Cover: Benjamin's -abilities, from Harvard University PressCover: Benjamin's -abilities in PAPERBACK

Benjamin's -abilities

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Product Details


$30.00 • £24.95 • €27.00

ISBN 9780674046061

Publication Date: 04/10/2010

Academic Trade

376 pages

5-11/16 x 8-15/16 inches


In Benjamin’s –abilities, Samuel Weber takes an innovative approach to Walter Benjamin’s work. In contrast to the burgeoning secondary literature on Benjamin devoted to broad themes (his ‘messianism,’ his ‘Marxism,’ etc.), Weber, who has achieved academic prominence with scholarship on the Frankfurt School, psychoanalysis, deconstruction and media culture, opens up a fertile avenue of interpretation by paying close attention to a stylistic idiosyncrasy running through Benjamin’s oeuvre… [Weber] deftly navigates this labyrinth of interpretations, exhibiting a keen sense of Benjamin’s singularly elusive style of thinking and writing.—Ross Benjamin, The Times Literary Supplement

Not only the best read of 2008 but, with a shelf full of works on Walter Benjamin, the best book on him I’ve ever read.—Rosalind Krauss, Artforum

Weber’s close readings are illuminating.—David Gordon, Library Journal

In this demanding book, Weber analyzes Benjaminian theory and its potential, presenting a close reading of Walter Benjamin at his most energetic and complex… Through Benjamin, Weber illuminates what happens between what is written and what is read and the true impossibility of defining any sort of straight line between those two points.Publishers Weekly

Benjamin’s -abilities is a landmark work in the study of Walter Benjamin and in all of the many fields in which Benjamin’s work has become indispensable. This book marks the culmination of the work of one of the most influential and admired critics writing today, whose work has been profoundly involved in and shaped by an innovative engagement with Benjamin.—Kevin McLaughlin, Brown University

Because no single methodology could account for all the textual maneuvers and figurations with which Benjamin saturates his variegated writings, a new book on Benjamin must also offer an entirely new way of seeing and reading—a tall order. Benjamin’s -abilities is just such a book. Sam Weber has long been one of the most significant and original thinkers on the international scene. This book, perhaps Weber’s magnum opus, will be of great interest not only to scholars of Benjamin but also to a wide community of readers in the humanities and beyond.—Gerhard Richter, University of California, Davis

Awards & Accolades

  • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2009
  • An Artforum Best Book of 2008
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