Germanic Languages | Walter Benjamin's Modernity: A Comparatist Project
G625 | 2822 | Professor Hoesterey

G625 Prof. Ingeborg Hoesterey

Walter Benjamin's Modernity: A Comparatist Project

In the last thirty years Walter Benjamin's thought-provoking oeuvre
of cultural critique has been of pivotal importance for different
interpretive communities in Europe and beyond, be it his literary
criticism, his unconventional theory of art, or the affinity of his
thought to Marxism as well as--avant la lettre--postmodern
philosophical positions. In this course we will focus on Benjamin the
comparatist whose perspective is shaped considerably by his studies
of French modernism, however materialist his work eventually presents
itself in the post-humously published Arcades Project. We will
concentrate on selected writings that relate to modernism as a period
in the arts and its embeddedness in modernity as socio-cultural

Texts to be discussed (some in abbreviated form):
"The Task of the Translator;" "The Storyteller;" "The Work of Art in
the Age of its Technical Reproduction;" "Theses on the Philosophy of
History," I, II, V, VI, IX.

From the Arcades Project: "Paris, Capital of the 19th
Century;" "Arcades;" "Baudelaire;" "The Flaneur."

Texts in English assembled in custom-made reader available at
Collegiate Copies.

Requirements: A paper based on a 30-min. class presentation;
additional work to be determined.

Special arrangements for students in Germanic Studies.