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The Cambridge Companion to Walter Benjamin
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  • Page extent: 268 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.42 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521797245 | ISBN-10: 0521797241)

This Companion offers a comprehensive introduction to the work and thought of the highly influential twentieth-century critic and theorist Walter Benjamin. The volume provides examinations of the different aspects of Benjamin's work that have had a significant effect on contemporary critical and historical thought. Topics discussed by experts in the field include Benjamin's relation to the avant-garde movements of his time, the form of the work of art, his theories on language and mimesis, modernity, his relation to Brecht and the Frankfurt School, his significance and relevance to modern cultural studies, his formative interpretation of Romanticism, and his autobiographical writings. The volume is aimed at readers who may be coming to Benjamin for the first time or who have some knowledge of Benjamin but would like to know more about the issues and concepts central to his work. Additional material includes a guide to further reading and a chronology.

• Clearly written essays introducing one of the most important and influential thinkers of the twentieth century • Covers a broad range of topics, reflecting the wide interests of Benjamin's work • Well supported by a chronology and guide to further reading, this volume will be invaluable to students and teachers alike


List of contributors; List of abbreviations and short titles; Chronology; Introduction: reading Benjamin David S. Ferris; 1. Walter Benjamin and the European avant-garde Michael Jennings; 2. Art forms Jan Mieszkowski; 3. Language and mimesis in Walter Benjamin's work Beatrice Hanssen; 4. Walter Benjamin's concept of cultural history Howard Caygill; 5. Benjamin's modernity Andrew Benjamin; 6. Benjamin and psychoanalysis Sarah Ley Roff; 7. Benjamin and the ambiguities of Romanticism Rebecca Comay; 8. Body politics: Benjamin's dialectical materialism between Brecht and the Frankfurt School Rainer Nägele; 9. Method and time: Benjamin's dialectical images Max Pensky; 10. Benjamin's phantasmagoria: the Arcades Project Margaret Cohen; 11. Acts of self-portraiture: Benjamin's confessional and literary writings Gerhard Richter; Guide to further reading; Index.


'The essays explore the strain between romanticism and modernism in Benjamin's thought and manage to respond masterfully to the challenge of reading his sober prose, which ranges from laconic aphorisms to vibrant and exertive discourse … yet another engaging essay focusing on Benjamin's relation to romanticism … This essay's merit lies in demonstrating Benjamin's unequivocal and enthusiastic espousal of avant-garde aesthetics starting from One-Way Street to Arcades Project … Jennings' essay is impelling and thought-provoking …' Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory


David S. Ferris, Michael Jennings, Jan Mieszkowski, Beatrice Hanssen, Howard Caygill, Andrew Benjamin, Sarah Ley Roff, Rebecca Comay, Rainer Nägele, Max Pensky, Margaret Cohen, Gerhard Richter

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