Walter Benjamin Essay On Collecting

In 1968 Hannah Arendt edited Illuminations, the first collection of essays by Walter Benjamin to appear in English.At that time little was known about Benjamin outside Germany, except that he was a talented and idiosyncratic literary critic who had committed suicide while fleeing the Nazis in 1940.

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These publications, however, are only a small fraction of Benjamin’s writings.1 Despite the lack of material—or perhaps because of it—an enormous Anglo-American industry of post-structuralist and postmodernist interpretation has grown up around the translations we have, distorting Benjamin’s real concerns.

Apart from specialists familiar with the German background to his work, English-speaking readers are probably no closer to understanding Benjamin’s writings than they were when Hannah Arendt first introduced him in America over twenty-five years ago.2 The appearance of a translation of Benjamin’s correspondence is, therefore, an important event.

For this reason an original work of art is considered by the art market to have a higher value over a reproduction because it contains this authenticity.

Authenticity can also relate to forgery, in order to establish whether or not a work of art was actually created by the artist it pertains to be by.

, where he describes an original work of art as having ‘authenticity’.

Walter Benjamin Essay On Collecting

By this he means it has a presence in time and space, and a unique existence in the place it happens to be.

The single most famous text on collecting ever written is perhaps Walter Benjamin‘s only 10 pages long essay “Unpacking my library”, published in “Illuminations” — in which Benjamin talks about collecting books and what it means to be a collector. This book or this painting has had previous owners, it has traveled through time and space — and it has now been renewed by becoming part of the collection. In this blog I hope to be able to interview collectors from all around, and I hope to be able to bring essays on different aspects of collecting.

“Every passion,” Benjamin says, “borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories.” He describes collectors as “physiognomists of the world of objects” that by acquiring objects locks them within a magic circle, the private collection, and as “interpreters of fate” — because the true collector not only sees a plain material object, be it a book or otherwise. Within the collector’s magic circle an old and for most people worthless postcard stops being just and old and worthless postcard. If you are a collector yourself, and if you would like to contribute, please do not hesitate to contact me.

The essays Arendt selected for Illuminations primarily reflected his literary achievements.

Most of the volume consists of dense ruminations on Kafka, Baudelaire, Proust, Brecht, and Leskov, and it includes a charming essay on book collecting.

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Comments Walter Benjamin Essay On Collecting

  • Richard Hell Confessions of a Book Collector Village Voice
    Reply

    Walter Benjamin wrote a famous essay about book collecting, “Unpacking My Library,” which is what he’s doing in it. He’s drunk from his books and the essay is daffy “I’m unpacking my.…

  • The Riddle of Walter Benjamin by Mark Lilla The New.
    Reply

    In 1968 Hannah Arendt edited Illuminations, the first collection of essays by Walter Benjamin to appear in English. At that time little was known about Benjamin outside Germany, except that he was a talented and idiosyncratic literary critic who had committed suicide while fleeing the Nazis in 1940. The essays Arendt selected for.…

  • Benjamin, Walter. “Unpacking My Library A Talk About Book.
    Reply

    Benjamin, Walter. “Unpacking My Library A Talk About Book Collecting.” Illuminations. Ed. Hannah Arendt. Trans. Harry Zohn. New York Schocken,1978 59-68. This classic essay meditates on the book collector’s connection to his library through ownership and memory. Brayman Hackel, Heidi. “Reading Women.” The History of British Women’s Writing, 1500-1610 Vol. 2. New York Palgrave.…

  • Unpacking My Library - Walter Benjamin - Paravion Press
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    A new translation of Walter Benjamin's classic essay on the art of book collecting, deftly illustrated by Marie Basten. Benjamin presents collecting - this particular mode of consumption and ownership of material goods - as a quasi-mythical process of attachment to the world of objects, but one that does not emphasize their functional, utilitarian value – that is, their usefulness.…

  • Walter Benjamin Essay ⋆ Sociology Essay Examples -
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    Walter Benjamin was a German literary critic and philosopher whose work draws on historical materialism and Jewish mysticism. “The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction” is perhaps Benjamin’s most famous essay, and has become a central text for art history and cultural studies.…

  • Walter Benjamin on collecting The Boat
    Reply

    This blog isn't so much about specific collections as it is about collectors and collecting. The single most famous text on collecting ever written is perhaps Walter Benjamin's only 10 pages long essay "Unpacking my library", published in "Illuminations" -- in which Benjamin talks about collecting books and what it means to be a collector.…

  • Research ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological.
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    Discussion After my submission of assignment 4 my tutor suggested that I strengthen the theoretical underpinnings of the work by reviewing among other activities the essay by Walter Benjamin; The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Benjamin, W. 2010 This post describes my takeaways from the essay and related material.…

  • The Storyteller Essays by Walter Benjamin.
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    About The Storyteller Essays. A new translation of philosopher Walter Benjamin’s work as it pertains to his famous essay, “The Storyteller,” this collection includes short stories, book reviews, parables, and as a selection of writings by other authors who had an influence on Benjamin’s work.…

  • Walter Benjamin on Book Collecting -
    Reply

    Walter Benjamin on Book Collecting Posted on August 30, 2011 inBook Collecting, Book News, Collectors of Note Walter Benjamin. When I first learned about Walter Benjamin and this particular essay, I searched online with no success for the opportunity to read it.…

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