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Benjamin Walter One-Way Street and Other Writings

Benjamin Walter One-Way Street and Other Writings

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Walter Benjamin


One-Way Street
and Other Writings

T ranslators

Edmund J ephcott Kingsley Shorter

A ll texts in this v o lu m e are in clu d e d in W a lte r B en jam in , Gesammelte Schriften, B d I - I V , p u b lish e d b y S u h rk a m p V e r la g , F ra n k fu rt 1 9 7 4 -1 9 7 6 , w ith the e x c e p tio n o f Berliner Chronik, p u b lish ed b y S u h rk a m p V e r la g , F ra n k fu rt 1970. © S u h rk a m p V e r la g T h e fo llo w in g texts first a p p ea re d in E n glish , w h o lly or in p a rt, in W a lte r B en jam in , Reflections, H a rc o u rt B race J o v a n o v ic h , N e w Y o r k 1978: “ O n e -W a y S tre e t” (selections), “ O n L a n g u a g e as S u c h a n d on th e L a n g u a g e o f M a n ” , “ F ate a n d C h a r a c te r ” , “ C ritiq u e o f V io le n c e ” , “ T h e o lo g ic o -P o litic a l F ra g m e n t” , “ T h e D e stru ctiv e C h a r a c te r ” , “ O n the M im e tic F a c u lty ” , “ N a p le s” , “ M o s co w ” , “ M a rse ille s” , “ H ash ish in M a rse ille s” , “ S u rrea lism ” , “ K a r l K r a u s ” a n d “ B erlin C h r o n ic le ” . © H a rc o u rt B ra c e J o v a n o v ic h , 1978 T h is ed itio n first p u b lish ed 1979 © N L B , 1979 N L B , 7 C a rlisle S treet, L o n d o n W 1 IS B N 86091 0 1 4 8

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Introduction by Susan Sontag Publisher’ s Note I One- Way Street II On Language as Such and on the Language o f M an Fate and Character Critique o f Violence N Theologico-Political Fragment The Destructive Character On the Mimetic Faculty III Naples Moscow Marseilles Hashish in Marseilles IV

7 29


107 124 132 1 55 157 160

167 177 209 215

N Surrealism A Small History o f Photography ' Karl Kraus

225 240 258

A Berlin Chronicle VI Eduard Fuchs, Collector and Historian Bibliographical Note Index

Susan Sontag

In most o f the p o rtrait ph otographs he is lookin g dow n, his righ t h and to his face. T h e earliest one I know shows him in 1927— he is th irty -fiv e — w ith dark cu rly hair over a high forehead, m oustache above a full low er lip: you th fu l, alm ost handsom e. W ith his head low ered , his ja c k e te d shoulders seem to start behind his ears; his thum b leans against his ja w ; the rest o f the hand, cigarette b etw een bent index and third fingers, covers his c h in ; the d ow n w ard look through his glasses— the soft, d a y -d rea m e r’s gaze o f the m y o p ic — seems to float o ff to the low er left o f the ph otograph. In a picture from the late 1930s, the c u rly hair has h a rd ly receded, but there is no trace o f you th or handsom eness; the face has w id en ed and the u p p er torso seems not ju st h igh but blocky, huge. T h e thicker m oustache and the p u d g y folded hand w ith th u m b tucked under cover his m outh. T h e look is op aq u e, or ju st m ore in w a rd : he cou ld be th in k in g — or listening. (“ H e w ho listens h ard doesn’t see,” B enjam in w rote in his essay on K a fk a .) T h e re are books behind his head. In a p h otograp h taken in the sum m er o f 1938, on the last o f several visits he m ade to B recht in exile in D en m ark after 1933, he is stan din g in front o f B re ch t’s house, an old m an at forty-six, in w h ite shirt, tie, trousers w ith w atch ch ain : a slack, corp u len t figure, lookin g tru cu len tly at the cam era. A n o th e r picture, from 1937, shows B enjam in in the B ib lioth equ e N atio n a le in Paris. T w o m en, neither o f whose faces can be seen, share a table some distance behind him . B enjam in sits in the right


8 foreground, p ro b ab ly taking notes for the book on B au d elaire and n in eteen th-century Paris he had been w riting for a decade. H e is consulting a volu m e he holds open on the table w ith his left h a n d — his eyes c a n ’t be seen — looking, as it w ere, into the low er right edge o f the p h otograp h . His close friend G ershom Sch olem has described his first glim pse o f B enjam in in Berlin in 1913, at a jo in t m eeting o f a Zionist youth group and Jew ish m em bers o f the Free G erm an Studen t Association, o f w hich the tw enty-on e-year-old B enjam in was a leader. H e spoke “ extem pore w ith ou t so m uch as a glan ce at his audience, staring w ith a fixed gaze at a rem ote corner o f the ceiling w hich he h arangu ed w ith m uch intensity, in a style in cid en tally that was, as far as I rem em ber, ready for p rin t.” 1

H e was w hat the French call un triste. In his youth he seem ed m arked by “ a profound sadness” , Sch olem w rote. H e thou ght o f him self as a m elancholic, disdaining m odern p sychological labels and in vokin g the traditional astrological one: “ I cam e into the w orld under the sign o f S a tu rn — the star o f the slowest revolu tion , the planet o f detours and delays. . . .” 2 His m ajor projects, the book published in 1928 on the G erm an baroque d ram a (the Trauerspiel; literally, sorrow -play) and his never com pleted Paris, Capital o f the Nineteenth Century, can not be fully understood unless one grasps how m uch they rely on a theory o f m elancholy. B enjam in projected him self, his tem peram ent, into all his m ajor subjects, and his tem peram ent determ ined w h at he chose to w rite abou t. It was w hat he saw in subjects, such as the seven­

1 Gershom Scholem , “ W alter B en jam in ” , in On Jews and Judaism in Crisis (Schocken, 1976). Scholem , five years you n ger than Benjam in, relates that they did not a ctu a lly m eet until 1915, during S ch olem ’s first term at the U n iversity o f M unich, w hich Benjam in attended after lea vin g the U niversity o f Berlin. Unless otherwise in dicated, the Scholem quotations com e from this essay, w ritten in 1964, or from “ W alter Benjam in and His A n g e l” , w ritten in 1972, in the same volum e. 2 In “ Agesilaus S an ta n d er” , a short text that Benjam in w rote in Ib iza in A u gust l 933, found in his notebooks and first published by Scholem in “ W alter Benjam in and His A n g e l” .

3 For. in school and on w alks w ith his m other. it is still untranslated. despite the p olem ic in his great (still untranslated) essay on G o e th e ’s Elective Affinities against in terp retin g a w rite r’s w ork b y his life. as w ell as in his travel pieces and rem iniscences. the lab y rin th are recurren t them es in his literary essays and. he describes P rou st’s “ loneliness w h ich pulls the w orld d ow n into its v o rte x ” . T h e street. observe. the a rcad e. T h e m ind w h o w as to atta ch m uch o f the n in eteen th c e n tu ry ’s sensibility to the figure o f the Jl&neur. contain B e n ja m in ’s most exp licit self-portrait. B ut one can use the w ork to interpret the life.” B enjam in does not m ean solitude in a ro o m — he was often sick as a c h ild — but solitude in the g rea t m etropolis. fo r w hom w a lk in g was the centre o f his reclusive life and m arvellous books. free to d ayd ream . was “ essentially so lita ry ” . a m agazine published in V ien n a and edited by H u go von H ofm annsthal. like K le e . in the projected book on n in eteen th -cen tu ry Paris. In 1937 Benjam in excerpted the section abou t G o e th e ’s Satu rn in e ch aracter and published it in F rench translation in Les Cahiers du Sud as “ L ’ angoisse mythique chez Goethe. cites R o b ert W a lser’s “ horror o f success in life” . (T hus. K a rl K ra u s. shrew d. . the solitary. cruise. is a w riter to w hom one p a rticu la rly wishes B enjam in had -d evoted a lon ger essay.Introduction g teen th -cen tu ry b aroq u e plays (w hich d ram atize different facets o f “ S atu rn in e a c e d ia ” ) and the writers a b ou t whose w ork he w rote m ost b rillia n tly — B au d elaire. (R o b ert W alser. subtle relation to cities. H e even found the S atu rn in e elem ent in G o e th e . K a fk a . spun m uch o f his ow n sensibility out o f his phantasm a go rica l. the passage. he did m ake selective use o f the life in his deepest m editations on texts: in fo rm a ­ tion th at disclosed the m elan ch olic. n otably. ponder.)4 T h e only book o f a dis­ 3 T h e lon g G oeth e essay was w ritten in 1922 and appeared in tw o parts in 1924­ 1925 in the Newe Deutsche Beitrage. personified b y that superbly self-aw are m elan ch olic B au d elaire. the busyness o f the idle stroller. “ solitude appeared to me as the only fit state o f m a n . w ritten in the early 1930s and un publish ed in his lifetim e.) O n e c a n n o t use the life to in terp ret the w ork. T w o short books o f rem iniscences o f his B erlin ch ild h o od and student years.” 4 B en jam in ’s b rie f essay “ R o b e rt W a lse r” was first published in Das Tagebuch in 1929. Proust. exp lains how K a fk a . T o the nascent m elan ch olic.

