which Benjamin approaches his subjects, his languid, fl neur like writing makes it difficult to follow his train of thought Still, the beauty of such writing, and the tendency toward hyperbole so characteristic of the Frankfurt School, have no doubt played a great role in Benjamin s reputation as a critic.These essays, selected by Hannah [...]

    8. These essays are chiefly memorable for 1 The one about the dwarf that lives under the chessboard.2 The one about how he has too many books but they are all his children.3 The one where Kafka has a headache, but everyone keeps asking him for favors.4 The one where Proust eats a cookie.5 The one in which they lose the aura.6 The one where the gang all wear translations as baggy coats.7 The one where Baudelaire gets lost in a crowd.8 The one with the Hannah Arendt encomium to Walter Benjamin.9 The [...]

    9. me i started trying to do a heidegger thing just finished the basic writings book but am not feeling totally enthused.William ughwhy heidegger me i dunno because he is so central influential it is just a little boring a little, like what s the point William seriouslyi have to finish up my heidegger hoelderlin chapter and i m so bored with heideggerso stodgy and airlessme totallyWilliam in contrast, if you read walter benjamin, from walter you can get interested in a myriad of different subjects [...]

    10. Five years ago I discovered Walter Benjamin I had never been much for theory before, and my initial encounter with his writing was sort of like one of those old 3D puzzle pictures first, a dense field of mesmerizing psychedelic prose, and then POW MEANING I don t gush over philosophy often, I swear okay, I don t swear swear, but like, 89% swear but this is love His haunting theories and beautiful metaphors have stayed on my mind ever since that sunny afternoon in Portland, Oregon when I sat gapi [...]

    11. Scary to read this now relevant and haunting Beautiful, dark prose Brilliant and shadowy and mind blowingly astute Modern always in its observations and personal experience His is the experience of all of us in a floating, unstable world History and the present moment are the same there is no time in Benjamin and he tries desperately to teach us something He listens to the world, the almost inaudible, and writes it faithfully and sadly.

    12. Only read his Theses on the Philosophy of History from this collection.Jesus Christ, that is good writing.

    13. I d encountered Benjamin through the way The Arcades Project always tends to crop up as one of the foundational texts of psychogeography, but you don t go in on a thousand page unfinished and probably always unfinishable volume as your first encounter with a writer, do you So when I saw this in the library, I thought I d give it a go First surprise about a third of the book is taken up with the introduction, which would normally be taking the piss, but this one is by Hannah Arendt, which puts a [...]

    14. This book is a valuable collection of essays and reflections by the German literary and cultural critic Walter Benjamin The collection is enhanced by the excellent introduction provided by Hannah Arendt Of the ten essays in the collection by far the most famous is The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction In this essay Benjamin discusses the impact of mechanical reproduction through photography and film on the nature of works of art, even so far as to shape the design of new works Fr [...]

    15. Walter Benjamin just had that vision to see what was underneth his subject matter Wonderful writer who can look at each layer of whatever subject matter he s writing about Cultural critic before there were cultural critics Now this is a man you would like to sit down and have a glass of wine with him Alas not here with us any, so the second best thing is to have a glass of wine and read this book.

    16. The essays collected here are all good to excellent However, Harry Zohn s translations are appalling The piece on translation is garbled into nonsense, basically, and the less said about the rendering into English of the artwork essay the better Best to stick to the edition put out by Harvard University Press fairly recently.

    17. I m re reading this book because that s what you do with a book like this And especially with essays like The Storyteller, On Some Motifs in Baudelaire, The Work of Art in the Age, and Theses on the Philosophy of History.

    18. The writings of an interesting literary critic, a sincere and somewhat unorthodox marxist and a leftist mystic whose life will likely be remembered and redeemed on the Judgement Day Most essays in it are very interesting, although in a few of them Benjamin s argument can get a bit contrived.

