Illuminations contains the most celebrated work of Walter Benjamin, one of the most original and influential thinkers of the 20th Century: 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction', 'The Task of the Translator' and 'Theses on the Philosophy of History', as well as essays on Kafka, storytelling, Baudelaire, Brecht's epic theatre, Proust and an anatomy of his own obsession, book collecting. This now legendary volume offers the best possible access to Benjamin's singular and significant achievement, while Hannah Arendt's introduction reveals how his life and work are a prism to his times.
Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was a philosopher, translator and critic. Born in Berlin into a prosperous Jewish family, he made a precarious living as a literary journalist, championing the drama of Bertolt Brecht and translating the work of Baudelaire and Proust. He is most famous for his essays 'The Task of the Translator' (1923) and 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction' (1936). With the rise of the Nazis in 1933, he emigrated for Paris, and in 1940 he fled for the Spanish border, where he committed suicide.
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