Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin (; ; 15 July 1892 – 26 September 1940)
was a German Jewish philosopher
, cultural critic
. An eclectic thinker, combining elements of German idealism
, Western Marxism
, and Jewish mysticism
, Benjamin made enduring and influential contributions to aesthetic theory
, literary criticism
, and historical materialism
. He was associated with the Frankfurt School
, and also maintained formative friendships with thinkers such as playwright Bertolt Brecht
scholar Gershom Scholem
. He was also related to German political theorist
and philosopher Hannah Arendt
through her first marriage to Benjamin's cousin Günther Anders
Among Benjamin's best known works are the essays "The Task of the Translator
" (1923), "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
" (1935), and "Theses on the Philosophy of History
" (1940). His major work as a literary critic included essays on Baudelaire
, and translation theory
. He also made major translations into German of the ''Tableaux Parisiens'' section of Baudelaire's ''Les Fleurs du mal
'' and parts of Proust's ''À la recherche du temps perdu
''. In 1940, at the age of 48, Benjamin committed suicide at Portbou
on the French–Spanish border while attempting to escape from the invading Wehrmacht
. Though popular acclaim eluded him during his life, the decades following his death won his work posthumous renown.
Early life and education
Benjamin and his younger siblings, Georg (1895–1942) and Dora (1901–1946), were born to a wealthy business family of assimilated Ashkenazi Jews
in the Berlin of the German Empire
(1871–1918). The patriarch of Walter Benjamin's family, Emil Benjamin, was a banker in Paris who had relocated from France to Germany, where he worked as an antiques trader in Berlin; he later married Pauline Schönflies. He owned a number of investments in Berlin, including ice skating rinks. Benjamin's uncle William Stern
(born Wilhelm Louis Stern; 1871-1938) was a prominent German child psychologist
who developed the concept of the intelligence quotient
(IQ), and Benjamin's cousin Günther Anders
(born Günther Siegmund Stern; 1902-1992) was a German philosopher and anti-nuclear activist who studied under Edmund Husserl
and Martin Heidegger
. Through his mother, his great-uncle was the classical archaeologist Gustav Hirschfeld
. In 1902, ten-year-old Walter was enrolled to the Kaiser Friedrich School in Charlottenburg
; he completed his secondary school studies ten years later. Walter was of fragile health and so in 1905 the family sent him to Hermann-Lietz-Schule Haubinda, a boarding school
in the Thuringia
n countryside, for two years; in 1907, having returned to Berlin, he resumed his schooling at the Kaiser Friedrich School.
In 1912, at the age of 20, he enrolled at the University of Freiburg
, but at summer semester's end returned to Berlin, then matriculated at the University of Berlin
to continue studying philosophy. There Benjamin had his first exposure to Zionism
, which had not been part of his liberal upbringing. This gave him occasion to formulate his own ideas about the meaning of Judaism. Benjamin distanced himself from political and nationalist Zionism, instead developing in his own thinking what he called a kind of "cultural Zionism
"—an attitude that recognized and promoted Judaism and Jewish values
. In Benjamin's formulation his Jewishness meant a commitment to the furtherance of European culture. He wrote, "My life experience led me to this insight: the Jews represent an elite in the ranks of the spiritually active ... For Judaism is to me in no sense an end in itself, but the most distinguished bearer and representative of the spiritual." This was a position Benjamin largely held lifelong.
Elected president of the ''Freie Studentenschaft'' (Free Students Association), Benjamin wrote essays arguing for educational and general cultural change. When not reelected as student association president, he returned to Freiburg University to study, with particular attention to the lectures of Heinrich Rickert
; at that time he travelled to France and Italy.
His attempt to volunteer for service at the outbreak of World War I
in August 1914 was rejected by the army.
