Quote of the Day | 0114

We learn that Benjamin’s ambiguity as a writer cannot be disentangled from his selfishness and dishonesty as a person. The more he lied to himself — the more he lied to others — the more he created layers of duplicity in his own writing. It is not — as we Benjamin-lovers would like to believe — that Benjamin always had a clear sense of the hidden unity of his work. It is, rather, that Benjamin created fragmented, ambiguous, and sometimes completely confused works out of his own genuine confusion. He was ambiguous because he was losing himself, because he was trying to serve several masters (both internally and externally), and because he was a liar engaged in multiple manipulations of all the people around him. Like every liar, he had his excuses. For Benjamin, the lies and the dishonesty were everyone else’s fault. Or sometimes, more insanely, the fault of Modernity itself — “a virtual condition of doing philosophy in the modern world” as Eiland and Jennings put it. But Dora’s letters reveal this to be a pretentious load of garbage.

Morgan Meis, ‘Jerk Reaction’

Boeklog over Walter Benjamin

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