Books, Research

Walter Benjamin -Illuminations

To a book collector, you see, the true freedom of all books is somewhere on his shelves.

From “the task of the translator”

Art, in the same way, posits man’s physical and spiritual existence, but in none of its works is it concerned with his response. No poem is intended for the reader,
no picture for the beholder, no symphony for the listener.

The mysterious, the “poetic,” something that a translator can reproduce only if he is also a poet?

Yet, by virtue of its translatability the original is closely connected with the translation; in fact, this connection is all the closer since it is no longer of importance to the original. We may call this connection a natural one, or, more specifically, a vital connection.

The idea of life  and afterlife in works of art should be regarded with an entirely  unmetaphorical objectivity.

The history of the great works of art tells us about their antecedents, their realization in
the age of the artist, their potentially eternal afterlife in succeeding generations.

Translation thus ultimately serves the purpose of expressing the central reciprocal relationship between languages.

What sounded fresh once may sound hackneyed later; what was once current may someday sound quaint

The traditional concepts in any discussion of translations are fidelity and license the
freedom of faithful reproduction and, in its service, fidelity to the word.

We say of words that they have emotional connotations.

Fragments of a vessel which are to be glued together must match one another in the smallest details, although they need not be like one another.

A real translation is transparent; it does not cover the original, does not block its light, but allows the pure language, as though reinforced by its own medium, to shine
upon the original all the more fully.

Only if the sense of a linguistic creation may be equated with the information it conveys does some ultimate, decisive element remain beyond all communication-quite
close and yet infinitely remote, concealed or distinguishable, fragmented or powerful.

Particularly  when translating from a language very remote from his own he must go back to the primal elements of language itself and penetrate to the point where work, image, and tone converge

The higher the level of a work, the more does it remain translatable even if its
meaning is touched upon only fleetingly.


Viewed from a certain distance, the great, simple outlines which define the storyteller stand out in him, or rather, they become visible in him, just as in a rock a
human head or an animals body may appear to an observer at the proper distance and angle of vision. This distance and this angle of vision are prescribed for us by an experience which we may have almost every day.

Was it not noticeable at the end of the war that men returned from the battlefield grown silent-not richer, but poorer in communicable experience?

Experience which is passed on from mouth to mouth is the source from which all storytellers have drawn

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

What distinguishes the novel from the story (and from the epic in the narrower sense) is its essential dependence on the book.

The storyteller takes what he tells from experience -his own or, that reported by others.

The novelist has isolated himself. The birthplace of the novel is the solitary individual, who is no longer able to express himself by giving examples of his most important concerns, is himself uncounseled, and cannot counsel others. To write a novel means to carry the incommensurable to extremes in the representation of human life.

it is half the art of storytelling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it

The most extraordinary things, marvelous things, are related with the greatest accuracy, but the psychological connection of the events is not forced on the reader. It is left up to him to interpret  things the way he understands them, and thus the narrative achieves an amplitude that information lacks.

A story is different. It does not expend itself. It preserves and concentrates its strength and is capable of releasing it even after a long time.

If sleep is the apogee of physical relaxation, boredom is the apogee of mental relaxation.

With this the gift for listening is lost and the community of listeners disappears

Modern man no longer works at what cannot be abbreviated.

The idea of eternity has ever had its strongest source in death. If this idea declines, so we
reason, the face of death must have changed…In the course of modern rimes dying
has been pushed further and further out of the perceptual world of the living.





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