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Benjamin, Walter (Translated by Various Contributors) . WALTER BENJAMIN: SELECTED WRITINGS: VOLUME 2: 1927-1934. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 880 pages. Fine/Fine.

Volume Two of the author's collected essays. One of the greatest literary collections of the 20th century. The first appearance of the title in English and in the United States. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only and as part of Harvard University's Complete Works of Walter Benjamin. The First Edition is now rare. Presents Walter Benjamin's "Selected Writings: Volume 2: 1913-1926" in a felicitous English translation. The second volume of the Series, a landmark publication in the history of modern thought and literary criticism. The body of work shows Benjamin at the peak of his intellectual powers and rather poignantly, at the top of his professional life. The sheer joy of exploring, discovering, and mastering new areas of thought (that remain central to contemporary approaches and concerns) is evident in every piece, the radiant optimism that comes with emergent greatness not yet extinguished by his own melancholy temperament and tragic world events. "In the frenzied final years of the Weimar Republic, amid economic collapse and political catastrophe, Walter Benjamin emerged as the most original literary critic and public intellectual in the German-speaking world. Displays the full spectrum of Benjamin's achievements at the pivotal stage in his career. Previously concerned with literary theory, Benjamin does pioneering work in new areas, from the study of popular culture (a discipline he virtually created) to theories of the media and the visual arts. Brings together previously untranslated writings on major figures such as Brecht, Valery, and Gide, and on subjects ranging from film, radio, and the novel to memory, kitsch, and the theory of language. Muses on the new modes of perception opened up by techniques of photographic enlargement and cinematic montage, on the life and work of Goethe at Weimar, on the fascination of old toys, the mysteries of food, and the allegorical significance of Mickey Mouse" (Publisher's blurb). Walter Benjamin's personal heroism wasn't just some egotistical idea he had about himself. He lived and then died as a hero: He committed suicide on September 26, 1940 at the French-Spanish border while trying to escape the Nazis with a group of fellow Jews. They were all arrested by the Spanish police (Franco was one of Hitler's closest allies). Instead of being sent back to Germany to face certain death, Benjamin shot himself (he was 38 years old). Moved and humbled by his desperate yet principled stand, the Spanish police, defying Franco's orders, allowed his fellow Jews to escape. An absolute "must-have" title for Walter Benjamin collectors. This title is a great book. As far as we know, this is the only copy of the First American Edition/First Printing available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. Please note: ALL other copies available online are subsequent printings or have serious flaws. A rare copy thus. The greatest literary/cultural critic of the 20th century. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER WALTER BENJAMIN TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0674945867. $200.00

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