evoke a certain vision o f cities as w ell as a certain kind o f life. . His goal is to be a com petent street-m ap reader w ho knows how to stray. and how he positions h im self in it. requires practice. he is in d icatin g a general problem abou t orien tation. lab yrin ths and arcades. the sites o f prestigious cafes whose lon g-forgotten nam es d a ily crossed our lips. Ben­ ja m in writes. the w ays to d ifferent schools and the graves that I saw filled. A r a g o n ’s Le Paysan de Paris). w h ich he im agined as grey. I learned this art late in life: it fulfilled the dream s whose first traces w ere the lab yrin ths on the blotters o f my exercise b ooks. he had devised a colourful system o f signs that “ clearly m arked in the houses o f m y friends and girl friends. w a itin g for som eone in the C afe des D eu x M ago ts in Paris. the assem bly halls o f various collectives. E lsew here in Berlin Chronicle Benjam in relates that for years he had played w ith the idea o f m appin g his life. vistas and panoram as. navigates aroun d it.” T h is passage also occurs in A Berlin Chronicle. given an origin al sense o f “ im poten ce before the c ity ” . For this m ap. T h e revelation o f the c ity ’s true n ature cam e not in Berlin b u t in Paris. . w ith im agin ary m aps. w here he stayed frequently th rou gh ou t the W eim a r years.Way Street. m em ories and dream s. as one loses on e’s w a y in a forest. A n d to locate himself.” begins his still un tran slated A Berlin Childhood Around the Turn o f the Century. Paris. the Paris re-im agined in the Surrealist narratives (B reton ’s Madja. in w hich each im portan t relationship figures as “ an en tran ce to the m a ze” . . . R em iniscences o f self are rem iniscences o f a place. from the ‘ d eb atin g ch am b ers’ o f the Y o u th M o vem en t to the gath erin g places o f the C om m u n ist youth.to creetly a u to b io gra p h ical nature published in his lifetim e was titled One. T h e recurrent m etaphors o f m aps and diagram s. “ N ot to find on e’s w a y abou t in a city is o f little in terest. “ But to lose o n e’s w a y in a city. the decisive benches in the T ierga rten . the hotel and brothel room s that I knew for one n ight. he relates. W ith these m etaphors. he m anaged to d raw a d iagram o f his life: it was like a lab y rin th . “ tau gh t me the art o f stra yin g” . after B enjam in suggests how m uch practice it took to get lost. and lived as a refugee from 1933 until his suicide w hile tryin g to escape from F ran ce in 1940— more exactly.” O n ce . .

It was Lacis w h o got Benjam in an in vitation to M oscow in the w in ter o f 192 6 -19 27 and w h o introduced him to Brecht in 1929. thereby rein forcin g w h at was inept (“ m y in a b ility even tod ay to m ake a cu p o f coffee” ) and d ream ily recalcitran t in his nature. Jo h n O sborne. Lo n d o n /N L B . 1977. “ ab ove all. indecisive. 5 A sja Lacis and Benjam in m et in C a p ri in the sum m er o f 1924. 5.” One-Way Street distills the experiences o f the w riter and lover (it is d ed icated to A sja L acis. B enjam in hoped to m arry her w hen he and his wife w ere finally divorced in 1930. But she returned to R ig a and later .spent ten years in a Soviet cam p. M arch /A p ril 1973). T h e influence o f S atu rn m akes people “ apath etic. from not n oticin g on e’s lack o f p ra ctica l sense. w h ich begins by in vok in g an A riad n e. m ore stupid than I am . slow ” . assistant to Brecht and to Piscator.Introduction 11 and erectin g a stan dard o f d ifficu lty and com plexity. “ W h ole netw orks o f streets w ere open ed up u n der the auspices o f p rostitu tion .” he w rites in Berlin Chronicle. A n d stubbornness. w ho “ cut it through the a u th o r” ) . the w hore w ho leads this son o f rich parents for the first tim e across “ the threshold o f class. . had its origin in such w alks. from n oticin g too m an y possibilities. m ore m alad ro it. N o.5 * Der Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (1928). a ga ze that appears to see not a third o f w h at it takes in . he writes in The Origin o f German Trauerspiel * Slowness is one ch aracteristic o f the m elan ch olic tem peram ent. m ore dexterous. w ho w ou ld turn in sign ifican t item s o f con d u ct into tests o f his aptitu d e for p ractical life. and how to gain access to it: through an act o f the m ind that is the same as a ph ysical act. “ M y h a b it o f seem ing slower. B lu n d erin g is another.) H e is also suggesting a notion a b ou t the forbidden. B enjam in recalls his stu b b orn ­ ness d u rin g ch ild h o od w alks w ith his m other. w ith w h om B enjam in w rote “ N aples” in 1925 (pp. B en jam in ’s study o f the Baroque Trauerspiel is published in English as The Origin o f German Tragic Drama. 16 7 -7 6 below) and for w hom he w rote “ Program m e for a Proletarian C h ild re n ’s T h e a tre ” in 1928 (translated in Performance. (A lab yrin th is a place w here one gets lost. and has the great a tten d an t d anger o f m akin g m e think m y self q u icker.” A n d from this stubbornness com es. from the lon gin g to be su p erio r— on o n e’s ow n terms. She was a L a tv ia n com m unist revolu tio n ary and theatre director. and shrew der than I a m .” T h e m etap h or o f the lab y rin th also suggests B en ja m in ’s idea o f obstacles throw n up by his ow n tem peram en t. trans.

T h e can dour and the surge o f painful feelings in Berlin Childhood and Berlin Chronicle becom e possible precisely because B enjam in has adopted a com pletely digested.” B enjam in regards everything he chooses to recall in his past as prophetic o f the future. other people for the en counter w ith oneself. instead o f h avin g to get up early to go to school. Spring 1978. a paean to the tech n olo­ gical w ooin g o f n ature and to sexual ecstasy. the dream o f b eing allow ed to sleep as long as he w ants. because the w ork o f m em ory (reading oneself b ack w ard . w hen he writes about h im self as a child.” he w rites in Berlin Chronicle. an alytical w a y o f relatin g the past. . “ H ope in the Past: W alter B en jam in ” . “ H ere. w ritten in 1961. for w h ich he disavow s the nam e o f au to b io gra p h y. A t that distance.” ) B enjam in. translated in Critical Inquiry. because time is irrelevant. (“ A u to ­ b io grap h y has to do w ith tim e. 3. 4. V o l. see Peter Szondi. w ill be fulfilled w h e n — after his book on the Trauerspiel failed to q u alify him for a university lectu resh ip— he realizes that “ his hopes o f a position and a secure livelihood had alw ays been in v a in ” . childhood. and the final “ T o the P la n eta riu m ” . It evokes events for the reactions to the events. w rote fragm ents o f an opus that could be 6 For an excellent essay. I am talkin g o f a space. B enjam in could w rite abou t him self m ore d irectly w hen he started from m em ories. feelings and b eh aviou r for intim ations o f future passions and failures contained in th em . he called it) collapses tim e. his w ay o f w alk in g w ith his m other. places for the em otions one has deposited in the places.6 Fantasies o f monsters loose in the large apartm ent w h ile his parents entertain their friends prefigure his revulsion against his cla ss. he can survey his life as a space that can be m apped. the translator o f Proust. T h ere is no chron o­ logical ord erin g o f his rem iniscences. “ w ith ped an tic care” keeping one step behind her. not con tem porary experiences.12 experiences that can be guessed at in the opening w ords on the w riter’s situation. on Berlin Childhood as a readin g o f the past for omens o f the future. pre­ figures his “ sabotage o f real social existence. o f m om ents and discontinuities. w ith sequence and w h a t makes up the continuous flow o f life. w h ich sound the them e o f revo lu tion ary m oralism. No.

