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Walter Benjamin Quotes

A German Jewish literary critic and philosopher.
(1892 - 1940)

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All disgust is originally disgust at touching.

All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.

Books and harlots have their quarrels in public.

Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away.

Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.

Death is the sanction of everything the story-teller can tell. He has borrowed his authority from death.

Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.

Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.

Gifts must affect the receiver to the point of shock.

He who observes etiquette but objects to lying is like someone who dresses fashionably but wears no vest.

I would like to metamorphose into a mouse-mountain.

It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us.

It is precisely the purpose of the public opinion generated by the press to make the public incapable of judging, to insinuate into it the attitude of someone irresponsible, uninformed.

Living substance conquers the frenzy of destruction only in the ecstasy of procreation.

Mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual.

Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theatre. It is the medium of past experience, as the ground is the medium in which dead cities lie interred.

Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.

Only a thoughtless observer can deny that correspondences come into play between the world of modern technology and the archaic symbol-world of mythology.

Opinions are a private matter. The public has an interest only in judgments.

Opinions are to the vast apparatus of social existence what oil is to machines: one does not go up to a turbine and pour machine oil over it; one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know.

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