Myth and Metropolis – Walter Benjamin and The City

September 24, 2018

Author : Graeme Gilloch

Language : English

Ebook Format : PDF

Description : This is a lucid study of Walter Benjamin’s lifelong fascination with the city and forms of metropolitan experience, highlighting the relevance of Benjamin’s work to our contemporary understanding of modernity.

Walter Benjamin is now widely recognized as one of the mostoriginal and perceptive thinkers of the twentieth century. Thisbook, now available in paperback is a timely and lucid study ofBenjamin’s lifelong fascination with the city and forms ofmetropolitan experience.

Benjamin’s critical and complex account of the modern urbanenvironment is traced through a number of key texts: the pioneeringsketches of Naples, Marseilles and Moscow; his childhoodreminiscences of Berlin; and his brilliant and unfinished studiesof nineteenth-century Paris and the poet Charles Baudelaire.Gilloch emphasizes the importance of these writings for aninterpretation of Benjamin’s work as a whole, and highlights theirrelevance for our contemporary understanding of modernity.

Essential reading for anyone concerned with Benjamin’s work,Myth and Metropolis will also be of interest to scholars andstudents in social theory, cultural analysis and urban studies.

“This is a highly stimulating contribution to our understanding ofBenjamin’s work on the city. It is one which is written with acommendable clarity that makes Benjamin’s often complexinvestigations accessible to students without losing the richtextual diversity of Benjamin’s own presentation of the city’slabyrinths.”
— Professor David Frisby, Glasgow University

“Walter Benjamin and his work on the metropolis is the topic ofa new study by Graeme Gilloch, a study so rigorous in itsscholarship and penetrating in its observations that it rises abovethe recent plethora of lesser works on Benjamin. This elegant studynow displaces Susan Buck-Morss’s Dialectics of Seeing as themost authoritative work on Benjamin and the city. Gilloch situatesBenjamin’s discussion of the city within his overall theoreticaloutlook, evocatively highlighting the surrealist, Marxist andFreudian impulses in Benjamin. The result is as convincing as it ischarming.” (Building Design)

“[A] close and sensitive reading of Benjamin … Since Gilloch’sbook is clearly and lucidly written, it can be recommended forteaching for students, although it is also an interesting andindeed valuable commentary in its own right.” (UrbanStudies)

“Graeme Gilloch’s excellent book now offers a comprehensiveoverview of Benjamin’s urban preoccupations, which will beessential reading for anyone seeking a detailed account ofBenjamin’s complex relationship with the city. The whole book is anexemplary study and can be thoroughly recommended … probably themost accessible recent book on Benjamin’s thought available to theadvanced undergraduate student. This is a book of exemplaryscholarship which will become a central resource for advancing ourunderstanding both of Benjamin’s work and urban theory in futureyears.” (Environment and Planning)

“Remarkable and scholarly book, a work of almost overwhelmingerudition and full of incisive observations … perceptiveinterpretation … elegant and highly readable. An excellentexample of concise writing which, given the often contradictorynature of Benjamin’s work, must have been a major task. The easewith which Gilloch disentangles Benjamin’s thought processes leadsone to suspect a superficiality of approach but this is far fromthe case. Gilloch’s masterful analysis now displaces SusanBuck-Morss’s book as the definitive work on Benjamin and the city.Benjamin’s message is as relevant today as when it was written,providing the historian, design or otherwise, with the mostincisive commentrary on the experience of modernity yet to bewritten.” (The Journal of Design History)

“Urban historians will be indebted to Gilloch for his labours.What he has done … is to make one of the classic texts on themodern city more accessible to those not steeped in the Benjaminœuvre.” (Urban History)


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