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Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism

Walter Benjamin, one of the foremost cultural commentators and theorists of this century, is perhaps best known for his analyses of the work of art in the modern age and the philosophy of history. Yet it was through his study of the social and cultural history of the late nineteenth-century Paris, examined particularly in relation to the figure of the great Parisian lyric poet Charles Baudelaire, that Benjamin tested and enriched some of his core concepts and themes. Contained within these pages are, amongst other insights, his notion of the flaneur, his theory of memory and remembrance, his assessment of the utopian Fourier and his reading of the modernist movement.

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  • “A series of brilliant insights ... a remarkable volume.”
  • “His analyses are inspired. His fragments about with insights.”
  • “Benjamin is indispensable as well as brilliant.”

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  • 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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