Walter Benjamin

(1892-1940 / Berlin)

Walter Benjamin Quotes

  • ''The destructive character lives from the feeling, not that life is worth living, but that suicide is not worth the trouble.''
    Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), German critic, philosopher. repr. In One-Way Street and Other Writings (1978). "The Destructive Character," Frankfurter Zeitung (Nov. 20, 1931).
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  • ''The idea that happiness could have a share in beauty would be too much of a good thing.''
    Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), German critic, philosopher. repr. In Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (1968). The Image of Proust, sct. 1 (1929).
  • ''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.''
    Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), German critic, philosopher. "Theses on the Philosophy of History," no. 5, Illuminations (1955), ed. Hannah Arendt (1968).
  • ''Death is the sanction of everything the story-teller can tell. He has borrowed his authority from death.''
    Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), German critic, philosopher. repr. In Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (1968). The Storyteller, sct. 11 (1936).
  • ''The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out.''
    Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), German critic, philosopher. repr. In Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (1968). The Storyteller, sct. 4 (1936).
  • ''Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away.''
    Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), German critic, philosopher. repr. In Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (1968). The Storyteller, sct. 8 (1936).
  • ''Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.''
    Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), German critic, philosopher. repr. In Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (1968). The Storyteller, sect. 8 (1936).
  • ''Any translation which intends to perform a transmitting function cannot transmit anything but information—hence, something inessential. This is the hallmark of bad translations.''
    Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), German critic, philosopher. "The Task of the Translator," Illuminations (1955, ed. by Hannah Arendt, 1968).
  • ''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.''
    Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), German critic, philosopher. repr. In Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (1968). The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, sct. 3 (1936).
  • ''The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses.''
    Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), German critic, philosopher. repr. In Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (1968). The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, sect. 13 (1936).

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