Walter Benjamin
Walter Benjamin

Celebrity Profile

Name: Walter Benjamin
Occupation: Philosopher
Gender: Male
Birth Day: July 15, 1892
Death Date: 26 September 1940(1940-09-26) (aged 48)
Portbou, Girona, Catalonia, Spain
Age: Aged 48
Birth Place: Berlin, German Empire, Germany
Zodiac Sign: Leo

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Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin was born on July 15, 1892 in Berlin, German Empire, Germany (48 years old). Walter Benjamin is a Philosopher, zodiac sign: Leo. Find out Walter Benjaminnet worth 2020, salary 2020 detail bellow.

Does Walter Benjamin Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Walter Benjamin died on 26 September 1940(1940-09-26) (aged 48)
Portbou, Girona, Catalonia, Spain.

Net Worth

Net Worth 2020

Undisclosed

Salary 2020

Not known

Biography Timeline

1902

Benjamin and his younger siblings, Georg (1895–1942) and Dora (1901–1946), were born to a wealthy business family of assimilated Ashkenazi Jews in the Berlin of the German Empire (1871–1918). The patriarch of Walter Benjamin's family, Emil Benjamin, was a banker in Paris who had relocated from France to Germany, where he worked as an antiques trader in Berlin; he later married Pauline Schönflies. He owned a number of investments in Berlin, including ice skating rinks. Benjamin's uncle William Stern (born Wilhelm Louis Stern; 1871-1938) was a prominent German child psychologist who developed the concept of the intelligence quotient (IQ), and Benjamin's cousin Günther Anders (born Günther Siegmund Stern; 1902-1992) was a German philosopher and anti-nuclear activist who studied under Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. Through his mother, his great-uncle was the classical archaeologist Gustav Hirschfeld. In 1902, ten-year-old Walter was enrolled to the Kaiser Friedrich School in Charlottenburg; he completed his secondary school studies ten years later. Walter was of fragile health and so in 1905 the family sent him to Hermann-Lietz-Schule Haubinda, a boarding school in the Thuringian countryside, for two years; in 1907, having returned to Berlin, he resumed his schooling at the Kaiser Friedrich School.

1912

In 1912, at the age of 20, he enrolled at the University of Freiburg, but at summer semester's end returned to Berlin, then matriculated at the University of Berlin to continue studying philosophy. There Benjamin had his first exposure to Zionism, which had not been part of his liberal upbringing. This gave him occasion to formulate his own ideas about the meaning of Judaism. Benjamin distanced himself from political and nationalist Zionism, instead developing in his own thinking what he called a kind of "cultural Zionism"—an attitude that recognized and promoted Judaism and Jewish values. In Benjamin's formulation his Jewishness meant a commitment to the furtherance of European culture. He wrote, "My life experience led me to this insight: the Jews represent an elite in the ranks of the spiritually active ... For Judaism is to me in no sense an end in itself, but the most distinguished bearer and representative of the spiritual." This was a position Benjamin largely held lifelong.

1914

His attempt to volunteer for service at the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 was rejected by the army. Benjamin later feigned illnesses to avoid conscription, allowing him to continue his studies and his translations of works by French poet Charles Baudelaire.

1917

In 1917 Benjamin transferred to the University of Bern; there he met Ernst Bloch, and Dora Sophie Pollak (née Kellner), whom he married. They had a son, Stefan Rafael, in 1918. In 1919 Benjamin earned his Ph.D. cum laude with the dissertation Der Begriff der Kunstkritik in der deutschen Romantik (The Concept of Art Criticism in German Romanticism). Later, unable to support himself and family, he returned to Berlin and resided with his parents. In 1921 he published the essay Kritik der Gewalt (Critique of Violence). At this time Benjamin first became socially acquainted with Leo Strauss, and he remained an admirer of Strauss and his work throughout his life.

1923

In 1923, when the Institute for Social Research was founded, later to become home to the Frankfurt School, Benjamin published Charles Baudelaire, Tableaux Parisiens. At that time he became acquainted with Theodor Adorno and befriended Georg Lukács, whose The Theory of the Novel (1920) much influenced him. Meanwhile, the inflation in the Weimar Republic consequent to the war made it difficult for Emil Benjamin to continue supporting his son's family. At the end of 1923 Scholem emigrated to Palestine, a country under the British Mandate of Palestine; despite repeated invitations, he failed to persuade Benjamin (and family) to leave the Continent for the Middle East.