is condensed in the m em ory o f rooms that the d ea d friend in h ab ited . blows us through the n arrow funnel o f the present into the future. in a d eq u acy . A n d to know how to get lost. A w a sh in m elan ch olic aw areness o f “ the disconsolate chronicle o f w orld histo ry” . its p rem o n ito ry structures. time is the m ed iu m o f constraint. the b aroq u e d ram atists seek to escape from history and restore the “ tim eless­ ness” o f paradise. U turns. B en ja m in ’s poor sense o f d irection and in a b ility to read a street m ap becom e his love o f travel and his m astery o f the art o f strayin g. d ead ends. the great sorrow o f B e n ja m in ’s student years. passages. it is w h ere he explains most c le arly w hat feeling underlies this m ove. repetition. In tim e. prone to indecisiveness. o n e-w ay streets. “ ch ro n ological m ovem en t is grasped and analysed in a sp atial im a g e . his notion o f ideas and ex­ periences as ruins. Since the S atu rn in e tem peram en t is slow. M e m o ry .Introduction 13 called A la recherche des espaces perdues. intersections. indeed. . T h e seven teenth-cen tu ry b aroq u e sensibility had a “ p a n o ra m a tic ” con cep tion o f history: “ history m erges into the settin g . the staging o f the past. to know how to chart it. one is only w h at one is : w h at one has alw ays been. B enjam in m erges his life into a setting. teem ing w ith possibilities. m eans o f sp atia lizin g the w o rld : for exam ple. B enjam in is not tryin g to recover his past. one can be another person. ch aracteristically.” In Berlin Childhood and Berlin Chronicle. turns the flow o f events into tableau x. T h e successor to the b aroqu e stage set is the Surrealist c ity : the m etaphysical lan d scap e in whose d ream lik e spaces people h ave “ a brief. T im e does not giv e one m uch le e w a y : it thrusts us forw ard from behind. but to understand it: to condense it into its sp atial forms. T o u n derstan d som ething is to understand its to p o g ra p h y .” T h e book on the Trauerspiel is not only B en jam in ’s first acco u n t o f w hat it m eans to convert tim e into space. In space. positions. T o o m an y possibilities. F or the ch ara cter b o m under the sign o f Satu rn . he writes in The Origin of German Trauerspiel. like the n in eteen -year-old poet whose suicide. sh ad ow y existence” . a process o f incessant d ecay. detours. But space is broad. m ere fulfilm ent. B en ja m in ’s recurren t them es are. F or the b aroq ue dram atists.

“ T h is is perhaps the origin o f w h at others call patien ce in me. often ill as a child. H is taste for pseudonym s w ell antedates his need as a G erm an -Jew ish refugee. T h e m ark o f the Saturn ine tem peram ent is the self-conscious and un forgivin g relation to the self. w h ich can never be taken for granted.i4 sometimes one has to cut on e’s w a y through w ith a knife. com e forw ard slow ly. as a virtue. T h in gs ap p ear at a distance. B enjam in was d raw n to m ore com pact codes. (H ence. T h e self is a te x t— it has to be deciphered. was excited by “ the secret lan gu age o f the salons” . others did experience it as patience.) T h e self is a project. this is an apt tem peram ent for artists and m artyrs. as B enjam in says o f K a fk a . as B enjam in notes. (H ence.” )7 But som ething like patience is needed for the m ela n ch o lic’s labours o f decipherm en t. Proust.” ( O f course. In Berlin Childhood. O n ly very patient people could gain deeper con tact w ith h im . liked to m ake up anagram s. he im agined the hours a p p ro a ch in g his sickbed. which he dem onstrated w ithout any ostentation w h atever and under the most difficult conditions.” Scholem cites the testim ony o f someone w ho was with Benjam in d urin g his intern­ m ent in a cam p near Paris and in N evers in the autum n o f 1939. O n e is alw ays in arrears to oneself. that he m ade an indelible im pression on his fellow prisoners “ b y his infinite and stoic patience. this is an apt tem peram ent for intellectuals. played w ith pseudonym s. Scholem has described him as “ the most patient hum an being I ever cam e to k n o w . w ho from 1933 to 1936 continued to publish review s in G erm an m agazines u nder the nam e o f D etlev H olz. som ething to be built. H e collected em blem books. Som e­ times one ends by turnin g the knife against oneself.) A n d the process o f b u ild in g a self and its works is alw ays too slow. he speaks o f his “ propensity for seeing ev eryth in g I care about a p p roach me from far a w a y ” — the w ay. but w hich in truth does not resem ble an y v irtu e. those w ho court “ the pu rity and b ea u ty o f a failu re” . the nam e he used to sign the last book to 7 Scholem continues: “ A n d to deal w ith Benjam in one had to h ave the greatest patience oneself. .

that B enjam in could also drop friends b ru tally. m asked by friendliness. o f not being able to get w h a t one wants. J a n u a ry 1975. N o. U sin g a w ord th at was also ap p lied to K a fk a by those w ho knew him .) D issim ulation. Deutsche Menschen. T hese feelings o f sup eriority. “ A n gelu s N o vu s” — is. secretiveness ap p ear a necessity to the m elan ­ cholic. it is felt they ou ght to be.Introduction 15 a p p e ar in his lifetim e. in German Life and Letters. W . often veiled relations w ith others. “ Som e R ecollection s o f W alter B en jam in ” . . 2. intransigen t. as he did his com rades from the Y o u th M o vem en t. Belm ore. w hen they no longer inter­ ested h im . In the a m a zin g text recen tly published b y Scholem . O n e characteristic o f the Saturn ine tem peram ent is slowness: “ T h e tyran t falls on accou n t o f the 8 See H . H erbert Belm ore was a G ym n asiu m classm ate o f B enjam in.8 N or is one surprised to learn that this fastidious. by one o f these friends. 1-10 ) in the twovolu m e S u hrkam p edition o f B en jam in ’s letters are w ritten to him. o f in a d eq u acy . as Scholem has pointed out. the earliest letters (Nos. B enjam in speaks o f his fantasy o f h avin g a secret n am e. Th is spiteful and u nadm iring portrait o f B enjam in is a docum en t o f the un qu en chab le bitterness about being d ropp ed still felt. or the m ost scrupulous m an ipu lation . though “ later on he tend ed to conceal this gift” . or even nam e it p rop erly (or consis­ tently) to o n eself— these can be. H e was an “ u n ca n n y ” graphologist. the n am e o f this te x t— w h ich turns on the figure in the K le e d ra w in g he ow n ed. V o lu m e X X V I I I . But one is not surprised to learn. that he could let him self be “ b a ite d ” (his ow n word) and condescended to by B recht on his visits to D en m ark. H e has com p lex. an an a gram o f T h e A n g e l Satan (Der Angelus Satanas). (B enjam in discusses h a n d w ritin g in “ O n the M im e tic F a c u lty ” . o f baffled feeling. fiercely serious m an could also flatter people he p ro b a b ly did not think his equals. Scholem reports. Scholem speaks o f “ the alm ost C hinese cou rtesy” that ch ara cterized B en ja m in ’s relations w ith people. published in S w itzerlan d in 1936. o f the m an w ho could ju stify P rou st’s “ invectives against friend­ sh ip ” . “ A gesilaus S a n ta n d e r” . T h is prince o f the in tellectu al life could also be a courtier. sixty years later. B enjam in an alysed both parts in The Origin o f German Trauerspiel b y the theory o f m elan ch oly.

