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Benjamin, Walter (Translated by Various Contributors) . WALTER BENJAMIN: SELECTED WRITINGS: VOLUME 4: 1938-1940. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 477 pages. Fine/Fine.

Volume Four 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 4: 1938-1940" in a felicitous English translation. The fourth and final volume of the Series, a landmark publication in the history of modern thought and literary criticism. "However insistently the idea of catastrophe hangs over Benjamin's writings in the final years of his life, the victories wrested in this period nonetheless constitute some of the most remarkable twentieth-century analyses of the emergence of modern society. The essays on Charles Baudelaire are the distillation of a lifetime of thinking about the nature of modernity. They record the crisis of meaning experienced by a civilization sliding into the abyss, even as they testify to Benjamin's own faith in the written word. Ranges from studies of Baudelaire, Brecht, and the historian Carl Jochmann to appraisals of photography, film, and poetry. At their core is the question of how art can survive and thrive in a tumultuous time. Here we see Benjamin laying out an ethic for the critic and artist, a subdued but resilient heroism. At the same time, he was setting forth a socio-historical account of how art adapts in an age of violence and repression. Working at the height of his powers to the very end, Benjamin refined his theory of the mass media that culminated in the final version of his essay, 'The Work of Art In The Age of Its Technological Reproducibility' " (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 0674010760. $200.00

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