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Walter Benjamin: The Story of a Friendship (New York Review Books Classics)
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 NYRB Classics
(first published December 31st 1981)
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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
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
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.
Aug 01, 2008 Damian rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Apr 11, 2007 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People interested in 20th century intellectual history, and friendship in general
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.
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