History is written by the victors.
The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.
Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.
There is no document of civilization that is not at the same time a document of barbarism.
How many cities have revealed themselves to me in the marches I undertook in the pursuit of books!
To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without fright.
Work on a good piece of writing proceeds on three levels: a musical one, where it is composed; an architectural one, where it is constructed; and finally, a textile one, where it is woven.
It is the task of the translator to release in his own language that pure language that is under the spell of another, to liberate the language imprisoned in a work in his re-creation of that work.
You could tell a lot about a man by the books he keeps - his tastes, his interest, his habits.
Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.
The work of memory collapses time.
All efforts to make politics aesthetic culminate in one thing, war.
In the end, we get older, we kill everyone who loves us through the worries we give them, through the troubled tenderness we inspire in them, and the fears we ceaselessly cause.
It is only for those without hope that hope is given.
No poem is intended for the reader, no picture for the beholder, no symphony for the listener.
Ideas are to objects as constellations are to stars [translated from Trauerspiel, 1928].
What has been forgotten.... is never something purely individual.
Death is the sanction of everything the story-teller can tell. He has borrowed his authority from death.
Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens.
Our image of happiness is indissolubly bound up with the image of redemption.
I came into the world under the sign of Saturn -- the star of the slowest revolution, the planet of detours and delays.
Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away.
There is no document of civilization that is not also a document of barbarism.
Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven.
The distracted person, too, can form habits.
Languages are not strangers to on another.
All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.
Any order is a balancing act of extreme precariousness.
Books, too, begin like the week – with a day of rest in memory of their creation. The preface is their Sunday.
The film is the first art form capable of demonstrating how matter plays tricks on man.
The crowd is the veil through which the familiar city beckons to the flâneur as phantasmagoria-now a landscape, now a room.
As long as there is still one beggar around, there will still be myth.
Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theatre. It is the medium of past experience, as the ground is the medium in which dead cities lie interred.
Solitude appeared to me as the only fit state of man.
The only historian capable of fanning the spark of hope in the past is the one who is firmly convinced that even the dead will not be safe from the enemy if he is victorious.
The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses.
For only that which we knew and practiced at age 15 will one day constitute our attraction. And one thing, therefore, can never be made good: having neglected to run away from home.
To great writers, finished works weigh lighter than those fragments on which they labor their entire lives.
Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.
What, in the end, makes advertisements superior to criticism? Not what the moving red neon says—but the fiery pool reflecting it in the asphalt.
Truth resists being projected into the realm of knowledge.
What draws the reader to the novel is the hope of warming his shivering life with a death he reads about
As Hegel put it, only when it is dark does the owl of Minerva begin its flight. Only in extinction is the collector comprehend.
Every passion borders on chaos, that of the collector on the chaos of memory.
Unlimited goodwill. Suspension of the compulsive anxiety complex. The beautiful "character" unfolds. All of those present become comically iridescent. At the same time one is pervaded by their aura.
Historical materialism has every reason to distinguish itself sharply from bourgeois habits of thought. Its founding concept is not progress but actualization.
In the world's structure dream loosens individuality like a bad tooth.
Thus there is in the life of a collector a dialectical tensions between the poles of disorder and order.
To articulate what is past does not mean to recognize “how it really was.” It means to take control of a memory, as it flashes in a moment of danger.
Indeed, is not the homecoming amateur with his vast number of artistic snaps more contented than the hunter, returning laden with the game which is only of value to the trader.
Freud’s fundamental thought, on which these remarks are based, is formulated by the assumption that “consciousness comes into being at the site of a memory trace.
Man's gift of seeing resemblances is nothing other than a rudiment of the powerful compulsion in former times to become and behave like something else.
In the fields with which we are concerned, knowledge comes only in flashes. The text is the thunder rolling long afterward.
To great writers, finished works weigh lighter than those fragments on which they work throughout their lives.
The gaze of nature thus awakened dreams and pulls the poet after it.
True translation is transparent: it does not obscure the original, does not stand in its light, but rather allows pure language, as if strengthened by its own medium, to shine even more fully on the original.
The book borrower...proves himself to be an inveterate collector of books not so much by the fervor with which he guards his borrowed treasures...as by his failure to read these books.
The book borrower… proves himself to be an in venerate collector of books not so much by the fervor with which he guards his borrowed treasures… as by his failure to read these books.
Do not write the conclusion of a work in your familiar study. You would not find the necessary courage there.
The construction of life is at present in the power of facts far more than of convictions, and of such facts as have scarcely ever become the basis of convictions.