before we remembered them”.
Memory as Textual Action
in Walter Benjamin’s Berliner
Kindheit um Neunzehnhundert
Ragnhild Evang Reinton, UNIVERSITY OF OSLO
The importance of thinking about the production of human experience in terms of performativity can clearly be seen in Walter Benjamin’s reflections on modernity, as well as in his epistemology, in particular. In many respects his theory of memory and cognition of life echoes today’s discussions on the performative aspect of texts and language. For this reason his well-known thoughts on the crisis of experience and loss of traditional forms of mediation should be regarded not as a manifestation of a nostalgic vision of history, but, on the contrary, as a starting point for a constructive endeavour to produce experience under new historical conditions. In the 1930’s Benjamin was occupied with the writing of three important works: Berliner Kindheit um Neunzehnhundert (Berlin Childhood Around 1900), Das Passagen-Werk