Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Walter Benjamin: The Story of a Friendship” as Want to Read:
Walter Benjamin: The Story of a Friendship
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Walter Benjamin: The Story of a Friendship

by
3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  127 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Gershom Scholem is celebrated as the twentieth century's most profound student of the Jewish mystical tradition; Walter Benjamin, as a master thinker whose extraordinary essays mix the revolutionary, the revelatory, and the esoteric. Scholem was a precocious teenager when he met Benjamin, who became his close friend and intellectual mentor. His account of that relationship ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published April 30th 2003 by New York Review of Books (first published December 31st 1981)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Walter Benjamin, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Walter Benjamin

Community Reviews

(showing 1-59)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jean-Paul Werner Walshaw-Sauter
Apr 03, 2017 Jean-Paul Werner Walshaw-Sauter rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
description

(Angelus Novus, 1920 Paul Klee)

A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the
...more
Justin Evans
Oct 27, 2016 Justin Evans rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
A solid enough look at Benjamin's life, obviously slanted by Scholem's wish to write a slightly different kind of hagiography than Benjamin's other hagiographers. Despite the fact that Scholem only saw Benjamin once in the very productive, final seven years of his life, he would have us believe that Walter never stopped being a theologian, and that Benjamin's Marxist language was just an attempt to make his thought palatable to other Marxist intellectuals. This isn't convincing as a statement of ...more
Chuck LoPresti
Jun 22, 2013 Chuck LoPresti rated it really liked it
Just as the title says - the story of a friendship between two brilliant intellectuals. I had to constantly remind myself that I wasn't reading the critical opinions of Benjamin and at many times I wished I was instead. But this is no fault of Scholem - it is a shortcoming of my own. I mention this because I imagine most people interested in this book are familiar with Benjamin's writings, 'Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction' at the least, and are seeking more of the stunning insight of w ...more
M. Sarki
Enjoyed this book even within my difficulty in understanding and my lack of experience and knowledge regarding Judaism and the European experience between the world wars and the journey up to the beginning of another war to end all wars. Gershom Scholem was an engaging writer who did have an understanding few others may have regarding the historical events happening in his, and Benjamin's, lifetime. I believe after reading this book that Gershom was fair in his assessments and the relationship h ...more
Andrew
Apr 28, 2017 Andrew added it
Shelves: biography
I so wanted to like this. I so wanted to hear about the intellectual debates and adventures of life in Weimar-era Berlin, about Walter Benjamin and his habits. What I got was Gershom Scholem trying to shoehorn Benjamin's thought into this mystical framework. The mysticism, together with the almost fanatical Zionism of Scholem's perspective (almost as if he was blaming Benjamin's death on his desire to remain in Europe... although that could be me overreaching as a reader), together with Scholem' ...more
david
May 15, 2017 david rated it it was amazing
Ringside seats to two great twentieth century minds. A friendly wresting match of words and perspectives. Great.
J.W.D.
Jan 12, 2012 J.W.D. added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lori
Jul 29, 2011 Lori rated it really liked it
This is a friendship of very profound readers and thinkers where Scholem proves that Benjamin did have a great love for Jewish mysticism, even if it doesn't show up in his writings, and how these friends clash yet remain fast friends and correspond with each other through letters - a very touching yet keeneyed portrait of a melancholic Walter Benjamin. Will help you to read Benjamin in more depth.
Damian
