Benjamin's Library: Modernity, Nation, and the Baroque by Jane O. Newman

By Jane O. Newman

In Benjamin's Library, Jane O. Newman bargains, for the 1st time in any language, a analyzing of Walter Benjamin's notoriously opaque paintings, starting place of the German Tragic Drama that systematically attends to its position in discussions of the Baroque in Benjamin's day. considering the literary and cultural contexts of Benjamin's paintings, Newman recovers Benjamin’s courting to the ideologically loaded readings of the literature and political idea of the seventeenth-century Baroque that abounded in Germany through the political and fiscal crises of the Weimar years.

To date, the importance of the Baroque for beginning of the German Tragic Drama has been glossed over via scholars of Benjamin, so much of whom have neither learn it during this context nor engaged with the customarily incongruous debates in regards to the interval that stuffed either educational and well known texts within the years prime as much as and following international battle I. Armed with remarkable ancient, bibliographical, philological, and orthographic learn, Newman indicates the level to which Benjamin participated in those debates through reconstructing the literal and figurative historical past of 16th- and seventeenth-century books that Benjamin analyzes and the literary, artwork ancient and artwork theoretical, and political theological discussions of the Baroque with which he used to be frequent. In so doing, she demanding situations the exceptionalist, even hagiographic, methods that experience develop into universal in Benjamin reviews. the result's a deeply discovered booklet that would infuse much-needed lifestyles into the examine of 1 of the main influential thinkers of the 20 th century.

"Jane O. Newman's erudite and eye-opening Benjamin’s Library bores into the Trauerspiel booklet with enough unbending unravel to disencumber an realizing of its availability as a uniquely worthwhile crux within the self-understanding of literary-historical stories as an entire. Newman skillfully lines the citational internet of literary students and artwork historians jostling for awareness in Benjamin’s account of the baroque, highlighting the untold tale of that period’s pivotal significance within the conceptualization of modernity within the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries. quite notable is her attractiveness case examine of precisely the one booklet Newman treats may produce this kind of large and built-in development of implications. This operating version of the method of disciplinary self-reflection will be well-known as itself a milestone in that process."—Citation from the 2012 Committee of the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for experiences in Germanic Languages and Literatures (Modern Language Association)

"Newman's research deals an astonishingly thorough reconstruction of the Trauerspiel book’s permitting highbrow stipulations, paying certain consciousness to the debates in artwork background, literary historical past, and theology because the 19th century and round international conflict I. . . . Newman’s provocative learn bargains a picture of Benjamin that runs counter to the authorized model of the author because the quintessentially cosmopolitan, border-crossing highbrow . . . [and] units information criteria for a go back to archival examine, ancient reconstruction, and philological rigor in Benjamin studies."—Rolf J. Goebel, Monatshefte (Spring 2013)

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Extra resources for Benjamin's Library: Modernity, Nation, and the Baroque (Signale: Modern German Letters, Cultures, and Thought)

Sample text

Just like those individual objects, those thoughts are real, but are not independent – they depend on the mind for their existence. We can now see the whole story of the nature of human beings in Descartes’ philosophy. It is the view which is usually referred to as ‘Cartesian Dualism’ because of the way he represents us as a combination of two elements, but in fact as a complete metaphysical account of what there is it is really a kind of unequal trilogy of existants. The basic reality of all being is God, the one true substance, which creates and recreates at every moment two distinct types of dependent substances or pseudo-substances.

In Chapter 5 we will look at the question of whether we have any good reason to believe there is such a thing as God at all. 26 THE POSSIBILITY OF ATHEISM: DESCARTES AND GOD God the clock-maker According to the first picture, the God of Descartes is quite familiar. He is omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, and all-good. e. in Cartesian terms he created the original soup of inert matter, set up the first chaos of disordered motion, and laid down the three laws by means of which that soup would in time – as he of course foresaw – come to develop into the world as we know it.

Descartes says this is not so. e. not a simple matter of object A’s moving from one place to another, but a very complex exchange of positions by large numbers of distinguishable areas of the continuum. After all, it is not in fact true that the balls in the triangle can’t move until you take one out: if only you could push them hard enough without destroying the triangle they would move – the balls would break up, and the resulting dust and lumps would push through the gaps between the remaining balls, displacing the air that was there before; and if the snooker triangle were a closed system like the physical universe, the air molecules would themselves move round to fill the space created by the original collapsing ball to complete a ‘circle’ of relative positional changes.

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