He who seeks to approach his own buried past must conduct himself like a man digging.... He must not be afraid to return again and again to the same matter; to scatter it as one scatters earth, to turn it over as one turns over soil. For the matter itself is only a deposit, a stratum, which yields only to the most meticulous examination what constitutes the real treasure hidden within the earth: the images, severed from all earlier associations, that stand--like precious fragments or torsos in a collector's gallery--in the prosaic rooms of our later understanding.

Walter Benjamin self-knowledge

Quotes you may love

Each morning the day lies like a fresh shirt on our bed; this incomparably fine, incomparably tightly woven tissue of pure predict ion fits us perfectly. The happiness of the next twenty-four hours depends on our ability, on waking, to pick it up.

Walter Benjamin day

The art of the critic in a nutshell: to coin slogans without betraying ideas. The slogans of an inadequate criticism peddle ideas to fashion.

Walter Benjamin critics

Reminiscences, even extensive ones, do not always amount to an autobiography.... For autobiography has to do with time, with seque nce and what makes up the continuous flow of life. Here, I am talking of a space, of moments and discontinuities. For even if months and years appear here, it is in the form they have in the moment of recollection. This strange form--it may be called fleeting or eternal--is in neither case the stuff that life is made of.

Walter Benjamin autobiography

Not to find one's way in a city may well be uninteresting and banal. It requires ignorance--nothing more. But to lose oneself in a city--as one loses oneself in a forest--that calls for a quite different schooling. Then, signboard and street names, passers-by, roofs, kiosks, or bars must speak to the wanderer like a cracking twig under his feet in the forest.

Walter Benjamin cities and city life

Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theatre. It is the medium of past experience, as the ground is the medi um in which dead cities lie interred.

Walter Benjamin memory