Walter Benjamin Famous Quotes & Sayings

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Top 100 Walter Benjamin Quotes

#1. Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#2. Rather than ask, What is the attitude of a work to the relations of production of its time? I should like to ask, What is its position in them. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#3. Every passion borders on chaos, that of the collector on the chaos of memory. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#4. The camera ... on the one hand extends our comprehension of the necessities that rule our lives; on the other, it manages to assure us of an immense and unexpected field of action. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#5. Every image of the past that is not recognised by the present as one of its own threatens to disappear irretrievably. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#6. Art teaches us to see into things. Folk art and kitsch allow us to see outward from within things. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#7. 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. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#8. Any translation which intends to perform a transmitting function cannot transmit anything but information-hence, something inessential. This is the hallmark of bad translations. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#9. The killing of a criminal can be moral-but never its legitimation. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#10. 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. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#11. Clearly, this is at bottom the same ancient lament that the masses seek distraction whereas art demands concentration from the spectator. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#12. A blind determination to save the prestige of personal existence, rather than, through an impartial disdain for its impotence and entanglement, at least to detach it from the background of universal delusion, is triumphing almost everywhere. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#13. There is no muse of philosophy, nor is there one of translation. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#14. Every line we succeed in publishing today - no matter how uncertain the future to which we entrust it - is a victory wrenched from the powers of darkness. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#15. It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#16. To the lover the loved one always appears as solitary. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#17. For me, it was like this: pronounced antipathy to conversing about matters of practical life, the future, dates, politics. You are fixated on the intellectual sphere as a man possessed may be fixated on the sexual: under its spell, sucked into it. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#18. Books and harlots have their quarrels in public. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#19. We do not always proclaim loudly the most important thing we have to say. Nor do we always privately share it with those closest to us, our intimate friends, those who have been most devotedly ready to receive our confession. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#20. Literature tells very little to those who understand it. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#21. Each morning the day lies like a fresh shirt on our bed; this incomparably fine, incomparably tightly woven tissue of pure prediction fits us perfectly. The happiness of the next twenty-four hours depends on our ability, on waking, to pick it up. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#22. I would like to metamorphose into a mouse-mountain. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#23. The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#24. You follow the same paths of thought as before. Only, they appear strewn with roses. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#25. We collect books in the belief that we are preserving them when in fact it is the books that preserve their collector. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#26. How different everything would have been if they had been victorious in life who have won victory in death. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#27. 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. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#28. The present, which, as a model of Messianic time, comprises the entire history of mankind in an enormous abridgment, coincides with the stature which the history of mankind has in the universe. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#29. To great writers, finished works weigh lighter than those fragments on which they labor their entire lives. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#30. Living substance conquers the frenzy of destruction only in the ecstasy of procreation. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#31. What matters for the dialectician is having the wind of world history in his sails. Thinking for him means: to set the sails. It is the way they are set that matters. Words are his sails. The way they are set turns them into concepts. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#32. The true picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#33. What figure does the man of letters cut in a country where his employer is the proletariat ? - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#34. The idea that happiness could have a share in beauty would be too much of a good thing. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#35. In other words, the unique value of the 'authentic' work of art has its basis in ritual, the location of its original use value. This ritualistic basis, however remote, is still recognizable as secularized ritual even in the most profane forms of the cult of beauty. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#36. 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. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#37. Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#38. It is in a small village in the Pyrenees where no one knows me 7that my life will come to a close ... There is not enough time remaining for me to write all the letters I would like to write ... - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#39. 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. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#40. All disgust is originally disgust at touching. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#41. How immensely the world is simplified when tested for its worthiness of destruction. This is the great bond embracing and unifying all that exists. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#42. 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. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#43. Capitalism is a purely cultic religion, perhaps the most extreme that ever existed. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#44. The more circumspectly you delay writing down an idea, the more maturely developed it will be on surrendering itself. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#45. For what is the program of the bourgeois parties? A bad poem on springtime, filled to bursting with metaphors. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#46. Kitsch offers instantaneous emotional gratification without intellectual effort, without the requirement of distance, wihtout sublimation. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#47. Thinking involves not only the flow of thoughts, but their arrest as well. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#48. History breaks down into images, not into stories. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#49. The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#50. Memory is not an instrument for surveying the past but its theater. It is the medium of past experience, just as the earth is the medium in which dead cities lie buried. He who seeks to approach his own buried past must conduct himself like a man digging. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#51. Ideas are to objects as constellations are to stars [translated from Trauerspiel, 1928]. