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Walter Benjamin’s Archive

An absorbing selection of Walter Benjamin’s personal manuscripts, images, and documents.
The work of the great literary and cultural critic Walter Benjamin is an audacious plotting of history, art, and thought; a reservoir of texts, commentaries, scraps, and fragments of everyday life, art, and dreams. Throughout his life, Benjamin gathered together all kinds of artifacts, assortments of images, texts, and signs, themselves representing experiences, ideas, and hopes, each of which was enthusiastically logged, systematized, and analyzed by their author. In this way, Benjamin laid the groundwork for the salvaging of his own legacy.

Intricate and intimate, Walter Benjamin’s Archive leads readers to the heart of his intellectual world, yielding a rich and detailed portrait of its author.

Reviews

  • “Esther Leslie’s translation reveals that no thought should go un-noted”
  • “This Archive is an object to treasure and has the aura of a reliquary, but Benjamin is no saint. Hidden within this small selection is a profaning giant whom we are only beginning to see.”
  • “The most important German aesthetician and literary critic of the twentieth century.”
  • “Elegantly brings together the materials of Benjamin’s bequest and reminds us of what his friend Theodor Adorno rightly said was its greatest significance for subsequent thinking.”
  • “Charming & beautifully produced”
  • “Enchanting”

Blog

  • Resisting Left Melancholia

    Published in 2000, Without Guarantees — edited by Paul Gilroy, Lawrence Grossberg, and Angela McRobbie — brings together more than 30 essays inspired by, or written in honor of, the great cultural theorist Stuart Hall, who died three years ago this week. "It is appropriate," the editors write in their preface: 

    given the spirit of Stuart's own commitments that this volume has a second, subsidiary purpose. Cultural studies have been subjected to much abuse lately and the fragile institutional initiatives with which those words are entangled are now under great and growing pressure. In these circumstances it seemed right to try to make this public gift a modest interventionist act in its own right. Here then are some implicit and explicit reflections on what cultural studies can be and what it might become. 


    Below, we present one of the essays collected in the volume: Wendy Brown's now classic reflection on Hall and the condition that Walter Benjamin termed "left melancholia." First published in
    boundary 2 in 1999, Brown's essay spurred a debate that has continued through the present day. 

     

    via Stuart Hall Foundation

    “In every era the attempt must be made anew to wrest tradition away from a conformism that is about to overpower it. ... only that historian will have the gift of fanning the spark of hope in the past who is firmly convinced that even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he wins.”1 Walter Benjamin

    It has become commonplace to lament the current beleaguered and disoriented condition of the Left. Stuart Hall is among the few who have tried to diagnose the sources and dynamics of this condition. From the earliest days of the rise of the Thatcher-Reagan-Gingrich Right in Europe and North America, Hall insisted that the “crisis of the Left” in the late twentieth century was due neither to internal divisions in the activist or academic Left nor to the clever rhetoric or funding schemes of the Right. Rather, he charged, this ascendency was consequent to the Left's own failure to apprehend the character of the age, and to develop a political critique and a moral-political vision appropriate to this character.

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  • Acts of Dissent Through History

    The Verso Book of Dissent: Revolutionary Words from Three Millennia of Rebellion and Resistance is a compendium of revolt and resistance throughout the ages, updated to include resistance to war and economic oppression from Beijing and Cairo to Moscow and New York City.

    To celebrate the release of the new edition - 50% off at the moment as part of our end-of-year sale
    we've present a selection of key moments of dissent from the book.


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  • Verso's Philosophy and Theory Bookshelf


    A reading list of selected books from our Philosophy and Theory shelves, including two of our biggest books this year - Grand Hotel Abyss and Reading Capital - now back in stock!

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Other books by Walter Benjamin Edited by Ursula Marx, Gudrun Schwarz, Michael Schwarz, and Erdmut Wizisla Translated by Esther Leslie

  • One-way-street-front-1050-max_141

    One-Way Street

    A collection of aphorisms and townscapes, esoteric meditation and reminiscences of childhood, and reflections on language, psychology, aesthetics and politics.

    4 posts

  • 9781859844182-max_141

    Understanding Brecht

    The relationship between philosopher-critic Walter Benjamin and playwright-poet Bertolt Brecht was both a lasting friendship and a powerful...

    6 posts

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