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The Storyteller: Tales out of Loneliness

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3.63  ·  Rating details ·  207 ratings  ·  25 reviews
A beautiful collection of the legendary thinker’s short stories

The Storyteller gathers for the first time the fiction of the legendary critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin, best known for his groundbreaking studies of culture and literature, including Illuminations, One-Way Street and The Arcades Project. His stories revel in the erotic tensions of city life, cross the
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Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 1st 2016 by Verso
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Average rating 3.63  · 
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Caterina
Jun 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks, germany, netgalley
This is the first effort to gather the fiction of the legendary philosopher Walter Benjamin, best remembered for his works on modern culture and his affiliation to the School of Frankfurt. The short stories are actually very short, full of dreamy atmosphere and surrealist images. You get the sense that they were not finished, that they needed one last look from the author or maybe it is his own experimental style that leaves that impression.

The translation is very good and you can tell that the
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Dan Hamilton
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This collection is stunning. As Elif Shafak once said of Benjamin, "One doesn't read him to feel better – one reads him to feel." This has never been more true than it is with his fiction, which we are seeing for the first time here. I am eagerly anticipating returning to these stories, fragments, and essays for a long time to come.
Sean A.
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a delight. The king of the situationist derive/city drift. Queer antiquarian. Book fetishist. Strange philosopher.
Brian
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disappointed. Bits and bobs from the magazines and journals of yore.
Frank Karioris
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a magisterial book full of beauty, wit, quips, and humor. While there are certainly some chapters that are not to my liking or less of interest to me, there are a serious number that I will be returning to again.
Laura
3* Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life
4* The Storyteller: Tales out of Loneliness
TR Unpacking my Library
TR Il narratore. Considerazioni sull'opera di Nikolaj Leskov
Jack Waters
Dec 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Perhaps this assessment is unfair since I am a huge fan of Illuminations and The Arcades Project, but I was not blown away by these stories of fiction. The novellas, fables, histories, aphorisms, parables, and riddles are interesting but do not hold the same weight as his cultural critiques. Perhaps this is a book reserved for Benjamin completionists or those who've never read him.
Colin Cox
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Weaving together a collection of disparate stories, essays, and reviews of a writer or thinker without his or her expressed consent is a tricky operation. If successful, the collection clarifies a set of ideas and concepts relevant to the writer in question that would otherwise remain opaque or invisible. In addition, such collections may open new territories of inquiry about the author in question. Although, if such a project fails, the writer becomes increasingly distant, drifting beyond our ...more
Graychin
There are two separate books conflated in this listing and these reviews. The first is apparently a collection of short fiction by Walter Benjamin titled The Storyteller, while the second, which I just finished reading, is a selection of non-fiction pieces by Benjamin (and others) culminating in his essay called “The Storyteller: Relfections on the Work of Nikolai Leskov.”

In order to really thrill to this book you need to be a serious Benjamin fan, which I am not. I enjoy him only in very small
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Tom Timmermans
Only interesting to those already familiar with Walter Benjamin's output, and despite some interesting bits of writing here and there, it feels like the editors pieced some leftover writings and scribbles together to be able to publish and sell another book. Despite good intentions, the editors seem to have had too few to work on in their effort to really show "a different side" of a man who already has a very diverse body of work as a writer, scholar, philosopher and cultural critic. ...more
Hanna
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's only two faults about this book, both of which are not its fault.
One: I have an aversion against short stories (and nevertheless always fail in buying books containing them).
Two: It's an English translation and not the Original German text, which would have been my native language. This anthology isn't available in German in this form though and I am a huge fan of Verso books, so well, here we are.

In any case, Benjamin was a masterful storyteller and although some of the stories that
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Julia
Nov 12, 2019 rated it liked it
This was the last work I read as part of a personal study on short stories by Jewish writers in pre-WWII Europe, which also included the works of Kafka and Bruno Schultz. Benjamin has long been known for his essays on mass culture and literary and art criticism. To the best of my knowledge, this is one of the first English translation of his fictional works. Many of these writings were composed before Benjamin's more well known essays, with a few pieces dating to when he was a teen. Kafka's ...more
Dennis
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Walter Benjamin's essay on "The Storyteller" is presented in this finely crafted edition in the context of various short texts in which he developed related arguments, supplemented by a number of texts and extracts of sources that he cites directly in his essay. It is a great edition, as it allows the reader to closely trace Benjamin's developing thought over the years preceding the publication of "The Storyteller." The collection of extracts from authors that appear as sources in the essay is ...more
Joyce
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
gets a little barrel scrapy by the end but theres some good stuff here, although one can see why benjamin isn't known for it. probably only for those already comfortably convinced of his genius by the work where the real meat is
Rivers
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The main essay was great, the rest...meh.
Max Eichelberger
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Much was beautiful and insightful. Even more was filler (white space and fragments).
Kevin
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned
weirdo exercises in style that mostly left no impression on me
Tom
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book description is pretty accurate account of what you'll find here.
Michale Keir - Cheslock
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
probably best not to read this to feel better, just gotta read it to feel something in general, and so on
Helen Pinch
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Interesting stuff about small lies you tell because it’s easier, but everyone knows they are a lie, among other things.
annie
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-stars, school
2.5 stars

this essay makes LITERALLY no sense but my lit prof said i "thoroughly understood" it so uh! guess i'm a genius ladies. we love.
Alessandro
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a sweet man
Richard
An interesting if somewhat meandering series of essays about the differences between storytelling and the novel form, focussing on the decline of the former and rise of the latter. The main focus is on Johann Peter Hebel and Nikolai Leskov. Also included are related essays by Ernst Bloch, George Lukacs and others.
Theediscerning
Purely for those with a great appreciation for the most minor of small works and narrative fragments, and definitely for the scholar rather than the general reader.
Burke Burke
rated it liked it
Aug 18, 2016
Rita
rated it liked it
Feb 23, 2018
Fiona Dalziel
rated it really liked it
Aug 16, 2019
Ina Cawl
rated it it was amazing
Jul 28, 2016
Adam Scovell
rated it it was ok
Mar 04, 2019
Budhaditya Mazumdar
rated it really liked it
Nov 11, 2019
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NYRB Classics: The Storyteller Essays, by Walter Benjamin 3 28 Mar 15, 2019 04:23PM  

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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
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“the journalistic jargon of the newspaper is the highest expression of experiential poverty – a lesson that Benjamin learned from Karl Kraus.8 As Benjamin comments, ‘every morning brings us the news of the globe and yet we are poor in noteworthy stories.” 0 likes
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