PDF/EPUB Walter Benjamin ð Das Passagen Werk PDF ´ Das Passagen eBook ↠ ð

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 ideasFocusing on the arcades of nineteenth century Paris glass roofed rows of shops that were early centers of consumerism Benjamin presents a montage of uotations 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 critiue 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 times embedded in the spaces of things


10 thoughts on “Das Passagen Werk

  1. says:

    I haven’t uite finished this It is very long and I don’t know that it is the sort of book that you ever really finish It is a book that is sort of written back to front I mean normally books have a whole lot of joined up text and then to support what is said in that text there might be pages and pages of end notes and references This book does that in reverse endless ‘notes’ and very little written text by the author You need to know a couple of things before you start this I think The first is that Marxists up until and during the Second World War thought of montage as a highly effective way to come to understand and critiue the world I mean montage like in art you know where you get images from newspapers and so on and perhaps draw something in and around the images you have stuck to your art work The point I think is to present a critiue of society by the juxtaposition of these images many of them commonplace I really like this idea since I think the world is made commonplace by the repetition of images in various stereotyped contexts we tend not to view this as propaganda we think of it as advertising but it seems pretty much the same thing to meThe premise of this book is that the development of the use of iron and glass in the 1820s as building materials or there about allowed for what was effectively a new type of architecture and one that was unuestionably capitalist That is it allowed for the creation in Paris of arcades basically nineteenth century shopping malls These were designed to be entire worlds in themselves And the point of them was to create a world in which the commodities that capitalism must sell to sustain itself could be best displayed and therefore sold but also within their creation of a new normal So this book in a sense is an exploration of this new capitalist architecture And he doesn’t hold back He discusses in detail just about every imaginable detail of these new worlds Well except he sort of doesn’t at the same time You see for such a long book little of it is actually written by Benjamin A very dear friend of mine had been an English teacher for a long time and she once told me that she suspected that many of the research papers and academic books she had read over the years have so many references that she basically doubted that anyone had ever read them all Rather they had worked out what they wanted to say and then perhaps grabbed some references from other books and other papers that mostly talked about the same stuff as they were wanting to talk about This book is definitely not one of those For the most part it is a montage of uotes and references and asides grouped according to topics that then go to make up a picture of the arcades Except for a lot of this book I didn’t feel I was learning really as much about the arcades as I was about Paris This book is certainly a love song to Paris and a very large chunk of this is also an extended discussion of the life and work of Baudelaire There must be 100 pages in the Baudelaire chapter alone and that is hardly the only time he is mentioned or discussed There’s also a long discussion on flaneurs basically people mostly men since women doing this are treated as prostitutes who sit and watch life go byI don’t know the poetry of Baudelaire I don’t speak French and I’ve never been to Paris As such a lot of this went completely over my head I can see it is a remarkable piece of work that it is likely to present endless insights that I’m not able to identify I also really love the idea of presenting a work in this way even if this might not have ultimately been what he had intended for his master work Read one or other of the other reviews to this too they will tell you the remarkable story of how this work came to be and why it was never completed and how it was saved from the Nazis The point is to allow the reader to make connections and to come to an understanding that is not purely didactic that isn’t purely what the author ‘told you’ if that makes any sense That said the book often left me confused and a bit lostI need to mention one part of this that has really stayed with me It is a story that Anatole France about been read a story at school when he was ten about a genie that gave a boy a ball of thread the ball was the thread of his life and the genie said that how he untangled the thread would decide how uickly his life progress He could make it go faster or slower or even stop entirely depending on how fast he pulled on the thread In the end his entire life from this point lasts about 4 months before he dies of old age As someone currently sitting on a plane in a cramped seat and with another 15 hours or so before I get to where I’m going I have to say I’m pretty grateful I have never met that genie


  2. says:

    Two members of my family are currently obsessed with this book so I think I'd better at least flip through it before I try to have dinner with both of them againGreat story behind it according to my dad George Bataille had to stash this one in the medieval section of the Bibliothèue Nationale where he worked when Benjamin fled the Nazis Then many many years later way after that whole Nazi thing had blown over a bunch of people were sitting around one day scratching their heads wondering what had ever happened to that crazy thing Benjamin had been working on back when the shit hit the fan and Bataille said I have it And then the Germans spent about twenty years editing the hell out of it as they are wont to do and it wasn't translated into English until like the eighties or something but now is readily available at every respectable bookseller in America Anyway it looks difficult and it's way too long for me to take on right now but I'm definitely planning to take a look at this thing before I have to share another meal with these lunatics


