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.