Benjamin later feigned illnesses to avoid conscription,
allowing him to continue his studies and his translations of works by French poet Charles Baudelaire
The next year, 1915, he moved to Munich, and continued his schooling at the University of Munich
, where he met Rainer Maria Rilke
and Gershom Scholem
; the latter became a friend. In that year, Benjamin wrote about the 18th-century Romantic
German poet Friedrich Hölderlin
In 1917 Benjamin transferred to the University of Bern
; there he met Ernst Bloch
, and Dora Sophie Pollak (née Kellner), whom he married. They had a son, Stefan Rafael, in 1918. In 1919 Benjamin earned his Ph.D.
'' with the dissertation ''Der Begriff der Kunstkritik in der deutschen Romantik'' (''The Concept of Art Criticism in German Romanticism''). Later, unable to support himself and family, he returned to Berlin and resided with his parents. In 1921 he published the essay ''Kritik der Gewalt'' (''Critique of Violence''). At this time Benjamin first became socially acquainted with Leo Strauss
, and he remained an admirer of Strauss and his work throughout his life.
In 1923, when the Institute for Social Research
was founded, later to become home to the Frankfurt School
, Benjamin published ''Charles Baudelaire, Tableaux Parisiens''. At that time he became acquainted with Theodor Adorno
and befriended Georg Lukács
, whose ''The Theory of the Novel'' (1920) much influenced him. Meanwhile, the inflation in the Weimar Republic
consequent to the war made it difficult for Emil Benjamin to continue supporting his son's family. At the end of 1923 Scholem emigrated to Palestine, a country under the British Mandate of Palestine
; despite repeated invitations, he failed to persuade Benjamin (and family) to leave the Continent for the Middle East.
In 1924 Hugo von Hofmannsthal
, in the ''Neue Deutsche Beiträge'' magazine, published Benjamin's "Goethes Wahlverwandtschaften" ("Goethe
's Elective Affinities
"), about Goethe's third novel, ''Die Wahlverwandtschaften
'' (1809). Later that year Benjamin and Bloch resided on the Italian island of Capri
; Benjamin wrote ''Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels'' (''The Origin of German Tragic Drama'') as a habilitation
dissertation meant to qualify him as a tenured university professor in Germany. At Bloch's suggestion, he read Lukács's ''History and Class Consciousness
'' (1923). He also met the Latvian Bolshevik and actress Asja Lācis
, then residing in Moscow; she became his lover and was a lasting intellectual influence on him.
A year later, in 1925, Benjamin withdrew ''The Origin of German Tragic Drama'' as his possible qualification for the habilitation teaching credential at the University of Frankfurt
at Frankfurt am Main, fearing its possible rejection;
[Jane O. Newman, ''Benjamin's Library: Modernity, Nation, and the Baroque'', Cornell University Press, 2011, p. 28: "university officials in Frankfurt recommended that Benjamin withdraw the work from consideration as his Habilitation."]
he was not to be an academic instructor. Working with Franz Hessel
he translated the first volumes of Marcel Proust
's ''À la Recherche du Temps Perdu'' (''In Search of Lost Time''). The next year, 1926, he began writing for the German newspapers ''Frankfurter Zeitung
'' (The Frankfurt Times) and ''Die Literarische Welt'' (The Literary World); that paid enough for him to reside in Paris for some months. In December 1926, the year his father died, Benjamin went to Moscow to meet Lācis and found her ill in a sanatorium.
In 1927, he began ''Das Passagen-Werk
'' (''The Arcades Project''), his uncompleted ''magnum opus'', a study of 19th-century Parisian life. The same year, he saw Scholem in Berlin, for the last time, and considered emigrating from Germany to Palestine. In 1928, he and Dora separated (they divorced two years later, in 1930); in the same year he published ''Einbahnstraße'' (''One-Way Street''), and a revision of his habilitation dissertation ''Ursprung des Deutschen Trauerspiels'' (''The Origin of German Tragic Drama''). In 1929 Berlin, Lācis, then an assistant to Bertolt Brecht
, socially presented the intellectuals to each other. In that time, he also briefly embarked upon an academic career, as an instructor at the University of Heidelberg
Exile and death
In 1932, during the turmoil preceding Adolf Hitler
's assumption of the office of Chancellor of Germany, Benjamin left Germany for the Spanish island of Ibiza
for some months; he then moved to Nice
, where he considered killing himself. Perceiving the sociopolitical and cultural significance of the Reichstag fire
(27 February 1933) as the ''de facto'' Nazi assumption of full power in Germany, then manifest with the subsequent persecution of the Jews
, he moved to Paris, but before doing so he sought shelter in Svendborg
, at Bertolt Brecht's house, and at Sanremo
, where his ex-wife Dora lived.
