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Philosophy and Melancholy.

Philosophy and Melancholy

Ilit Ferber

Stanford University Press

1450 Page Mill Road

Palo Alto, CA 94304-1124

9780804785204, $24.95,

Melancholia is a mood disorder of non-specific depression, characterized by low levels of both enthusiasm and eagerness for activity. Walter Bendix Schonflies Benjamin (15 July 1892-26 September 1940) was a German literary critic, philosopher, social critic, translator, radio broadcaster and essayist. Combining elements of German idealism or Romanticism, historical materialism and Jewish mysticism, Benjamin made enduring and influential contributions to aesthetic theory and Western Marxism, and is associated with the Frankfurt School. Among his major works as a literary critic are essays on Goethe's novel Elective Affinities; the work of Franz Kafka and Karl Kraus; translation theory; the stories of Nikolai Leskov; the work of Marcel Proust and perhaps most significantly, the poetry of Charles Baudelaire. He also made major translations into German of the Tableaux Parisiens section of Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal and parts of Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu. Benjamin committed suicide in Portbou at the French-Spanish border while attempting to escape from the Nazis. "Philosophy and Melancholy: Benjamin's Early Reflections on Theater and Language" by Ilit Ferber is a 264 page compendium offering informed and informative commentary on Benjamin's early writings in general, and the concept of melancholy within his writings in particular. An impressive work of articulate scholarship, "Philosophy and Melancholy: Benjamin's Early Reflections on Theater and Language" is a highly recommended and welcome addition to academic library Philosophical Studies reference collections and an important critique for students of Walter Benjamin's life and work.

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Title Annotation:The Philosophy Shelf
Publication:Internet Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2013
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