Benjamin for the Bewildered

A Listmania! list by the corporal "the corporal" (Mesa, AZ)
The list author says: "Interested in Walter Benjamin, but don't know where to start? Here's an introduction to works by Benjamin and about Benjamin, meant to help you sort through what's been published so far and figure out where the best point of entry for you will be.

For those interested in serious work on Benjamin, I recommend reading his own work and secondary work side-by-side - reading only Benjamin's own works can be a daunting task, and reading only secondary works on him can be just as confusing. A healthy dose of major works from Illuminations and Reflections combined with, say, the Cambridge Companion to Benjamin can be as good an introduction as you're likely to get without the guidance of an expert or a collegiate seminar."
Illuminations: Essays and Reflections
1.  Illuminations: Essays and Reflections by Walter Benjamin
The list author says:
  "First English publication of Benjamin.  Mostly surpassed by better translations now, these essays may be confusing without more context but are still worthwhile for complete collections.  Note: for a "greatest hits" intro to Benjamin, Illuminations and Reflections combined may be your best bet (though the Selected Writings series contains all the essays found in these two volumes)."
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Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings
2.  Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings by Walter Benjamin
The list author says:
  "The second collection of Benjamin in English.  Much more representative of his work as a whole, with translations that are still used as standards (though now usually cited from other editions).  The best one-volume introduction, in my opinion, even if it does not contain his perennially popular "The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility" (it's in Illuminations)."
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Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 1: 1913-1926
3.  Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 1: 1913-1926 by Walter Benjamin
The list author says:
  "The first volume of a new series of translations of Benjamin's writings in English - the current "standard edition" for English readers and scholars, at least for shorter works.  The series as a whole is the most comprehensive English Benjamin you'll find, especially when supplemented by The Origin of German Tragic Drama and The Arcades Project."
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Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 2: Part 1: 1927-1930
4.  Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 2: Part 1: 1927-1930 by Walter Benjamin
The list author says:
  "Selected Writings, continued"
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Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 2: Part 2: 1931-1934
5.  Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 2: Part 2: 1931-1934 by Walter Benjamin
The list author says:
  "Selected Writings, continued"
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Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 3: 1935-1938
6.  Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 3: 1935-1938 by Walter Benjamin
The list author says:
  "Selected Writings, continued.  Some major works in this volume, possibly worth checking out on its own."
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Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 4: 1938-1940
7.  Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 4: 1938-1940 by Walter Benjamin
The list author says:
  "Selected Writings, concluded - including the most up-to-date translation of "On the Concept of History," also known as "Theses on the Philosophy of History.""
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The Origin of German Tragic Drama (Radical Thinkers)
8.  The Origin of German Tragic Drama (Radical Thinkers) by Walter Benjamin
The list author says:
  "Benjamin's Habilitation, a work presented as part of the requirements for a professorial position.  It was rejected by the Frankfurt School, but not by Benjamin scholars."
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The Arcades Project
9.  The Arcades Project by Walter Benjamin
The list author says:
  "Would easily be Benjamin's magnum opus, if only it were finished (blame the National Socialists for this).  Still widely used in Benjaminian studies and criticism, however - in many ways the cornerstone of his entire corpus, even if it is incomplete (heck, some Benjamin scholars are of the opinion that it could never have been completed to begin with)."
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On Hashish
10.  On Hashish by Walter Benjamin
The list author says:
  "A collection of Benjamin's writings on narcotics and his experimentations with them.  Not going to give you anything you won't find in other volumes, particularly Reflections, but if you or someone you know is interested in this specific aspect of Benjamin, go for it."
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The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media
11.  The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media by Walter Benjamin
The list author says:
  "A collection of Benjamin's writings on mass media - not a representative selection of his work as a whole, but a very good collection of essays from this one particular aspect of his work.  Contains a few translations of minor works not published elsewhere (including the Selected Writings)."
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The Cambridge Companion to Walter Benjamin (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
12.  The Cambridge Companion to Walter Benjamin (Cambridge Companions to Literature) by David S. Ferris
The list author says:
  "A great collection of essays on Benjamin which, when read together, give a good picture of his work as a whole (despite some editorial issues - see my review if you're interested).  Some noted Benjamin experts contribute to this volume, making it a pretty reliable source."
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Walter Benjamin: An Introduction to His Work and Thought
13.  Walter Benjamin: An Introduction to His Work and Thought by Uwe Steiner
The list author says:
  "A forthcoming (and highly anticipated) English translation of a study of Benjamin by a German scholar of his works."
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Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (Walter Benjamin Studies)
14.  Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (Walter Benjamin Studies) by Beatrice Hanssen
The list author says:
  "Essential collection of scholarly essays on the unfinished Arcades Project.  Not for the beginner, but excellent reading for the initiate."
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Walter Benjamin and Romanticism (Walter Benjamin Studies Series)
15.  Walter Benjamin and Romanticism (Walter Benjamin Studies Series) by Andrew E. Benjamin
The list author says:
  "Another set of essays from the same series as the previous volume, this time on the connections between Benjamin and Romantic thought.  My comments on the previous collection apply to this one as well (essential, but advanced)."
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Walter Benjamin and History (Walter Benjamin Studies)
16.  Walter Benjamin and History (Walter Benjamin Studies) by Andrew Benjamin
The list author says:
  "...and yet another set of essays."
$54.40   Used & New from: $38.83

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the corporal "the corporal" (Mesa, AZ)
Qualifications: Doctoral student in literature
Last updated: 4/2/10
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