As he ran out of money, Benjamin collaborated with Max Horkheimer
, and received funds from the Institute for Social Research, later going permanently into exile. In Paris, he met other refugee German artists and intellectuals; he befriended Hannah Arendt
, novelist Hermann Hesse
, and composer Kurt Weill
. In 1936, a first version of "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
" (originally written in German in 1935) was published in French ("L'œuvre d'art à l'époque de sa reproduction méchanisée") by Max Horkheimer in the ''Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung'' journal of the Institute for Social Research
. It was a critique of the authenticity of mass-produced art; he wrote that a mechanically produced copy of an artwork can be taken somewhere the original could never have gone, arguing that the presence of the original is "prerequisite to the concept of authenticity".
In 1937 Benjamin worked on "Das Paris des Second Empire bei Baudelaire" ("The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire"), met Georges Bataille
(to whom he later entrusted the ''Arcades Project'' manuscript), and joined the College of Sociology
. In 1938 he paid a last visit to Brecht, who was exiled to Denmark. Meanwhile, the Nazi régime stripped German Jews of their German citizenship; now a stateless man, Benjamin was arrested by the French government and incarcerated for three months in a prison camp near Nevers
, in central Burgundy
Returning to Paris in January 1940, he wrote "Über den Begriff der Geschichte" ("On the Concept of History", later published as "Theses on the Philosophy of History
"). While the Wehrmacht
was pushing back the French Army
, on 13 June Benjamin and his sister fled Paris to the town of Lourdes
, just a day before the Germans entered the capital with orders to arrest him at his flat. In August, he obtained a travel visa to the US that Horkheimer had negotiated for him. In eluding the Gestapo
, Benjamin planned to travel to the US from neutral Portugal, which he expected to reach via Francoist Spain
, then ostensibly a neutral country.
The historical record indicates that he safely crossed the French–Spanish border and arrived at the coastal town of Portbou
, in Catalonia
. The Franco government had cancelled all transit visas and ordered the Spanish police to return such persons to France, including the Jewish refugee group Benjamin had joined. They tried to cross the border on 25 September 1940 but were told by the Spanish police that they would be deported back to France the next day, which would have thwarted Benjamin's plans to travel to the United States. Expecting repatriation to Nazi hands, Benjamin killed himself with an overdose of morphine tablets that night, while staying at the ''Hotel de Francia''; the official Portbou register records 26 September 1940 as the date of death.
Benjamin's colleague Arthur Koestler
, also fleeing Europe, attempted suicide by taking some of the morphine tablets, but survived. Benjamin's brother Georg was killed at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp
in 1942. Despite his suicide, Benjamin was buried in the consecrated section of a Roman Catholic cemetery.
The others in his party were allowed passage the next day (maybe because Benjamin's suicide shocked Spanish officials), and safely reached Lisbon
on 30 September. Arendt, who crossed the French-Spanish border at Portbou a few months later, passed the manuscript of ''Theses'' to Adorno. Another completed manuscript, which Benjamin had carried in his suitcase, disappeared after his death and has not been recovered. Some critics speculate that it was his ''Arcades Project'' in a final form; this is very unlikely as the author's plans for the work had changed in the wake of Adorno's criticisms in 1938, and it seems clear that the work was flowing over its containing limits in his last years.
