But perhaps even the reader of novels is not entirely free from this plan. As we read in Einbahnstra? Welcher Leser hatte nicht schon einmal fluchtig, geangstigt zu ihr aufgeblickt? The negotiation between Romanfiguren and Seitenzahl is at the bottom of any experience. That the two appear on the same page makes the negotiation all the more anxiety-ridden. Walter Benjamin. Invited to present a brief talk on bibliology, his Spezialgebiet , he is sternly instructed always to remember two fundamental rules of live broadcasting. Und auf die Minute schlie? As he enters the room and notices its stillness and comfortable layout—clearly meant to put the speaker at ease,—he is shown a big Standuhr with no hour hand.
When the minute hand reaches 40, his time is up. The announcer is a most obliging fellow; he greets the narrator warmly and leaves the control room fully confident that the latter will do just fine without supervision. Everything goes well until the narrator is halfway through the script.
He then glances at the clock only to see that—horror of horrors! How could it be? Has he erred in his practice calculations? Has he been reading too slowly? Panicked, he goes on in the prescribed engaging tone of voice [mit verbindlichem Tonfall], feverishly looking for a solution. There is no choice, the text must be cut short, parts of it will be sacrificed.
He omits a substantial section and, like an airplane on descent, enters the final circle. Having finished, he sighs with relief and awaits the announcer who is to replace him in the studio. But oddly, no one comes. The narrator puts on his coat and makes for the door when once again he glances at the clock. The minute hand is at 36! Four full minutes to go. When he checked the time before, he must have registered the position of the second -hand! As the rescued passage is short, he changes the speaking style.
At every point, however, it implies a reassuring connection to the texture of time, the condition of being woven into its tacit, pleasant web. This comfortable knowledge is effected by a willful lack of compulsion required in addressing the audience as a multitude of unique, if invisible, individuals. In this situation, the consciousness of the speaker, confident of its own wakefullnes, alertness to time, is lulled to sleep by the very artifice of Zwanglosigkeit it succeeds in emulating. Or so it appears in the initial jolt when the clock flashes a catastrophe. Yet this first awakening to time leads consciousness into a further dream-like distortion of the temporal sequence.
The subject does violence to his text, and also to himself: he literally feels compelled to tear himself away from the former, at the risk of a certain peril he does not fail to register. It is not, however, until minutes after the decision that he grasps the true sense of the warning. Both aim to level time. In both cases, time strikes back with a vengeance that can only be its own, the rule of the vengeance being such that the violence received is commensurate in proportion with the violence applied.
Freedom flickers up in this death-filled moment which to the narrator is anything but free, and thus inaugurates a new sequence in which the omitted text is brought back to life. But the manner in which the reading resumes is radically different from the fake Zwanglosigkeit. Why this change? Yet a radio studio is no theater, and here lies an important difference: due to its actual remoteness, the audience vanishes for the narrator altogether—hence the abandonded conversational tone.
What matters is the corporeal embodiment of the rescued text, the synchronization of its dramatic presentation with the heartbeat. This is the tragic unity of man and character whose fate is being fulfilled.
Acting to him is indistiguishable from being, and being from acting. In his determination to reach the right end, he pays attention only to the beating heart. In terms of a much earlier fragment from Einbahnstra? This is no doubt fully applicable to our story where the narrator faces similar Apparatur instead of a live audience. The following day he asks a friend what he thought. The moment of Entschlossenheit thus marks the site where present, past, and future can be gathered together. What to the Angst -ridden narrator was in the studio a high tragedy later appears to have had more in common with a sober Trauerspiel.
The relays between this passage and the story are unmistakable. The listener perceives it instead as a mere continuation of the zwanglose show on which the individual time of the hero confers no determinacy. If, as Benjamin tells us, the time of the Trauerspiel is never fulfilled, and hence finite, it is because nothing is, or can ever be reconciled in this finitude.
Das sind die jungsten Trostungen der Philosophie, vom Schlag des mythischen Euphemismus; falsch auferstandener Glaube, der Bann des Naturlichen ware dadurch gebrochen, da? This is not to say, of course, that Adorno here equates time with mere transience. There are plenty of passages in Negative Dialektik that also reject the kinds of inauthentic modalities of time to which Heidegger offers his alternative.
The only trace of the studio event he is able to register is a ghostly hole in the otherwise pleasurable nett net Netz of the transmission itself. Furthermore, the recipient ascribes the interruption to the radio receiver, i. To answer this question we need to take a little detour in order to consider, of necessity briefly, the question of technology in its relevant historical entframing.https://bezagasge.cf
Amsterdam International Electronic Journal for Cultural Narratology (AJCN)
The facts are obvious—much too obvious. Benjamin is already in exile, forced to rely on the generosity of friends for subsistence. He spends the summer of that year staying with Brecht and Helene Weigel in an isolated farm house near the Danish town of Svendborg. Junger sees in this development the potential for turning political events into mere objects of transmission:.
