Walter Benjamin

1892 - 1940

A Quote by Walter Benjamin on history, progress, destruction, angel of history, paradise, storm, dead, past, catastrophe, irreversible, and angelus novus

The face of the angel of history is turned toward the past.  Where we perceived a chain of events, he sees a single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet.  The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed.  But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them.  This storm irresistably propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward.  The storm is what we call progress.

Walter Benjamin (1892 - 1940)

Source: The History Of Human Rights by Micheline Ishay, the quote is Walter Benjamin's description of Paul Klee's painting "Angelus Novus" (Angel of History)

Contributed by: pura-vida

A Quote by Walter Benjamin on literature and writing

Literature tells very little to those who understand it.

Walter Benjamin (1892 - 1940)

Contributed by: Frances

A Quote by Walter Benjamin on beauty, good, happiness, ideas, and sharing

The idea that happiness could have a share in beauty would be too much of a good thing.

Walter Benjamin (1892 - 1940)

Contributed by: Zaady

A Quote by Walter Benjamin on earth, past, understanding, and yielding

He who seeks to approach his own buried past must conduct himself like a man digging. . . . He must not be afraid to return again and again to the same matter; to scatter it as one scatters earth, to turn it over as one turns over soil. For the matter itself is only a deposit, a stratum, which yields only to the most meticulous examination what constitutes the real treasure hidden within the earth: the images, severed from all earlier associations, that stand -like precious fragments or torsos in a collector's gallery -in the prosaic rooms of our later understanding.

Walter Benjamin (1892 - 1940)

Contributed by: Zaady

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