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By Walter Benjamin

The lifetime of the German-Jewish literary critic and thinker Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) is a veritable allegory of the lifetime of letters within the 20th century. Benjamin's highbrow odyssey culminated in his demise by way of suicide at the Franco-Spanish border, pursued by means of the Nazis, yet lengthy earlier than he had traveled to the Soviet Union. His wonderful account of that trip is exclusive between Benjamin's writings for the frank, cruel approach he struggles along with his explanations and conscience.

Perhaps the first explanation for his journey was once his affection for Asja Lacis, a Latvian Bolshevik whom he had first met in Capri in 1924 and who might stay an incredible highbrow and erotic impact on him through the twenties and thirties. Asja Lacis resided in Moscow, eking out a dwelling as a journalist, and Benjamin's diary is, on one point, the account of his masochistic love affair with this elusive--and relatively unsympathetic--object of wish. On one other point, it's the tale of a failed romance with the Russian Revolution; for Benjamin had journeyed to Russia not just to notify himself firsthand approximately Soviet society, but additionally to reach at an eventual selection approximately becoming a member of the Communist celebration. Benjamin's diary paints the hassle of a author seduced through the guarantees of the Revolution but unwilling to blinker himself to its human and institutional failings.

Moscow Diary is greater than a checklist of ideological ambivalence; its literary price is substantial. Benjamin is among the nice twentieth-century physiognomists of town, and his portrait of hibernal Moscow stands beside his tremendous evocations of Berlin, Naples, Marseilles, and Paris. scholars of this quite attention-grabbing interval will locate Benjamin's eyewitness account of Moscow terribly illuminating.

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It really is absolutely most unlikely to foretell what is going to come of all this in Russia. possibly a really socialist group, maybe anything completely assorted. The conflict that's going to make a decision this is often nonetheless in development. it truly is best to keep up a correspondence with this case - yet out of primary issues it truly is most unlikely for me to get absolutely concerned. It is still visible to what volume i will be in a position to identify concrete kin with advancements right here. numerous situations make it look most likely that any longer i'll give a contribution massive articles to Russian journals and it's attainable that i'd do significant paintings for the Encyclopedia. there's a lot to be performed and there's an implausible dearth of members powerfuble within the humanities. - past this, it's not that i am but yes what i'll write approximately my remain the following. i believe I already pointed out to you that i've got accrued a large amount of fabric jointly within the form of a diary. the stunning hum of a samovar allowed me to flee my terror of Christmas Eve. there were many appealing issues: a sleigh experience during the Russian iciness woods to go to a fine looking little lady in a prime kid's hospital. i've been going to the theater greatly - approximately which there are significant misconceptions in another country. to inform the reality, of the entire performs i've got visible up to now, in simple terms Meyerhold's creation is of genuine significance. regardless of the freezing chilly (down to [minus] nine. Jula Radt (b. 1894) used to be for a few years, specifically from 1912-1915 and from 1921-1933, very as regards to Benjamin. She was once a sculptor who from 1916-1922 was once attached with the Stefen George circle; thereafter she back to Berlin. She married Fritz Radt in 1925, and went to Holland in exile. Letter released in Benjamin, Briefe, pp. 439-441. OCTOBER 128 twenty-six degrees), it's relatively friendly to stroll round the urban, that's, if it's not that i am too exhausted. that is usually the case as a result of my problems with the language and due to the trials of everyday life the following. yet a trip at the present of 12 months is very solid for my healthiness and, while all is related and performed, it has been decades because i have felt this good. yet issues are unimaginably pricey the following, Moscow might be the most costly position in the world. - i'll fill you in additional concretely on issues while i am getting again. Did you get the pinnacle of me photographed by means of Stone? and the way are you doing? Did Ilse'1 come to Berlin? How's Fritz? Write me a pleasant neat letter approximately all this utilizing a number of sheets of your precise onionskin stationery. you could tackle the letter to me in Roman letters. yet solution me affectionately through go back mail. I want you friendly demons for the recent 12 months. Yours, Walter [Postcard] pricey Mr. Kracauer," i may supply many purposes for my lengthy silence. probably the easiest of that is supplied by means of the shut of your final letter: "But to whom does one write? are you able to solution this? " certainly, possible spend months mulling over this question with out arising with a solution. however the truth of the problem is that i've been knocking round the following for weeks, freezing at the open air, on hearth inside of and that i wish now not in useless.

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