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Working with Walter Benjamin

Recovering a Political Philosophy

Andrew Benjamin

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This book provides a highly original approach to the writings of the twentieth-century German philosopher Walter Benjamin by one of his most distinguished readers. It develops the idea of 'working with' Benjamin, seeking both to read his corpus and to put it to work - to show how a reading of Benjamin can open up issues that may not themselves be immediately at stake in his texts.

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Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Chapter 1. Opening
Chapter 2. ‘The Meaning of Time in the Moral Universe’
Chapter 3. Fate and Character
Chapter 4. ‘Towards a Critique of Violence’
Chapter 5. Theological Political Fragment
Chapter 6. ‘On the Philosophy of History’
Appendix A. Boredom and Distraction: The Moods of Modernity
Appendix B. Benjamin and the Baroque: Posing the Question of Historical Time
Appendix C. The Illusion of The Future: Notes on Benjamin and Freud
Bibliography.

About the Author

Andrew Benjamin is Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Thought at Monash University where he is a member of both the Department of Philosophy and the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation. He also holds the positions of Distinguished Anniversary Professor of Philosophy and the Humanities at Kingston University in London and Distinguished Professor of Architectural Theory at the University of Technology Sydney.

Reviews

Andrew Benjamin gives us the first extended treatment of Walter Benjamin’s political philosophy taking as his point of departure a radical rethinking of life, law, and violence. Most importantly, insisting on the distinction between religion and theology, he argues for a new understanding of political-theology, one that radically challenges Carl Schmitt. A superb and long awaited book by arguably one of the world’s leading authorities on the thought of Walter Benjamin.

- Peg Birmingham, DePaul University

Andrew Benjamin has written a striking and original engagement with the core of Benjamin’s thinking that not only elucidates the central questions that animate Benjamin’s political philosophy but develops their full philosophical and critical consequence. This is a book that cuts new ground in Benjamin studies and does so with exemplary imagination and rigour. More than an interpretation, it lays out the possibility of what it means to think in a Benjaminian way today.

- David Ferris, University of Colorado at Boulder