Walter Benjamin corresponded much with Theodor Adorno
and Bertolt Brecht
, and was occasionally funded by the Frankfurt School
under the direction of Adorno and Horkheimer
, even from their New York City residence. The competing influences—Brecht's Marxism, Adorno's critical theory
, Gerschom Scholem's Jewish mysticism—were central to his work, although their philosophic differences remained unresolved. Moreover, the critic Paul de Man
argued that the intellectual range of Benjamin's writings flows dynamically among those three intellectual traditions, deriving a critique via juxtaposition; the exemplary synthesis is "Theses on the Philosophy of History". At least one scholar, historian of religion
Jason Josephson-Storm, has argued that Benjamin's diverse interests may be understood in part by understanding the influence of Western Esotericism
on Benjamin. Some of Benjamin's key ideas were adapted from occultists and New Age
figures including Eric Gutkind
and Ludwig Klages
, and his interest in esotericism is known to have extended far beyond the Jewish Kabbalah
"Theses on the Philosophy of History"
"Theses on the Philosophy of History" is often cited as Benjamin's last complete work, having been completed, according to Adorno, in the spring of 1940. The Institute for Social Research, which had relocated to New York, published ''Theses'' in Benjamin's memory in 1942. Margaret Cohen writes in the ''Cambridge Companion to Walter Benjamin'':
In the essay, Benjamin's famed ninth thesis struggles to reconcile the Idea of Progress
in the present with the apparent chaos of the past:
The final paragraph about the Jewish quest for the Messiah
provides a harrowing final point to Benjamin's work, with its themes of culture, destruction, Jewish heritage and the fight between humanity and nihilism. He brings up the interdiction, in some varieties of Judaism, to try to determine the year when the Messiah would come into the world, and points out that this did not make Jews indifferent to the future "for every second of time was the strait gate through which the Messiah might enter."
"The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction"
Perhaps Walter Benjamin's best known essay, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," identifies the perceptual shift that takes place when technological advancements emphasize speed and reproducibility.
The aura is found in a work of art that contains presence. The aura is precisely what cannot be reproduced in a work of art: its original presence in time and space.
He suggests a work of art's aura is in a state of decay because it is becoming more and more difficult to apprehend the time and space in which a piece of art is created.
This essay also introduces the concept of the optical unconscious, a concept that identifies the subject's ability to identify desire in visual objects. This also leads to the ability to perceive information by habit instead of rapt attention.
''The Origin of German Tragic Drama''
''Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels'' (''The Origin of German Tragic Drama
'', 1928), is a critical study of German baroque drama, as well as the political and cultural climate of Germany during the Counter-Reformation
(1545–1648). Benjamin presented the work to the University of Frankfurt in 1925 as the (postdoctoral
) dissertation meant to earn him the ''Habilitation
'' (qualification) to become a university instructor in Germany.
Professor Schultz of University of Frankfurt found ''The Origin of German Tragic Drama'' inappropriate for his ''Germanistik'' department (Department of German Language and Literature), and passed it to the Department of Aesthetics (philosophy of art), the readers of which likewise dismissed Benjamin's work. The university officials recommended that Benjamin withdraw ''Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels'' as a ''Habilitation'' dissertation to avoid formal rejection and public embarrassment.
He heeded the advice, and three years later, in 1928, he published ''The Origin of German Tragic Drama'' as a book.
''Criticism and prophecy must be the two categories that meet in the salvation of the past''
''The Arcades Project''
'' (''Arcades Project'', 1927–40) was Benjamin's final, incomplete book about Parisian city life in the 19th century, especially about the ''Passages couverts de Paris
''—the covered passages that extended the culture of ''flânerie''
(idling and people-watching) when inclement weather made ''flânerie'' infeasible in the boulevards and streets proper. In this work Benjamin uses his fragmentary style to write about the rise of modern European urban culture
The ''Arcades Project'', in its current form, brings together a massive collection of notes Benjamin filed together from 1927 to 1940.
