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Essays and Reflections

Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Henry Zohn

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Essays and Reflections

Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Henry Zohn

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Essays and reflections from one of the twentieth century's most original cultural critics, with an introduction by Hannah Arendt. Walter Benjamin was an icon of criticism, renowned for his insight on art, literature, and philosophy. This volume includes his views on Kafka, with whom he felt a close personal affinity; his studies on Baudelaire and Proust; and his essays on Leskov and Brecht's epic theater. Illuminations also includes his penetrating study "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, " an enlightening discussion of translation as a literary mode; and his theses on the philosophy of history. Hannah Arendt selected the essays for this volume and introduces them with a classic essay about Benjamin's life in a dark historical era. Leon Wieseltier's preface explores Benjamin's continued relevance for our times. Walter Benjamin(1892–1940) was a German-Jewish Marxist literary critic, essayist, translator, and philosopher. He was at times associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory and was also greatly inspired by the Marxism of Bertolt Brecht and Jewish mysticism as presented by Gershom Scholem.?

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Index of Names

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Adorno, Theodor Wiesengrund, 1903–1969, German professor of philosophy and sociology, viii, xviii–xxi, xxiii, xxv, 211, 213 n5, 214 n7, 214 n10
Alain (Émile-Auguste Chartier), 1868–1951, French philosopher, 128
Anselm of Canterbury, St., 1033–1109, Scholastic philosopher, 75
Aragon, Louis, 1897–1982, French poet, xxxi
Arnheim, Rudolf, 1904–2007, German-born American educator, psychologist, and art historian, 181, 189, 226 n11
Arnobius, ca. AD 300, early Christian apologist, 78
Arnoux, Alexandre, 1884–1973, French novelist, essayist, playwright, 178
Arp, Hans, 1887–1966, Alsatian sculptor, painter, poet, 190
Atget, Eugène, 1856–1927, French photographer, 176
Aurevilly, Jules Barbey d’, 1808–1889, French man of letters, 137


Bachofen, Johann Jakob, 1815–1887, Swiss philosopher and archaeologist, famous author of Mutterrecht und Urreligion, 5, 77–78
Balzac, Honoré de, 1799–1850, 6, 157
Barbier, Henri Auguste, 1805–1882, French poet and satirist, 117, 122, 216 n2
Barrès, Maurice, 1862–1923, French writer and publicist, 158
Bataille, George, 1897–1962, French intellectual, xxvi
Baudelaire, Charles, 1821–1867, x–xi, xvii–xix, xxv, 103–5, 110–15, 117–20, 122–23, 126, 128–40, 142–48, 160, 162, 212, 213 n4, 215 n25, 216 nn1–2, 217 nn3–4, 218 n5, 219 n9, 222 n18
Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770–1827, 171
Bennett, Arnold, 1867–1931, English novelist, 44
Benoist-Méchin, Jacques, 1901–1983, French historian, diplomat, and man of letters, 160
Bergson, Henri, 1859–1941, French philosopher, 105–6, 108, 129, 132, 138, 221 n13
Bertram, Ernst, 1884–1957, German philologist, literary historian, and essayist, member of the George circle, xvi
Bibesco, Princess Marthe, 1887–1973, novelist and playwright, Proust’s friend, 157
Blanqui, Louis Auguste, 1805–1881, French revolutionary socialist and publicist, 204
Bloch, Ernst, 1885–1977, German philosopher and writer, 49, 214 n10
Borchardt, Rudolf, 1877–1945, German poet and essayist, xvii, xlv, 25
Börne, Ludwig, 1786–1837, German publicist and satirist, 129
Bos, Charles du, 1882–1939, French literary critic, essayist, translator, xxviii
Brecht, Bertolt, 1898–1956, German playwright and poet, viii, xviii, xxii–xxiii, xliv, lvii, 94–98, 100–101, 212, 213 n5, 214 n6, 215 n22, 215 n25, 225 n9–10
Breton, André, 1896–1966, French surrealist writer, 228 n17
Brod, Max, 1884–1968, Prague-born German novelist, xli, 61, 67, 72, 74
Buber, Martin, 1878–1965, Austrian-born Israeli Jewish philosopher, li


Calderón de la Barca, Pedro, 1600–1681, Spain’s greatest dramatic author, 97
Chaplin, Charles, 1889–1977, 186, 229 n17
Cicero, Marcus Tullius, 106–43 BC, Roman orator, statesman, and philosopher, viii
Claudel, Paul, 1868–1955, French poet, dramatist, and diplomat, 112
Clermont-Tonnerre, Élisabeth (de Gramont), 1875–1954, French author, ...

Table of contents

Citation styles for Illuminations
APA 6 Citation
Benjamin, W. (1968). Illuminations ([edition unavailable]). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved from (Original work published 1968)
Chicago Citation
Benjamin, Walter. (1968) 1968. Illuminations. [Edition unavailable]. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Harvard Citation
Benjamin, W. (1968) Illuminations. [edition unavailable]. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2022).
MLA 7 Citation
Benjamin, Walter. Illuminations. [edition unavailable]. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1968. Web. 15 Oct. 2022.