  3. says:

    I fkin’ hate shopping malls I suppose were I to have stuck it out and had Benjamin stay’d on a little longer and gotten this thing wrap’d up he may have assisted me somewhat in articulating exactly why I fkin’ hate shopping malls so much I can scarcely utilize them for their urinalcapacity ; just duck in duck out But amid 200odd pages of stuff about Baudelaire I just uit Just walk’d off I don’t really do the nineteenth century I don’t really do Paris I don’t really even spend much time in France Nor do I really give too many hoots about sociology unless it is worked into a universal nontrivial kind of thing which I’m sure Benjamin would eventually have done And I’m pretty sure that maybe something might have started to pop were I to get past this fkin’ two hundred pages about Baudelaire but I really just kind of doubt itMeanwhile The Arcades Project offers the aspiring novelist and by novelist one must mean the innovative experimental sui generis type who finds formal clues in non fictive genre a whole new world of formal possibilities for that Next Great Novel


  4. says:

    An absolute miracle of a book In two waysI've been on a Benjamin binge lately and it all ends up here as Benjamin said the theater of all my struggles and ideas in this marvellous fascinating piece of multidisciplinary tome with tons of layers in its fragments On the first level it is a history of the rise and fall of the arcades early consumer cultureshop crammed passageways in Paris of the 19th century Down another level it is a historiographic work that completely reverses the way history is written; not from above and across larger structures but from below essentially compiled in surrealist montage style in fragment after fragment citation after citation from posters travel manuals poems street signs plays candy wrappers just about every source you can possibly think of Comparatively little is written by Benjamin himself but he's there no worries after 5 pages of citations from curious sources he gestures towards a connection The project and ambition of the work mirrors that of the arcades themselves As a reader you simply meander through his work in the hands of a montage meister flabbergasted by the variety and strangeness of Benjamin's sense of discovery and you can't take all of it in but have you ever looked through one of these arcades? Stuff galoreIt is not literary criticism but it contains a humongous section on Baudelaire and a lot of stuff on Balzac Zola Hugo Gautier etc It is not theoretical per se but there is a section that expands greatly on his Theses on the Philosophy of History It is not anthropology but it dives into modernity from every possible angle high and low from prostitute to bourgeoisie high art and cheap novelletes Neither is it particularly Marxist and yet it twists and turns historical materialism on its head again and again It seems to be everything at onceIt occurs to me that I'm not even half way close to having digested this so I'll stop here and return to it once I've read some of the criticism I wouldn't recommend this to someone who's just beginning on Benjamin but to those who have dipped your toes in his essays or autobiographical writings and returned changed hop on in It's everything he ever did from allegory and modernity to the Proustian moments of memory and all the rest of itFinally just a uick a word about the Harvard edition because every English speakingreading nerd should get this Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin and the many involved have done an absolutely dizzying amount of work to organize everything; translated into lucid English there are tons of endnotes to satisfy even the hungriest of freaks and it's easy to navigate in


  5. says:

    The Arcades Project is sprawling unclassifiableoneiric Posing as an historical analysis of the Parisian arcades the outdoor euivalent of and precursors to shopping malls this book is also among other things a cultural history of the 19th century an intellectual biography of Baudelaire an essay on the philosophy of history a meditation on industrialization a portrait of the city of Paris one of the best works of criticism on literary modernism a reflection on the textual styles of the Kabbalah and also an original contribution to both psychoanalysis and Marxism It is also as Benjamin himself notes an awakening from the dream of the 19th centuryThis book is almost impossible to read straight through but carefully directed perusal bears great rewards Convolutes N and K are particularly good


  6. says:

