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.Tags: Essay TrethewayAffirmative Action Is Wrong EssayReturn To Work CoursesWhat Are Some Good Argumentative Essay TopicsTelstra Small Business PlansEssays That Describe A ProcessPhd Thesis On Robert FrostThesis Wp Theme Review
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.