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, in the course of the arcades, communes with its personal insides." Benjamin's attempt to transpose the dream phenomenon to the heritage of a collective remained fragmentary, notwithstanding it underlies the primary of retrograde temporality, which, it really is argued, is valuable to his concept of history.

The "passages" usually are not simply the Paris arcades: They refer additionally to Benjamin's attempt to barter the labyrinth of his paintings and suggestion. Gelley works via lots 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 mystery, and the motifs of reminiscence, the gang, and awakening.

For Benjamin, reminiscence is not just antiquarian; it services as a solicitation, a choice to a collectivity to come back. 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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Extra info for Benjamin's Passages: Dreaming, Awakening

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In this connection, Benjamin confirms the parallels between his discussion of empathy with the commodity soul and Adorno’s on the consumption of exchange value in the latter’s “On the Fetish Character of Music and the Regression of Listening,” both, of course, drawing on Marx’s section on the commodity form in Capital I. Regarding the other points that Adorno raised, Benjamin responds that the arcades are not a theme to be treated in this book, and that modernity (which is the title of the last part of the chapter in question) is treated here solely within the parameters that Baudelaire had set out.

Benjamin calls these “an ideogram” of a story, and goes on: “A proverb [Sprichwort], one might say, is a ruin which stands on the site of an old story and in which a moral twines about a gesture [ein Moral sich um einen Gestus rankt] like ivy around a wall” (SW 3: 162). We should be careful not to take “moral” in a moralistic sense. This simile does not suggest that a proverb should be taken as a lesson or conclusion of a story, nor that a story can be reduced to a proverb. Rather, in evoking the image of ivy twisted around a crumbled wall, it solicits the reader’s imagination, inviting him to use the ivy (the proverb) as a means in restoring something that has been lost.

F. Koehler Verlag, 1957), 228. Schützorgan is found on the same page. 40. In Benjamin, “On Some Motifs in Baudelaire,” GS 1: 614. indb 36 11/10/14 12:09:59 PM Introduction 37 et sa vie dans la seconde moitié du XIXe siècle (1975), but his own undertaking was in no sense modeled on it. One of the aims of The Arcades Project as it evolved in the thirties was to use modern urban existence as the paradigm of a “constellated” historical temporality, a counter-history that ceaselessly works over the past and, by that very operation, inserts itself as an active force in the present.

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