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30 Great Quotes From Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin was born in a Jewish family on July 15, 1892 in Germany. He studied Philosophy in Berlin, Freiburg, Münich and Bern. After his studies he worked in Berlin as a literary critic and translator.

With the rise of nazism, Benjamin moved to Paris. However, his life was cut short at the mere age of 48. When the Nazis captured France, Benjamin crossed the border and arrived in Spain with the aim of escaping to the United States. But, he was informed that he would be deported back to France which led him to commit suicide.

Walter Banjamin has been considered as an important critic and philosopher of the 20th century and who was part of the Frankfurt School, working with Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer.

Benjamin’s essays and works have been read worldwide and his works have influenced various fields of research such as literature, anthropology, politics and cultural studies, among others.

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From Storytelling to death, from flanerie to breaking up with the past, from culture to technology, from production to consumption, Benjamin has explored a wide array of themes which marked the modernist era. Our Walter Benjamin’s Quotes will give you an overview of the man whose essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” has become a critical reading for understanding our postmodern cultural politics landscape.

The construction of life is at present in the power of facts far more than convictions.

Walter Benjamin

Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven.

Walter Benjamin

Quotations in my work are like wayside robbers who leap out armed and relieve the stroller of his conviction.

Walter Benjamin

The adjustment of reality to the masses and of the masses to reality is a process of unlimited scope, as much for thinking as for perception.

Walter Benjamin

The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out.

Walter Benjamin

The art of the critic in a nutshell: to coin slogans without betraying ideas. The slogans of an inadequate criticism peddle ideas to fashion.

Walter Benjamin

The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses.

Walter Benjamin

The destructive character lives from the feeling, not that life is worth living, but that suicide is not worth the trouble.

Walter Benjamin

The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public. The conventional is uncritically enjoyed, and the truly new is criticized with aversion.

Walter Benjamin

The idea that happiness could have a share in beauty would be too much of a good thing.

Walter Benjamin

The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.

Walter Benjamin

Opinions are to the vast apparatus of social existence what oil is to machines: one does not go up to a turbine and pour machine oil over it; one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know.

Walter Benjamin

To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without fright.

Walter Benjamin

He who observes etiquette but objects to lying is like someone who dresses fashionably but wears no vest.

Walter Benjamin

The true picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again.

Walter Benjamin

Gifts must affect the receiver to the point of shock.

Walter Benjamin

All disgust is originally disgust at touching.

Walter Benjamin

All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.

Walter Benjamin

Books and harlots have their quarrels in public.

Walter Benjamin

Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away.

Walter Benjamin

Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.

Walter Benjamin

Death is the sanction of everything the story-teller can tell. He has borrowed his authority from death.

Walter Benjamin

It is precisely the purpose of the public opinion generated by the press to make the public incapable of judging, to insinuate into it the attitude of someone irresponsible, uninformed.

Walter Benjamin

Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.

Walter Benjamin

Opinions are a private matter. The public has an interest only in judgments.

Walter Benjamin

It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us.

Walter Benjamin

Living substance conquers the frenzy of destruction only in the ecstasy of procreation.

Walter Benjamin

Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theatre. It is the medium of past experience, as the ground is the medium in which dead cities lie interred.

Walter Benjamin

Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.

Walter Benjamin

Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories.

Walter Benjamin

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