see reality as things. it is the w orld w hich yields itself to the m ela n ch o lic’s scrutiny. it is m elancholics w ho best know how to read the w orld. F id elity lies in accu m u latin g things— w hich appear. in the form o f fragm ents or ruins. corresponds to the “ deeper. rather.16 sluggishness o f his em otions. But his a rgu ­ m ent is m ore d a rin g : he perceives that the deep transactions betw een the m alan ch o lic and the w orld alw ays take place w ith things (rather than w ith p eop le). m ore contem plative fa ith ” he keeps w ith m aterial em blem s. the m ore potent and ingenious can be the m ind w hich contem plates them . B enjam in describes the b aroq u e as a w orld o f things (emblems. as it does to no one else’s. and that these are genuine transactions.” O n ly som eone id en tifyin g w ith this sense o f historical catastrophe. T h e m anipulativeness o f the cou rtier is p artly a “ lack o f c h a ra cte r” . ruins) and spatialized ideas (“ allegories are. His faithlessness to his fellow men. alm ost th in glik e” . this degree o f despondency. I f this m elan ch oly tem peram ent is faithless to people. p artly it “ reflects an inconsolable. w ould have explained w hy the courtier is not to be despised. (“ It is com m on practice in baroque literatu re to pile up fragm ents inces­ san tly” .” “ A n o th e r trait o f the predom in an ce o f S a tu rn . whose m ind is “ fluctuation itse lf” . despon­ dent surrender to an im penetrable conjunction o f b aleful con­ stellations [that] seem to have taken on a m assive.” says B enjam in. w h at ruins are in the realm o f thin gs” ). Precisely because the m elancholy ch aracter is haunted b y death. O r. B enjam in writes. T h e genius o f Surrealism was to gen eralize w ith ebullient can d ou r the b aroque cult o f ruins. W h a t B enjam in describes could be understood as sim ple p ath o lo gy: the tenden cy o f the m elancholic tem peram ent to project its inner torpor outw ard . in the realm o f thought. is “ faithlessness.) Both the baroque and Surrealism . alm ost thing-like cast. w hich reveal m eanin g. sensibilities w ith w hich B enjam in p rofou n d ly identified. to perceive that the nihilistic energies o f the . B enjam in says. as the im m u ta b ility o f m isfortune. T h e more lifeless things are. w hich is exp erienced as “ m assive. m ostly.” This is represented by the ch aracter o f the courtier in b aroqu e dram a. it has good reason to be faithful to things.

” B ook-huntin g. Basel. M a n y exp ected references are absent in B en ja m in ’s . M oscow . B enjam in exp erien ced w h at in h im self was clever. . . successful. D an zig . m em ories o f the rooms w here these books had been housed. As one kind o f collector him self. professional tools. In ert in the face o f thing-like disaster. “ C ollectors are people w ith a ta ctica l instinct” — like courtiers. N aples. Paris. H e drew from the obscure. “ T h e great works w h ich m eant so m uch to h im . shrew d. M u n ich . B enjam in sp ecialized in ch ild re n ’s books and books w ritten by the m ad. in w hich a Surrealist-inspired eye for the treasures o f m eanin g in the ephem eral. b u ild in g his library. “ T h ese stones w ere the b read o f m y im a g in a tio n . invites custodians. w h ich in clu d ed m an y first editions and rare books. . stim uli for reverie.” he w rote a b o u t M arseilles— the most recalcitran t o f cities to that im agin ation . discontinuous utterance. u n ab ash ed ly passionate. A w orld whose past has becom e (by definition) obsolete. B enjam in rem ain ed faithful to th in gs— as things. they w ere con tem p lative objects. and whose present churns out instant antiques. decoders. his own) sen sibility: the taste for alle­ g o ry.Introduction ij m o d em era m ake everyth in g a ruin or fra g m en t— and therefore collectible. and n eglected w orked in tandem w ith his lo y alty to the trad itio n al can on o f learn ed taste. adds to the g e o g ra p h y o f p leasu re— another reason for strolling a b ou t in the w orld . A cco rd in g to Scholem . B en ja m in ’s books w ere not only for use. . disdained G erm an b aroq u e d ram a elem ents of the m od em (that is to say. discredited. His lib ra ry evokes “ m em ories o f the cities in w hich I found so m an y things: R ig a . “ w ere p laced in b izarre patterns next to the most ou t-of-th e-w ay w ritings and o d d ities. the sense o f historical catastrop he.” reports Scholem . like the sexual hunt. even w hen helped by a dose of hashish. H e liked find in g things w here n obod y was looking. F lorence. the m elan ch oly tem peram en t is ga lva n ized by the passions aroused by p rivileg ed objects. . Surrealist shock effects.” T h e odd arran gem en t o f the lib ra ry is like the strategy o f B en ja m in ’s w ork. In collectin g. was “ his most en d urin g personal passion” . . A p a r t from first editions and b aroq u e em blem books. and collectors.

must understand it” . I 9 23 - .9 he understood the im portan ce o f being against interpretation w h erever it is obvious. P recisely because he saw that “ all hum an know ledge takes the form o f in terp retation ” . A n d he was fascinated by the very different. un-Jewish sense o f ruse practised b y Brecht. o f m akin g ev eryth in g clear. and had spent fifteen years sym p ath izin g w ith revo lu tion ary com m unism . T h is m an w ho read virtu a lly every­ thing. B enjam in argues. w hich he reads as 9 L etter to C hristian Florens R a n g (No. the a n ti-K a fk a o f his im agination . w ithout readin g M arx. H e preferred b ein g a com m unist. H e preferred the doctrine o f the four tem peram ents as a psychological theory to Freud. too.) His sense o f strategy was one o f his points o f id en tification w ith K a fk a . 126 in the Suhrkam p Briefe). is that they have no definite. or tryin g to be one. His most com m on strategy is to drain sym bolism out o f some things. (P red ictably. (H e was read in g Capital on his visit to B recht in D en m ark in the sum m er o f 1938. represented for Benjam in. “ A ll the decisive blows are struck left-h an d ed ” . w ith the little w ooden don key near his desk from whose neck hung the sign “ I. T h e w hole point o f the K a fk a stories. sym bolic m eaning. w here n obod y suspects its existence (such as the G erm an b aroq u e plays. B recht disliked B en jam in ’s great essay on K a fk a intensely. a kindred w ould-be tactician . as he says in One-Way Street.) B recht. like the K a fk a stories or G o e th e’s Elective Affinities (texts w here everyb od y agrees it is there). B en jam in ’s propensity is to go against the usual interpretation . and pour it into others. B en jam in ’s “ m asochistic” (the w ord is Siegfried K r a c a u e r ’s) relation to B recht. Decem ber 9 . w ho “ took precautions against the in terpretation o f his w ritin g ” . the possibly m ore potent ruse o f reducin g com p lexity. shows the extent to w hich he was fascinated by this possibility. w h ich most o f his friends deplored.i8 w o rk — he d id n ’t like to read w h a t everyb od y was reading. had b arely looked into M a rx until the late 1930s. an ad m irer o f esoteric religious texts.

