This paper is an attempt to reconstruct Walter Benjamin's notions of a collector, collecting and a collection. The reflection on collectors and their activity proves to be crucial to 'the material philosophy of the nineteenth century' that the author was trying to write. Benjamin's insight into collecting is based, among other factors, on his own experience, and there are parallels between the way he conducts his studies, the way his works are structured and compiled, and the collector's activity and the collection respectively. This study of Benjamin's understanding of collecting puts special emphasis on the relationship between the collection and the collector's individual memory, on the role of an interpreter of collective dreams that the philosopher attributed to the collector, who is capable of calling the wake-up, and on the specificity of the possession and decommoditization of objects by the collector.
R. Tanczuk, Uniwersytet Wroclawski, Instytut Kulturoznawstwa, ul. Szewska 50/51, 50-139 Wroclaw, Poland
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