Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin ( ; 15 July 1892 – 26 September 1940) was a German literary critic, philosopher, social critic, translator, radio broadcaster and essayist. Combining elements of German idealism or Romanticism, Historical Materialism and Jewish mysticism, Benjamin made enduring and influential contributions to aesthetic theory and Western Marxism, and is associated with the Frankfurt School. Among his major works as a literary critic are essays on Goethe's novel Elective Affinities; the work of Franz Kafka and Karl Kraus; translation theory; the stories of Nikolai Leskov; the work of Marcel Proust and perhaps most significantly, the poetry of Charles Baudelaire. 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.
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1955) fifteen years after his death, Benjamin's work—especially the essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (1936)--is of seminal importance to academics in the humanities disciplines ...
... Along with future collaborators like Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, Ernst Bloch, Adorno was profoundly disillusioned by the ease with which Germany's intellectual and spiritual leaders—among them Max Weber, Max ... of Berlin, where she was acquainted with Walter Benjamin, Bertolt Brecht and Ernst Bloch, each of whom Adorno would become familiar with during the mid-20s after fourteen years, Gretel and Theodor were ... intellectual collaborators, Max Horkheimer and Walter Benjamin ...
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“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.”
—Walter Benjamin (18921940)
“These are days when no one should rely unduly on his competence. Strength lies in improvisation. All the decisive blows are struck left-handed.”
—Walter Benjamin (18921940)
“Of course Im a black writer.... Im not just a black writer, but categories like black writer, woman writer and Latin American writer arent marginal anymore. We have to acknowledge that the thing we call literature is more pluralistic now, just as society ought to be. The melting pot never worked. We ought to be able to accept on equal terms everybody from the Hassidim to Walter Lippmann, from the Rastafarians to Ralph Bunche.”
—Toni Morrison (b. 1931)