Walter Benjamin was one of the most original cultural critics of the twentieth century. Illuminations 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 on Brecht's Epic Theater. Also included are his penetrating study "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," an enlightening discussion of translation as a literary mode, and Benjamin's 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 dark times. Also included is a new preface by Leon Wieseltier that explores Benjamin's continued relevance for our times.
Table of Contents
Preface by Leon Wiesletier
INTRODUCTION Walter Benjamin: 1892–1940, by Hannah Arendt
UNPACKING MY LIBRARY A Talk about Book Collecting
THE TASK OF THE TRANSLATOR An Introduction to the Translation of Baudelaire’s Tableaux parisiens
THE STORYTELLER Reflections on the Works of Nikolai Leskov
FRANZ KAFKA On the Tenth Anniversary of His Death
SOME REFLECTIONS ON KAFKA
WHAT IS EPIC THEATER?
ON SOME MOTIFS IN BAUDELAIRE
THE IMAGE OF PROUST
THE WORK OF ART IN THE AGE OF MECHANICAL REPRODUCTION
THESES ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY
Editor’s Note Index of Names
About Walter Benjamin
Walter Benjamin is recognized as one of the most acute analysts of literary and sociological phenomenon of the 19th and 20th centuries.