n oth in g is straightforw ard . postage stam ps. ‘inn ocen t’ eye has becom e a lie ” . he claim ed for his w ritings. Th a letter to a friend. B enjam in. E very th in g is— at the lea st— difficult. com bin ed w ith his in d efatig ab le com m an d over theoretical perspectives. and such p la yfu l m in iatu rizatio n s o f rea lity as the w inter w orld inside a glass globe th at snows w hen it is shaken. and his never realized a m bition . as it were. 1926. w ho used to tran scribe the m anuscripts o f his stories and novels as m icro­ gram s. forty-nin e levels o f m eanin g. picture post­ cards. His ow n h a n d w ritin g was alm ost m icroscopic. he w rote.) Scholem relates that w hen he visited B enjam in in Paris in A u g u st 1927 (the first tim e the two friends had seen each other since Scholem em igrated to Palestine in 1923). or a refugee. H e loved old toys. But see B en jam in ’s letter to Scholem from Paris (No. M u c h o f the o rigin ality o f B en ja m in ’s argum ents owes to his m icroscogic gaze (as hia friend an d disciple T h eo d o r A d orn o called it). but books o f this sort w ere com m on in the 1920s. B en jam in d ragged him to an exh ib it o f Jew ish ritual objects at the M usee C lu n y to show him “ tw o grains o f w heat on w h ich a kind red soul had inscribed the com plete S hem a Isra el” . in a truly m icroscopic script. was to get a hun dred lines on a sheet o f paper. Perhaps. he w rote in One-Way Street. was both a / ig A 10 Scholem tells the story in “ W alter B en jam in ” . a long letter tow ard the end o f w h ich he w rites: “ I co u ld n ’t b u ild a L illip u tian state w ith this. M arxist letter. T h a t should perhaps speed you r visit to Paris.Introduction allegories o f historical pessim ism ) . eviden t in One-Way Street. But let me tell you th at in the Jew ish section o f the M usee C lu n y I h ave discovered the Book o f Esther w ritten on a page a little m ore than h a lf the size o f this one. (T h e am bition was realized by R o b ert W alser. only p artly facetiously. “ A m b ig u ity displaces au th en ticity in all thin gs” .10 T o m in ia tu rize is to m ake p o rta b le — the ideal form o f possessing things for a w an d erer./ 1E ach book is a ta ctic/. “ It was the sm all things that a ttracted him m ost” . Sch olem reports. For m oderns as m uch as for cabalists. W h a t is most foreign to B enjam in is a n y th in g like ingenuousness: “ the ‘ u n clo u d ed ’. w rites Sch olem . and it was in a specifically Surrealist m ontage style that . 156 in the Briefe) o f M a y 29. o f course.” Scholem argues th at B en jam in ’s love for the m iniature underlies his taste for b rie f litera ry utterances.

T h e opening passage.20 w anderer. the cover was a ph otographic m ontage o f aggressive phrases in capital letters from newspaper announcem ents. T h e m elancholic sees the w orld itself becom e a thin g: refuge. universal gesture o f the b ook” . com plete) and a fragm ent (so tiny. and cited B au d elaire: “ E very th in g for me becom es A lle g o r y . anagram s. passions. object. transm uted into ph ilosophical argum ent and the m icrological analysis o f things. L ove o f the sm all is a ch ild ’s em otion. handw riting. allegory. Shortly before his death. in booklet form w ith typograph y intended to evoke advertising shock effects. b u t Surrealist taste m ocks these terrors. allegory is the w a y o f read in g the w orld typical o f m elancholies. the w rong scale). “ T h e only pleasure the m elanch olic perm its himself. enchantm ent. he asserted. in w hich Benjam in hails “ prom pt lan gu age” and denounces “ the pretentious. on the m ove. the m ethod B enjam in practised himself. B enjam in observes. B enjam in w rote in The Origin o f German Trauerspiel. and. even perverse. ads. official and odd signs. rather than a m erely intelligible or beautiful. w hich Surrealist taste discovered as an enigm atic. and it is a pow erful one. Benjam in was d raw n to the extrem ely sm all as he was to w h atever had to be d e c ip h e re d : em blem s. It becom es an object o f disinterested con­ tem plation or reverie. T h e m elan cholic alw ays feels threatened b y the dom inion o f the thing-like. It is both a w hole (that is. and abou t w hich B enjam in w rote w ith such origin ality. physically. does not make m uch sense unless one knows w h at kind o f book. one colonized by Surrealism . In d eed. w eighed dow n by things. S urrealism ’s great gift to sensibility was to m ake m elan ­ ch oly cheerful. . that is. T h e Paris o f the Surrealists is “ a little w o rld ” .” T h e process w hich extracts m eanin g from the petrified and insignificant. One-Way Street was designed to be. and a collector. T o m iniaturize means to m ake useless. Ben­ ja m in ’s m ajor subjects. B enjam in was these short independent texts were presented. liberated from its m ea n in g — its tininess b eing the outstanding thin g abou t it. For w h at is so grotesquely red u ced is. so is the p h otograph . is the characteristic m ethod o f the G erm an baroque dram a and o f B audelaire. is a lle g o ry ” . One-Way Street was published by Ernst R ow oh lt in Berlin. T o m iniaturize is to conceal. in a sense. solace.

12 A n d the best w ay to understand them is also to enter their space: one never rea lly understands a book unless one copies it. O r put o n e’s head b ehin d the w a ll o f a book. 1940. he says in One-Way Street. B enjam in w rites in the book on the Trauerspiel. L ik e the box in G o e th e ’s tale. T h e m ost p raisew orth y w a y o f a cq u irin g books is by w riting them . w ritten in Paris on J a n u a ry 17. and u n kn ow in gly carries around w ith him a b ox co n tain in g the m iniatu re kingdom o f w hich she is the princess. the w orld is red u ced to a collectible thing. In G o e th e ’s tale. B en jam in ’s letter (No.” T o readin g. 326 in the Brie/e) to G retel A dorn o. an earlier selection o f B en jam in ’s writings. the delirium o f the child. an object. . B enjam in evokes his ch ild h o od rap tu re: “ Y o u did not read books th rou gh . In Berlin Chronicle. T h e book for him was another space in w hich to stroll. O n ly because history is fetishized in ph ysical objects can one understand it. a book is not on ly a fragm en t o f the w orld but itself a little w orld. B etter.Introduction 21 p lan n in g an essay a b ou t m in iatu rizatio n as a device o f fantasy. 11 Cf. 12 In Illuminations. the true im pulse w h en one is b ein g looked at is to cast dow n o n e’s eyes. 11 w hich is abou t a m an w ho falls in love w ith a w om an w ho is a ctu a lly a tiny person. T h is is w h at m akes it possible to find m eaning in o n e’s ow n life. as one never understands a lan dscape from an airplane but o n ly by w a lk in g throu gh it. “ T h e am ou n t o f m eanin g is in exact proportion to the presence o f d eath and the pow er o f d e c a y ” . in the m ost literal sense. w h ich the reader inhabits. 1970. Lo ndon . It seems to have been a con tin u ation o f an old plan to w rite on G o e th e’s “ T h e N ew M e lu sin a ” (in Wilhelm Meister ) . T h e book is a m iniatu rizatio n o f the w orld. look in a corner. For the ch ara cter b o m under the sign o f Saturn. you d w elt. edited b y H an n ah A ren d t. B enjam in rem arks in “ U n p a ck in g M y L ib r a r y ” . tem p o rarily gra n ted norm al size. a b id ed b etw een their lines. one can low er on e’s head to o n e’s notebook. O n ly because the past is dead is one able to read it. was ev en tu a lly ad d ed w riting. O n ly because the book is a w orld can one enter it. in “ the dead occurrences o f the past w h ich are eu p h em istically know n as ex p erien ce” . the obsession o f the ad ult. w h ich includes the essays on K a fk a and Proust.

