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    Early Writings (1910-1917) (Hardback) By (author) Walter Benjamin, Edited and translated by Howard Eiland

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    DescriptionWalter Benjamin became a published writer at the age of seventeen. Yet the first stirrings of this most original of critical minds--penned during the years in which he transformed himself from the comfortable son of a haute-bourgeois German Jewish family into the nomadic, uncompromising philosopher-critic we have since come to appreciate--have until now remained largely unavailable in English. Early Writings, 1910-1917 rectifies this situation, documenting the formative intellectual experiences of one of the twentieth century's most resolutely independent thinkers. Here we see the young Benjamin in his various roles as moralist, cultural critic, school reformer, and poet-philosopher. The diversity of interest and profundity of thought characteristic of his better-known work from the 1920s and 30s are already in evidence, as we witness the emergence of critical projects that would occupy Benjamin throughout his intellectual career: the role of the present in historical remembrance, the relationship of the intellectual to political action, the idea of truth in works of art, and the investigation of language as the veiled medium of experience. Even at this early stage, a recognizably Benjaminian way of thinking comes into view--a daring, boundary-crossing enterprise that does away with classical antitheses in favor of the relentlessly-seeking critical consciousness that produced the groundbreaking works of his later years. With the publication of these early writings, our portrait of one of the most significant intellects of the twentieth century edges closer to completion.


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  • Full bibliographic data for Early Writings (1910-1917)

    Title
    Early Writings (1910-1917)
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Walter Benjamin, Edited and translated by Howard Eiland
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 320
    Width: 140 mm
    Height: 210 mm
    Thickness: 27 mm
    Weight: 472 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780674049932
    ISBN 10: 0674049934
    Classifications

    B&T Book Type: NF
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T3.4
    BIC E4L: LIT
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 05
    BIC subject category V2: DN
    B&T Modifier: Geographic Designator: 05
    Ingram Subject Code: LC
    Ingram Theme: CULT/GERMNY
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 94
    B&T Modifier: Geographic Designator: 19
    B&T General Subject: 610
    LC subject heading:
    B&T Merchandise Category: UP
    BISAC V2.8: BIO009000
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 15220
    B&T Approval Code: A10204000
    BISAC V2.8: LCO008000
    DC22: 838.91209
    BISAC V2.8: PHI035000
    DC22: 838/.91209
    LC classification: PT2603.E455 A26 2011
    Thema V1.0: DN
    Edition statement
    Translation
    Publisher
    HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
    Imprint name
    The Belknap Press
    Publication date
    10 May 2011
    Publication City/Country
    Cambridge, Mass.
    Author Information
    Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was the author of many works of literary and cultural analysis. Howard Eiland teaches literature at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    Review quote
    This is a valuable addition to the available work in English of one of the seminal Jewish critical thinkers of the 20th century, author of the massive Arcades Project. The mostly lambent translations by editor Eiland and others...help place Benjamin's later work within the context of his early preoccupations. Publishers Weekly 20110404 Early Writings (1910-1917) [is] the latest volume to appear in Harvard University Press' Benjamin edition--an exemplary scholarly project that has now been ongoing for 25 years...In these seven years, from the ages of 18 to 25, it's possible to see Benjamin develop from a precocious, pompous adolescent into a daring and profound thinker. The latest pieces in the book--in particular "The Life of Students," "Trauerspiel and Tragedy," and "On Language as Such and the Language of Man"--lead directly to his most important insights into the nature of literature and history. In fact, the last of these, never published in Benjamin's lifetime, can be seen as a kind of skeleton key to his mature work, full of overtly mystical beliefs that would go underground when Benjamin became a professed Communist...One of the things that makes Benjamin so fascinating is the way he seems to translate Jewish ways of thinking into a post-Jewish intellectual culture. Early Writings shows that this fertile dualism was present from the very beginning. -- Adam Kirsch Tablet Magazine 20110510 In the introduction, editor and translator Eiland does a wonderful job of explaining how the essays relate to events in Benjamin's early adult life and to the evolution of his theories...These pieces offer the reader valuable insight into Benjamin's philosophical thought. -- Scott Duimstra Library Journal 20110601 This well-planned, beautifully translated volume collects Benjamin's earliest writings and is a welcome addition to the corpus of his contributions to the fields of philosophy, aesthetics, politics, and literary criticism. From his first attempts as an author in 1910 when he was a student in Munich, Benjamin refined his voice as one of Europe's most independent, fiercely metaphysical writers. Here Eiland et al. allow the reader to witness the emergence of the themes that would occupy Benjamin in the productive decades to follow: language and truth, historical memory, the relation of experience to the active life. The 45 original, direct pieces collected here constitute a crucial context for his developing thought. This collection stands alongside Benjamin's Selected Writings, ed. by Marcus Bullock and Michael Jennings as more evidence of Benjamin's stature as a thinker of world-historical force. Those interested in philosophy, letters, German literature, and intellectual history will undoubtedly find this volume immensely fruitful. -- M. Uebel Choice 20110901