The Arcades Project (häftad)
Häftad (Paperback / softback)
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New ed
Nominated for Rene Wellek Prize 2002; Nominated for Robert K. Merton Book Award 2002; Nominated for Best Book Award in European Politics and Society 2002; Nominated for Sidney Edelstein Prize 2002
The Belknap Press
Howard Eiland, Kevin McLaughlin
Tiedemann, Rolf (red.)
42 halftones
252 x 165 x 40 mm
1475 g
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The Arcades Project (häftad)

The Arcades Project

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Häftad Engelska, 2002-03-01
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"To great writers," Walter Benjamin once wrote, "finished works weigh lighter than those fragments on which they labor their entire lives." Conceived in Paris in 1927 and still in progress when Benjamin fled the Occupation in 1940, The Arcades Project (in German, Das Passagen-Werk) is a monumental ruin, meticulously constructed over the course of thirteen years--"the theater," as Benjamin called it, "of all my struggles and all my ideas." Focusing on the arcades of nineteenth-century Paris-glass-roofed rows of shops that were early centers of consumerism--Benjamin presents a montage of quotations from, and reflections on, hundreds of published sources, arranging them in thirty-six categories with descriptive rubrics such as "Fashion," "Boredom," "Dream City," "Photography," "Catacombs," "Advertising," "Prostitution," "Baudelaire," and "Theory of Progress." His central preoccupation is what he calls the commodification of things--a process in which he locates the decisive shift to the modern age. The Arcades Project is Benjamin's effort to represent and to critique the bourgeois experience of nineteenth-century history, and, in so doing, to liberate the suppressed "true history" that underlay the ideological mask. In the bustling, cluttered arcades, street and interior merge and historical time is broken up into kaleidoscopic distractions and displays of ephemera. Here, at a distance from what is normally meant by "progress," Benjamin finds the lost time(s) embedded in the spaces of things.
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Benjamin's crowning achievement...The Harvard University Press edition of Benjamin now in monumental progress is an admirably generous undertaking. -- George Steiner * Times Literary Supplement * Arcades is an assemblage of quotations, notes and theses that wrestle with themselves to extraordinary effect. In his lifetime, Benjamin saw published only the fragmentary collection One-Way Street, and he initially conceived The Arcades Project as a continuation of that book...It is a privilege, through this collection, to gain access to the workings of such a distinctive mind. -- Guy Mannes Abbott * New Statesman * Some of us don't read fiction. We live on history, biography, criticism, reporting and what used to be called belles-lettres. We will be feasting on Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project for years to come. Just published in its first full English edition, The Arcades Project should also win readers with broader tastes. By any standard, the appearance of this long-awaited work is a towering literary event. A sprawling, fragmented meditation on the ethos of 19th-century Paris, The Arcades Project was left incomplete on Benjamin's death in 1940. In recent decades, as portions of the book have appeared in English, the unfinished opus has acquired legendary status. The Arcades Project surpasses its legend. It captures the relationship between a writer and a city in a form as richly developed as those presented in the great cosmopolitan novels of Proust, Joyce, Musil and Isherwood. Those who fall under Benjamin's spell may find themselves less willing to suspend their disbelief in fiction. The city will offer sufficient fantasy to meet most needs. -- Herbert Muschamp * New York Times * At last, we can glimpse Benjamin's avowed masterpiece, The Arcades Project, and pay homage to this strange, vulnerable man, for whom letters and thought and books were everything. It was thirteen years in the making, and scribbled beneath the 'painted sky of summer'--the huge ceiling mural of Paris' Bibliotheque Nationale...Benjamin claimed The Arcades Project was 'the theater of all my struggles and all my ideas.' This struggle, and those ideas, aimed to chronicle the whole history of the nineteenth century, over which Paris, majestically, presided, whose arcades symbolized the city's heart laid bare...Harvard's Belknap [Press] is brave to publish such an esoteric and pricey specimen. Along with its two recent volumes of Benjamin's Selected Writings, and with a concluding collection in its way soon, we are now much better able to assess the man--foibles and all--and his legacy as a creative whole. -- Andy Merrifield * The Nation * The Arcades Project was a legend before it became a book...This large volume reproduces every relevant scrap in the Benjamin archives, reprinting, verbatim, every entry in the more than 30 notebooks that Benjamin had meticulously maintained to organize his observations and pertinent passages from books pertaining to a variety of different topics and themes, from 'Fashion' and 'Boredom' to 'Barricade Fighting' and 'the Seine.' -- James Miller * New York Times Book Review * Benjamin is important because of his insight into the cultural consequences of capitalism, an insight that gives us a style of thinking about the now inescapable culture of consumerism. We can read Benjamin's enormous fragment on the Paris arcades not so much to gather information about nineteenth-century Paris, of which it is an abundant and pleasurable resource, as to inform our own experience of everyday life. With Benjamin as a guide, one can begin to glimpse a way of reflecting on capitalism that promises to stave off the despair threatening to overwhelm those who choose not to celebrate this age of trademarked emotions, patented identities, and ready-made souls in plastic bags. And if today one is fortunate enough to walk the streets of Paris with his massive book in hand, as I recently was, Benjamin's vision of that city's past begins to haunt the

Övrig information

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was the author of many works of literary and cultural analysis. Howard Eiland is an editor and translator of Benjamin's writings. Kevin McLaughlin is Assistant Professor of English at Brown University and the author of Writing in Parts: Imitation and Exchange in Nineteenth-Century Literature.


Translators' Foreword Exposes "Paris, the Capital of the Nineteenth Century" (1935) "Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century" (1939) Convolutes Overview First Sketches Early Drafts "Arcades" "The Arcades of Paris" "The Ring of Saturn" Addenda Expose of 1935, Early Version Materials for the Expose of 1935 Materials for "Arcades" "Dialectics at a Standstill," by Rolf Tiedemann "The Story of Old Benjamin," by Lisa Fittko Translators' Notes Guide to Names and Terms Index