57 Total Quotes

Walter Benjamin Quotes

Walter Benjamin
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.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic

Walter Benjamin
Each morning the day lies like a fresh shirt on our bed; this incomparably fine, incomparably tightly woven tissue of pure prediction fits us perfectly. The happiness of the next twenty-four hours depends on our ability, on waking, to pick it up.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#Bed

Walter Benjamin
To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without fright.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic

Walter Benjamin
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.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic

Walter Benjamin
Reminiscences, even extensive ones, do not always amount to an autobiography. For autobiography has to do with time, with sequence and what makes up the continuous flow of life. Here, I am talking of a space, of moments and discontinuities. For even if months and years appear here, it is in the form they have in the moment of recollection. This strange form -- it may be called fleeting or eternal -- is in neither case the stuff that life is made of.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#Autobiography

Walter Benjamin
Taking food alone tends to make one hard and coarse. Those accustomed to it must lead a Spartan life if they are not to go downhill. Hermits have observed, if for only this reason, a frugal diet. For it is only in company that eating is done justice; food must be divided and distributed if it is to be well received.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#Food And Eating

Walter Benjamin
The destructive character lives from the feeling, not that life is worth living, but that suicide is not worth the trouble.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic #Character

Walter Benjamin
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.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic

Walter Benjamin
Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic

Walter Benjamin
Any translation which intends to perform a transmitting function cannot transmit anything but information -- hence, something inessential. This is the hallmark of bad translations.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#Translation

Walter Benjamin
The art of the critic in a nutshell: to coin slogans without betraying ideas. The slogans of an inadequate criticism peddle ideas to fashion.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic #Art

Walter Benjamin
We have long forgotten the ritual by which the house of our life was erected. But when it is under assault and enemy bombs are already taking their toll, what enervated, perverse antiquities do they not lay bare in the foundations.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#Life

Walter Benjamin
Death is the sanction of everything the story-teller can tell. He has borrowed his authority from death.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#Authority #German Critic

Walter Benjamin
The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#Hope #German Critic

Walter Benjamin
Only he who can view his own past as an abortion sprung from compulsion and need can use it to full advantage in the present. For what one has lived is at best comparable to a beautiful statue which has had all its limbs knocked off in transit, and now yields nothing but the precious block out of which the image of one's future must be hewn.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#Experience #Abortion

Walter Benjamin
Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic

Walter Benjamin
Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic #Borders

Walter Benjamin
Living substance conquers the frenzy of destruction only in the ecstasy of procreation.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic

Walter Benjamin
He who asks fortune-tellers the future unwittingly forfeits an inner intimation of coming events that is a thousand times more exact than anything they may say. He is impelled by inertia, rather than curiosity, and nothing is more unlike the submissive apathy with which he hears his fate revealed than the alert dexterity with which the man of courage lays hands on the future.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#Prediction

Walter Benjamin
The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public. The conventional is uncritically enjoyed, and the truly new is criticized with aversion.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic #Art

Walter Benjamin
Gifts must affect the receiver to the point of shock.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic

Walter Benjamin
Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic

Walter Benjamin
Quotations in my work are like wayside robbers who leap out armed and relieve the stroller of his conviction.
Walter Benjamin Permalink
#German Critic