By Benjamin, Walter; Weber, Samuel; Benjamin, Walter
“There isn't any global of suggestion that's not an international of language,” Walter Benjamin remarked, “and one in simple terms sees on the planet what's preconditioned through language.” during this e-book, Samuel Weber, a number one theorist on literature and media, unearths a brand new and efficient point of Benjamin’s concept via targeting a little-discussed stylistic trait in his formula of options.
Weber’s concentration is the serious suffix “-ability” that Benjamin so tellingly deploys in his paintings. The “-ability” (-barkeit, in German) of innovations and literary varieties traverses the total of Benjamin’s oeuvre, from “impartibility” and “criticizability” throughout the famous formulations of “citability,” “translatability,” and, so much famously, the “reproducibility” of “The murals within the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility.” Nouns shaped with this suffix, Weber issues out, check with achievable or potentiality, to a means instead of an present fact. This perception enables a constant and enlightening examining of Benjamin’s writings.
Weber first situates Benjamin’s engagement with the “-ability” of assorted ideas within the context of his whole corpus and when it comes to the philosophical culture, from Kant to Derrida. next chapters deepen the consequences of using this suffix in a wide selection of contexts, together with Benjamin’s Trauerspiel booklet, his relation to Carl Schmitt, and a studying of Wagner’s Ring. the result's an illuminating point of view on Benjamin’s proposal when it comes to his language—and the most penetrating and complete money owed of Benjamin’s paintings ever written.
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Extra resources for Benjamin's -abilities
I begin with one of the most astute and prolific French theoreticians of the media, Pierre Lévy, who argues that “virtualization” distinguishes itself above all through “a movement of becoming-other or heterogenesis,”2 which he in turn opposes, following Gilles Deleuze, to the “here and now,” or what in French is called actualité. 3 In the fourth chapter of this 32 Benjamin’s -abilities book, “Synthesis of Difference,” Deleuze reflects on his previous use of the word “virtual” and comes to the following conclusions: 1.
Instead, it seeks to articulate the essentially unfinished process by which the reflective medium differentiates itself: “What is essential is rather that the task of progressive universal poetry is given in the most determinate way in a medium of forms, as the latter’s increasingly exact and 26 Benjamin’s -abilities pervasive ordering [dessen fortschreitend genauere Durchwaltung und Ordnung]” (GS1, 92; SW1, 168). ” The question now to be confronted is how such an “unfolding” is to be construed.
All the more revealing, then, is the difference that Benjamin elaborates when he compares the two, formal irony and criticism: How does irony’s destruction of illusion in artistic form relate to the destruction of the work through criticism? Criticism sacrifices the work utterly to the will of the One Cohesive Context [um des Einen Zusammenhanges willen]. [Formal irony] on the contrary does not merely not destroy the work that it attacks: it tends to render it indestructible . . Formal irony is not, like fortitude or rectitude, an intentional behavior of an author.