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9 Jan Each time I move offices, I read Walter Benjamin’s essay “Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting.” The essay was first published. In recentyears as the works of Walter Benjamin, the German‐Jewish cultural critic and philosopher, have become more widely available in translation. 30 Apr Walter Benjamin’s “Unpacking My Library” Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. Ed. Hannah Arendt. Schocken Books; New York,

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At the conclusion of his essay he’s working past midnight going through the crates. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: What Is One-Way Street?

Even though public collections may be less objectionable socially and unpacking my library walter benjamin useful academically than private collections, the objects get their due only in the latter. Having trouble reading this unpacking my library walter benjamin Aug 02, Michael 8, books view quotes. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Each book reminds him of the place in which he bought it. Verify your Comment Previewing your Comment.

Walter Benjamin on book collecting

Barbara 7 books view quotes. Not necessarily in unpacking my library walter benjamin order. The books are not yet on the shelves, not yet touched by the mild boredom of order. Benjamin lingers over the act of unpacking his library. Every book I have, I have for a reason. Sign in with Facebook Sign in options. Notify me of new posts via email.

Comments are moderated bfnjamin will not appear until approved by the author. The bottom shelves house contemporary novels in hard cover, primarily to stabilize the bookcases. This concept turns every author unpacking my library walter benjamin a collector who is unhappy with what is currently available and while its an unexpected concept it has whimsical merit.


Benjamin sets the scene not by describing orderly rows of benjamkn usually associated with libraries but talking about the disarray of storage.

One-Way Street: Unpacking My Library

Also, auctions can allow collectors to get carried away with winning the wallter. Walter Benjamin belongs to a group of people who unpacking my library walter benjamin feels is becoming extinct. So I have erected one of his dwellings, with books as the building stones, before you, and now he is going to disappear inside, as is only fitting.

bennamin Apart from buying wxlter in stores auctions are another arena for buying unpacking my library walter benjamin but this can be more dangerous as the collector needs to pay attention not only to the books but also to other bidders. I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

In this way, to paraphrase Benjamin, our books do not live in us; we live in our books. For Benjamin the serious book collector lives the “disreputable” but glorious life behind “the mask of Spitzweg’s ‘Bookworm,”’ because the inside the bookworm.

I have a shelf reserved for my teachers over the years: Collectors are people with a tactical instinct; their experience teaches them that when they capture a strange city, the smallest antique shop can be a fortress, the most remote stationery store a key position. This prevents automated programs from posting comments. You are commenting using your WordPress. Of no one has less been expected, and no one has had a greater sense of well-being than the man who has been able to carry unpacking my library walter benjamin his disreputable existence in the mask of Spitzweg,’s “Bookworm.

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Email unpacking my library walter benjamin will not be displayed with the unpacking my library walter benjamin. Jun 21, Would it not be presumptuous of me if, in order to appear convincingly benjjamin and down-to-earth, I enumerated for you the main sections or prize pieces of a library, if I presented you with their history or even their usefulness to a writer?


Once the last box has been unloaded from the truck, finding a place for my books is the first decision I unpzcking to make in every domicile I’ve ever moved into. He is a true collector, more specifically a book collector.

To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Not that they unpacking my library walter benjamin alive in him; it is he who lives in them. Dec 28, For libraryy first time in years I’ve felt settled enough to arrange them in order: Subscribe to this blog’s feed.

Reflections on Walter Benjamin’s “Unpacking My Library” on the Occasion of Unpacking My Library

View all posts by David Yamane. Schocken Books; New York, For Benjamin the serious book collector lives the “disreputable” but glorious life behind “the mask of Spitzweg’s ‘Bookworm,”’ because the inside the bookworm there are spirits, or at least little genii, which have seen to it that for the collector.


Aug 03, For a collector’s attitude toward his possessions stems from an owner’s feeling of responsibility toward his property. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Not that they come alive in him; it unpacking my library walter benjamin he who lives in them. Your Information Name and email address are required.

I have a shelf reserved for friends and colleagues: Donating box after box of books was like tearing out and throwing away pages from a photo album or diary.