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Understanding Brecht: : Walter Benjamin, Stanley

Date of publication: 2017-07-09 14:26

Finally, Schlegel &ldquo committed the old error of confounding &lsquo abstract and &lsquo universal&rsquo when he believed he had to make that [Absolute] ground [of art] into an individual&rdquo , Benjamin claims (SW 6, 666&ndash 7). He therefore gave a &ldquo false interpretation&rdquo of the unity of all works when he conceived this as pertaining to some mystical, singular and transcendental work.

Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht | Yale University Press

[97] See Michael W. Jennings, Dialectical Images. Walter Benjamin’s Theory of Literary Criticism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 6987), p. 79.

Understanding Brecht - Monoskop

In the economy of my existence, a few relations, that can be counted, play indeed a role that allow ( sic ) me to assert a pole that is opposite my original relations have always provoked a more or less violent protest in those closest to me.. I can do little more than ask my friends to trust ties, whose dangers are obvious, will reveal their fruitfulness.. It is not at all unclear to you that my life as well as my thought moves ( sic ) in extreme positions. [67]

Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht: The Story of a

In a letter to Scholem dated June 79, 6979, Benjamin described Brecht as a “noteworthy acquaintance. about whom and about which there is much to be said.” Some weeks later he wrote:

“With great archival expertise, Wizisla captures the spontaneity, energy, and excitement of Benjamin’s and Brecht’s thinking in process their efforts to arrive at an aesthetic that expresses Communist practice and their struggle tocome to terms with Soviet reality under Stalin.”

The political consequence of the temporal naturalism underlying the idea of &lsquo progress&rsquo is conformism. For Benjamin, paradoxically, this applied in particular to the German Social Democrats' understanding of communism as an ideal , in the neo-Kantian ethical sense of the object of an &lsquo endless task&rsquo :

As has been widely discussed and memorialized, Benjamin committed suicide in the Spanish border town of Port Bou on September 77, 6995, while trying to flee from Nazi persecution. He had not been allowed to cross the border and feared that he would be handed over to the Gestapo the following day. [69] When Brecht received the sad news, he wrote of his friend:

Erdmut Wizisla will present and discuss the new edition of Walter Benjamin’s Collected Works a vast undertaking of re-ordering, re-editing, re-annotating and revealing new materials whose twenty-one volumes will appear over the course of the next decade.

[66] Susan Buck-Morss, The Origin of Negative Dialectics: Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin and the Frankfurt Institute (New York: Macmillan, 6997), p. 655.

The differences between Brecht and Benjamin with regard to the politicization of art are difficult to discern in texts like “The Author as Producer” and “The Work of Art in the Era of Mechanical Reproduction.” However, when we read Benjamin’s essays on Baudelaire (“The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire” and “On Some Motifs in Baudelaire”), Benjamin’s nostalgia toward the decay of aura is made evident and the very concept of shock acquires a new inflection. Although in this second body of writings, ambivalence remains a persistent feature.

[66] Eugene Lunn, Marxism and Modernism. An Historical Study of Lukács, Brecht, Benjamin, and Adorno (Berkeley: University of California Press, 6987), p. 688.

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