Walter Benjamin Selected Writings 1 : 1913-1926
Comprising more than 65 pieces - journal articles, reviews, extended essays, sketches, aphorisms, fragments - this first volume shows that even as a young man Benjamin possessed astonishing intellectual range and depth. His topics here include poetry and fiction (Holderlin, Goethe, Novalis, Baudelaire, Stifter, Dostoevsky), drama (Calderon, Hebbel), philosophy (Socrates, Schlegel, Duns Scotus), history, religion, love, violence, morality, mythology, painting and much more. He muses on riddles or children's books and deals with weightier issues such as symbolic logic or epistemology. The volume includes a number of his most important works, including "Two Poems by Friedrich Holderlin", "Goethe's Elective Affinities", "The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism", "The Task of the Translator" and "One Way Street".
The pieces have been arranged chronologically by date of writing, to give a sense of Benjamin's development as a thinker, and the editors have supplemented the texts with explanatory notes and a chronology of Benjamin's life and times.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Metaphysics of youth, 1913-1919: "experience"
the metaphysics of youth
two poems by Friedrich Holderlin
the life of students
aphorisms on imagination and colour
a child's view of colour
"trauerspiel" and tragedy
the role of language in "trauerspiel" and tragedy
on language as such and on the language of man
theses on the problem of identity
Dostoevsky's "The Idiot"
painting and the graphic arts
painting, or signs and marks
the ground of intentional immediacy
the object - triangle
perception is reading
comments on Gundolf's "Goethe"
on the programme of the coming philosophy
every unlimited condition of the will
types of history
the concept of criticism in German Romanticism
fate and character
analogy and relationship
the paradox of the Cretan
the currently effective Messianic elements.
Part 2 Angelus Novus, 1920-1926: the theory of criticism
categories of aesthetics
world and time
according to the theory of Duns Scotus
on love and related matters
the right to use force
the medium through which works of art continue to influence later ages
critique of violence
the task of the translator
notes for a study of the beauty of coloured illustrations in children's books
riddle and mystery
outline for a "habilitation" thesis
language and logic (I-III)
theory of knowledge
truth and truths/knowledge and elements of knowledge
beauty and semblance
the philosophy of history of the late Romantics and the historical school
the meaning of time in the moral universe
capitalism as religion
announcement of the journal "Angelus Novus"
Goethe's elective affinities
Calderon's "El Mayor Monstruo, Los Celos" and Hebbel's "Herodes und Mariamne"
letter to Florens Christian Rang
stages of intention
outline of the psychophysical problem
even the sacramental migrates into myth
on the topic of individual disciplines and philosophy
"old forgotten children's books"
curriculum vitae (I)
reflections on Humboldt
review of Bernoulli's "Bachofen"
Johann Peter Hebel (I) - on the centenary of his death
Johann Peter Hebel (II) - a picture puzzle for the centenary of his death
a glimpse into the world of children's books