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Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings Paperback – March 12, 1986
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Benjamin is a legitimate ancestor of much that for the moment is most alive in criticism."
"This book is just that: reflections of a highly polished mind that uncannily approximate the century's fragments of shattered traditions." - Time
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Top Customer Reviews
In his introduction, Demetz urges the reader to listen to Benjamin in a musical rather than a literary way. Indeed, this book works very well if you approach it as an impressionistic meander through the style and range of thought present in the essays. I would be hard-pressed to describe how to rationally link the autobiographic travel writing of "A Berlin Chronicle" with the aphorisms of "One Way Street" or the Marxist thought in the essays on Brecht. All the same, they feel linked as a reading experience. That linkage may be more on the sound than the subject-- the sound of a very smart man thinking very hard and with great elegance.
Benjamin is never a dry writer. Some other reviewers have remarked on his humor, which definitely exists. It is also worth highlighting his keen eye for detail, his openness to self-examination, his practical advice about writing, and his distinctive turn of phrase which somehow survives through the translation process.
It would be difficult to find a book that I would recommend more highly.
These essays reveal a Benjamin who liked to travel all over Europe. In Section One, he strolls through Berlin in A Berlin Chronicle and assorted areas of interest throughout Germany in One-Way Street. Benjamin's sharp eye for detail reveals how past experiences manifest themselves in memories that are less temporal in nature but more associational in sweep. For him, the act of recalling past details is akin to Wordsworth's images recalled in tranquility though editor Demetz sees a Proustian unraveling of a onion memory at work too. His memory images are charged with a palpable sense of "thing-ness" that over-ride their concomitant abstraction.Read more ›
Enjoy charming anecdotes like "Hashish in Marseilles" and the sardonic incites of "One-Way Street" (Germans, Drink German Beer!) as you peruse the timeless thoughts of a persecuted man.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Meet my friend Walter
A bit in the manner of Conrad, Benjamin invites the reader to join him for a chat, and then proceeds to spin a complicit web of observations and images... Read more
Very dense writing. A great intellect, but you have to hang in there. It's easier when Benjamin is writing about cities, or personal experiences.Published 18 months ago by Tom Walker
Benjamin is an extremely powerful writer. I bought this book specifically for Zur Kritik Der Gewalt, but I've enjoyed other essays.Published on April 5, 2008 by R.W. Tucker