Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

61 Notable Quotes By Walter Benjamin That Will Illuminate Your Path

Famous As: German Jewish Philosopher, Cultural Critic and Essayist
Born On: July 15, 1892
Died On: September 26, 1940
Born In: Berlin, Germany
Died At Age: 48
Walter Benjamin was a German-Jewish philosopher, cultural and literary critic and essayist. He was active with the ‘Western Marxism’ and ‘Marxist hermeneutics’. Walter was born to a prosperous Jewish family in Berlin. He was formally educated at the Kaiser Friedrich School in ‘Charlottenburg’. He was an alumnus of ‘University of Freiburg’, and ‘The University of Berlin’. He settled in Berlin during the 1920s and worked as a translator and a literary critic. The war played the villain when his literary career begun and he shifted to Paris in 1933. Walter is acclaimed for his letters and essays that showed much intellect and mostly surrounded Zionism. Fearing his capture by the Nazis, he committed suicide in 1940. ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, ‘The Task of the Translator’ and ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ were his most exalted works. His association with great thinkers and literary geniuses of his time is considered the backing of his works. In modern times, Walter is regarded as one of the most renowned German literary critics. This great personality made an infamous era bright by his thinking and work. Here is a treasure trove of sayings and quotations by the great writer and critic. Go through the notable quotes and sayings by Walter Benjamin which are minimized depiction of his persona.
History is written by the victors.

History is written by the victors.

Walter Benjamin
The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.

The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
There is no document of civilization that is not at the same time a document of barbarism.

There is no document of civilization that is not at the same time a document of barbarism.

Walter Benjamin
How many cities have revealed themselves to me in the marches I undertook in the pursuit of books!

How many cities have revealed themselves to me in the marches I undertook in the pursuit of books!

Walter Benjamin
To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without fright.

To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without fright.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
You could tell a lot about a man by the books he keeps - his tastes, his interest, his habits.

You could tell a lot about a man by the books he keeps - his tastes, his interest, his habits.

Walter Benjamin
Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.

Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.

Walter Benjamin
The work of memory collapses time.

The work of memory collapses time.

Walter Benjamin
All efforts to make politics aesthetic culminate in one thing, war.

All efforts to make politics aesthetic culminate in one thing, war.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
It is only for those without hope that hope is given.

It is only for those without hope that hope is given.

Walter Benjamin
No poem is intended for the reader, no picture for the beholder, no symphony for the listener.

No poem is intended for the reader, no picture for the beholder, no symphony for the listener.

Walter Benjamin
Ideas are to objects as constellations are to stars [translated from Trauerspiel, 1928].

Ideas are to objects as constellations are to stars [translated from Trauerspiel, 1928].

Walter Benjamin
What has been forgotten.... is never something purely individual.

What has been forgotten.... is never something purely individual.

Walter Benjamin
Death is the sanction of everything the story-teller can tell. He has borrowed his authority from death.

Death is the sanction of everything the story-teller can tell. He has borrowed his authority from death.

Walter Benjamin
Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens.

Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens.

Walter Benjamin
Our image of happiness is indissolubly bound up with the image of redemption.

Our image of happiness is indissolubly bound up with the image of redemption.

Walter Benjamin
I came into the world under the sign of Saturn -- the star of the slowest revolution, the planet of detours and delays.

I came into the world under the sign of Saturn -- the star of the slowest revolution, the planet of detours and delays.

Walter Benjamin
Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away.

Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away.

Walter Benjamin
There is no document of civilization that is not also a document of barbarism.

There is no document of civilization that is not also a document of barbarism.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
The distracted person, too, can form habits.

The distracted person, too, can form habits.

Walter Benjamin
Languages are not strangers to on another.

Languages are not strangers to on another.

Walter Benjamin
All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.

All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.

Walter Benjamin
Any order is a balancing act of extreme precariousness.

Any order is a balancing act of extreme precariousness.

Walter Benjamin
Books, too, begin like the week – with a day of rest in memory of their creation. The preface is their Sunday.

Books, too, begin like the week – with a day of rest in memory of their creation. The preface is their Sunday.

Walter Benjamin
The film is the first art form capable of demonstrating how matter plays tricks on man.

The film is the first art form capable of demonstrating how matter plays tricks on man.

Walter Benjamin
The crowd is the veil through which the familiar city beckons to the flneur as phantasmagoria-now a landscape, now a room.

The crowd is the veil through which the familiar city beckons to the flneur as phantasmagoria-now a landscape, now a room.

Walter Benjamin
As long as there is still one beggar around, there will still be myth.

As long as there is still one beggar around, there will still be myth.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
Solitude appeared to me as the only fit state of man.

Solitude appeared to me as the only fit state of man.

Walter Benjamin
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 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.

Walter Benjamin
The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses.

The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
To great writers, finished works weigh lighter than those fragments on which they labor their entire lives.

To great writers, finished works weigh lighter than those fragments on which they labor their entire lives.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
Truth resists being projected into the realm of knowledge.

Truth resists being projected into the realm of knowledge.

Walter Benjamin
What draws the reader to the novel is the hope of warming his shivering life with a death he reads about

What draws the reader to the novel is the hope of warming his shivering life with a death he reads about

Walter Benjamin
As Hegel put it, only when it is dark does the owl of Minerva begin its flight. Only in extinction is the collector comprehend.

As Hegel put it, only when it is dark does the owl of Minerva begin its flight. Only in extinction is the collector comprehend.

Walter Benjamin
Every passion borders on chaos, that of the collector on the chaos of memory.

Every passion borders on chaos, that of the collector on the chaos of memory.

Walter Benjamin
Unlimited goodwill. Suspension of the compulsive anxiety complex. The beautiful

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.

Walter Benjamin
Historical materialism has every reason to distinguish itself sharply from bourgeois habits of thought. Its founding concept is not progress but actualization.

Historical materialism has every reason to distinguish itself sharply from bourgeois habits of thought. Its founding concept is not progress but actualization.

Walter Benjamin
In the world's structure dream loosens individuality like a bad tooth.

In the world's structure dream loosens individuality like a bad tooth.

Walter Benjamin
Thus there is in the life of a collector a dialectical tensions between the poles of disorder and order.

Thus there is in the life of a collector a dialectical tensions between the poles of disorder and order.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
In the fields with which we are concerned, 
knowledge comes only in flashes. The text 
is the thunder rolling long afterward.

In the fields with which we are concerned, knowledge comes only in flashes. The text is the thunder rolling long afterward.

Walter Benjamin
To great writers, finished works weigh lighter than those fragments on which they work throughout their lives.

To great writers, finished works weigh lighter than those fragments on which they work throughout their lives.

Walter Benjamin
The gaze of nature thus awakened dreams and pulls the poet after it.

The gaze of nature thus awakened dreams and pulls the poet after it.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
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 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.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin
Do not write the conclusion of a work in your familiar study. You would not find the necessary courage there.

Do not write the conclusion of a work in your familiar study. You would not find the necessary courage there.

Walter Benjamin
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.

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.

Walter Benjamin