Friday, 18 November 2011

17.11. Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin:

Central Park 1.

Laforgue's hypothesis about Baudelaire's conduct in the bordello draws into correct light the whole psychoanalytical perspective which he wishes to confer on Baudelaire. Such a perspective is in step, piece for piece, with the conventional "literary-historical" one. The particular beauty of the openings of so many of Baudelaire's poems: their emergence from the abyss. George translated Spleen et Ideal with "Trubsinn und Vergeistigung , " capturing thereby the essential meaning of Ideal in Baudelaire. If it can be said that for Baudelaire modern life is the foundation of the dialectical images then included therein is the fact that Baudelaire confronted modern life in a way comparable to that in which the 17th Century confronted antiquity.  ...

Central Park 2.
Spleen as a dam against pessimism. Baudelaire is no pessimist. And he is not, because for him there is a taboo on the future. It is this which distinguishes his heroism from that of Nietzsche. In Baudelaire's work there are no reflections on the future of bourgeois society and that is, in view of the character of his intimate notes, astounding. From this one circumstance can be gauged how little he counted for the endurance of his works on their effect and to what a great extent the structure of the Fleurs du mal is a monadological one. ...

Central Park 3.
The "appreciation"or apology strives to cover over the revolutionary moments in the course of history. For it, what matters is the reconstruction of continuity. It lays stress only on those elements of the work which have already become part of its influence. What escapes it are the rough outcrops and jagged prongs which call a halt to those who wish to go beyond. ...

Central Park 4. 
The decisive ferment which, entering the taedium vitae transforms it into spleen, is that of self-estrangement. Of the infinite regress of reflection, which in Romanticism simultaneously expanded living space in ever expanding circles and reduced it within ever more narrowly defined boundaries, all that remains in the Trauer (sorrow) of Baudelaire is the tete-a-tete sombre et limpide (face-to-face, sombre and limpid) of the subject with itself.  ...

Central Park 5.
... Spleen is that feeling which corresponds to catastrophe in permanence. The course of history as represented in the concept of catastrophe has no more claim on the attention of the thinking than the kaleidoscope in the hand of a child which, with each turn, collapses everything ordered into new order. The justness of this image is well-founded. The concepts of the rulers have always been the mirror by means of whose image an "order" was established. - This kaleidoscope must be smashed. ...

Central Park 6. 


... The motif of the perte d'aureole (loss of the aura or halo) is to be brought out as a decisive contrast to the motifs of Jugendstil ... 

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