The ''Arcades Project'' was published for the first time in 1982, and is over a thousand pages long.
said that in Benjamin's writing, sentences did not originate ordinarily, do not progress into one another, and delineate no obvious line of reasoning, as if each sentence "had to say everything, before the inward gaze of total concentration dissolved the subject before his eyes", a "freeze-frame baroque" style of writing and cogitation. "His major essays seem to end just in time, before they self-destruct". The difficulty of Benjamin's style is essential to his philosophical project. Fascinated by notions of reference and constellation, his goal in later works was to use intertexts
to reveal aspects of the past that cannot, and should not, be understood within greater, monolithic constructs of historical understanding.
Benjamin's writings identify him as a modernist
for whom the philosophic merges with the literary: logical philosophic reasoning cannot account for all experience, especially not for self-representation via art. He presented his stylistic concerns in "The Task of the Translator", wherein he posits that a literary translation, by definition, produces deformations and misunderstandings of the original text. Moreover, in the deformed text, otherwise hidden aspects of the original, source-language text are elucidated, while previously obvious aspects become unreadable. Such translational modification of the source text is productive; when placed in a specific constellation of works and ideas, newly revealed affinities, between historical objects, appear and are productive of philosophical truth.
His work "The Task of the Translator" was later commented by the French translation scholar Antoine Berman
(''L'âge de la traduction
Legacy and reception
Since the publication of ''Schriften'' (''Writings'', 1955), 15 years after his death, Benjamin's work—especially the essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
" (French edition, 1936)—has become of seminal importance to academics in the humanities disciplines. In 1968, the first Internationale Walter Benjamin Gesellschaft
was established by the German
thinker, poet and artist Natias Neutert
, as a free association of philosophers, writers, artists, media theoreticians and editors. They did not take Benjamin's body of thought as a scholastic "closed architecture ..
but as one in which all doors, windows and roof hatches are widely open", as the founder Neutert put it—more poetically than politically—in his manifesto. The members felt liberated to take Benjamin's ideas as a welcome touchstone for social change.
Like the first Internationale Walter Benjamin Gesellschaft, a new one, established in 2000, researches and discusses the imperative that Benjamin formulated in his "Theses on the Philosophy of History": "In every era the attempt must be made anew to wrest the tradition away from a conformism that is about to overpower it."
The successor society was registered in Karlsruhe (Germany); Chairman of the Board of Directors was Bernd Witte, an internationally recognized Benjamin scholar and Professor of Modern German Literature in Düsseldorf (Germany). Its members come from 19 countries, both within and beyond Europe and represents an international forum for discourse. The Society supported research endeavors devoted to the creative and visionary potential of Benjamin's works and their view of 20th century modernism. Special emphasis had been placed upon strengthening academic ties to Latin America and Eastern and Central Europe.
The society conducts conferences and exhibitions, as well as interdisciplinary and intermedial events, at regular intervals and different European venues:
* Barcelona Conference – September 2000
* Walter-Benjamin-Evening at Berlin – November 2001
* Walter-Benjamin-Evening at Karlsruhe – January 2003
* Rome Conference – November 2003
* Zurich Conference – October 2004
* Paris Conference – June 2005
* Düsseldorf Conference – June 2005
* Düsseldorf Conference – November 2005
* Antwerpen Conference – May 2006
* Vienna Conference – March 2007
In 2017 Walter Benjamin's ''Arcades Project'' was reinterpreted in an exhibition curated by Jens Hoffman
, held at the Jewish Museum
in New York City. The exhibition, entitled "The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin", features 36 contemporary artworks representing the 36 convolutes of Benjamin's Project.
A commemorative plaque is located by the residence where Benjamin lived in Berlin during the years 1930–1933: (Prinzregentenstraße 66, Berlin-Wilmersdorf
). A commemorative plaque is located in Paris (10 rue Dombasle, 15th
) where Benjamin lived in 1938–1940.