    The Arcades Project is a difficult work to review so please bear with this inept student of history and philosophy as I struggle to compose my thoughts about this extensive literary montageWalter Benjamin never completed The Arcades Project Passagen Werk in German which he worked on from 1927 until his untimely death in 1940 He was 48 years old The book remained in the form of meticulously gathered uotes and philosophical meanderings written on hundreds of note cards Prominent Benjamin scholar Rolf Tiedemann posits that The Arcades Project grew beyond Benjamin’s initial scope and was far from completion when he committed suicide in Spain via morphine overdose As with all posthumous publications I wonder how the author would feel knowing that his unfinished thoughts are on display for the world While unfinished the scope of the project remains daunting and impressive In the Passagen Werk Benjamin seeks to capture the historical and cultural essence of Paris during the years 1830 – 1870 using the arcades as a freuent touchstone throughout Prominent convolutes include the Arcades themselves A Iron Construction F Baudelaire J The Flaneur M and the Theory of Progress N Of course any attempt to summarize The Arcades Project will fall flat as this giant of historiography defies the literary schemata so often employed by the reading publicNonetheless there are recurrences in the book that help create a foundation—to use Tiedemann’s metaphor as delineated in “Dialectics at a Standstill”—essential to understanding Benjamin’s magnum opus Here are a few of the themes that stand out1 The idea of progress as espoused by culture at large is inane and nonexistent See convolute N131The concept of progress had to run counter to the critical theory of history from the moment it ceased to be applied as a criterion to specific historical developments and instead was reuired to measure the span between a legendary inception and a legendary end of history In other words as soon as it becomes the signature of historical process as a whole the concept of progress bespeaks an uncritical hypostatization rather than a critical interrogation This latter may be recognized in the concrete exposition of history from the fact that it outlines regression at least as sharply as it brings any progress into view 4782 There is a dialectic between present and past that is always occurring Nothing is truly new and elements of the past dominate the present3 This dialectic between present and past ought to be apprehended the Now of Recognizability and remembered The conseuence is an awakening from dream by the unconscious See K13The new dialectical method of doing history presents itself as the art of experiencing the present as waking world a world to which that dream we name the past refers in truth To pass through and carry out what has been in remembering the dream—Therefore remembering and awaking are most intimately related Awakening is namely the dialectical turn of remembrance 389 4 The collector annihilates the use value of whatever he collects with a possible exception made for bibliophiles Reference H1a2What is decisive in collecting is that the object is detached from all its original functions in order to enter into the closest conceivable relation to things of the same kind This relation is the diametric opposite of any utility and falls into the peculiar category of completeness What is this “completeness”? It is a grand attempt to overcome the wholly irrational character of the object’s mere presence at hand through its integration into a new expressly devised historical system the collection pp 204 – 2055 Each age precipitates its end by dreaming of the age to come By dreaming of the subseuent era the current era awakes to find itself transformed Each of these themes is explored exhaustively within The Arcades Project and integrated with the arcades themselves Of course the arcades are far than the amalgamation of iron and glass; rather they embody an integral piece of cultural history that merges into the Now While the electric lamp and wider streets that came to dominate Paris catalyzed the decay of the arcades their influence remains in the present of Benjamin and the present of today


  7. says:

    I've been reading this book forever


  8. says:

    This is the kind of book you are always currently reading because this is the kind of book that is almost impossible to read entirely and once you've read it you need to start reading again Fragmented and brilliant sometimes confusing but always worthwhile this book will come back to you again and again It's supposedly a history of bourgeois Paris in the 1800s but really it's a history of people of culture and consumerism of replication and lights of wandering the city and modernity and why we are now what we are now because of how they were back then


  9. says:

    I feel like I just speed read the Necronomicon


  10. says:

    You could not say this work of scholarship is deeper than it is wide nor could you say it is wider than it is deep It is DEEP and WIDE It is definitely the most ambitious thing I've ever encountered Incomplete because Benjamin did not live long enough to finish it In fact the story of what happened to the manuscript at the end of his life is included in the volume and it moved me to tears The late 30's and early 40's were desperate timesThis book covers everything from Proust and Baudelaire to the economics and politics of 19th century France It aims to explain every day life in the 19th Century both the personal and the political Benjamin was a collector and here is his greatest collection uotations and passages from the time period of his study and later scholars that sheds brilliant light on his subjectOne of my Top 5 books ever