Walter Benjamin (July 15, 1892 - September 27, 1940)
Born: 15th July, 1892
Died: 27th September, 1940
Nationality: German
Profession/Occupation: Critic
Region: Berlin, Germany, Spain
Notable works: aesthetics, literature

Walter Benjamin Facts

Biography

Walter Benjamin, (born July 15, 1892, Berlin, Ger.--died Sept. 27?, 1940, near Port-Bou, Spain), man of letters and aesthetician, now considered to have been the most important German literary critic in the first half of the 20th century.

Born into a prosperous Jewish family, Benjamin studied philosophy in Berlin, Freiburg im Breisgau, Munich, and Bern. He settled in Berlin in 1920 and worked thereafter as a literary critic and translator. His halfhearted pursuit of an academic career was cut short when the University of Frankfurt rejected his brilliant but unconventional doctoral thesis, Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (1928; The Origin of German Tragic Drama). Benjamin eventually settled in Paris after leaving Germany in 1933 upon the Nazis' rise to power. He continued to write essays and reviews for literary journals, but upon the fall of France to the Germans in 1940 he fled southward with the hope of escaping to the United States via Spain. Informed by the chief of police at the town of Port-Bou on the Franco-Spanish border that he would be turned over to the Gestapo, Benjamin committed suicide.

The posthumous publication of Benjamin's prolific output significantly increased his reputation in the later 20th century. The essays containing his philosophical reflections on literature are written in a dense and concentrated style that contains a strong poetic strain. He mixes social criticism and linguistic analysis with historical nostalgia while communicating an underlying sense of pathos and pessimism. The metaphysical quality of his early critical thought gave way to a Marxist inclination in the 1930s. Benjamin's pronounced intellectual independence and originality are evident in the extended essay Goethes Wahlverwandtschaften (1924-25; "Goethe's Elective Affinities") and in the essays posthumously collected in Illuminationen (1961; Illuminations), including "Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit" (1936; "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction").

Top 30 Walter Benjamin quotes

The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public. The conventional is uncritically enjoyed, and the truly new is criticized with aversion.
Art
Art form
Aversion
Between
Conventional
Criticism
Criticized
Decrease
Distinction
Enjoyed
Enjoyment
Form
Greater
New
Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.
Counsel
Fabric
Life
Real
Real life
Wisdom
Woven
The idea that happiness could have a share in beauty would be too much of a good thing.
A good thing
Beauty
Could
Good
Good thing
Happiness
Idea
Much
Share
Thing
Too
Too much
Would
Would-be
Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.
Acquiring
Because
Books
Buy
Could
Dissatisfied
Like
Method
Most
Oneself
People
Poor
Really
Regarded
Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theatre. It is the medium of past experience, as the ground is the medium in which dead cities lie interred.
Cities
Dead
Experience
Exploring
Ground
Instrument
Lie
Medium
Memory
Past
Theatre
Which
Gifts must affect the receiver to the point of shock.
Affect
Gifts
Must
Point
Receiver
Shock
The adjustment of reality to the masses and of the masses to reality is a process of unlimited scope, as much for thinking as for perception.
Adjustment
Masses
Much
Perception
Process
Reality
Scope
Thinking
Unlimited
Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.
Approach
Baby
Book
Cannibal
Genuine
Lovingly
Spices
It is precisely the purpose of the public opinion generated by the press to make the public incapable of judging, to insinuate into it the attitude of someone irresponsible, uninformed.
Attitude
Incapable
Irresponsible
Judging
Make
Opinion
Precisely
Press
Public
Public opinion
Purpose
Someone
Uninformed
The true picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again.
Again
Flashes
Image
Instant
Never
Only
Past
Picture
Recognized
Seen
Seized
True
True picture
Up
Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven.
Built
Composed
Good
Musical
Prose
Stage
Steps
Textile
Three
Work
Woven
The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses.
Camera
Does
Impulses
Optics
Psychoanalysis
Unconscious
Us
To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without fright.
Able
Aware
Be happy
Become
Fright
Happy
Oneself
Without
Opinions are to the vast apparatus of social existence what oil is to machines: one does not go up to a turbine and pour machine oil over it; one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know.
Apparatus
Does
Existence
Go
Hidden
Joints
Know
Little
Machine
Machines
Oil
Opinions
Over
Over it
Books and harlots have their quarrels in public.
Books
Public
Quarrels
The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.
Hope
Knowing
Love
Only
Person
Them
To love
Way
Without
It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us.
Given
Hope
Only
Sake
Those
Us
Without
Opinions are a private matter. The public has an interest only in judgments.
Interest
Judgments
Matter
Only
Opinions
Private
Public
The construction of life is at present in the power of facts far more than convictions.
Construction
Convictions
Facts
Far
Life
More
Power
Present
Than
Living substance conquers the frenzy of destruction only in the ecstasy of procreation.
Conquers
Destruction
Ecstasy
Frenzy
Living
Only
Substance
The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out.
Art
Because
Dying
End
Epic
Out
Reaching
Side
Storytelling
Truth
Wisdom
Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.
Borders
Chaos
Chaotic
Collector
Every
Memories
Passion
Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away.
Away
Bird
Boredom
Dream
Drives
Egg
Experience
Him
Leaves
Death is the sanction of everything the story-teller can tell. He has borrowed his authority from death.
Authority
Borrowed
Death
Everything
He
His
Sanction
Tell
Quotations in my work are like wayside robbers who leap out armed and relieve the stroller of his conviction.
Armed
Conviction
His
Leap
Like
Out
Quotations
Relieve
Wayside
Who
Work
The destructive character lives from the feeling, not that life is worth living, but that suicide is not worth the trouble.
Character
Destructive
Feeling
Life
Lives
Living
Suicide
Trouble
Worth
Worth living
The art of the critic in a nutshell: to coin slogans without betraying ideas. The slogans of an inadequate criticism peddle ideas to fashion.
Art
Betraying
Coin
Critic
Criticism
Fashion
Ideas
Inadequate
Slogans
Without
All disgust is originally disgust at touching.
Disgust
Originally
Touching
All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.
Form
Human
Human knowledge
Interpretation
Knowledge
Takes
He who observes etiquette but objects to lying is like someone who dresses fashionably but wears no vest.
Dresses
Etiquette
He
Like
Lying
Objects
Someone
Vest
Wears
Who

