Walter Benjamin's Grave
By (author) Michael T. Taussig
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Walter Benjamin's Grave by Michael T. Taussig
Book DescriptionIn September 1940, Walter Benjamin committed suicide in Port Bou on the Spanish-French border when it appeared that he and his travelling partners would be denied passage into Spain in their attempt to escape the Nazis. In 2002, one of anthropology's - and indeed today's - most distinctive writers, Michael Taussig, visited Benjamin's grave in Port Bou. The result is "Walter Benjamin's Grave," a moving essay about the cemetery, eyewitness accounts of Benjamin's border travails, and the circumstances of his demise. It is the most recent of eight revelatory essays collected in this volume of the same name. "Looking over these essays written over the past decade," writes Taussig, "I think what they share is a love of muted and defective storytelling as a form of analysis. Strange love indeed; love of the wound, love of the last gasp." Although thematically these essays run the gamut - covering the monument and graveyard at Port Bou, discussions of peasant poetry in Colombia, a pact with the devil, the peculiarities of a shaman's body, transgression, the disappearance of the sea, New York City cops, and the relationship between flowers and violence - each shares Taussig's highly individual brand of storytelling, one that depends on a deep appreciation of objects and things as a way to retrieve even deeper philosophical and anthropological meanings. Whether he finds himself in Australia, Colombia, Manhattan, or Spain, in the midst of a book or a beach, whether talking to friends or staring at a monument, Taussig makes clear through these marvelous essays that materialist knowledge offers a crucial alternative to the increasingly abstract, globalized, homogenized, and digitized world we inhabit. Pursuing an adventure that is part ethnography, part autobiography, and part cultural criticism refracted through the object that is Walter Benjamin's grave, Taussig, with this collection, provides his own literary memorial to the twentieth century's greatest cultural critic.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780226790046
(231mm x 186mm x 17mm)
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 29-Aug-2006
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Michael T. Taussig
Law in a Lawless Land, Paperback (September 2006)
Offers a penetrating insight into the nature of Colombia's peril. In a nuanced account of the human consequences of a disintegrating state, the author chronicles two weeks in a small town in Colombia's Cauca Valley taken over by paramilitaries that brazenly assassinate adolescent gang members.
My Cocaine Museum, Paperback (June 2004)
Michael Taussig uses a make-believe Cocaine Museum, which is a parody of the Gold Museum in Colombia's central bank, to illuminate the largely unacknowledged history of Indian and African Colombian miners, now being drawn into cocaine production in the rain forest of Colombia's Pacific coast.
Nervous System, Paperback (August 2001)
In a series of intriguing essays, Taussig hovers between story-telling and high theory and thus creating strange new modes of critical discourse.
Magic of the State, Hardback (April 1997)» View all books by Michael T. Taussig
The Magic of the State focuses on the theatre of spirit possession at a Spirit Queen's enchanted mountain where the dead-Blacks and Indians-Europe's fetishized others-pass into the bodies of the living.
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Author Biography - Michael T. Taussig
Michael Taussig is professor of anthropology at Columbia University. He is the author of nine books, including Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man; Law in a Lawless Land; and My Cocaine Museum, all published by the University of Chicago Press.
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