Close by Kurfürstendamm
, in the district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf
, a town square created by Hans Kollhoff
in 2001 was named "Walter-Benjamin-Platz". There is a memorial sculpture by the artist Dani Karavan at Portbou, where Walter Benjamin ended his life. It was commissioned to mark 50 years since his death.
Among Walter Benjamin's works are:
* "Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers" ("The Task of the Translator, 1921) – English translations bHarry Zohn, 1968
and bStephen Rendell, 1997
* "Zur Kritik der Gewalt" ("Critique of Violence", 1921)
* "Goethes Wahlverwandtschaften" (''Goethe
's Elective Affinities
* ''Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels'' (''The Origin of German Tragic Drama
* ''Einbahnstraße'' (''One Way Street'', 1928)
* "Karl Kraus" (1931, in the ''Frankfurter Zeitung
* "Kafka" ("Some Remarks on Kafka", excerpted from a 1938 letter to Gershom Scholem
* "Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit" ("The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
*"Paris, capitale du 19e siècle" ("Paris, Capital of the 19th Century
," 1935. This essay is often presented as a diptych with "Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire", as both are fragments or preparatory writings for the unfinished Arcades Project
* ''Berliner Kindheit um neunzehnhundert'' (''Berlin Childhood around 1900'', 1938)
* "Das Paris des Second Empire bei Baudelaire" ("The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire
* "Über den Begriff der Geschichte" ("Theses on the Philosophy of History
* Gertrud Kolmar
* Michael Heller
* List of people from Berlin
''The Arcades Project'' Harvard University Press
''Berlin Childhood Around 1900'' Harvard University Press
* ''Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet In The Era Of High Capitalism''.
''The Complete Correspondence, 1928–1940'' Harvard University Press
* ''The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin, 1910–1940''.
* ''The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem''.
''Moscow Diary'' Harvard University Press
* ''One Way Street and Other Writings''.
''On Hashish'' Harvard University Press
* ''The Origin of German Tragic Drama''.
* ''Understanding Brecht''.
in four volumes Harvard University Press
*Volume 1, 1913–1926
*Volume 2, 1927–1934
*Volume 3, 1935–1938
*Volume 4, 1938–1940
''The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire'' Harvard University Press
''The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media'' Harvard University Press
''Walter Benjamin's Archive: Images, Texts, Signs''
Edited by Ursula Marx, Gudrun Schwarz, Michael Schwarz, Erdmut Wizisla.
* '' The Sonnets of Walter Benjamin''. Transl. by Andrew Paul Wood, Bilingual Edition German / English, Kilmog Press, Dunedin, 2020.
, Theodor. (1967). ''Prisms (Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought).'' London: Neville Spearman Ltd. eprinted_by_[[MIT_Press
,_Cambridge,_1981.__(cloth)_–__(paper).html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="MIT_Press.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="eprinted by eprinted_by_[[MIT_Press
*_[[Andrew_Benjamin.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="MIT Press">eprinted by [[MIT Press, Cambridge, 1981. (cloth) – (paper)">MIT_Press.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="eprinted by [[MIT Press">eprinted by [[MIT Press, Cambridge, 1981. (cloth) – (paper)* Victor Malsey, Uwe Raseh, Peter Rautmann, Nicolas Schalz, Rosi Huhn, ''Passages. D'après Walter Benjamin'' / ''Passagen. Nach Walter Benjamin''. Mainz: Herman Schmidt, 1992.
* [[Andrew Benjamin">Benjamin, Andrew and Peter Osborne, eds. (1993). ''Walter Benjamin's Philosophy: Destruction and Experience.'' London: [[Routledge. (cloth) – (paper) [reprinted by Clinamen Press, Manchester, 2000. (paper)]
* [[Susan Buck-Morss|Buck-Morss, Susan. (1991). ''The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project.'' Cambridge: The MIT Press
. (cloth) – (paper)
* Betancourt, Alex. (2008). ''Walter Benjamin and Sigmund Freud: Between Theory and Politics''. Saarbrücken, Germany: VDM Verlag
* Federico Castigliano
, ''Flâneur. The Art of Wandering the Streets of Paris'', 2016. .
