Walter Benjamin and the Antinomies of Tradition

By John McCole | Go to book overview

Chapter Two
The Immanent Critique
of Romanticism

i. A "Harder, Purer, Less Visible Radicalism"

As the war began, Benjamin found himself faced with an enormous task of stocktaking and self-reflection. He vowed to remain faithful to the idea he had meant to stand for, but he was forced to recognize that his previous attempts to specify it had collapsed irretrievably. To Ernst Schoen, the recipient of his most telling comments on this period, he wrote of "the swamp which is the university today" and of how the "visible" youth movement had "perished so completely and with such heart-wrenching violence" (B 119, 140). The order of the day, as he saw it, was to submit oneself to a chastening process. Their radicalism had not been wrong; it had only been "too much a gesture." It was now to be refined to a crystalline clarity: "harder, purer," and yet "less visible," nurtured in seclusion and solitude. In pursuit of this goal, certain other "gestures" he had already cultivated were to prove of use: the gestures of withdrawing from the sordid fray of struggling parties, of retreating into esoteric inwardness, of apodictic proclamations of truth.

There were striking continuities between the debates among the isolated circles of war opponents with whom Benjamin maintained contact and the lines of conflict that had divided the radical wing of the youth movement before the war. During the winter of 1914/15 Benjamin remained in Berlin, where he took part in the evening discussions organized by Kurt Hiller. The tone in Hiller's circle was set by the same range of politically radical, expressionist intellectuals associated with Die Aktion and its editor, Franz Pfemfert, who had cosponsored Der Anfang. The content of the debates likewise reproduced the positions represented in Der Anfang: partisans of social and political ac

-71-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Walter Benjamin and the Antinomies of Tradition
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 991

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.