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A legendary collection of essays by one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century
Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was a philosopher, translator and critic. Born in Berlin into a prosperous Jewish family, he made a precarious living as a literary journalist, championing the drama of Bertolt Brecht and translating the work of Baudelaire and Proust. He is most famous for his essays aThe Task of the Translator' (1923) and aThe Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction' (1936). With the rise of the Nazis in 1933, he emigrated for Paris, and in 1940 he fled for the Spanish border, where he committed suicide.
"From the evidence of this book I would suggest that Benjamin was one of the great European writers of this century" -- Philip Toynbee * Observer * "He explained the modern with an authority that fifty years of unpredictable change have not vitiated" -- Frank Kermode * New York Review of Books * "Like Baudelaire, Benjamin brings the very new into shocking conjunction with the very old ... He is in search of a surrealist history and politics, one which clings tenaciously to the fragment, the miniature, the stray citation, but which impacts these fragments one upon the other to politically explosive effect, like the Messiah who will transfigure the world completely by making minor adjustments to it" -- Terry Eagleton