While calling attention to this growing objectification of events, Junger embraces the aesthetic purposelessness animating the technological era. Heidegger interprets the conquering of the world as picture as a subject-securing function. Dieser Vorgang […] hangst aufs engste mit der Entwicklung der Reproduktions- bzw. To be sure, technology does not run the aura into the ground. Even as Benjamin attributes the decline of the aura to technical reproducibility, he clearly indicates that the aura-shattering capacity of technology is not to be celebrated unequivocally.
One harldy needs to elaborate on the monstrosity of that face or on the ease with which any aesthetization of politics reinstates the aura of the world picture by means of the very same media that undermine it. The aesthetics of shock: Lyotard calls it an anesthetics. The present is momentarily seized by a past; the continuity breaks down, while the shards of the past and present become historical in this very conjunction.
Thus, our own critical moment that seals the never actualized encounter between Benjamin and Heidgger. The famous epigraph to the volume reads:. The philosophical writing to which such standing is proper is the same philosophy of singular and evanescent temporal experience with which we are concerned here—and with which Benjamin was concerned above all else.
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Standing before the question of Darstellung , facing it with every new turn is the primary, defining moment of his writing in all its modes and forms. The repeated renunciation of the intention to keep present what passes, to connect to the present what does not cease to distance itself from the present bares the question of presentation.
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This turning comes with awakening which, Benjamin insists, is intimately related to remembering, and the relation is such that the moment of turning marks the birth of a dialectical after-image in which the veil of Isis is revealed. The experience of being at that bottom-most level is no longer compatible with the knowledge of images. If the catch can ever be raised at all, it never comes to light eeither in images or in language. What does come to light at the moment of awakening is the blind spot at the heart of the effort, and it comes to light in its dialectical after-image.
The condition of readability of such a figure is the fragmentation of its constituent pieces, with no grounding conceptualization to underlie their assembly. It incessantly takes conscious pauses for breath, coming to the same object in roundabout ways, pursuing its different levels of meaning.
His best-known autobiographical text Berliner Chronik clearly articulates its debt to Proust already in the opening sequence.
Yet its difference from the Recherche is articulated just as clearly in the very same breath. And as ever so often in Benjamin, the term is not idly chosen; it is replete with echoes and overlaid with multiple meanings.
Not only is this a posture of pre caution against the onslaught of memories, but also the rhythmical pattern of restoring the past, which problematizes the very effort from the beginning. It is to them that we now turn. Despite his work in Ibiza in early on the text that became Berliner Chronik, Benjamin failed to fulfil his obligation.
And yet, this manuscript stands on its own as a document of a very particular kind. A few years prior to its composition Benjamin had already experimented with the mode of textual montage in which his Einbahnstra? The radical reorganization of the material for the Kindheit on the eve of the Nazi takeover is best approached as an attempt to arrest, and even to reverse the looming historical catastrophe. In Berliner Chronik , however, Benjamin pursues another goal: here the chronos of life itself comes to the fore—certainly not as the time of canonical autobiography but as that texture out of which the representation of self is woven.
As Jacobs points out, we find this digression already in the opening paragraph where the narrator first enters the labyrinth of memory as he recalls the pompous statues of the royal couple in the labyrinth of the Tiergarten park. To be sure, it is not the life-like representations of Friedrich Wilhelm and Queen Luise that the child contemplates: his gaze focuses on the margins of the image.
But what of its center? No doubt, it is precisely the topographic vantage point from which Benjamin is writing, trying to follow the elusive Ariadne who everywhere leads him to the scene where he finds what is most memorable yet always forgotten, like that mysterious object which gives the child his first idea of love.
And yet the inability to take his bearing in this maze is also what defines the journey. Moreover, it appears from subsequent passages that the impotence of orientation, inconvenient though it is, is not necessarily to be deplored. The sudden transformation of the city into a dark forest signals the privileging of a mode of reading that is drastically dissociated from the familiar one.
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To learn the art of going astray in the city is to become able to unlearn, disarticulate the very topography taught by conventional schooling: to be able to shake off the weight of authority and intention. No wonder then that Benjamin invokes here the blotter page mazes as the first traces of this dream; the labyrinths left by the excess moisture of what he wrote in class represent the seamy side of experience.
A striking example of the same—one among many to follow—is a primal experience of loneliness described a little earlier as one of the most remarkable street scenes of his childhood.