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Which clippings match 'Marcel Proust' keyword pg.1 of 1
22 JULY 2014

The Arcades Project: a world of secret affinities

"the entire Arcades complex (without definitive title, to be sure) remained in the form of several hundred notes and reflections of varying length, which Benjamin revised and grouped in sheafs, or 'convolutes;' according to a host of topics. Additionally, from the late Twenties on, it would appear, citations were incorporated into these materials–passages drawn mainly from an array of nineteenth–century sources, but also from the works of key contemporaries (Marcel Proust, Paul Valery, Louis Aragon, Andre Breton, Georg Sinunel, Ernst Bloch, Siegfried Kracauer, Theodor Adorno). These proliferating individual passages, extracted from their original context like collectibles, were eventually set up to communicate among themselves, often in a rather subterranean manner. The organized masses of historical objects–the particular items of Benjamin's display (drafts and excerpts)–together give rise to 'a world of secret affinities;' and each separate article in the collection, each entry, was to constitute a 'magic encyclopedia' of the epoch from which it derived. An image of that epoch. In the background of this theory of the historical image, constituent of a historical 'mirror world;' stands the idea of the monad–an idea given its most comprehensive formulation in the pages on origin in the prologue to Benjamin's book on German tragic drama, Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (Origin of the German Trauerspiel)–and back of this the doctrine of the reflective medium, in its significance for the object, as expounded in Benjamin's 1919 dissertation, 'Der Begriff der Kunstkritik in der deutschen Romantik' (The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism). At bottom, a canon of (nonsensuous) similitude rules the conception of the Arcades."

(Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin, p.x)

Benjamin, Walter (2002). "Das Passagen–werk [The Arcades Project]", US: Harvard University Press. 0674008022
Fig.1 Edizioni Brogi (circa 1880). No.4608 "Ottagono della Galleria Vittorio Emanuele", Milano.



193519th century • a world in miniature • a world of secret affinities • affinityAndre Bretonarcadescitationcollectibles • convolutes • department stores • documentary synopsis • encyclopaedia • epoch • Ernst Bloch • expose • Georg Sinunel • historical image • historical objects • Institute of Social Research • Louis Aragon • magic encyclopaedia • Marcel Proustmirror worldmonad • monadology • nostalgic tributenostalgic yearningnotes • original context • Parispassages couvertsPaul Valery • reflections • sheafs • Siegfried Kracauer • similitudeThe Arcades ProjectTheodor Adorno • topics • Walter Benjamin


Simon Perkins
12 OCTOBER 2009

The Hedgehog and The Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy's View of History

"There is a line among the fragments of the Greek poet Archilochus which says: 'The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.' Scholars have differed about the correct interpretation of these dark words, which may mean no more than that the fox, for all his cunning, is defeated by the hedgehog's one defence. But, taken figuratively, the words can be made to yield a sense in which they mark one of the deepest differences which divide writers and thinkers, and, it may be, human beings in general. For there exists a great chasm between those, on one side, who relate everything to a single central vision, one system, less or more coherent or articulate, in terms of which they understand, think and feel – a single, universal, organising principle in terms of which alone all that they are and say has significance – and, on the other side, those who pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way, for some psychological or physiological cause, related to no moral or aesthetic principle. These last lead lives, perform acts and entertain ideas that are centrifugal rather than centripetal; their thought is scattered or diffused, moving on many levels, seizing upon the essence of a vast variety of experiences and objects for what they are in themselves, without, consciously or unconsciously, seeking to fit them into, or exclude them from, any one unchanging, all embracing, sometimes self–contradictory and incomplete, at times fanatical, unitary inner vision. The first kind of intellectual and artistic personality belongs to the hedgehogs, the second to the foxes; and without insisting on a rigid classification, we may, without too much fear of contradiction, say that, in this sense, Dante belongs to the first category, Shakespeare to the second; Plato, Lucretius, Pascal, Hegel, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Ibsen, Proust are, in varying degrees, hedgehogs; Herodotus, Aristotle, Montaigne, Erasmus, Molière, Goethe, Pushkin, Balzac, Joyce are foxes."

(Isaiah Berlin)

Isaiah Berlin, 1953. The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy's View of History UK: Phoenix, 978–0–75380–867–2


ad-hoc • Aleksandr Pushkin • Archilochus • AristotleBlaise Pascal • centrifugal • centripetal • Dante Alighieri • de facto • Desiderius Erasmus • fox • Friedrich Nietzsche • Fyodor DostoyevskyGeorg Hegel • hedgehog • Henrik Ibsen • Herodotus • Honoré de Balzac • Isaiah Berlin • James JoyceJean-Baptiste PoquelinJohann Wolfgang von GoetheLeo Tolstoy • Lucretius • Marcel Proust • Michel de Montaigne • Molière • Platopolymathsingle-mindedWilliam Shakespeare


Simon Perkins
21 JUNE 2006

Barthes: Death Of The Author

"The author is a modern figure, produced no doubt by our society insofar as, at the end of the middle ages, with English empiricism, French rationalism and the personal faith of the Reformation, it discovered the prestige of the individual, or, to put it more nobly, of the 'human person' Hence it is logical that with regard to literature it should be positivism, resume and the result of capitalist ideology, which has accorded the greatest importance to the author's 'person'."

(Roland Barthes 1993)

Barthes, Roland (1993) "Image Music Text", Fontana Press.



1967Aspen (magazine)auteur theoryauthenticityauthorshipBertolt Brecht • Blaise Cendrars • capitalist ideologyCharles Baudelairecitation • classical criticism • collective writing • connoisseurshipcontestationcult of the authordeath of the author • decipher • empiricismgeniusGustave FlaubertHonore de Balzac • Image-Music-Text • individualinterpretationlanguageliterary criticismliteratureMarcel Proust • mediator • Modern • multiple writings • multiplicitiesparody • Paul Claudel • Paul ValeryProtestant Reformation • rationalism • readingRoland Barthesromantic • scriptor • shaman • Stephane Mallarme • subtilisationsurrealism • Thomas De Quincey • utterancesvoices

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