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One-Way Street: And Other Writings

A collection of aphorisms and townscapes, esoteric meditation and reminiscences of childhood, and reflections on language, psychology, aesthetics and politics.
Walter Benjamin is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic intellectual figures of this century. Notwithstanding the enormous impact made by his critical and philosophical writings, he was a thinker who shattered so many disciplinary and stylistic conventions that it is almost impossible to place him neatly in any particular category of writing or any specific and exclusive theoretical tradition. This collection, introduced by by Susan Sontag, contains the most representative and illuminating selection of his work over a twenty-year period, and thus does full justice to the richness and the multi-dimensional nature of his thought. 

Reviews

  • “Benjamin was one of the unclassifiable ones ... whose work neither fits the existing order nor introduces a new genre.”
  • “There has been no more original, no more serious critic and reader in our time.”

Blog

  • Frankfurt School Bookshelf

    In 1923, a group of young radical German thinkers and intellectuals came together, determined to explain the workings of the modern world. Their lives, like their ideas, profoundly, sometimes tragically, reflected and shaped the shattering events of the twentieth century. 

    Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School is a brilliant new group biography by Stuart Jeffries, looking at the enduring importance and influence of the Frankfurt School.

    To celebrate publication we bring you a Frankfurt School Bookshelf with 40% off Grand Hotel Abyss, alongside Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, & more. Ends on Friday September 23rd, and includes free worldwide shipping (and bundled ebooks where available).

    We'll also be posting pieces & excerpts from works by Frankfurt School thinkers throughout the week, including a Frankfurt School Timeline by Stuart Jeffries. See everything here


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  • Walter Benjamin: Conversations with Brecht

    To celebrate Verso's new paperback edition of Erdmut Wizisla's Benjamin and Brecht: The Story of a Friendship, we present this selection of Walter Benjamin's diary entries on Bertolt Brecht, translated by Anya Bostock, which appeared in Aesthetics and Politics.


    Benjamin and Brecht. Svendborg, Denmark, 1934.

    1934

    4 July
    . Yesterday, a long conversation in Brecht’s sickroom about my essay "The Author as Producer." Brecht thought the theory I develop in the essay — that the attainment of technical progress in literature eventually changes the function of art forms (hence also of the intellectual means of production) and is therefore a criterion for judging the revolutionary function of literary works — applies to artists of only one type, the writers of the upper bourgeoisie, among whom he counts himself.

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  • The Storm Blowing from Paradise: Walter Benjamin and Klee's Angelus Novus

    The Storyteller: Tales Out of Loneliness gathers for the first time the fiction of the legendary critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin. Each text in the book is accompanied by a Paul Klee illustration. Below, Stuart Jeffries examines the meaning that Klee's Angelus Novus held for Benjamin.

    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.



    In 1921, Walter Benjamin bought Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus, an oil transfer drawing with watercolour, for 1,000 marks in Munich. His friend Charlotte Wolf then recalled how this “gauche and inhibited man” had “behaved as if something marvellous had been given to him." 

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Other books by Walter Benjamin Introduction by Susan Sontag