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By Clayton Koelb

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By Clayton Koelb

Its in fine condition yet certainly no longer fresh. The pages are white and have not yellowed like particularly outdated books.

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Nietzsche as postmodernist : essays pro and contra

Its in fine condition yet certainly no longer fresh. The pages are white and have not yellowed like rather outdated books.

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Creation collapses into consumption, art into aesthetics: everything summed up by Hegel's notion of the "death of art," everything Adorno will come to call by the name Entkunstung. " In 1874, Nietzsche saw in advance the political consequences of such revenge.  For Benjamin, writing the Theses on the Philosophy of History in occupied Paris, in the full shock of the Stalin­Hitler pact, in the wake of the Moscow purge trials, after the collapse of the Popular Front, after the failure of the Left to mobilize proletariat resistance to fascism as it spreads throughout Western Europe—for Benjamin, in 1940, on the eve of his own untimely suicide, the stakes are extremely high.

55 The "Es war" is no longer "einmal" but enragingly manifold; and the revolutionary imperative of the present would seem to hinge precisely on the consciousness of its repeated frustration in the all­too recent past. " Such death is the untimeliness that marks every time, shatters every moment of affirmation, limits every triumph of every will.  Reactive irritability becomes the conformism which is elsewhere the mark of pity: an intolerance to resistance (Widerstand), a warning against (Widerraten) resistance (Widerstreben), a resistance to resistance.

Page 23 7 neurosis (the repetition­compulsion of obsessionality), on the other.  So it is in any case a classic instance of a reader who speaks most of someone where he speaks least about him by name.  For the two poles of Benjamin's thinking would seem at first glance to collapse squarely into what Nietzsche designates as two most powerful versions of the ascetic ideal, two versions of a life­ denying herd mentality in its most debased form.  Let alone the very great political differences between Benjamin and Heidegger—nowhere more so, of course, than during the 1930's, a time when all these issues press particularly hard.

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