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Walter Benjamin Quotes

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Walter Benjamin
July 15, 1892 - September 27, 1940
Nationality: German
Category: Critic
Subcategory: German Critic

Books and harlots have their quarrels in public.


Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theatre. It is the medium of past experience, as the ground is the medium in which dead cities lie interred.


It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us.


Living substance conquers the frenzy of destruction only in the ecstasy of procreation.


Opinions are to the vast apparatus of social existence what oil is to machines: one does not go up to a turbine and pour machine oil over it; one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know.


All disgust is originally disgust at touching.


The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.


The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out.


The adjustment of reality to the masses and of the masses to reality is a process of unlimited scope, as much for thinking as for perception.


The true picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again.


Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.


The construction of life is at present in the power of facts far more than convictions.


Opinions are a private matter. The public has an interest only in judgments.


Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away.


The art of the critic in a nutshell: to coin slogans without betraying ideas. The slogans of an inadequate criticism peddle ideas to fashion.


Gifts must affect the receiver to the point of shock.


All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.


The destructive character lives from the feeling, not that life is worth living, but that suicide is not worth the trouble.


Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven.


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


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