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The Origin of German Tragic Drama (Radical Thinkers 4) [Paperback]

Walter Benjamin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

15 Jun 2009 Radical Thinkers
Benjamins most sustained and original work, considered one of the main sources of literary modernism in the twentieth century.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; Reprint edition (15 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844673480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844673483
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Walter Benjamin is the most important German aesthetician and literary critic of [the twentieth] century. --Sunday Times

He drew, from the obscure disdained German baroque, elements of the modern sensibility: the taste for allegory, surrealist shock effects, discontinuous utterance, a sense of historical catastrophe. --Susan Sontag

About the Author

Walter Benjamin was born in Germany in 1892 and died in Spain in 1940. His other books include Illuminations, The Arcades Project, and, with Verso, One-Way Street, Understanding Brecht, and Walter Benjamin's Archive.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmissable 14 April 2010
Format:Paperback
I read this slowly, then got a little frustrated, started skimming, then bits really started to hit me, and I had to go back and read what I'd skipped, and found it was all incredibly insightful, and so true. In short, the usual effect a text by Benjamin has on me! If you're interested in baroque drama or concepts of allegory or indeed theories of classical tragedy, this is essential.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book/poor edition 22 Feb 2006
By Wade Lode - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Benjamin has written a highly valuable book here. My concern is with Verso's treatment of it. The binding is horrible -- my edition literally fell apart on the first read. There are no annotations which, in a book as wide-ranging and dense as this, is a gross oversight. In short, a horrible edition of a great book. Find another version.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mine too, bad glue 20 Jun 2007
By Sir Thomas Wyatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book interesting. But my book, like that of a previous reviewer, completely fell apart upon the first reading. Frustrating to have to treat my NEW book like some loose sheaf of sibylline leaves bound together with rubber bands.
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for students of critical theory 12 Aug 2002
By F.L.M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
While it concerns baroque Trauerspiel (literally, "mourning play" or "lamentation play," not "tragic drama") this book is necessary reading for students of critical theory who don't have literature as a primary field of interest. In it, Benjamin develops his critique of allegory (which he later amended in his work on Baudelaire and would play a major role in The Arcades Project) as well as his method of philosphical history, which would decisively influence Theodor Adorno (see, for example, Adorno's book on Kierkegaard and his lecture "The Idea of Natural History"). Don't let the notoriously opaque prologue dissuade you from reading beyond the opening pages--the rest of the book has more stylistic and conceptual clarity (which doesn't mean it's easy!). In fact, you may want to skip the prologue and return to it after reading the body of the text. In any case, this book will give you a solid grounding for understanding the foundations of Benjamin's work--it should not be slighted. I deduct a star not because of Benjamin but because of the translation (less than sterling) and Steiner's introduction which, despite correcting the title's translation, restricts itself to literary concerns.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars binding issue 29 July 2010
By Grisha - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Does anybody know if Verso bothered to improve the binding on the 2009 reprint edition? My first copy started falling apart the day I bought it too--annoying, although I suppose you could say it's rather fitting as well...
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