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The Storyteller Essays

The Storyteller Essays

By Walter Benjamin
An NYRB Classics Original

“[T]he newly published collection The Storyteller Essays, translated by Tess Lewis and edited by Samuel Titan, marks a unique achievement. . . . It provides a brief intellectual history of an essay and revivifies it” —Clint Williamson, Full Stop

“[B]ecause it is delivered without panic, quietly, in graceful sentences, from within the culture of books and criticism, it is hard at first to accept the implications of what Benjamin is saying. You suspect he is being bombastic in order for him to come back later and tell you what modern literature’s saving grace is, but the moment of redemption does not arrive. . . . Reading such claims over eighty years later, we might be reminded that every generation foresees a crisis and the end of the world as we know it. It is also possible that Benjamin had his eyes wide open at the beginning of our era and proved able to observe its salient features.”—Philip Ó Ceallaigh, The Stinging Fly 

“The Storyteller” is one of Walter Benjamin’s most important essays, a beautiful and suggestive meditation on the relation between narrative form, social life, and individual existence—and the product of at least a decade’s work. What might be called the story of "The Storyteller Essays" starts in 1926, with a piece Benjamin wrote about the German romantic Johann Peter Hebel. It continues in a series of short essays, book reviews, short stories, parables, and even radio shows for children. This collection brings them all together to give readers a new appreciation of how Benjamin’s thinking changed and ripened over time, while including several key readings of his own—texts by his contemporaries Ernst Bloch and Georg Lukács; by Paul Valéry; and by Herodotus and Montaigne. Finally, to bring things around, there are three short stories by “the incomparable Hebel” with whom the whole intellectual adventure began.

Paperback
128 pages
NYRB Classics, 2019
5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
ISBN 9781681370583
Theory, Short Essays, Criticism 

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