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Walter Benjamin and the architecture of history

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/1992
Issue number91
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)165-173
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In a letter to Gershom Scholem dated January 30th, 1928, Walter Benjamin notes that his study of the Parisian arcades, begun the previous Spring with his colleague Franz Hessel, would be “the work of at least a few weeks” This proved to be an understatement: Benjamin was still engaged in the project in 1940 when he died. During those twelve years the work had undergone the most radical metamorphosis. From a short sketch of the then fading and ramshackle Parisian arcades, the fashionable shopping palaces built of iron and glass in the early 19th century, the Passagenarbeit had been transformed into a vast critical study of the culture and origins of modern capitalism.