Jul 06, 2008 Damian rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: good people with a little heart sould and intelligence.
Recommended to Damian by: me.
I finished this while stuck in Houston's George Bush International Airport. I learned a lot about Scholem's involvement with Zionism, 20 years before Israel was founded, as well as a lot about Walter Benjamin. I have to wonder if Scholem is a bit too revisionist of Walter's life.
Jason
Apr 11, 2007 Jason rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People interested in 20th century intellectual history, and friendship in general
Shelves: history, biography
This is a very poignant memoir of Gershom Scholem's friendship with Walter Benjamin. Scholem narrates the troubled life of his friend with deep tenderness.
Elisa Mino
The exiting story of great intellectual Walter Benjamin written by one of his best friend.
Roberto
Nov 11, 2016 Roberto rated it really liked it
One of the only biographies I have read that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Rob Cummins
Rob Cummins rated it really liked it
Mar 28, 2011
Jeff
Jeff rated it liked it
May 10, 2017
Suzana Sampaio
Suzana Sampaio rated it liked it
Oct 25, 2013
Ralph Berg
Ralph Berg rated it really liked it
May 25, 2017
lelerozza
lelerozza rated it liked it
Dec 30, 2011
Richard Odier
Richard Odier rated it really liked it
Dec 01, 2016
Christine van der Veer
Christine van der Veer rated it it was amazing
Jul 26, 2015
James Boman
James Boman rated it really liked it
Apr 26, 2017
Peter Praschl
Peter Praschl rated it it was amazing
Feb 13, 2013
Alexandre Soares
Alexandre Soares rated it it was ok
Oct 27, 2012
Susan Hight
Susan Hight rated it really liked it
Feb 05, 2017
Brooker
Brooker rated it liked it
Nov 22, 2016
Benamozegh
Benamozegh rated it it was amazing
May 05, 2013
Tim
Tim rated it it was amazing
Oct 15, 2016
Jon
Jon rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2012
Gregory
Gregory rated it it was amazing
Oct 08, 2012
David
David rated it it was amazing
Mar 21, 2007
litherland
litherland rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2007
steev
steev marked it as to-read
May 03, 2007
Joe
Joe added it
Jun 21, 2007
Laura
Laura marked it as to-read
Jul 26, 2007
Stas
Stas rated it it was amazing
Sep 19, 2007
Rick
Rick rated it liked it
Oct 10, 2007
michael
michael rated it really liked it
Oct 27, 2007
Ryan
Ryan rated it really liked it
Nov 19, 2007
John
John added it
Nov 29, 2007
amanda
amanda marked it as to-read
Dec 12, 2007
Caspere
Caspere rated it liked it
Dec 17, 2007
Berit
Berit marked it as to-read
Jan 13, 2008
al
al rated it really liked it
Feb 20, 2008
Dominic
Dominic rated it really liked it
Mar 06, 2008
JuliAnna
JuliAnna rated it really liked it
Jul 10, 2008
Josie
Josie marked it as to-read
Jul 13, 2008
Allan
Allan rated it really liked it
Aug 16, 2008
Jill
Jill rated it really liked it
Sep 03, 2008
Eric
Eric marked it as to-read
Sep 15, 2008
Christian
Christian rated it it was amazing
Oct 14, 2008
Sujit
Sujit marked it as to-read
Nov 06, 2008
Alan
Alan rated it liked it
Nov 21, 2008
Rena
Rena rated it it was amazing
Dec 08, 2008
Eli
Eli rated it really liked it
Jan 05, 2009
Katherine
Katherine marked it as to-read
Jan 22, 2009
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
  • The Pity of It All: A Portrait of the German-Jewish Epoch 1743-1933
  • Soul of Wood
  • Memoirs of an Anti-Semite
  • Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew
  • Berlin Childhood around 1900
  • Dante: Poet of the Secular World
  • Transit
  • The Pathseeker
  • An Armenian Sketchbook
  • Badenheim 1939
  • The Family Mashber
  • The Wandering Jews
  • The Mirador: Dreamed Memories of Irene Nemirovsky by Her Daughter
  • Schlepping Through the Alps: My Search for Austria's Jewish Past with Its Last Wandering Shepherd
  • Four Stories
  • The Quest for Corvo: An Experiment in Biography
  • Adventures of Sindbad
  • Berlin Stories
59323
Gerhard Scholem who, after his immigration from Germany to Israel, changed his name to Gershom Scholem (Hebrew: גרשם שלום) (December 5, 1897 – February 21, 1982), was a German-born Israeli philosopher and historian. He is widely regarded as the founder of the modern, academic study of Kabbalah, becoming the first Professor of Jewish Mysticism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.[1] His close fri ...more
More about Gershom Scholem...

Share This Book