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#52. In the convulsions of the commodity economy, we begin to recognize the monuments of the bourgeoisie as ruins even before they have crumbled. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#53. No more semblance or disemblance, no more God or Man, only an immanent logic of the principle of operativity. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#54. Languages are not strangers to on another. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#55. 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. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#56. To a book collector, you see, the true freedom of all books is somewhere on his shelves. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#57. Opinions are to the vast apparatus of social existence what oil is to machines: one does not go up to a turbine and pour machine oil over it; one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#58. Opinions are a private matter. The public has an interest only in judgments. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#59. A generation that had gone to school on a horse-drawn streetcar now stood under the open sky in a countryside in which nothing remained unchanged but the clouds, and beneath these clouds, in a field of force of destructive torrents and explosions, was the tiny, fragile human body. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#60. All efforts to make politics aesthetic culminate in one thing, war. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#61. 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. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#62. Like a clock of life on which the seconds race, the page number hangs over the characters in a novel. Where is the reader who has not once lifted to it a fleeting, fearful glance? - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#63. Only for the sake of the hopeless have we been given hope. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#64. 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. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#65. The concept of progress must be grounded in the idea of catastrophe. That things are 'status quo' is the catastrophe - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#66. Do not write the conclusion of a work in your familiar study. You would not find the necessary courage there. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#67. Press to make the public incapable of judging, to insinuate into it the ... - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#68. Like ultraviolet rays memory shows to each man in the book of life a script that invisibly and prophetically glosses the text. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#69. The art of the critic in a nutshell: to coin slogans without betraying ideas. The slogans of an inadequate criticism peddle ideas to fashion. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#70. The work of memory collapses time. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#71. 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. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#72. During long periods of history, the mode of human sense perception changes with humanity's entire mode of existence. The manner in which human sense perception is organized, the medium in which it is accomplished, is determined not only by nature but by historical circumstances as well - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#73. In times of terror, when everyone is something of a conspirator, everyone will be in a situation where he has to play detective. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#74. 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. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#75. I came into the world under the sign of Saturn
the star of the slowest revolution, the planet of detours and delays. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#76. Something different is disclosed in the drunkenness of passion: the landscape of the body ... These landscapes are traversed by paths which lead sexuality into the world of the inorganic. Fashion itself is only another medium enticing it still more deeply into the universe of matter. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#77. 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. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#78. The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public. The conventional is uncritically enjoyed, and the truly new is criticized with aversion. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#79. The film is the first art form capable of demonstrating how matter plays tricks on man. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#80. All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#81. To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without fright. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#82. For every second of time was the strait gate through which the Messiah might enter. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#83. A historical materialist approaches a historical subject only where he encounters it as a monad. In this structure he recognizes the sign of a Messianic cessation of happening, or, put differently, a revolutionary chance in the fight for the oppressed past. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#84. History is made up of fragments and absences. What is left out is as significant as what is included. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#85. In the fields with which we are concerned,
knowledge comes only in flashes. The text
is the thunder rolling long afterward. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#86. If sleep is the apogee of physical relaxation, boredom is the apogee of mental relaxation. Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#87. He who observes etiquette but objects to lying is like someone who dresses fashionably but wears no vest. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#88. As long as there is still one beggar around, there will still be myth. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#89. 61I am prepared to ... assert that inspiration has something in common with a convulsion, and that every sublime thought is accompanied by a more or less violent nervous shock which has its repercussions in the very core of the brain. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#90. Truth resists being projected into the realm of knowledge. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#91. The nourishing fruit of the historically understood contains time as a precious but tasteless seed. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#92. In the world's structure dream loosens individuality like a bad tooth. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#93. A bearer of news of death appears to himself as very important. His feeling - even against all reason - makes him a messenger from the realm of the dead. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#94. Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#95. Nothing is poorer than a truth expressed as it was thought. Committed to writing in such cases, it is not even a bad photograph. Truth wants to be startled abruptly, at one stroke, from her self-immersion, whether by uproar, music or cries for help ... - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#96. 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. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#97. The adjustment of reality to the masses and of the masses to reality is a process of unlimited scope, as much for thinking as for perception. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#98. Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#99. Solitude appeared to me as the only fit state of man. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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#100. For inside him there are spirits, or at least little genii, which have seen to it that for a collector - and I mean a real collector, a collector as he ought to be - ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them. - Author: Walter Benjamin
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