, Jacques. (2001). "Force of Law: The 'Mystical Foundation of Authority, in ''Acts of Religion,'' Gil Anidjar, ed. London: Routledge. (cloth) –
* Caygill, Howard. (1998) ''Walter Benjamin: The Colour of Experience''. London: Routledge.
* de Man, Paul
. (1986). Conclusions': Walter Benjamin's 'Task of the Translator, in ''The Resistance to Theory''. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 73–105.
* Eiland, Howard and Michael W. Jennings. (2014). ''Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life''. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press.
* Ferris, David S., ed. (1996)''Walter Benjamin: Theoretical Questions.''
Stanford: Stanford University Press
. (cloth) – (paper)
* __________. (2004)''The Cambridge Companion to Walter Benjamin.''
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
. (cloth) (paper)
* Gandler, Stefan
(2010). "The Concept of History in Walter Benjamin's Critical Theory", in ''Radical Philosophy Review,'' San Francisco, CA, Vol. 13, Nr. 1, pp. 19–42. .
* Jacobs, Carol. (1999). ''In the Language of Walter Benjamin''. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press
. (cloth) – (paper)
* Jennings, Michael. (1987). ''Dialectical Images: Walter Benjamin's Theory of Literary Criticism.'' Ithaca: Cornell University Press
* Jacobson, Eric. (2003). ''Metaphysics of the Profane: The Political Theology of Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem.'' New York: Columbia University Press, , S. 352ff.
* Kermode, Frank"Every Kind of Intelligence; Benjamin"
''New York Times.'' 30 July 1978.
* Kirst-Gundersen, Karoline. ''Walter Benjamin's Theory of Narrative.'' Dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1989
* Kishik, David. (2015)"The Manhattan Project: A Theory of a City."
Stanford: Stanford University Press. (cloth) – (paper)
* Leslie, Esther. (2000). ''Walter Benjamin, Overpowering Conformism.'' London: Pluto Press
. (cloth) – (paper)
* Libero Federici, Il misterioso eliotropismo. Filosofia, politica e diritto in Walter Benjamin, Ombre Corte, Verona 2017
* Lindner, Burkhardt, ed. (2006). ''Benjamin-Handbuch: Leben – Werk – Wirkung'' Stuttgart: Metzler
* Löwy, Michael
. (2005). ''Fire Alarm: Reading Walter Benjamin's 'On the Concept of History. Trans. Chris Turner. London and New York: Verso.
* Menke, Bettine. (2010). ''Das Trauerspiel-Buch. Der Souverän – das Trauerspiel – Konstellationen – Ruinen.'' Bielefeld: . .
* Missac, Pierre (1996)''Walter Benjamin's Passages.''
Cambridge: MIT Press. (cloth) – (paper)
* Neutert, Natias : ''Mit'' Walter Benjamin!'' Poeto-philosophisches Manifest zur Gründung der Internationalen Walter Benjamin Gesellschaft. Lüdke Verlag, Hamburg 1968.
* Perret, Catherine
"Walter Benjamin sans destin", Ed. La Différence, Paris, 1992, rééd. revue et augmentée d'une préface, Bruxelles, éd. La Lettre volée, 2007.
* Perrier, Florent, ed., Palmier, Jean-Michel (Author), Marc Jimenez (Preface). (2006) ''Walter Benjamin. Le chiffonnier, l'Ange et le Petit Bossu.'' Paris: Klincksieck.
* Pignotti, Sandro (2009): ''Walter Benjamin – Judentum und Literatur. Tradition, Ursprung, Lehre mit einer kurzen Geschichte des Zionismus.'' Rombach, Freiburg
* Plate, S. Brent (2004) ''Walter Benjamin, Religion and Aesthetics''. London: Routledge.
* Roberts, Julian (1982). ''Walter Benjamin''. London: Macmillan.
