Combining elements of German idealism or Romanticism, historical materialism and Jewish mysticism, Benjamin made enduring and influential contributions to aesthetic theory and Western Marxism, and is associated with the Frankfurt School. This section is based upon Marianne Franklin's article on Walter Benjamin , pp He was raised in a well-off quarter of the city and came of age during the Weimar Republic years before becoming a political refugee, fleeing to Paris in The historical record of his life and career has been clarified with several recent detailed biographies.
He often planned to open a bookstore due to his passion for book collecting, but eventually established himself by as a formidable critic.
- Benjamin, Walter - Selected Writings, Volume 1. 1913-1926.
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He made his living through his both journals and newspapers, and only later received a stipend from the Frankfurt School for Passagenwerk during the years of his exile, - His publishing career while alive spanned two decades, yet begun in the s by Harvard University Press, the bulk of his voluminous writings are now published. The rise of Nazism prevented him from establishing a university career.
Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 1, 1913-1926
His scholarly research appeared throughout the s, but slowed during the s, during which time he worked on Passagenwerk. With the publication of his collected work through the joint effort of Theodor Adorno and others in , Passagenwerk Arcades Project was first published in English at last in Benjamin had delayed leaving Paris until the dangers became pressing, and was stopped on the Franco-Spanish border in September of Expecting to be sent back to Nazi Germany where certain death awaited him, he chose to take a high dose of morphine.
The historical and intellectual resonances of this personal choice have become woven into the enigmatic quality of Benjamin's reception. 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, 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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Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 2: Part 1 : 1927-1930
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