1924

In 1924 Hugo von Hofmannsthal, in the Neue Deutsche Beiträge magazine, published Benjamin's "Goethes Wahlverwandtschaften" ("Goethe's Elective Affinities"), about Goethe's third novel, Die Wahlverwandtschaften (1809). Later that year Benjamin and Bloch resided on the Italian island of Capri; Benjamin wrote Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (The Origin of German Tragic Drama) as a habilitation dissertation meant to qualify him as a tenured university professor in Germany. At Bloch's suggestion, he read Lukács's History and Class Consciousness (1923). He also met the Latvian Bolshevik and actress Asja Lācis, then residing in Moscow; she became his lover and was a lasting intellectual influence on him.

1925

A year later, in 1925, Benjamin withdrew The Origin of German Tragic Drama as his possible qualification for the habilitation teaching credential at the University of Frankfurt at Frankfurt am Main, fearing its possible rejection; he was not to be an academic instructor. Working with Franz Hessel he translated the first volumes of Marcel Proust's À la Recherche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time). The next year, 1926, he began writing for the German newspapers Frankfurter Zeitung (The Frankfurt Times) and Die Literarische Welt (The Literary World); that paid enough for him to reside in Paris for some months. In December 1926, the year his father died, Benjamin went to Moscow to meet Lācis and found her ill in a sanatorium.

Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (The Origin of German Tragic Drama, 1928), is a critical study of German baroque drama, as well as the political and cultural climate of Germany during the Counter-Reformation (1545–1648). Benjamin presented the work to the University of Frankfurt in 1925 as the (postdoctoral) dissertation meant to earn him the Habilitation (qualification) to become a university instructor in Germany.

1927

In 1927, he began Das Passagen-Werk (The Arcades Project), his uncompleted magnum opus, a study of 19th-century Parisian life. The same year, he saw Scholem in Berlin, for the last time, and considered emigrating from Germany to Palestine. In 1928, he and Dora separated (they divorced two years later, in 1930); in the same year he published Einbahnstraße (One-Way Street), and a revision of his habilitation dissertation Ursprung des Deutschen Trauerspiels (The Origin of German Tragic Drama). In 1929 Berlin, Lācis, then an assistant to Bertolt Brecht, socially presented the intellectuals to each other. In that time, he also briefly embarked upon an academic career, as an instructor at the University of Heidelberg.

1928

Professor Schultz of University of Frankfurt found The Origin of German Tragic Drama inappropriate for his Germanistik department (Department of German Language and Literature), and passed it to the Department of Aesthetics (philosophy of art), the readers of which likewise dismissed Benjamin's work. The university officials recommended that Benjamin withdraw Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels as a Habilitation dissertation to avoid formal rejection and public embarrassment. He heeded the advice, and three years later, in 1928, he published The Origin of German Tragic Drama as a book.

1932

In 1932, during the turmoil preceding Adolf Hitler's assumption of the office of Chancellor of Germany, Benjamin left Germany for the Spanish island of Ibiza for some months; he then moved to Nice, where he considered killing himself. Perceiving the sociopolitical and cultural significance of the Reichstag fire (27 February 1933) as the de facto Nazi assumption of full power in Germany, then manifest with the subsequent persecution of the Jews, he moved to Paris, but before doing so he sought shelter in Svendborg, at Bertolt Brecht's house, and at Sanremo, where his ex-wife Dora lived.

1936

As he ran out of money, Benjamin collaborated with Max Horkheimer, and received funds from the Institute for Social Research, later going permanently into exile. In Paris, he met other refugee German artists and intellectuals; he befriended Hannah Arendt, novelist Hermann Hesse, and composer Kurt Weill. In 1936, a first version of "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (originally written in German in 1935) was published in French ("L'œuvre d'art à l'époque de sa reproduction méchanisée") by Max Horkheimer in the Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung journal of the Institute for Social Research. It was a critique of the authenticity of mass-produced art; he wrote that a mechanically produced copy of an artwork can be taken somewhere the original could never have gone, arguing that the presence of the original is "prerequisite to the concept of authenticity".

1937

In 1937 Benjamin worked on "Das Paris des Second Empire bei Baudelaire" ("The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire"), met Georges Bataille (to whom he later entrusted the Arcades Project manuscript), and joined the College of Sociology. In 1938 he paid a last visit to Brecht, who was exiled to Denmark. Meanwhile, the Nazi régime stripped German Jews of their German citizenship; now a stateless man, Benjamin was arrested by the French government and incarcerated for three months in a prison camp near Nevers, in central Burgundy.