T h in k in g was also a form o f collecting. (D espair over “ every defeat o f the w ill” — B au d elaire’s phrase a g a in — is a characteristic com plaint o f m odern artists and intellectuals. proposing that dream states m ay be relied on to furnish all the m aterial needed for w ork. L earn in g was a form o f collecting. His instincts as a collector served him w ell. P art o f the im petus for the large correspondence he conducted was to chronicle. the m a la d y o f m onks” . at least in its p relim in ary stages. speculated a good deal on the w riter’s d aily existence. a notebook o f current read in g in w hich M a r x ’s Eighteenth . rew rote plans for future projects. like dream s. alw ays tryin g to w ork m ore. on his second and last visit to B enjam in in Paris. (Scholem recalls seeing. p articu la rly o f those w ho are both. d eve­ loped mini-essays in letters to friends. tim ing. Benjam in.22 It is characteristic o f the Saturn ine tem peram ent to b lam e its undertow o f inw ardness on the w ill. to do nothing but w ork.) O n e is condem ned to w o rk . Surrealism sim ply puts a positive accen t on w h at B aud elaire experienced so n egatively: it does not deplore the gu tterin g o f volition bu t raises it to an ideal. the resulting h ypertrop hy o f w ill usually takes the form o f a com pulsive devotion to w ork. to w ork un in terru pted ly. utensils. kept num bered lists o f all the books he read. alw ays w orking. C on vin ced that the w ill is w eak. E ven the dream iness o f the m elan cholic tem peram ent is harnessed to w ork. confirm the existence o f w ork. ended m any letters and his Intimate Journals w ith the most im passioned pledges to w ork m ore. w ho suffered constantly from “ acedia. otherwise one m ight not do a n yth in g at all. report on. as in the quotations and excerpts from daily readin g w hich B enjam in accu m u lated in notebooks that he carried everyw h ere and from w hich he w ou ld read aloud to friends. in 1938. One-Way Street has several sections w hich offer recipes for w ork: the best conditions. or seek the access to concen trated states o f attention offered by drugs. T h u s B audelaire. and the m elanch olic m ay try to cu ltivate p h an tasm agorical states. H e conscientiously logged stray ideas. I f these efforts are successful. noted his dream s (several are recounted in One-Way Street). the m elan cholic m ay m ake ex tra va g a n t efforts to develop it.

one m ust be so lita ry — or. H e w as able to research and w rite The Origin o f German Trauerspiel in tw o y ears. as husband and father (he h ad a son. B en ja m in ’s n egative feelings abou t m arriage are clear in the essay on G o e th e ’s Elective Affinities. m aterial for the w riter. K a fk a . T h e style o f w ork o f the m elan ch olic is im m ersion. estranged from his wife after 1921. at least. introduces the falsely sub­ je c tiv e . he w rote in the essay on Surrealism . B enjam in was c ap ab le o f ex tra o rd in ary concentration. for the true ad d ictive exp erien ce is alw ays a solitary one. (B enjam in considered the book he w an ted to w rite on hashish one o f his m ost im p ortan t projects. or atten tion floats aw ay. b o m in 1918. some o f it. As a w riter. not escape from the exactions o f the w ill. was w ritten in lon g evenings at a cafe. not bound to any perm anent rela­ tionship. on on e’s freedom to con cen trate on w ork. m elancholics m ake the best addicts. it is a drain on the w ill. (“ T h in k in g w h ich is an em inent n a rco tic ” . total concen ­ tration . B ut a lth ou gh . and o f natu ral relationships. is perceived by the m elan cholic tem peram ent as less th an seductive. T h e w orld o f nature. 1649. in the form o f fam ily ties. a com pulsion. T h e self-portrait in Berlin Childhood and Berlin Chronicle is o f a w h olly alien ated son. the n atu ra l. he appears to have sim ply not k n ow n w h a t to do w ith these relationships.) 23 H o w does the m elan ch olic becom e a hero o f w ill? T h ro u gh the fact th at w ork can b ecom e like a drug. the sen tim en tal. w ere pru d en t stunts.) T h e need to be so lita ry — a lo n g w ith bitterness over on e’s lon e­ liness— is ch aracteristic o f the m elancholic. not acts o f self-surrender. For the m elancholic. His heroes— K ierk eg a a rd . supervised by a doctor friend.Introduction Brumaire is listed as N o. and Scholem reports th at B enjam in cam e to regard his ow n m arriage (he was m a rried in 1917. B au d ela ire. sittin g close to a ja z z band.) In fact. he boasts in Berlin Chronicle. K r a u s — never m a rried . and d ivorced in 1930) “ as fatal to h im s e lf’ . w ho em igrated to E n glan d w ith Ben­ ja m in ’s ex-w ife in the m id -i9 30 s). in a d va n ce. It also presents a ch a llen g e to o n e’s h u m a n ity to w hich the m elan ch olic knows. T o get w ork done. he w ill be in a d eq u ate. E ith er one is im m ersed. on on e’s in d ep en ­ d en ce . T h e hashish sessions o f the late 1920s. Proust.

Benjam in w rote p ro lifica lly — in some periods turning out w ork every week for the G erm an literary papers and m a ga zin es— it proved im possible for him to w rite a norm al-sized book again. In a letter in 1935, B enjam in speaks o f “ the Saturnine p a c e ” o f w ritin g Paris, Capital o f the Nineteenth Century, w hich he had begun in 1927 and thought could be finished in tw o y ea rs.13 His characteristic form rem ained the essay. T h e m ela n ch o lic’s intensity and exhaus­ tiveness o f atten tion set n atural lim its to the length at w hich Benjam in could exp licate his ideas. His m ajor essays seem to end ju st in tim e, before they self-destruct. His sentences do not seem to be generated in the usual w a y ; they do not entail. E ach sentence is w ritten as if it w ere the first, or the last. (“ A w riter must stop and restart w ith every new sentence” , he says in the P rologue to The Origin o f German Trauer­ spiel.) M en ta l and historical processes are rendered as concep tu al ta b leau x ; ideas are transcribed in extremis and the in tellectu al perspectives are vertiginous. His style o f thinking and w riting, incorrectly called aphoristic, m ight better be called freeze-fram e baroque. T h is style was torture to execute. It was as if each sentence had to say everyth in g, before the in w ard gaze o f total con cen tra­ tion dissolved the subject before his eyes. B enjam in was p ro b ab ly not ex a gg eratin g w hen he told A d orn o that each idea in his book on B aud elaire and nin eteen th-century Paris “ had to be w rested a w ay from a realm in w hich m adness lies” .14 Som ething like the dread o f b eing stopped prem atu rely lies behind these sentences as saturated w ith ideas as the surface o f a b aroq ue p ain tin g is jam m e d w ith m ovem ent. In a letter to A d orn o,

13 Letter to W ern er K ra ft (No. 259 in the Briefe), w ritten from Paris on M a y 25, 1935. A t his death in 1940, Benjam in left thousands o f pages o f draft m anuscript, only a sm all portion o f w hich has been published. Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era o f High Capitalism (N ew Left Books, 1973) contains translations o f the m aterial from B en jam in ’s Paris project published in G erm an so far. 14 In a letter from A d orn o to Benjam in, w ritten from N ew Y o rk on N ovem ber 10, 1938, translated in Aesthetics and Politics (N ew Left Books, 1977 )- Benjam in and A dorn o met in 1923 (Adorno was tw enty), and in 1935 Benjam in started to receive a sm all stipend from M a x H orkh eim er’s Institut fur Sozialforschung, o f w hich A dorn o was a m em ber.



B en jam in describes his transports w hen he first read A ra g o n ’s Le Paysan de Paris, the book that inspired Paris, Capital o f the Nine­ teenth Century: “ I w ou ld never read m ore than tw o or three pages in bed o f an even in g becau se the pou nd in g o f m y heart was so loud th at I had to let the book fall from m y hands. W h a t a w a r n in g !” 15 C a rd ia c failure is the m etap horic lim it o f B en jam in ’s exertions and passions. (H e suffered from a heart ailm ent.) A n d c a rd ia c sufficiency is a m etap h or he offers for the w riter’s a ch ieve­ m ent. In the essay in praise o f K a r l K rau s, B enjam in w rites: “ I f style is the pow er to m ove freely in the len gth and b read th o f lin guistic thin kin g w ith o u t fallin g into b an ality , it is attained chiefly by the card iac strength o f great thoughts, w hich drives the b lood o f lan gu a g e throu gh the capillaries o f syntax into the rem otest lim b s.” T h in k in g , w ritin g are u ltim ately a question o f stam ina. T h e m elanch olic, w ho feels he lacks w ill, m ay feel that he needs all the d estructive energies he can m uster. “ T r u th resists b ein g projected into the realm o f k n ow led g e” , B en jam in w rites in The Origin o f German Trauerspiel. His dense prose registers that resistance, and leaves no space for a ttack in g those w h o distribute lies. B enjam in considered polem ic beneath the d ign ity o f a tru ly p h ilosoph ical style, and sought instead w h at he called “ the fullness o f concen trated p o sitivity ” — the essay on G o e th e ’s Elective Affinities, w ith its d evastatin g refutation o f the critic and G oeth e b io grap h er F ried rich G u n do lf, b eing the one excep tion to this rule am o n g his m ajor w ritings. But his awareness o f the eth ical utility o f p o lem ic m ade him app reciate that onem an V ien n ese p u b lic institution, K a rl K ra u s, a w riter whose fa cility , stridency, love o f the aphoristic, and in d efatigable polem ic energies m ake him so unlike B en ja m in .16 T h e essay on K ra u s is B en ja m in ’s most passionate and perverse defence o f the life o f the m ind. “ T h e perfidious reproach o f being

15 L e tte r to A d orn o (No. 260 in the Briefe ), w ritten from Paris on M a y 31, 1935. 16 B en jam in had his K rau sia n side in reviews. See his “ L eft-W in g M elanchoLy” , w ritten the same year (1931) as the K rau s essay, a w ithering pan o f a volum e o f poem s by E rich K astner, w hich pillories— through K a stn e r— shallow, philistine m elan ch oly. T ran slated in Screen, V o l. 15, No. 2, S um m er 1974.

