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Walter Benjamin: Child’s Play Or A Critics’ Critic?

Marjam Idriss 2 August 2016

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The Storyteller: Tales Out Of Loneliness gathers for the first time the fiction of Walter Benjamin, edited and translated by Sam DolbearEsther Leslie and Sebastian Truskolaski. They challenge the idea of Walter Benjamin as a critics’ critic in this Resonance FM podcast on the “elegant and moving” collection of Benjamin’s fiction (Judith Butler).

To celebrate the book's publication, The Storyteller is for sale at 40% off until Monday, August 8. Click here to activate the 40% discount.

Benjamin’s works of fiction, collated for the first time in The Storytellerrevel in the tensions of city life, cross the threshold between rational and hallucinatory realms and celebrate the importance of games. The editors' Resonance FM show provides a unique entrance to Benjamin’s fiction and features discussions on play and pedagogy, as well as Benjamin’s career as a children’s radio presenter and Radio Benjamin. Letting children interview them on Walter Benjamin’s life and works, the editors present an excellent hour of games, dreams and theoretical musings.

And, following Leslie’s suggestion that Walter Benjamin’s fiction is “for reading and reading out”, the show features readings of the dreams and parables featured in The Storyteller. Benjamin’s work resonates with collations of surrealist cheese dreams and children’s rhymes in this delightful take on the themes that defined Benjamin’s career. 

For more on the translations of Walter Benjamin, see “Labours of Translation” by Sebastian Truskolaski, and “Translation, Anxiety” by Sam Dolbear. 

>>> Listen to Esther Leslie, Michael Rosen and Marina Warner speak with Gareth Evans on the Verso podcast in collaboration with the London Review Bookshop

>>> Read an excerpt from the translators' Introduction

>>> Read 'Notes from the Translators of Walter Benjamin's The Storyteller' 

Translation, Anxiety by Sam Dolbear 

Labours of Translation by Sebastian Truskolaski

A Certain Task by Esther Leslie