Tag Archives: Walter Benjamin

“Modernist Theory & Theater between the Tragic & the Melancholic”

Here is a video of two lectures at the University of Michigan in dialogue on modern tragedy:  the brilliant Ian Balfour (English, York) focuses on Shakespeare’s Hamlet while I focus on the tragedy that has been called Luigi Pirandello’s Hamlet, … Continue reading

Posted in Disengagement, Literature, Melancholy, Resistance | Tagged , , ,

Ubu Roi in the German concert hall, the Parisian arcades, and the White House

This is the most self-referential piece of classical music ever written – but is it a huge prank, a farcical tale, a parlor game, a final exam, a postmodern primer, a funeral march? Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s orchestral “ballet noir,” Musique … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music, Culture | Tagged , ,

The messianic critique of tragedy*

The rejection of the covenant of assimilation by twentieth-century Messianism was an integral part of the pre-1914 pan-European critique of modernity and “romantic anti-capitalism” (Lukács). “In the years approaching the First World War, the self-confidence and security of German Jewry … Continue reading

Posted in Bildung, Culture, Melancholy, The "Greeks" | Tagged , , , ,

Friends promise each other to a shared future

Creative friends are both celebrating one another in everything they share and working toward the growth of their friendship. They work like two pianists devising contrapuntally variations on great themes of mutual interest. Friends join forces to maintain and strengthen … Continue reading

Posted in Collaboration, Friends | Tagged

After the defeat of the Revolution

A challenging contribution to current discussions of the global predicament of the left has been recently published: Enzo Traverso’s beautifully written, well illustrated, widely learned Left-Wing Melancholia: Marxism, History, and Memory (2016). It is a study of left melancholia of … Continue reading

Posted in Left, Melancholy, Philosophy, Revolution | Tagged , , ,