Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin was a leading figure of the Frankfurt School, a philosopher and critical theorist whose work remains essential for anyone seeking to understand aesthetics, revolution and history. Although he committed suicide fleeing Nazi persecution in 1940, before he gained recognition for his work, his legacy has proved enormously significant to generations of radical theorists. His writings, which were enlivened by his own literary skill as well as references to the work of artists such as Paul Klee, contained seminal analyses of the effects of mechanical reproduction on art and of the true nature of history and progress in light of the scientific pretensions of classical Marxism. These insights inspired much modern literary and cultural theory and the work of thinkers such as Giorgio Agamben and Susan Sontag. Polity has published two collections of his correspondence: with Theodor Adorno (The Complete Correspondence 1928-1940), and with Gretel Adorno (Correspondence 1930-1940).