    19. Benjamin ist einer der wenigen Philosophen, die nie aus der Mode kommen und immer wieder neu entdeckt werden Dies liegt daran, dass er insbesondere in seinen in dieser Sammlung enthaltenen Aphorismen vor zukunftsweisenden Ideen sprudelt Vom Blogger bis zu Youtube nimmt er alles vor 100 Jahren vorweg berall wo er v llig falsch liegt baut er auf Marx sche Wirtschaftswissenschaft Was manchmal erstaut, ist die gedankliche N he zu Heidegger.

    20. As much as possible I select books that challenge my understanding of what litcrit can do and often enough I m frustrated with shortcomings of comprehension but I read them anyway So a three star rating as in this case only denotes my lack of full clarity It s a fine book sure, and so it goes.

    21. I ve read a significant chuck of this before, in classes and on my own, and quite a few of these essays are total classics Benjamin s intelligence is quite unusual, and he can work around ideas in ways that normal folks and for that matter, normal intellectuals would just approach head on Instead of writing about Proust s novels or Baudelaire s poems, he dances with them It s a style I ve only seen in Susan Sontag, and it s a style that she largely inherited from him.

    22. I love Walter Benjamin, entering this strange world of his, watching his thinking in ripples about Kafka, Baudelaire, Proust, Leskov and fascism, art, life, history Not that I understand everything of course, but I find inspiration here He is what a friend calls a constellation of insights something of a quote of Benjamin himself in fact, who collects quotations as I do.

    23. Review August 2006Of Benjamin, Dwarfs and AngelsThe depth of Benjamin s pessimism has, I think, been underestimated The story is told of an automation constructed in such a way that it could play a winning game of chess, answering each move of an opponent with a countermove A puppet in Turkish attire and with a hookah in its mouth sat before a chessboard placed on a large table A system of mirrors created the illusion that this table was transparent from all sides Actually, a little hunchback wh [...]

    24. there is something lovely in questioning the seeming futility of a proustian gesture it wad recalled that Proust wrote a letter to a person he just visited My dear Madam, I just noticed that I forgot my cane at your house yesterday please be good enough to give it to the bearer of this letter P.S Kindly pardon me for disturbing you I just found my cane why not just leave the letter unsent the gesture is funny as it is clever, because it slams the commonsensical, only with the cost of some paper [...]

    25. I read this set of essays primarily for The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction The lengthy introduction by Hannah Arendt is very good, though dense The essays are mostly good, some are terrific, though Benjamin chases his tail a bit throughout each particularly writing on Baudelaire I m not emotionally prepared to read 6 volumes of Proust to appreciate the the nuances of Benjamin s essay on remembrance, but the essay on Kafka is substantial and thought provoking enough to warrant [...]

    26. Benjamin embodied the cultural critic as hero He was among the first to observe how the world around him was being transformed by new technologies of art and language Although Benjamin had a nearly fetishist tropism to books, he was unromantic in his discussions of how the storyteller has been eliminated from our cultural landscape The local currency of tales invented, borrowed, stolen, told and retold has been cashed in for an alienated and alienating media production We read alone, we watch fi [...]

    27. Walter Benjamin thought of himself as a literary critic I found this interesting, since I would not have known how to label his work After all, his studies and degree were in philosophy, and his many attempts to find a position were in philosophy departments at German universities But as both Eliand and Arendt 1 point out, this was mostly to satisfy his father s demand for productive results from his son s education What Benjamin really wanted was for his father to support him in a life situated [...]

    28. I never realized the heights to which literary criticism could soar before I read Benjamin, and his work is worthy of Bola o s assertion that literary criticism is another valid branch on the literary tree along with the novel, poetry, etc etc Comparing Benjamin with the mostly North American criticism I ve read, the latter seems to shrink to the status of mere informative journalism, a literary mode Benjamin critiqued for its limits in time and space the news almost always only addresses the ne [...]

    29. Illuminations, originally published in 1955, is a collection of Walter Benjamin s essays and other writings compiled by Hannah Arendt Arendt also introduces the collection She presents Benjamin as hard to classify everything he wrote always turned out to be sui generis 3 Benjamin thought of himself as a literary critic 4 , but he was also a flaneur 12 a collector of fragments, quotations, and books 8 Arendt depicts Benjamin as stuck in the twentieth century with nineteenth century sensibilities, [...]

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