By Gershom Gerhard Scholem
Gershom Scholem is widely known because the 20th century's so much profound scholar of the Jewish mystical culture; Walter Benjamin, as a grasp philosopher whose amazing essays combine the innovative, the revelatory, and the esoteric. Scholem used to be a precocious youngster while he met Benjamin, who grew to become his shut buddy and highbrow mentor. His account of that relationship—which used to be to stay the most important for either men—is either a party of his friend's spellbinding genius and a lament for the non-public and highbrow self-destructiveness that culminated in Benjamin's suicide in 1940.
At as soon as prickly and heartbroken, argumentative and loving, Walter Benjamin: The tale of a Friendship is an soaking up memoir with the hardship of personality and purpose of a unique. As Scholem revisits the passionate engagements over Marxism and Kabbala, Europe and Palestine that he shared with Benjamin, it really is as though he sought to summon up his misplaced friend's spirit back, to have the final word within the argument that may have stored his life.
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Additional info for Walter Benjamin: The Story of a Friendship (New York Review Books Classics)
Prior to my arrival, from August 12 to sixteen, Benjamin had taken a quick journey during the Loire castles at Orléans, Blois, and excursions. He prepared to take this journey with a Parisian girl he had met approximately 4 weeks previous and with whom he had fallen in love—something he did really simply and often in these years. She stood him up, although, and he glided by himself, although he used to be depressed through the “torment of loneliness that specifically besets me on journeys. ” He used to be unsure even if he should still cross in any respect, yet as he wrote: “If Scholem weren't arriving this present day, I most likely do not have long past. yet I fled. immediately i couldn't endure his occasionally quite ostentatious self-assurance. ” He had now not noticeable me in 4 years, and will no longer have identified that once my studies in Eretz Yisrael, which have been a great deal on my brain, my “self-assurance” was once now not so nice. after we met on August 17, even though, he was once completely fascinating to either one of us. For meanwhile my spouse had come to Paris for per week on her go back journey from Hamburg, and the 3 people bought jointly on numerous events. after we additionally visited him within the shabby Hôtel du Midi on four, street du parc Montsouris, the place he inhabited an both shabby, tiny, ill-kept room that contained rarely greater than an iron bedstead and some different furniture. We regularly met within the cafés round street Montparnasse, particularly in Dôme and l. a. Coupole. From morning to overdue afternoon I pored over the manuscripts within the Bibliothèque Nationale, yet we spent many evenings and weekends jointly. a number of occasions we went to the films, simply because Benjamin specially famous the actor Adolphe Menjou and instantly went to each movie he seemed in. two times he dragged me to the Grand Guignol, one of those horror exhibit, which supplemented his predilection for secret novels. this era fell below an all of sudden fortunate celebrity, at the very least so far as i used to be involved. In these years definitely anything had replaced in our courting to the realm. whilst I left Benjamin in 1923, I took with me identical to a guy pushed by way of a beeline impulse to type an highbrow global of his personal, a guy who unswervingly his genius and who knew the place he used to be headed, it doesn't matter what the outside entanglements of his lifestyles should be. i used to be heading for an international during which every thing nonetheless appeared disorganized and careworn, within which amid critical inner struggles i used to be looking a sturdy place the place my efforts to appreciate Judaism could extra in actual fact healthy jointly into an essential complete. once we observed one another back, I met an individual stuck up in a thorough technique of ferment, whose harmonious view of the realm was once shattered and in disrepair and who was once in transit—to new seashores he used to be as but not able to figure out. That unique impetus towards a metaphysical weltanschauung was once nonetheless alive in him yet had fallen in a kingdom of dialectic disintegration. The revolution that had seemed on his horizon had no longer but controlled to mould this dialectic into particular kinds. The Marxist terminology in many of the notes for “One-Way road” that he learn to me struck me as purely a type of far away thunder.