26 ‘ too in telligen t’ h aunted him th rou gh ou t his life” , A d o rn o has w ritte n .17 B enjam in defended h im self against this philistine defam ation b y b ra ve ly raising the stan dard o f the “ in h u m a n ity ” o f the intellect, w h en it is p ro p e rly — that is, e th ic a lly — em ployed. “ T h e life o f letters is existence under the aegis o f m ere m ind as prostitution is existence under the aegis o f m ere sex u a lity ” , he w rote. This is to celeb rate both prostitu tion (as K ra u s did, because mere sexuality was sexuality in a pure state) and the life o f letters, as B enjam in did, using the un likely figu re o f K rau s, because o f “ the genuine and d em on ic function o f m ere m ind, to be a disturber o f the p e ace.” T h e eth ical task o f the m o d e m w riter is to be not a creator but a d estro yer— a destroyer o f shallow inw ardness, the consoling notion o f the un iversally hu m an , dilettantish creativity, and em p ty phrases. T h e w riter as scourge and destroyer, p o rtrayed in the figure o f K rau s, he sketched w ith concision and even greater boldness in the allegorical “ T h e D estru ctive C h a r a c te r ” , also w ritten in 1931. T h e date is suggestive: Sch olem has w ritten that the first o f several times B enjam in con tem p lated suicide was in the sum m er o f 1931. (T h e second tim e was the follow in g sum m er, w hen he w rote “ Agesilaus S a n ta n d e r” .) T h e A p o llo n ia n scourge w h om B en ja ­ m in calls the destructive ch aracter “ is alw ays b lith ely at w ork, . . . has few needs, . . . has no interest in b ein g understood, . . . is you n g and cheerful, . . . and feels not that life is w orth livin g but that suicide is not w orth the tro u b le .” It is a kind o f con ju ratio n , an attem pt by B en jam in to d raw the d estru ctive elem ents o f his S aturn ine ch ara cter o u tw a r d — so that they are not self-destructive. Benjam in is not referrin g ju st to his ow n destructiveness. H e thought that there was a p ecu liarly m o d e m tem ptation to suicide. In “ T h e Paris o f the Second E m p ire in B au d ela ire” , he w rote, “ T h e resistance w h ich m od ern ity offers to the n atu ral p rod u ctive elan o f a person is out o f p rop ortion to his strength. It is u n der­ standable if a person grow s tired and takes refuge in death.

17 In A d o rn o ’s essay “ A Portrait o f W alte r B en jam in ” , in Prisms, N L B , forth­ com ing 1979.



M o d e rn ity m ust be un der the sign o f suicide, an act w hich seals a h eroic w ill. . . . It is the a ch ievem en t o f m od ern ity in the realm o f passions . . .” . S u icid e is understood as a response o f the heroic w ill to the defeat o f the w ill. T h e only w a y to a vo id suicide, B enjam in suggests, is to be b eyon d heroism , b eyond efforts o f the w ill. T h e d estru ctive ch ara cter can n o t feel trapped, becau se “ he sees w ays e v e ry w h e re ” . C h ee rfu lly en gaged in red u cin g w h at exists to ru bb le, he “ positions h im self at the crossroads” . B e n ja m in ’s p o rtrait o f the destructive ch ara cter w ou ld evoke a kind o f Siegfried o f the m in d — a high-spirited, childlike brute u n d er the protection o f the go d s— had this a p o ca ly p tic pessimism not been q u alified b y the irony alw ays w ith in the range o f the S atu rn in e tem peram ent. Iro n y is the positive nam e w hich the m ela n ch o lic gives to his solitude, his asocial choices. In One-Way Street B en jam in hailed the iro n y that allow s in d ivid u als to assert the righ t to lead lives in d ep en d en t o f the com m u n ity as “ the most E u ro p ea n o f all accom p lish m en ts” , and observed that it had c o m p letely deserted G erm an y . B en jam in ’s taste for the ironic and the self-aw are put him o ff most o f recent G erm an c u ltu re : he detested W a gn er, despised H eidegger, and scorned the frenetic v a n g u a rd m ovem ents o f W e im a r G erm an y such as Expressionism . P assionately, but also iro n ically, B enjam in p laced him self at the crossroads. It was im p o rta n t for him to keep his m an y “ positions” o p en : the theological, the Surrealist/aesthetic, the com m unist. O n e position corrects an o th er: he needed them all. D ecisions, o f course, tended to spoil the b alan ce o f these positions, vacillation kept ev eryth in g in place. T h e reason he gave for his d elay in lea v in g F ra n ce, w hen he last saw A d orn o in early 1938, was that “ there are still positions here to d efen d ” . B en jam in thought the freelance in tellectu al was a d yin g species a n y w a y , m ade no less obsolete by cap italist society than by revo lu tio n a ry com m u n ism ; indeed he felt that he was livin g in a tim e in w h ich ev eryth in g v a lu a b le was the last o f its kind. H e th o u gh t Surrealism was the last intelligen t m om ent o f the E u rop ean in telligen tsia, an a p p ro p ria tely destructive, n ihilistic kind o f in telli­ gence. In his essay on K ra u s, B enjam in asks rh eto rically: D oes

28 K rau s stand “ at the threshold o f a new a ge? A las, by no m eans. H e stands at the L ast J u d g m e n t.” B enjam in is thin kin g o f himself. A t the Last Ju d gm en t, the Last In te lle c tu a l— that S atu rn in e hero o f m od em culture, w ith his ruins, his defiant visions, his reveries, his un q u en ch ab le gloom , his d ow n cast eyes— w ill exp lain that he took m any “ positions” and defended the life o f the m ind to the end, as righteously and in h u m an ly as he could. © Susan Sontag 19 7 9

Publisher’s Note

T h e b ack g ro u n d and o rga n iza tio n o f the m aterials included in this v o lu m e need a few w ords o f exp lanation . A t its head stands B en ja m in ’s w ork One-Way Street (I), the one other com plete book after The Origin o f German Tragic Drama that he succeeded in p u b lish in g in his life-tim e, and the w ork that marks the m ain w a tersh ed in his in tellectu al and political developm ent. T h ere follow five groups o f shorter texts correspon din g to successive phases in his w ritin g before and after this turnin g-point. These obey a ch ro n o lo g ica l order, w ith some m inor variations. T h e y start w ith a selection o f B en ja m in ’s m etap hysical w ritings, largely from the e a rly years 1916 to 1921 ( I I ) ; proceed to a series o f tow nscapes w ritten b etw een 1924 and 1928 ( I I I ) ; present a trio o f m ajor aesthetic essays o f the later W eim a r period, d a tin g from 1929 to 1931 ( I V ) ; then m ove to the a u to b io gra p h ical w ritin g o f 1932 that was his closing project before the victo ry o f N azism ( V ) ; and finally c o n clu d e w ith a representative theoretical study from the tim e o f his exile in F ran ce, com posed in 1937 (V I). Som e b rie f rem arks m ay serve to cla rify this sequence. B e n ja m in ’s ea rly p h ilosoph ical form ation was in the n eo -K a n tia n idealism that d om in ated the G erm an universities in the years before the First W o rld W a r, alth ou gh his ow n ad m iration for K a n t was tem pered by his attraction tow ards the rom an tic aesthetic theories o f S ch legel and N ovalis, constructed in part again st the leg a cy o f K a n t. His deepest convictions at this date,


