Walter Benjamin and the Antinomies of Tradition

By John McCole | Go to book overview

Chapter Six
Benjamin and Proust:
Remembering

1. Benjamin's "Image of Proust"

In the opening words of his 1929 essay " The Image of Proust," Benjamin ascribed to Proust's work a list of qualities he might well have wished for his own: "the absorption of a mystic, the art of a prose writer, the verve of a satirist, the erudition of a scholar, and the partiality of a monomaniac" (I 310). The comment strikes a delicate balance between pathos and irony; and, in fact, the entire essay enacts this subtle play of identification and distance. Benjamin's encounter with Proust's works was a formative influence in every way as important as his critical appropriation of surrealist impulses. There is abundant evidence of their affinities. Together with Franz Hessel, Benjamin translated three volumes of A la recherche du temps perdu into German during the late 1920s. He complained at the time of suffering from "an inner poisoning" produced by so extensive and intimate an encounter with a body of work whose intentions were closely related to his own (B 431). 1 Indeed, the theme of memory came to play a central role in Benjamin's work in the 1930s, taking a place alongside the conceptions of phantasmagoria and Urgeschichte that developed from his critique of surrealism. That was true, first of all, for his way of thinking about the

____________________
1
Adorno later reported that Benjamin "wanted not to read a single line more of Proust than he had to translate, for otherwise he would slide into an addictive dependence that would hinder ... his own production" (cited at II 1047). Peter Szondi sets these remarks in the proper light by pointing out the differences in their "search for lost time" that become clear in the texts of Berlin Childhood around 1900. What Benjamin actually feared was that "in his fascination with a work only apparently similar to his own, he risked becoming alienated from his innermost intention" ("Hope in the Past: On Walter Benjamin," 496). Nevertheless, Benjamin articulated his distinctive conceptions of time and memory through an immanent critique of Proust.

-253-

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

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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 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
/ 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.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, 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."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.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.