Most helpful positive review
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2006
I bought this not really being sure of what to expect. I had read some Benjamin previously but hadn't really got along with it and was a little worried that this would only be compunded by his "magnum opus". I need not have worried! Not least because Benjamin's presence here is not as a writer but as an assembler - arranging fragments and quotes into meaningful sections and building from these a cohesive whole.
"The whole" tends towards the recreation of the experience of the Flauneur in a Paris where there city envirnment was still conducive to their style of life - loitering, noticing and experiencing. The manifold perspectives and descriptions which inform this life make you wish for such an interesting time of things. Or endeavour to create one out of your relatively unpromising situation.
There is an excellent account from one of Benjamin's co-travellers on his last voyage regarding his over-protectiveness of his manuscript and his comical air. The volume as a whole has made me reassess my opinion of the writer - no longer to be thought of an inscrutible literary critic amongst his Frankfurt fellows, he is herein conveyed as someone passionate about life and possibility.