By Alexander Gelley
In transposing the Freudian dream paintings from the person topic to the collective, Walter Benjamin projected a "macroscosmic journey" of the person sleeper to "the dreaming collective, which, throughout the arcades, communes with its personal insides." Benjamin's attempt to transpose the dream phenomenon to the historical past of a collective remained fragmentary, although it underlies the primary of retrograde temporality, which, it's argued, is crucial to his inspiration of history.
The "passages" should not simply the Paris arcades: They refer additionally to Benjamin's attempt to barter the labyrinth of his paintings and concept. Gelley works via a lot of Benjamin's later works and examines vital serious questions: the interaction of aesthetics and politics, the style of The Arcades Project, quotation, language, messianism, air of secrecy, and the motifs of reminiscence, the gang, and awakening.
For Benjamin, reminiscence is not just antiquarian; it capabilities as a solicitation, a choice to a collectivity to return. Gelley reads this name within the motif of awakening, which conveys a professional yet the most important performative purpose of Benjamin's venture.
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Additional resources for Benjamin's Passages: Dreaming, Awakening
Indb 35 11/10/14 12:09:59 PM 36 Introduction The effects of the urban environment on individual and collective sensibility became a leading motif in the writings of Kracauer, Bloch, Hessel, Benjamin, and others. Georg Simmel had characterized this phenomenon in a prescient manner in “The Metropolis and Mental Life” (1903) and The Philosophy of Money (1907). Simmel’s “impressionist” sociology was able to see a historical signiﬁcance in the “heightening of psychic sensibility” (Steigerung des Nervenlebens)39 of the modern city dweller, a signiﬁcance that Kracauer would develop in the form of “analysis of surfaces” (Oberﬂächenanalyse).
Gary Smith (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1980). indb 32 11/10/14 12:09:59 PM Introduction 33 travel,” and in a letter commenting on one of the city sketches that he prepared for feuilleton publication in the late twenties (this one on Marseilles), he wrote, “Weak perhaps, but particularly dear to me for a singular reason, which is that I have never struggled with a city so intensely. To wrest a sentence from her is more difﬁcult, one might say, than to bring forth a book from Rome” (GS 4: 992).
May 6, 1934, GB 4: 408–9) The subsequent letters to Scholem signal that an intellectual distancing is underway, or at least that Benjamin is restricting what can treated in their correspondence. Benjamin seems to avoid issues of religion and ideology in his letters to Scholem, probably wishing to avoid any friction with his old friend. 16. April 19, 1934, in Walter Benjamin / Gershom Scholem Briefwechsel 1933–1940, ed. Gershom Scholem (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1985), 136. My translation.
Benjamin's Passages: Dreaming, Awakening by Alexander Gelley