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By Benjamin, Walter; Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm; Benjamin, Walter; Nietzsche, Friedrich; McFarland, Philip James

Constellation is the 1st prolonged exploration of the connection among Walter Benjamin, the Weimar-era innovative cultural critic, and the unconventional thinker Friedrich Nietzsche. The affinity among those noncontemporaneous thinkers serves as a restrict case manifesting the precariousness and potentials of cultural transmission in a upset present.

In 5 chapters, Constellation provides the altering determine of Nietzsche as Benjamin encountered him: an suggestion to his pupil activism, an expert for his skeptical philology, a manifestation of his philosophical nihilism, a significant other in his political exile, and finally a subversive collaborator in his efforts to imagine past the hopeless temporality--new and constantly the same--of the current second in history.

By excavating this overlooked courting philologically and elaborating its philosophical implications within the surviving texts of either males, Constellation produces new and compelling readings in their works and during them triangulates a theoretical restrict within the current, a fractured "now-time" suspended among insanity and suicide, from which the collective destiny regains a degree of consequential and transformative energy

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Extra info for Constellation : Friedrich Nietzsche and Walter Benjamin in the now-time of history

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I believe also that we have already had prophets: Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Strindberg,” his avatar asserts in the “Dialogue on the Religiosity of the Present” (EW, 79; GS, 2:34). In the “Life of Students,” the pantheon includes Plato, Spinoza, Nietzsche, and the Romantics (SW, 1:43; GS, 2:82). But if, in one sense, these mentions would seem to make the philosopher a visible influence on the young Benjamin, in another and truer sense, they mark specific opacities in the eventual relation between the two writers.

For it is a rubric of singular relevance to Benjamin’s example: the friend. Where it is a question of preserving intellectual autonomy in the face of competing commitments, Benjamin gestures toward Zarathustra’s “Nachtlied”: “Everything Jewish that goes beyond what is selfevidently Jewish in me [das selbstverständlich Jüdische in mir] is dangerous to me,” Benjamin writes. “An Idea rationalizes, makes life a good deal colder and purifies the instincts. There’s a danger in this that is expressed quite beautifully in the ‘Night-Song’ of Zarathustra.

The mutual exteriority implicit in the plurality of suns here hosts a radically alternative concept of truth, one available only intermittently at the very edge of thought. ” By the second book of his descent, Zarathustra’s loneliness results not from any encompassing intellectual commitment but emerges precisely from his uniquely positive acceptance of the disappearance “in the void” of any external ideal worth committing to. In 1912, though young Benjamin is wrestling with his historical position in a deeply personal way, in relation to Wyneken and the Wickersdorf movement he is no isolated sun but an orbiting satellite: “My thinking starts always from my first teacher Wyneken, and always returns there again,” he would write a few months later to Carla Seligson (GB, 1:108).

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