Walter Benjamin Quotes
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Like ultraviolet rays memory shows to each man in the book of life a script that invisibly and prophetically glosses the text.
Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method.
The more circumspectly you delay writing down an idea, the more maturely developed it will be on surrendering itself.
To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without fright.
Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven.
The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.
Quotations in my work are like wayside robbers who leap out armed and relieve the stroller of his conviction.
There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.
The concept of progress must be grounded in the idea of catastrophe. That things are 'status quo' is the catastrophe
All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.
Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.
You could tell a lot about a man by the books he keeps - his tastes, his interest, his habits.
The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses.
Ideas are to objects as constellations are to stars [translated from Trauerspiel, 1928].
Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.
Capitalism is a purely cultic religion, perhaps the most extreme that ever existed.
Mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual.
Every monument of civilization is a monument of barbarism
History is written by the victors.
It is precisely the purpose of the public opinion generated by the press to make the public incapable of judging, to insinuate into it the attitude of someone irresponsible, uninformed.
He who observes etiquette but objects to lying is like someone who dresses fashionably but wears no vest.
We collect books in the belief that we are preserving them when in fact it is the books that preserve their collector.
Work on a good piece of writing proceeds on three levels: a musical one, where it is composed, an architectural one, where it is constructed, and finally a textile one, where it is woven.
The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the "state of emergency" in which we live is not the exception but the rule.
The illiterate of the future will not be the man who cannot read the alphabet, but the one who cannot take a photograph.
Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.
Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.
The film is the first art form capable of demonstrating how matter plays tricks on man.
The art of the critic in a nutshell: to coin slogans without betraying ideas. The slogans of an inadequate criticism peddle ideas to fashion.
Not to find one’s way around a city does not mean much. But to lose one’s way in a city, as one loses one’s way in a forest, requires some schooling.
Death is the sanction of everything that the storyteller can tell. He has borrowed his authority from death.
Books and harlots have their quarrels in public.
Allegories are, in the realm of thought, what ruins are in the realm of things.
The experience of our generation: that capitalism will not die a natural death.
Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.
Gifts must affect the receiver to the point of shock.
The nourishing fruit of the historically understood contains time as a precious but tasteless seed.
In every case the storyteller is a man who has counsel for his readers.
Art teaches us to see into things. Folk art and kitsch allow us to see outward from within things.
Any order is a balancing act of extreme precariousness.
Any translation which intends to perform a transmitting function cannot transmit anything but information-hence, something inessential. This is the hallmark of bad translations.
To a book collector, you see, the true freedom of all books is somewhere on his shelves.
All great works of literature either dissolve a genre or invent one.
Those who do not learn how to decipher photographs will be the illiterate of the future.
The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out.
In the fields with which we are concerned, knowledge comes only in flashes. The text is the thunder rolling long afterward.
Experience has taught me that the shallowest of communist platitudes contains more of a hierarchy of meaning than contemporary bourgeois profundity.
Ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them.
The adjustment of reality to the masses and of the masses to reality is a process of unlimited scope, as much for thinking as for perception.
All efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in one thing: war.