Benjamin’s citations in English
Following the suicide of critic Walter Benjamin in 1940, when he was 48, his name was only “kept alive by a small number of friends and colleagues, the kind of trickle of a readership that hardly suggested he would one day be counted among the most significant and far-ranging critics, essayists, and thinkers of the past 100 years” writes Eric Banks in the Chronicle Review. Though Benjamin’s contemporary admirers included Hannah Arendt and Theodor Adorno, who helped Benjamin reach an increasing large readership after 1968, it was the ambitious efforts of Harvard University Press and its executive editor, Lindsay Waters, that firmly established Benjamin in the English canon, as Banks chronicles in an appreciation of the efforts of Waters and the press.

[H]is posthumous story can’t be recounted without consideration of Harvard’s positively European approach to bringing to print the critic’s writing, and sustaining it over time. Any writer should be so lucky to have such a long commitment—and it’s one that younger readers, who may find it impossible to recall how obscure Benjamin’s reputation was not so long ago, may not appreciate in its scope.

The case for Harvard’s role is made in a new biography of Benjamin, Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life by Howard Eiland and Michael …read more

Via: Melville House Books