Walter Benjamin: An Introduction to His Work and Thought

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University of Chicago Press, May 3, 2010 - Philosophy - 248 pages
Seven decades after his death, German Jewish writer, philosopher, and literary critic Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) continues to fascinate and influence. Here Uwe Steiner offers a comprehensive and sophisticated introduction to the oeuvre of this intriguing theorist.

Acknowledged only by a small circle of intellectuals during his lifetime, Benjamin is now a major figure whose work is essential to an understanding of modernity. Steiner traces the development of Benjamin’s thought chronologically through his writings on philosophy, literature, history, politics, the media, art, photography, cinema, technology, and theology. Walter Benjamin reveals the essential coherence of its subject’s thinking while also analyzing the controversial or puzzling facets of Benjamin’s work. That coherence, Steiner contends, can best be appreciated by placing Benjamin in his proper context as a member of the German philosophical tradition and a participant in contemporary intellectual debates.

As Benjamin’s writing attracts more and more readers in the English-speaking world, Walter Benjamin will be a valuable guide to this fascinating body of work.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Early Writings 191418
21
Art Criticism and Politics 191925
50
Journalistic Commitment and Essayistic Work 192533
80
Exile Writings 193339
105
Primal History of Modernism 193140
138
Posthumous Influence and Stages of Reception
174
Chronology
185
Notes
187
Select Bibliography
213
Index of Names
227
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Uwe Steiner is professor in and chair of the Department of German Studies at Rice University and the author or editor of numerous books in German. Michael Winkler is professor emeritus of German studies at Rice University.

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