Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
MembersReviewsPopularityRatingFavorited   Events   
13,058 (20,786)1741,704 (4)67
Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was a German-Jewish Marxist literary critic, essayist, translator and philosopher associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory. — biography from The Storyteller: Tales out of Loneliness
Illuminations: Essays and Reflections 3,031 copies, 21 reviews
The Arcades Project 1,420 copies, 6 reviews
Infancia berlinesa hacia 1.900 405 copies, 6 reviews
One-Way Street 219 copies, 1 review
Moscow Diary 197 copies, 4 reviews
On Hashish 192 copies, 3 reviews
Understanding Brecht 113 copies, 2 reviews
Radio Benjamin 111 copies, 1 review
Sobre la fotografía 64 copies, 1 review
On The Concept of History 52 copies, 2 reviews
Oeuvres 1 49 copies
Oeuvres, tome 3 44 copies
Denkbilder 42 copies
Stadsgezichten 39 copies
Oeuvre, tome 2 38 copies
Rêves 20 copies, 1 review
Briefe 12 copies
Valik esseid 6 copies
Sur Proust 6 copies
Ein Lesebuch 6 copies
Sur Naples 5 copies
Karl Kraus 5 copies
Aura a stopa 5 copies
Racconti 5 copies
Essais 4 copies
Beroliniana 4 copies
Estética y política 2 copies, 1 review
París 2 copies
Sonhos 2 copies
Kurze Prosa 2 copies
Flanör 1 copy
Narratori 1 copy, 1 review
*ANY 1 copy
Raster 13 1 copy
Eseji 1 copy
Essai 1 copy
Baudelaire 1 copy
Berlin Alexanderplatz (Contributor, some editions) 2,570 copies, 37 reviews
Elective Affinities (Afterword, some editions) 1,920 copies, 24 reviews
The Art of the Personal Essay (Contributor) 1,308 copies, 8 reviews
Aesthetics and Politics 593 copies, 2 reviews
Packing My Library: An Elegy and Ten Digressions (Contributor, some editions) 417 copies, 15 reviews
Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books (Contributor) 192 copies, 3 reviews
Cultural Resistance Reader (Contributor) 135 copies
The Conspiracy (Contributor, some editions) 126 copies, 2 reviews
Walking in Berlin: A Flaneur in the Capital (Introduction, some editions) 103 copies
Jean Renoir (Contributor) 87 copies
Karl Blossfeldt : The alphabet of plants (Contributor) 43 copies, 1 review
Walter Benjamin (Contributor) 4 copies

Top members (books)

Member favorites

19th century (105) 20th century (254) aesthetics (198) anthology (160) architecture (69) art (233) Benjamin (253) Berlin (194) books (64) books about books (65) classics (62) critical theory (327) criticism (187) cultural studies (119) culture (62) essay (184) essays (793) fiction (392) Frankfurt School (259) German (385) German literature (485) Germany (289) history (161) literary criticism (378) literary theory (143) literature (350) Marxism (153) memoir (84) non-fiction (526) novel (186) Paris (75) philosophy (1,251) photography (62) read (63) Roman (120) theory (346) to-read (766) translation (108) Walter Benjamin (222) writing (75)
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical name
Legal name
Other names
Date of birth
Date of death
Burial location
Country (for map)
Place of death
Cause of death
Places of residence
Awards and honors
Short biography
Walter Benjamin was born to a Jewish family in Berlin, the eldest of three children. His parents were Pauline (Schönflies) and Emil Benjamin, a banker and businessman. Walter attended a progressive co-educational boarding school in Haubinda, and the universities of Freiburg, Berlin, Munich, and Bern. He married Dora Sophie Pollak, with whom he had a son. In 1919, Benjamin earned his PhD summa cum laude at the University of Bern with a dissertation called Der Begriff der Kunstkritik in der deutschen Romantik (The Concept of Art Criticism in German Romanticism). He returned to Berlin and worked as a literary critic and translator. His celebrated 1924 essay on Goethe's novella, The Elective Affinities, put into practice his ideas of art criticism. His book The Origins of German Tragic Drama, published in 1928, quickly received favorable attention from leading critics in Germany and abroad. Benjamin made plans for publishing a left-wing periodical to be entitled Crisis and Critique while eking out a living as a translator and freelance writer. In 1933, he left Nazi Germany, following Bertolt Brecht and many other Jewish friends into an exile he divided between Paris, Ibiza, San Remo, and Brecht's house in Denmark. With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Benjamin was temporarily interned in French camps for German citizens. On his release, he returned to Paris and continued his work in the Bibliothèque Nationale before being forced to flee the invading German army in the summer of 1940. He found refuge with the Emergency Rescue Committee in Marseille led by Varian Fry. He joined a guided party that crossed the Pyrenees on foot and tried to enter Spain, but they were turned back by customs officials. In despair, and thinking he was going to be turned over to the Nazis, he committed suicide in the small Spanish border town of Portbou. The posthumous publication of his prolific writings significantly increased his renown in the later 20th century.
Disambiguation notice

Member ratings

Average: (4)
0.5 9
1 37
1.5 1
2 97
2.5 24
3 307
3.5 83
4 599
4.5 81
5 680

Author pictures (2)


(see all 2 author pictures)

Improve this author

Combine/separate works

Author division

Walter Benjamin is currently considered a "single author." If one or more works are by a distinct, homonymous authors, go ahead and split the author.


Walter Benjamin is composed of 17 names. You can examine and separate out names.

Combine with…


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 188,485,403 books! | Top bar: Always visible