Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 2, Part 2, 1931–1934
Translated by Rodney Livingstone and others
Edited by Michael W. Jennings, Howard Eiland, and Gary Smith
In the frenzied final years of the Weimar Republic, amid economic collapse and mounting political catastrophe, Walter Benjamin emerged as the most original practicing literary critic and public intellectual in the German-speaking world. Volume 2 of the Selected Writings is now available in paperback in two parts.
In Part 1, Benjamin is represented by two of his greatest literary essays, “Surrealism” and “On the Image of Proust,” as well as by a long article on Goethe and a generous selection of his wide-ranging commentary for Weimar Germany’s newspapers.
Part 2 contains, in addition to the important longer essays, “Franz Kafka,” “Karl Kraus,” and “The Author as Producer,” the extended autobiographical meditation “A Berlin Chronicle,” and extended discussions of the history of photography and the social situation of the French writer,...Read more about: Walter Benjamin, Selected Writings, Vol. 2 »
Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 1, 1913–1926
Edited by Marcus Bullock, Michael W. Jennings
Walter Benjamin was one of the most original and important critical voices of the twentieth century, but until now only a few of his writings have been available in English. Harvard University Press has now undertaken to publish a significant portion of his work in definitive translation, under the general editorship of Michael W. Jennings. This volume, the first of three, will at last give readers of English a true sense of the man and the mans’ theets of his thought. A separate volume will consist of his book The Arcades Project, the magnum opus of his Paris years.
The writer Walter Benjamin emerged our of the head-on collision of an idealistic youth movement and the First World War, which Benjamin and his close friends thought immoral. He walked away from the wreck scarred yet determined “to be considered as the principal critic of German literature.”...Read more about: Walter Benjamin, Selected Writings, Vol. 1 »
“The unconscious is not a theatre, but a factory,” wrote Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in Anti-Oedipus (1972), instigating one of the most daring intellectual adventures of the last half-century. Together, the well-known philosopher and the activist-psychiatrist were updating both psychoanalysis and Marxism in light of a more radical and “constructivist” vision of capitalism: “Capitalism is the exterior limit of all societies because it has no exterior limit itself. It works well as long as it keeps breaking down.”
Few people at the time believed, as they wrote in the often-quoted opening sentence of Rhizome, that “the two of us wrote Anti-Oedipus together.” They added, “Since each of us was several, that became quite a crowd.” These notes, addressed to Deleuze by Guattari in preparation for Anti-Oedipus, and annotated by Deleuze, substantiate their claim, finally bringing out the factory behind the theatre. They reveal Guattari as an inventive, highly analytical, mathematically-minded “conceptor,” arguably one of the most prolific and enigmatic figures in philosophy and sociopolitical theory today....Read more about: The Anti-Oedipus Papers »
“People tend to confuse winning freedom with conversion to capitalism. It is doubtful that the joys of capitalism are enough to free peoples…. The American “revolution” failed long ago, long before the Soviet one. Revolutionary situations and attempts are born of capitalism itself and will not soon disappear, alas. Philosophy remains tied to a revolutionary becoming that is not to be confused with the history of revolutions.”
— from Two Regimes of Madness
Covering the last twenty years of Gilles Deleuze’s life (1975-1995), the texts and interviews gathered in this volume complete those collected in Desert Islands and Other Texts (1953–1974). This period saw the publication of his major works: A Thousand Plateaus (1980), Cinema I: Image-Movement (1983), Cinema II: Image-Time (1985), all leading through language, concept and art to What is Philosophy? (1991). Two Regimes of Madness also documents Deleuze’s increasing involvement with politics (with Toni Negri, for example, the Italian philosopher and professor accused of associating with the Red Brigades)....Read more about: Two Regimes of Madness »
The essays in this book present a complex theme at the heart of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, what in his last writing he called simply “a life.” They capture a problem that runs throughout his work — his long search for a new and superior empiricism. Announced in his first book, on David Hume, then taking off with his early studies of Nietzsche and Bergson, the problem of an “empiricist conversion” became central to Deleuze’s work, in particular to his aesthetics and his conception of the art of cinema. In the new regime of communication and information-machines with which he thought we are confronted today, he came to believe that such a conversion, such an empiricism, such a new art and will-to-art, was what we need most. The last, seemingly minor question of “a life” is thus inseparable from Deleuze’s striking image of philosophy not as a wisdom we already possess, but as a pure immanence of what is yet to come....Read more about: Pure Immanence »
In an iconoclastic and controversial new study, Norman G. Finkelstein moves from an interrogation of the place the Holocaust has come to occupy in American culture to a disturbing examination of recent Holocaust compensation agreements. It was not until the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, when Israel’s evident strength brought it into line with US foreign policy, that memory of the Holocaust began to acquire the exceptional prominence it enjoys today. Leaders of America’s Jewish community were delighted that Israel was now deemed a major strategic asset and, Finkelstein contends, exploited the Holocaust to enhance this newfound status. Their subsequent interpretations of the tragedy are often at variance with actual historical events and are employed to deflect any criticism of Israel and its supporters. Recalling Holocaust fraudsters such as Jerzy Kosinski and Binjamin Wilkomirski, as well as the demagogic constructions of writers like Daniel Goldhagen, Finkelstein contends that the main danger posed to the memory of Nazism’s victims comes not from the distortions of Holocaust deniers but from prominent,...Read more about: The Holocaust Industry »