Walter Benjamin essays

Read more informative topics on our blog
Literary Work The Nice Hereafter English Literature Essay
Billy informed them that Nichole experienced witnessed the crash; that she was sitting down in the bus up front next to Dolores, which Dolores had been speeding. Now everyone around would notice this and take it for the truth because this girl in a wheelchair had spoken it and the city would be able to start out recovering. Dolores experienced as if a huge weight have been raised from her. She had been having it around with her for eight calendar months and it was out of the blue gone. It was odd that she did not feel unjustly accused or righteously irritated but she didn't. This described Dolores as a hero..
Porosity Architecture in public areas Spaces
Introduction The connection between your built and the unbuilt / between the "indoor" and the "outdoor"/ between your mass and the void is an extremely sensitive and debatable topic. The connection with a space can be greatly affected by the ways its ends are cared for, i. e. by handling how a person enters/exits the space. Transitional experience performs a essential role in overall feel and experience of spaces. Various kinds of spaces require different kinds of treatments on their edge conditions. A city needs to be imagined as a space occupied by diverse units of people with diverse..
Representation Of LADIES IN Mainstream Film Studies Essay
According to Laura Mulvey "women stand in patriarchal culture as signifier for the male other, bound by the symbolic order where man can live out his fantasies and obsessions through linguistic command by imposing them on the silent image of woman still linked with her place as bearer of meaning, not maker of meaning". This argument is seen in many movies across generations and cultures. Mainstream Hindi film industry churned out many movies where women represented as bearer rather than maker of meaning. However, the film NO-ONE Killed Jessica seems to be a departure out of this trend. The film..
Subscribe to our updates
79 345 subscribers already with us

Related authors

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs, (born September 1, 1875, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.--died March 19, 1950, Encino,..
George Chapman
George Chapman
George Chapman, (born 1559?, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, Eng.--died May 12, 1634, London), English..
Bonaventure Des Periers
Bonaventure Des Periers
Bonaventure Des Periers, (born c. 1500, Arnay-le-duc, France?--died c. 1544, Lyon), French storyteller..
Baby Dodds
Baby Dodds
Baby Dodds, byname of Warren Dodds, (born December 24, 1898, New Orleans, La., U.S.--died February..
Battista Guarini
Battista Guarini
Battista Guarini, (born Dec. 10, 1538, Ferrara--died Oct. 7, 1612, Venice), Renaissance court..
Gudmundur G. Hagalin
Gudmundur G. Hagalin
Gudmundur G. Hagalin, in full Gudmundur Gislason Hagalin, (born October 10, 1898, Arnarfjordur,..
James Weldon Johnson
James Weldon Johnson
James Weldon Johnson, (born June 17, 1871, Jacksonville, Fla., U.S.--died June 26, 1938, Wiscasset,..
June Mathis
June Mathis
June Mathis, original name June Beulah Hughes, (born June 30, 1892?, Leadville, Colo., U.S.--died..
Meja Mwangi
Meja Mwangi
Meja Mwangi, (born December 1948, Nyeri, Kenya), African novelist who wrote prolifically on the..
Jacques Prevert
Jacques Prevert
Jacques Prevert, (born Feb. 4, 1900, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Fr.--died April 11, 1977, Omonville-la-Petite),..
Gene Siskel
Gene Siskel
Gene Siskel, in full Eugene Kal Siskel, (born January 26, 1946, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.--died February..
Sam Donaldson
Sam Donaldson
Sam Donaldson, in full Samuel Andrew Donaldson, (born March 11, 1934, El Paso, Texas, U.S.), American..
Daina Chaviano
Daina Chaviano
Daina Chaviano, (born 1957, Havana, Cuba), expatriate Cuban author of novels, novellas, short..
John Arbuthnot
John Arbuthnot
John Arbuthnot, (born April 1667, Inverbervie, Kincardine, Scot.--died Feb. 27, 1735, London,..
Stanislaw Brzozowski
Stanislaw Brzozowski
Stanislaw Brzozowski, in full Stanislaw Leopold Brzozowski, pseudonym Adam Czepiel, (born June..
Ed Bullins
Ed Bullins
Ed Bullins, (born July 2, 1935, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.), American playwright, novelist, poet,..
Profiat Duran
Profiat Duran
Profiat Duran, Hebrew name Isaac Ben Moses Ha-levi, pseudonym Efod or Efodi, (born c. 1350, Perpignan?,..
Friedrich Durrenmatt
Friedrich Durrenmatt
Friedrich Durrenmatt, (born Jan. 5, 1921, Konolfingen, near Bern, Switz.--died Dec. 14, 1990,..
George Farquhar
George Farquhar
George Farquhar, (born 1678, Londonderry, County Derry, Ire.--died April 29, 1707, London, Eng.),..
Ernest J. Gaines
Ernest J. Gaines
Ernest J. Gaines, in full Ernest James Gaines, (born January 15, 1933, Oscar, Louisiana, U.S.--died..