1938

The others in his party were allowed passage the next day (maybe because Benjamin's suicide shocked Spanish officials), and safely reached Lisbon on 30 September. Arendt, who crossed the French-Spanish border at Portbou a few months later, passed the manuscript of Theses to Adorno. Another completed manuscript, which Benjamin had carried in his suitcase, disappeared after his death and has not been recovered. Some critics speculate that it was his Arcades Project in a final form; this is very unlikely as the author's plans for the work had changed in the wake of Adorno's criticisms in 1938, and it seems clear that the work was flowing over its containing limits in his last years.

1940

Returning to Paris in January 1940, he wrote "Über den Begriff der Geschichte" ("On the Concept of History", later published as "Theses on the Philosophy of History"). While the Wehrmacht was pushing back the French Army, on 13 June Benjamin and his sister fled Paris to the town of Lourdes, just a day before the Germans entered the capital with orders to arrest him at his flat. In August, he obtained a travel visa to the US that Horkheimer had negotiated for him. In eluding the Gestapo, Benjamin planned to travel to the US from neutral Portugal, which he expected to reach via Francoist Spain, then ostensibly a neutral country.

The historical record indicates that he safely crossed the French–Spanish border and arrived at the coastal town of Portbou, in Catalonia. The Franco government had cancelled all transit visas and ordered the Spanish police to return such persons to France, including the Jewish refugee group Benjamin had joined. They tried to cross the border on 25 September 1940 but were told by the Spanish police that they would be deported back to France the next day, which would have thwarted Benjamin's plans to travel to the United States. Expecting repatriation to Nazi hands, Benjamin killed himself with an overdose of morphine tablets that night, while staying at the Hotel de Francia; the official Portbou register records 26 September 1940 as the date of death. Benjamin's colleague Arthur Koestler, also fleeing Europe, attempted suicide by taking some of the morphine tablets, but survived. Benjamin's brother Georg was killed at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in 1942. Despite his suicide, Benjamin was buried in the consecrated section of a Roman Catholic cemetery.

1942

"Theses on the Philosophy of History" is often cited as Benjamin's last complete work, having been completed, according to Adorno, in the spring of 1940. The Institute for Social Research, which had relocated to New York, published Theses in Benjamin's memory in 1942. Margaret Cohen writes in the Cambridge Companion to Walter Benjamin:

1968

Since the publication of Schriften (Writings, 1955), 15 years after his death, Benjamin's work—especially the essay "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (French edition, 1936)—has become of seminal importance to academics in the humanities disciplines. In 1968, the first Internationale Walter Benjamin Gesellschaft was established by the German thinker, poet and artist Natias Neutert, as a free association of philosophers, writers, artists, media theoreticians and editors. They did not take Benjamin's body of thought as a scholastic "closed architecture [...], but as one in which all doors, windows and roof hatches are widely open", as the founder Neutert put it—more poetically than politically—in his manifesto. The members felt liberated to take Benjamin's ideas as a welcome touchstone for social change.

1982

The Arcades Project was published for the first time in 1982, and is over a thousand pages long.

2000

Like the first Internationale Walter Benjamin Gesellschaft, a new one, established in 2000, researches and discusses the imperative that Benjamin formulated in his "Theses on the Philosophy of History": "In every era the attempt must be made anew to wrest the tradition away from a conformism that is about to overpower it."

2001

Close by Kurfürstendamm, in the district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, a town square created by Hans Kollhoff in 2001 was named "Walter-Benjamin-Platz". There is a memorial sculpture by the artist Dani Karavan at Portbou, where Walter Benjamin ended his life. It was commissioned to mark 50 years since his death.

2017

In 2017 Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project was reinterpreted in an exhibition curated by Jens Hoffman, held at the Jewish Museum in New York City. The exhibition, entitled "The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin", features 36 contemporary artworks representing the 36 convolutes of Benjamin's Project.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Walter Benjamin is 130 years, 6 months and 22 days old. Walter Benjamin will celebrate 131st birthday on a Saturday 15th of July 2023. Below we countdown to Walter Benjamin upcoming birthday.

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Recent Birthday Highlights

122nd birthday - Tuesday, July 15, 2014

11 Wonderfully Illuminating Quotes From Walter Benjamin

<b>Get ready for some <i>Illuminations</i>*~*~</b> In honor of his 122nd birthday today!

Walter Benjamin 122nd birthday timeline

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