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The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire

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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  416 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Walter Benjamin's essays on the great French lyric poet Charles Baudelaire revolutionized not just the way we think about Baudelaire, but our understanding of modernity and modernism as well. In these essays, Benjamin challenges the image of Baudelaire as late-Romantic dreamer, and evokes instead the modern poet caught in a life-or-death struggle with the forces of the ...more
Paperback, 307 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Belknap Press (first published 1969)
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Jonfaith
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetshere, theory
Modernity has changed most of all, and the antiquity it was supposed to contain really presents a picture of the obsolete.

As noted the holidays present personal challenges. The rituals and kinship don't connect with me and somehow my Prime member status hasn't yielded a more enriching experience. What this year’s Thanksgiving patch did provide was a couple days to sit and read. I worked yesterday and briefly Thanksgiving night but the rest of the time was devoted to brooding, I mean reading.
...more
Robert
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
It took a very long time to read but that is because it was a pleasure to read and who rushes through pleasure. (Perhaps too many of us.)
I found the discussion of Baudelaire useful, difficult and often even lovely. As Walter Benjamin looks back nearly a century to understand his own time, so I find much in his thoughts helpful not only to better understand and so read, Baudelaire, but also Benjamin. Benjamin, along the way, offers some insights into our own confused/comic/tragic times.

I find
...more
Islam
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
لم تعجبنى المعالجة الطبقية لبودلير وشعره، لكن الدراسة بها استبصارات غاية فى الروعة عن البوهيميون وتعريفهم ودورهم فى المجتمع وقت بودلير وحكومة نابليون الثالث، كما تحدث عن الكسندر دوماس وظهور الملاحق الأدبية مع الصحف فى فرنسا والروايات المسلسلة القائمة على التسلية، كما تحدث فى فصل آخر عن "المتسكع" والفصل بينه وبين المتطفل وفى نفس الفصل أقام دراسة عظيمة عن المدينة متمثلة فى باريس وتطورها العمرانى بعد دخول "البواكى" على يد هاوسمان. والفصل الذى يليه تحدث عن الحداثة بسماتها المتمثلة فى صناعة البطولة ...more
8314
Oh well this is quite new — my dear friend recommended to me a book that failed to impress me.

It didn't take long before I start to doubt Benjamin's sensitivity in psychological process; as the reading went on, that doubt almost became a solid judgement. I said "almost" not because I found, in the later texts, some evidence to overthrow the judgement. I said it simply because of the credits people gave him and the mere fact that I don't know him well enough. It was a surprise to see Karl Marx
...more
Tosh
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
It takes one to write about another one. Walter Benjamin, the poet of the urban landscape writes about another poet of the urban landscape. The only thing missing is Benjamin wearing a velvet cape before he wonders around Paris in the early hours before dawn. Benjamin is one of the great critical writers of his time - in fact he's head of his time!
'Izzat Radzi
I actually read this hand-in-hand with another book. Though different translation, good to read both version. As some paragraph here (translation by Harry Zohnare better elucidated on the other book. Not sure if I should cross-compare the text, maybe later.
Tomas
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Soms verschrikkelijk moeilijke woorden, maar niet storend. [we zijn ten slotte een dichter aan lezen] Het is werkelijk een fantastisch initiatief, een cultuur trachten blootleggen door middel van artiestieke en creatieve kunsten die het genereert. Ik ga denk ik ook eens een WB'tje over de hedendaagse tijden doen.
Ben
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theory
Shoot. This book is ostensibly the "English" translation, but, if you French is rusty, Benjamin'll whip you right into shape, haha. Very good though. I actually found it more accessible than "Illuminations," which I didn't expect.
Pam
Aug 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-reading Benjamin on Baudelaire to re-examine la flãnerie in the light of my late (recent) discovery of Hope Mirrlees' 1919 chapbook, PARIS : A Poem - who wrote her Modernist poem when it was practically impossible for a woman to be a flãneuse.
Blair
Mmmm. The intersection of my two favourite early modern thinkers on art. A perfect marriage!
Lukas
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baudelaire: Symptom des Hochkapitalismus, Erreger der Moderne, Dialektiker ohne Synthese, warenfeindlicher Fetischist. Benjamin lohnt sich immer.
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very nice
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Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin was a German-Jewish Marxist literary critic, essayist, translator, and philosopher. He was at times associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory and was also greatly inspired by the Marxism of Bertolt Brecht and Jewish mysticism as presented by Gershom Scholem.

As a sociological and cultural critic, Benjamin combined ideas drawn from historical
...more