W alter Benjamin is a lonely rebel

W alter Benjamin is a lonely rebel
W alter Benjamin is a lonely rebel

The name of the German philosopher, Marxist, aesthetics, critic and translator W alter Benjamin is increasingly remembered by today's culturologists. Quoting him has now become fashionable. Just like many of his contemporaries, such as Ortega y Gasset or Bertolt Brecht. All of them were united by a tragic sense of the world, anxiety about the fate of art and pessimism about humanity. Apparently, all this turned out to be very consonant with our era, which calls itself “postmodernism”. This article is an attempt to shed even a faint light on the kind of person W alter Benjamin was.

W alter Benjamin

A Brief History of Life

The future philosopher was born in 1892 in a prosperous Jewish family in Berlin. On the maternal side, W alter Benjamin was related to Heinrich Heine. My father was an antiques dealer. Subsequently, the bankruptcy of the family business prompted the philosopher to go to Moscow. It was in 1926-1927. He worked a lot in the archives, met with Vladimir Mayakovsky. From this trip, he had mostly negative memories, which he recorded in his Moscow Diary. In 1933 a Jew andanti-fascist W alter Benjamin was forced to emigrate from Germany. He went to France, from where he tried to get to the USA through Spain in 1940.

Tragic end

The Spaniards refused the writer to cross the border because he did not have a visa. By law, he was supposed to be sent back to France, where the Nazis were already in charge. He was allowed to spend the night at a local hotel, where he committed suicide on the night of 26/27 September. His death helped the rest of the group of refugees cross the border - the Spaniards, impressed by the tragedy, let everyone through unconditionally. This group included Hannah Arendt, who was a big fan of Benjamin's ideas. She brought with her one of the drafts of his article "On the Concept of History" and published it in the USA under the title "Abstracts on the Philosophy of History".

w alter benjamin brief history

Philosophical views

W alter Benjamin, like many of his contemporaries, was strongly influenced by Marxism. He very peculiarly combined it with Jewish mysticism and psychoanalysis. Being a translator, he was a distributor of French culture. Thanks to him, the novels of Marcel Proust and Charles Baudelaire were published in Germany. W alter Benjamin anticipated the historical approach of the second half of the 20th century. He outlined his views on the philosophy of history in a posthumous work that Arendt brought to the USA. But the most famous work that W alter Benjamin wrote? - "A work of art in the era of technical reproducibility." In it, he formulated a theory that has become very popular in our time: about the aura thatan art object subjected to endless replication.

The fate of the teachings

Only after his death, in the second half of the 20th century, the ideas of W alter Benjamin began to gain popularity. A big role in this was played by his friends and colleagues - Theodor Adorno and Gershom Scholem. Adorno created a whole archive of the philosopher, collecting all his notes, notes, excerpts from texts and drafts in one place. He did not divide Benjamin's work into significant and passing. This archive formed the basis of Adorno's many years of work dedicated to the legacy of W alter Benjamin. He did a lot to popularize the writer's works, but focused exclusively on his philosophical works. For a long time, no one suspected that Benjamin had research on the history of photography, for example.

w alter benjamin artwork

W alter Benjamin: Famous Quotes

W alter Benjamin's language is very specific. The writer was distinguished by the ability to see big things in small things, to draw deep conclusions from ordinary things. Therefore, the unexpected turns of his speech often cause surprise, but cannot but delight. For example, in The Berlin Chronicle, he derives his future rebelliousness and sabotage from a stubborn unwillingness to go near anyone, which was characteristic of him as a child.

The poeticization of the everyday is a hallmark of Benjamin's style. In One Way Street, he connects the birth of the detective with the era of the bourgeoisie. All this lush, dark and a little dusty interior, which surrounded themselves with we althy merchants, as usualbetter suited for deceased bodies. “On this sofa, the aunt could only be killed,” writes the philosopher.

w alter benjamin quotes

Perhaps W alter Benjamin is becoming more and more popular, because the current generation, convulsively turning around, does not find any points of support and is forced to look for them in the past. He is now perceived as an example of ideological resistance to established traditions, a rebellious spirit of disbelief in the obvious and a rejection of the worship of science as the only answer to all questions. His works are written in refined, correct German and are stylistically perfect. A must read for anyone interested in issues related to historical perspective.

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