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English - Essay Example

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Title: Philosophy and beyond Philosophy in Walter Benjamin’s “One-Way Street” EXCERPT “The power of a country road is different when one is walking along it from when one is flying over it by airplane. In the same way, the power of a text is different when it is read from when it is copied out…
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Download file to see previous pages... Only the copied text thus commands the soul of him who is occupied with it, whereas the mere reader never discovers the new aspects of his inner self that are opened by the text, that road cut through the interior jungle forever closing behind it: because the reader follows the movement of his mind in the free flight of daydreaming, whereas the copier submits it to command. The Chinese practice of copying books was thus an incomparable guarantee of literary culture, and the transcript a key to China's enigmas” (Benjamin 50). THESIS STATEMENT Walter Benjamin, a German philosophist, social critic and a renowned literary critic had been a center of conversation during the early and mid 20th century, owing to his revolutionary works on information literacy. Among his various contributions to modern German and French literature, his literary work in “One-Way Street”, translated by Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley Shorter, had marked the roots of an apparent insurgency in the imminent literatures focusing on the unification of philosophical modernity with reality experiences of life. The above selected excerpt presents a clear illustration to the idealistic fineness and individuality in the literary works of Walter Benjamin. This thesis will thus emphasize contextualizing the excerpt and correspondingly, interpret the philosophical meaning of the passage. CONTEXTUALIZING THE EXCERPT When assessing the individuality features imbibed in the literary works of Walter Benjamin, Osborne and Matthew suitably connote that “This [the narrations in “One-Way Street”] entails what Adorno describes as a “philosophy directed against philosophy”…or what Howard Caygill calls a “philosophizing beyond philosophy” (Osborne and Matthew, “Walter Benjamin”). Precisely, the text in “One-Way Street” can be regarded as a masterpiece in modern informative literature art. In the selected excerpt too, the reader shall find inferences drawn on the basis of real life experiences of a person, illustrating the disputable contexts of capitalism persisting in the modern society of humankind. In a benevolent, but equally strong and unambiguous manner, Benjamin addresses the issues faced by a common man at one end of the polarized capitalistic society in comparison with the elite enjoyed by another man with obvious greater purchasing power at the other end. Taking direct reference from the text, it can be argued that the man who possesses the power to afford an airplane is likely to have petite understanding regarding the hardships that a common man face, who actually works in the background to nurture and cultivate the benefits reaped by the capitalists. The common man is thus represented as a man who needs to travel the road on-foot and certainly faces greater difficulties in reaching his destination. Expanding the thought process of the excerpt, Walter Benjamin depicts a similar polarization tact followed in the field of informative literary writings where it is often witnessed that secondary writers attempt to copy from the work actually conducted by the primary writer. In this excerpt, Benjamin regards the primary writer or the true investigator as the common man who needs to walk down the road and experience all the pain in his way; while the copier, presents the rich possessing affordability to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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