Walter Benjamin Early Writings 19101917

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  Early Writings 1910-1917 WALTER BENJAMIN Translated by Howard Eiland and Others The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press Cambridge, Massachusetts ã I-ondon, England 2011    Copyright © 2011 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College 2-^ All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America This work is a translation of selections from Walter Benjamin, Gesammelte Schriften, unter Mitwirkung von Theodor Vf. Adorno und Gershom Scholem, herausgegeben von RolfTiedemann und Hermann Schweppenhausen copyright © 1972,1974, 1977,1982,1985,1989 by Suhrkamp Verlag. 'Experience,' The Metaphysics of Youth, Two Poems by Friedrich Hölderlin, A Child's View of Color, Socrates, Trauerspiel and Tragedy, The Role of Language in Trauerspiel and Tragedy, On Language as Such and on the Language of Man, Dostoevsky's The Idiot,' reprinted by permission of the publisher from WALTER BENJAMIN: SELECTED WRITINGS, VOLUME 1,1913-1926, edited by Marcus Bullock and Michael W. Jennings, pp. 3-47,50-74,78-81, Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1996 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. On Language as Such and the Language of Man srcinally appeared in English in Walter Benjamin, Reflections, English translation copyright © 1978 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. Published by arrangement with Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. Socrates srcinally appeared in English in The Philosophical Forum 15, nos. 1-2 (1983-1984). Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Benjamin, Walter, 1892-1940. [Selections. English. 2011] Early writings (1910-1917) / Walter Benjamin ; translated by Howard Eiland and others, p. cm. A selection of shorter works by Walter Benjamin, between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-674-04993-2 (alk. paper) 1. Benjamin, Waher, 1892-1940—Translations into English. I. Eiland, Howard. II. Title. PT2603.E455A26 2011 838'.91209—dc22 2010048101 Contents Abbreviations and a Note on the Texts vii Translator's Introduction 1 1. The Poet (1910) 14 2. At Night: Thoughts Suggested by a Schumann Composition (1910) 16 3. The Three Who Sought Religion (1910) 18 4. Storm (1910) 22 5. Spring's Hideaway (191Ò) 24 6. Sleeping Beauty (1911) 26 7. Diary, Pentecost 1911 33 8. The Free School Community (1911) 39 9. The Pan of Evening (ca. 1911) 46 10. Curriculum yitae (1^11) ' 49 11. Epilogue (1912) 53 12. School Reform: A Cultural Movement (1912) 57 13. Dialogue on the Religiosity of the Present (1912) 62 14. Quiet Story (ca. 1912) 85 15. Estranged Land (1913) 88 16. Teaching and Valuation (1913) 90 17. Romanticism: An Undelivered Address to Students (1913) 101 18. Moral Education (1913) 107 19. Experience (1913) 116 20. Thoughts on Gerhart Hauptmann's Festival Play (1913) 120 21. The Aviator (ca. 1913) 126  vi Contents 22. Death of the Father: A Short Story (1913) 128 23. Romanticism: Reply of the Unsanctified (1913) 132 24; Youth Was Silent (1913) 135 25. Conversation on Love (ca. 1913) 139 26. The Metaphysics of Youth (1913-1914) 144 27. Student Authors' Evenings (1913-1914) 161 28. Erotic Education (1913-1914) 166 29. The Rehgious Position of the New Youth (1914) 168 30. Two Poems by Friedrich Hölderlin: The Poet's Courage and Timidity (1914-1915) 171 31. The Life of Students (1914-1915) 197 32. A Child's View of Color (1914-1915) 211 33. The Rainbow: A Conversation about Imagination (ca. 1915) 214 34. The Rainbow, or The Art of Paradise (ca. 1915) 224 35. The Happiness of Ancient Man (1916) 228 36. Socrates (1916) 233 37. On the Middle Ages (1916) 238 38. Trauerspiel and'Tragedy (1916) 241 39. The Role of Language in TrawcrspieZ and Tragedy (1916) 246 40. On Language as Such and on the Language of Man (1916) 251 41. Aphorisms (ca. 1916-1917) 270 42. Balzac (ca. 1916-1917) 273 43. Dostoevsky's The Idiot (1917) 275 44. On Seeing the Morning Light (1917) 281 45. The Centaur (1917) 283 Credits Index 287 291 Abbreviations and a Note on the Texts The following abbreviations are used for works by Walter Benjamin: GS Gesammelte Schriften, 1 vols., suppL, ed. RolfTiedemann, Hermann Schwepppenhäuser, et al. (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1972-1989). GB Gesammelte Briefe, 6 vols., ed. Christoph Gödde and Henri Lonitz (Frankfurt; Suhrkamp, 1995-2000). SW Selected Writings, 4 vols., ed. Michael W. Jennings et al. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996-2003). CWB The Correspondence of Walter Benjarnin, trans. Manfred R. Jacobson and Evelyn M. Jacobson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994). Translations in this book are by Howard Eiland unless otherwise indi cated. Previously published translations have been revised for this volume.  Translator's Introduction W lter Benjamin's earliest published writings date back to 1910, when he was a high-school student in Berlin. That year, as he turned eighteen; he published poems and short stories in various styles—lyrical,' allegorical, expressionistic—in the student-run peri odical Der Anfang (The Beginning), for which venue h fe always made use of the multivalent Latin pseudonym Ardor. The fóllowing year, he began publishing theoretical essays on the general subject of youth and its awakening ?,these were overtly polemical pieces. In the feverish years before the First World War, Benjamin played an active role in what is.known today as the Cernían Youth Movement, a politically heterogeneous p|}enomenon which he and many others looked on as primarily a movement of educational and cultufal reform, one whose goal was the reform of consciousness in general, nothing short of a new humanity. Thus, his programmatic writings on academic reform, comprising about a quarter of the contents of this völurrie, represent not so much direct appeals to action as efforts to reorient and liberate their readers' general outlook. Already, in 1905-1906, at the country boarding school Haubinda, where he had been sent becauseof his delicate health, the young Benjamin came under the influence of Gustav Wyneken, one of the leading
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