WALTER BENJAMIN UNPACKING MY LIBRARY PDF

A new translation of Walter Benjamin's classic essay on the art of book collecting, deftly illustrated by Marie Basten. Benjamin presents collecting — this particular mode of consumption and ownership of material goods — as a quasi-mythical process of attachment to the world of objects, but one that does not emphasize their functional, utilitarian value — that is, their usefulness. Critic, philosopher, translator and radio broadcaster, Walter Benjamin wrote widely and inimitably on literature, aesthetics, and Marxist thought. In he committed suicide to avoid capture by the Nazis. Email hello atlantisbooks. Winter hours are now in effect.

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Welcome to The Long ish Read : a new AD feature which uncovers texts written by notable essayists which resonate with contemporary architecture, interior architecture, urbanism or landscape design. In this essay, written in , Walter Benjamin narrates the process of unpacking his library.

All in boxes, he takes the reader through elements of his book collection: the memories attached to them, the importance he placed on the act of 'collecting' and the process of accumulation, and how objects like books inhabit a space.

Born in Germany in , Benjamin was known as a 'man of letters'. Having been educated in Switzerland he had a short career in the lead up to the Second World War, which saw him carve a niche as a literary critic.

In the s he turned to Marxism, partly due to the influence of Bertolt Brecht and partly due to the rise of extreme right-wing politics in Europe. He spent much of his professional life in Paris, where he wrote this essay. I am unpacking my library. Yes, I am.

The books are not yet on the shelves, not yet touched by the mild boredom of order. I cannot march up and down their ranks to pass them in review before a friendly audience. You need not fear any of that. For such a man is speaking to you, and on closer scrutiny he proves to be speaking only about himself. More than that: the chance, the fate, that suffuse the past before my eyes are conspicuously present in the accustomed confusion of these books.

For what else is this collection but a disorder to which habit has accommodated itself to such an extent that it can appear as order? These are the very areas in which any order is a balancing act of extreme precariousness.

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Recollecting My Library ... and My Self

Welcome to The Long ish Read : a new AD feature which uncovers texts written by notable essayists which resonate with contemporary architecture, interior architecture, urbanism or landscape design. In this essay, written in , Walter Benjamin narrates the process of unpacking his library. All in boxes, he takes the reader through elements of his book collection: the memories attached to them, the importance he placed on the act of 'collecting' and the process of accumulation, and how objects like books inhabit a space. Born in Germany in , Benjamin was known as a 'man of letters'. Having been educated in Switzerland he had a short career in the lead up to the Second World War, which saw him carve a niche as a literary critic. In the s he turned to Marxism, partly due to the influence of Bertolt Brecht and partly due to the rise of extreme right-wing politics in Europe.

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The Long(ish) Read: Walter Benjamin Unpacking his Library

The home library of William Randolph Hearst. I would argue that public libraries, holding both virtual and material texts, are an essential instrument to counter loneliness. I would say that without public libraries, and without a conscious understanding of their role, a society of the written word is doomed to oblivion. I realize how petty, how egotistical it seems, this longing to own the books I borrow.

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Unpacking My Library

I spent my winter break this year packing up my office and moving to a new building. The biggest part of moving offices for me is always packing and unpacking my hundreds of books acquired over the past 25 or so years. When unpacking his library, Benjamin says he is filled with images and memories he associates with the books. Cities he visited, rooms he occupied. In this way, to paraphrase Benjamin, our books do not live in us; we live in our books. Every book I have, I have for a reason.

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