The Writer of Modern Life
Essays on Charles Baudelaire
By (author) Walter Benjamin
Edited by Michael W. Jennings
Translated by Howard Eiland
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Writer of Modern Life by Walter Benjamin
Book DescriptionWalter Benjamin's essays on the great French lyric poet, Charles Baudelaire revolutionized not just the way we think about Baudelaire, but our understanding of modernity and modernism as well. In these essays, Benjamin challenges the image of Baudelaire as late-Romantic dreamer, and evokes instead the modern poet caught in a life-or-death struggle with the forces of the urban commodity capitalism that had emerged in Paris around 1850. The Baudelaire, who steps forth from these pages is the flaneur, who affixes images as he strolls through mercantile Paris, the ragpicker who collects urban detritus only to turn it into poetry, and the modern hero willing to be marked by modern life in its contradictions and paradoxes. He is in every instance the modern artist forced to commodify his literary production: "Baudelaire knew how it stood with the poet: as a flaneur he went to the market; to look it over, as he thought, but in reality to find a buyer." Benjamin reveals Baudelaire as a social poet of the very first rank. The introduction to this volume presents each of Benjamin's essays on Baudelaire in chronological order. The introduction, intended for an undergraduate audience, aims to articulate and analyze the major motifs and problems in these essays, and to reveal the relationship between the essays and Benjamin's other central statements on literature, its criticism, and its relation to the society that produces it.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780674022874
(210mm x 140mm x 22mm)
Imprint: The Belknap Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 3-Nov-2006
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Walter Benjamin
Storyteller, Paperback (May 2016)
A beautiful collection of the legendary thinker's short stories
Illuminations, Paperback (November 2015)View all books by Walter Benjamin
Features 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction', 'The Task of the Translator' and 'Theses on the Philosophy of History', as well as essays on Kafka, storytelling, Baudelaire, Brecht's epic theatre, and Proust.
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Author Biography - Walter Benjamin
Walter Benjamin (1892 - 1940) was the author of many works of literary and cultural analysis. Michael W. Jennings is Professor of German, Princeton University.
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