Photograph of German literary critic Walter Benjamin.

Walter Benjamin

(1892 - 1940)

In his midthirties in 1928, Walter Benjamin completed The Origin of German Tragic Drama, a thesis that he hoped would secure him a post at the University of Frankfurt; it was deemed incomprehensible. In 1936 he wrote his most-cited essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” which first appeared in English in a selection of his works edited by Hannah Arendt in 1968. Benjamin, however, was long dead, having committed suicide at the age of forty-eight in 1940 to avoid capture by the Gestapo.

All Writing

The day unravels what the night has woven.

—Walter Benjamin, 1929

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