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Archive for the ‘Benjamin’ Category

In 2008, I was studying at Oxford, and happened to be in Blackwell’s books on my birthday (not really a rare occurrence, because I couldn’t walk past the shop without perusing some books, if only for a few minutes). At that time, I was engaging in many talks with a good friend on Karl Barth over some beer, so I thought it would be a good idea to actually read something substantive by him. Since I am not a theologian, probably, I decided on Der Romerbrief, thus making Romans II the first book that I specifically bought for myself on my birthday. At the time, I made a resolution to continue this tradition to the extent that I could afford it. Last year, I picked up Giorgio Agamben’s The Man Without Content and a novel by Walker Percy.

This year, I’ve basically embraced the fact that I only read literature sporadically, so I decided to stick with the philosophy. While I’d like to have continued upping the quantity of books and bought three, other restrictions like paying rent and eating have worked against that goal. However, since I have a decent-paying job right now, I was able to afford some quality-priced books. This year, I decided to pick up two of the Harvard volumes of Walter Benjamin’s work, Vol. 2 pt. 2 and Vol. 4. They are very slick-looking volumes, and weigh in at around 500 pages or so, each. With five volumes in the series, and the Arcades Project at almost 1100 pages, that’s quite a bit of writing! I hope the volumes will be useful in relation to a course I’m taking in the spring on Marx and Critical Theory, but I also have some other ideas for conference papers and such.

As Benjamin has his famous fragmented style, I was going to compare that to my non-blogging, but I think the sheer quantity of stuff he wrote prevents that comparison. Still, as I’m pretty busy with school and 30 hours of work per week, the on-and-off, mostly-off nature of the blog will continue. I am excited to finally be cracking into the publication-scene with one, hopefully two book reviews forthcoming. I also have hopes of sending two conference papers off in December, and I am also slowly trying to translate one of Michel Henry’s essay on Descartes. It’s been a busy few months, but I’m enjoying grad school very much.

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