Monday, August 6, 2012

Walter Benjamin

I have a dilemma today as I really wanted to post but what I wanted to write about is not ready.  The reason for this is partly because I had the most marvellous weekend reading bits and pieces for my next thesis chapter about Ivan Vladislavic's Portrait with Keys.

This is therefore not so much a blog post as an introduction to a quite extraordinary writer I read in the process.  His name is Walter Benjamin.  He dabbled in many different kinds of writing (much about cities, which is why I am reading him) and his life was cut tragicaly short because he committed suicide rather than be captured by the Germans during World War II.  Go look him up and read his stuff: I find reading over his sentences is like running one's fingers over particularly beautiful jewels.  I introduce you to him via this quote about the imagination (which I hope will lead smoothly to the troublesome blog post about my writing):

*"the faculty of imagination is the gift of interpolating into the infinitely small, of inventing, for every intensity, an extensiveness to contain its new, compressed fullness, in short, of receiving each image as if it were that of the folded fan, which only in spreading draws breath and flourishes, in its new expanse, the beloved features within it". (75)

*Benjamin, Walter.  One Way Street.  Intro. Susan Sontag. Transl. Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley Shorter.  Noldon: NLB, 1979.

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