See collections of his essays ed. by H. Arendt (1968, 1978); his Moscow Diary (1986); The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin, 1910–1940 (1966, tr. 1994), ed. by Manfred R. and Evelyn M. Jacobson; G. Scholem, Walter Benjamin: The Story of a Friendship (tr. 1981); biography by H. Eiland and M. W. Jennings (2014); studies by R. Wolin (1982), S. Handelman (1991), and B. Witte (1991).
Born July 15, 1892, in Berlin; died Sept. 27, 1940. German philosopher, sociologist, and literary critic.
Benjamin lived in Berlin until 1933, when he emigrated to Paris. During an attempt to escape from occupied France he was detained at the Spanish border, where he committed suicide. Characteristic of Benjamin’s thought was the rejection of abstract schematization and a return to the historical concreteness of the individual and the particular; both qualities are evident in his philosophical and historical work Origins of German Tragedy (1928), his numerous essays (for example, “Paris, Capital of the 19th Century”), and his articles. He was one of the first to give a sociological analysis of the changes in social functions and in the meaning of a work of art related to its mass reproduction by technical means and the loss of its “aura”—the aureole of uniqueness and inimitability. Benjamin was a major influence on T. Adorno and his school.
WORKSSchriften, vols. 1–2. Frankfurt am Main, 1955.
Ausgewaáhlte Schriften, vols. 1–2. Frankfurt am Main, 1961–66.
REFERENCESTiedemann, R. Studien zur Philosophie W. Benjamins. Frankfurt am Main, 1965. (Includes bibliography.)
Uber W. Benjamin. Frankfurt am Main, 1968.
A. V. MIKHAILOV