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Walter Benjamin’s genius for surreal visions

Flights of the dream bird

By Adam Kirsch   August 2016

The Storyteller: Short Stories by Walter Benjamin, translated by Sam Dolbear, Esther Leslie and Sebastian Truskolaski (Verso, £12.99) 

To call a writer “elegiac” is to suggest that he or she is sad, but only a little. On these terms, Walter Benjamin cannot be called an elegiac writer; his interest in death, dying and the dead is too disquieting and pervasive. Yet there is no doubt that Benjamin is constantly drawn to what has disappeared, or is on the brink of disappearing. “The true picture of the…

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