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The Cambridge Companion to Walter Benjamin (Cambridge Companions to Literature) Paperback – March 29, 2004
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In light of this, a general overview of Benjamin's work for the invested beginner is an essential aide, and in English-language criticism this book is one of the best commonly available sources you'll find (the forthcoming translation of Uwe Steiner's book, "Walter Benjamin: An Introduction to His Work and Thought," promises to be a valuable counterpoint to this collection). The essays are all by well-known critics of Benjamin's writings - as far as I can tell, only Susan Buck-Morss is missing, but at least she already wrote her own book - so you don't need to worry about being steered wrong here. Personally, I found the essays on language and mimesis (Hanssen), cultural history (Caygill), Romanticism (Comay), and Benjamin's relationships with Brecht and the Frankfurt School (Nägele), as well as the introduction, particularly illuminating. Only the essay on Benjamin and psychoanalysis seemed lacking (if you have to use psychoanalysis to explain why Benjamin didn't use much psychoanalysis, maybe it's time to throw in the towel) - though in all fairness, I'm not much a fan of psychoanalytic theory myself, so take this complaint with a grain of salt.Read more ›