A legendary collection of essays by one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century
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.
“From the evidence of this book I would suggest that Benjamin was one of the great European writers of this century”
Philip Toynbee, Observer
“He explained the modern with an authority that fifty years of unpredictable change have not vitiated”
Frank Kermode, New York Review of Books
“Like Baudelaire, Benjamin brings the very new into shocking conjunction with the very old … He is in search of a surrealist history and politics, one which clings tenaciously to the fragment, the miniature, the stray citation, but which impacts these fragments one upon the other to politically explosive effect, like the Messiah who will transfigure the world completely by making minor adjustments to it”