THE TOWNS OF WALTER BENJAMIN (Miasta Waltera Benjamina)
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Throughout his whole life Walter Benjamin created mini-portraits of towns, synthetic 'images of thought', sometimes no larger than the text on a postcard. They mark the places in which the life of the author of 'Le Livre des passages' merges, as closely as possible, with writing and the text. This is the place where that which is theoretical and that which is experienced are already inseparable and undistinguishable. Benjamin's images of cities are never a journalistic 'capturing of life': following the example of the poet Stefan George, he introduced the concept of 'denkbilder', which contains tension between the past and the present, between recollection and experience. Benjamin believed in the cabalistic power of the word. Just as Proust treated names, so he conceived the names of towns as symbols: Berlin, Jerusalem, Marseilles, Moscow, Naples, New York, Paris, Riga, San Indignant...
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