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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 'The Task of the Translator' (1923) and 'The 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.