Walter Benjamin

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Reaktion Books, Jan 15, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 192 pages
Drawing upon a wealth of journal writings and personal correspondence, Esther Leslie presents a uniquely intimate portrait of one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century, Walter Benjamin. She sets his life in the context of his middle-class upbringing; explores the social, political, and economic upheaval in Germany during and after World War I; and recounts Benjamin’s eccentric love of toys, trick-books, travel, and ships. From the Frankfurt School and his influential friendships with Theodore Adorno, Gershom Scholem, and Bertolt Brecht, to his travels across Europe, Walter Benjamin traces out the roots of Benjamin’s groundbreaking writings and their far-reaching impact in his own time. Leslie argues that Benjamin’s life challenges the stereotypical narrative of the tragic and lonely intellectual figure—instead positioning him as a man who relished the fierce combat of competing theories and ideas.
Closing with his death at the Spanish-French border in a desperate flight from the Nazis and Stalin, Walter Benjamin is a concise and concentrated account of a capacious intellect trapped by hostile circumstances.
 

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Contents

Abbreviations
Benjamins Remnants
Youth Culture 18921916
Making a Mark 191724
Books after Books 19259
Man of Letters 193032
Noms de Plume 19337
Writers Block 193840
Afterwords
References
Select Bibliography Photo Acknowledgements
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Esther Leslie is professor of political aesthetics in the School of English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London. She is also author of Walter Benjamin: Overpowering Conformism, Hollywood Flatlands, and Synthetic Worlds, the last published by Reaktion Books.

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