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Two Different Approaches to the Relationship between Poetry, History and Philosophy: Walter Benjamin and Martin Heidegger

Mack, Michael 2014. Two Different Approaches to the Relationship between Poetry, History and Philosophy: Walter Benjamin and Martin Heidegger. New Readings 14 , pp. 1-30. 10.18573/newreadings.96

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Abstract

This article first shows how an early essay of Walter Benjamin casts poetry as a transcendental mode of potential disruption that swerves away from harmful practices of politics. It then analyses how Benjamin’s understanding of the political dimension of the aesthetic differs from Martin Heidegger’s notion of truth as historical origin. According to Benjamin, art’s as well as technology’s political potential consists in a disturbance of history’s continuity. By breaking the link between the work of art and the aura of its tradition and history, mechanical reproduction helps give birth to the new cosmos of poetry, whose liberating potential Benjamin celebrates in his response to a poem by Friedrich Hölderlin. This article argues that Benjamin is concerned with the social impact of art but in ways different to Heidegger. Rather than subordinating art to historical forces of politics and economics, Benjamin makes us see its intrinsic revolutionary potential.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PT Germanic literature
Publisher: Cardiff University Press
ISSN: 1359-7485
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 January 2020
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2020 14:40
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/128903

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