* Rudel, Tilla (2006) : ''Walter Benjamin L'Ange assassiné'', éd. Menges – Place Des Victoires, 2006
* Rutigliano, Enzo: Lo sguardo dell'angelo, Bari, Dedalo, 1983
* Scheurmann, Ingrid, ed., Scheurmann, Konrad ed., Unseld, Siegfried (Author), Menninghaus, Winfried (Author), Timothy Nevill (Translator) (1993). ''For Walter Benjamin – Documentation, Essays and a Sketch including: New Documents on Walter Benjamin's Death.'' Bonn: AsKI e.V.
* Scheurmann, Ingrid / Scheurmann, Konrad (1995). ''Dani Karavan – Hommage an Walter Benjamin. Der Gedenkort 'Passagen' in Portbou. Homage to Walter Benjamin. 'Passages' Place of Remembrance at Portbou.'' Mainz: Zabern.
* Scheurmann, Konrad (1994) ''Passages Dani Karavan: An Environment in Remembrance of Walter Benjamin Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.'' Bonn: AsKI e.V.
* Schiavoni, Giulio. (2001). ''Walter Benjamin: Il figlio della felicità. Un percorso biografico e concettuale.'' Turin: Giulio Einaudi Editore
* Scholem, Gershom
. (2003). ''Walter Benjamin: The Story of a Friendship.'' Trans. Harry Zohn. New York: New York Review Books.
* Steinberg, Michael P., ed. (1996). ''Walter Benjamin and the Demands of History.'' Ithaca: Cornell University Press. (cloth) – (paper)
* Steiner, Uwe. (2010). ''Walter Benjamin: An Introduction to his Work and Thought.'' Trans. Michael Winkler. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
* Singh, Iona (2012) ''Vermeer, Materialism and the Transcendental in Art, from Color, Facture, Art & Design''. Hampshire: Zero Books
* Taussig, Michael. (2006). ''Walter Benjamin's Grave.'' Chicago: University of Chicago Press. .
* Tedman, Gary. (2012). ''the Art Aesthetic State Apparatuses - from Aesthetics & Alienation''. Hampshire : Zero Books. .
* Weber, Samuel. (2008). Benjamin's -abilities.
' Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (cloth) – (paper)
* Weigel, Sigrid
. (2013). ''Walter Benjamin. Images, the Creaturely, and the Holy''. Transl. by Chadwick Truscott Smith. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
* Witte, Bernd. (1996). ''Walter Benjamin: An Intellectual Biography''. New York: Verso.
* Wizisla, Erdmut. 2009. Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht — The Story of a Friendship
'. Translated by Christine Shuttleworth. London / New Haven: Libris / Yale University Press. ontains a complete translation of the newly discovered Minutes of the meetings around the putative journal ''Krise und Kritik'' (1931)
* Wolin, Richard
, ''Telos'' 43, ''An Aesthetic of Redemption: Benjamin's Path to Trauerspiel''. New York: Telos Press Ltd., Spring 1980.Telos Press
* Wolin, Richard
, ''Telos'' 53, ''The Benjamin-Congress: Frankfurt (July 13, 1982)''. New York: Telos Press Ltd., Fall 1982.Telos Press
* Urbich, Jan (2011). "Darstellung bei Walter Benjamin. Die 'Erkenntniskritische Vorrede' im Kontext ästhetischer Darstellungstheorien der Moderne", Berlin: De Gruyter.
In other media
* ''Les Unwanted de Europa
'' (2018 film on Benjamin's last days)
* ''13: A Ludodrama About Walter Benjamin'' (2018 documentary)
* ''The Passages of Walter Benjamin'' (2014 documentary)
* ''Who Killed Walter Benjamin?'' (2005 documentary)
* ''One Way Street: Fragments for Walter Benjamin'' (1992 documentary)
Walter Benjamin Archive
at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The Internationale Walter Benjamin Gesellschaft. ''In English and German.''
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