how ever, seem to have been religious — in th eological affinity closest to Jew ish m ysticism , and in sp ecu lative focus trained p rim arily on lan gu ag e. P olitically, he had broken w ith the elitist and nationalist Jugendbewegung, o f w h ich he had been an active m em ber as a student, w hen its leaders rallied to the im perialist weir effort in 1914. D u rin g the w ar, the last part o f w h ich he spent in neutral S w itzerlan d , he shared the rad ical anarchist sym pathies o f his friend G erh a rd Scholem . T h e g ro u p o f early texts b elow (II) reflects this youthful outlook. B enjam in was 24 w h en he w rote the first. H ig h ly gn om ic and abstract, th ey w ere not as en tirely isolated or id iosyncratic as they m ight ap p ear to a co n tem p o ra ry reader. T h e great m etap hysical interest in lan gu a g e en vin ced in On Language as Such and the Language o f Man and Fate and Character had a counterpart in the con tem porary w ork o f the yo u n g H eid egger, whose quest for origins took by contrast a m ed ieval rath er than b ib lica l direction. T h e m essianic con cep tion o f social revolu tion as the descent o f an eschatological salvation , m arked in Critique of Violence and the Theologico-Political Fragment, was likew ise not confined to B enjam in. His elders Ernst B loch and G eo rg Luk&cs had in d epen d en tly developed a ve ry sim ilar m ystico-political radicalism in the years before the First W o rld W a r. L u k a cs had been attracted b y C h ristian and H assidic doctrines o f red em ption (the latter under the influence o f B u ber), and even H in d u notions o f caste.1 B lo ch ’s first m ajor w ork, Der Geist der Utopie, pu blished in 1918, was an exalted call for a new terrestrial order and a new church to link it to the su p ern atu ral order above, w h ich saw the Bolshevik R e vo lu tio n as the w ork o f “ praetorian s en th ron in g C h rist as E m p eror” in R ussia.2 B enjam in m et B loch d u rin g their com m on refuge in S w itzerlan d , form ing a close friendship w ith him . Fate and Character was published in B lo ch ’s expressionist review Die Argonauten, as was B en jam in ’s first significan t literary essay, on

1 See M ichael L o w y, Georg Lukdcs— From Idealism to Bolshevism, Lond on N L B , forthcom ing 1979, C h a p te r II. Luk&cs’s essay o f 1912, Von der Armut am Geist, m ingling appeals to M eister E ckhardt, B rahm inism and Dostoevsky, is a particu ­ larly clear expression o f this outlook. 2 Der Geist der Utopie, Frankfurt 1971 re-edition, pp. 298-299.

O n the oth er hand. T h e b alan ce. p. the Theologico-Political Fragment expressly invokes Der Geist der Utopie. 4 " Zweigleisigkeit” : see Geschichte einer Freundschaft. and its results w ere m ore cryptic. p. A fter the W a r. A rcan e in style and 3 Sch olem testifies that in discussions o f On the Mimetic Faculty in 1938. B en ja m in ’s first m ajor p u b lica tio n was a long essay on G o e th e ’s Elective Affinities.the essay on K a r l K ra u s an d the Theses . w hose precise in ter-relation sh ip rem ained en igm atic. The Destructive Character and On the Mimetic Faculty. H is th o u gh t retained w h at Sch olem has a p tly called a “ tw o -tra ck ” cast. Walter Benjamin— Die Geschichte einer Freundschaft. But there was no in w a rd ru p tu re w ith his earlier m ysticism .pendants respectively to Fate and Character and On Language as Such and the Language o f M a n . F ran k fu rt 1975. so that he co u ld w rite short texts in the 1930s d irectly continuous in idiom and p reo ccu p a tio n w ith those o f a d ecade before. b ecom in g a m ajor theorist and m ilitan t in the ranks o f the T h ird In tern atio n al. B loch fused religious and p o litica l them es into a single m illen arian cosm ology. His d evelop m en t reveals an u n m istak ab le evolution tow ards a m ore coheren t m aterialism . h ow ever. 156. . m ystical and m aterialist motifs w ere distilled into separate w ritings. In the post-w ar epoch. L u kacs ab a n d o n ed the universe o f religion altogether.Publisher’s Note 31 D o sto ev sk y ’s The Idiot (a cen tral book for this g e n e ra tio n ).B enjam in did not attem p t any syncretism o f the tw o sources o f his beliefs either. inclu d ed in this collection. w ith very few exceptions . often exa sp era tin g ly so. B en ja m in ’s en cou n ter w ith M arxism occurred later. See G erh ard Sch olem . com posed in 1922. all three m en discovered M arxism .3 w hile the unpublished Theologico-Political Fragment o f 1920-21 so clearly adum brates them es in Theses on the Philosophy o f History o f 1940 that A d orn o cou ld lon g believe it to h a ve been com posed as late as 1938. Benjam in spoke u n m etap h o rically o f the “ W ord o f G o d ” as the foundation o f any theory o f la n gu a ge. are cases in point . 260. was to shift q u a lita tiv e ly betw een the two in the trajecto ry o f his w ork.4 C h aracteristically. to his secular and religious adm irers alike.

T h ere were two others. Frankfurt 1966.7. T h e A u stria n poet and p la y w righ t H u go V o n H ofm an nsth al w a rm ly a p p ro v ed the essay and published it in his recen tly founded review Neue Deutsche Beitrdge in 1924-25. contem poraneous or subsequent. B enjam in w ithd rew the text. one o f the most rem arkable w om en I have ever m et” . the Neue Deutsche Beitrdge proved to be a fiasco as a jo u rn a l: the m ixtu re o f con servative nostalgia and religious restorationism that d om in ated its pages consigned it to a virtu a lly private b ack w ater in W eim a r c u ltu re . T h e final work was. In the closing stages o f his w ork on the G erm an Trauerspiel. His first attem p t to establish h im self as a critic drew . H o fm an n sth al’s cu ltu ra l a u th o rity m ight have seem ed to ensure B en ja m in ’s n ational d eb u t in G erm an intellectual life. “ a Russian revo lu tio n a ry from R ig a . From M a rch 1923 to A p ril 1925 he w orked on a p ost-d octoral thesis for the U n iversity o f F ran kfu rt on G erm an b aro q u e d ram a. this was. it fitted no con ven tion al c a teg o ry o f literary criticism . p ro b ab ly B e n ja m in ’s ow n expectation. I f accepted.5 Its circu la ­ tion was so sm all that B en jam in ’s essay found no resonance in G erm an letters at the time. how ever. S tu ttg a rt 1976. A t the tim e o f its a p p earan ce. W itte ’s excellent study is indispensable for an un derstan din g o f B enjam in’s early developm ent. 351. T h e re he m et and fell in love w ith Asja Lacis. pp. it was greeted w ith silence and incom prehension in G erm an y.6 H e now d eterm in ed 5 See Bernd W itte. p. this w ould afford him a secure acad em ic career. 100-105. In fact. Walter Benjamin— Der Intellektuelle als Kritiker.192 4: Briefe. at least. its ultim ate fam e was to be en tirely post­ hum ous. E ven tu ally pu blish ed in 1928 as The Origin o f German Tragic Drama. . His second was m ore am bitiou s. too com plex and esoteric for the professors to w hom it was subm itted. 6 Letter o f 7. in the com pan y o f B loch. a blank.3^ m etaphysical in register. in effect. T h e dual failure o f his w ork on G oethe and the B aroque to w in even an in itiated p u b lic was to be one o f the m ain precipitants o f the a b ru p t ch an ge o f d irectio n in B en jam in ’s w ork after 1925. B enjam in had stayed for some m onths in C a p ri in late 1924. F orew arn ed o f rejection. how ever.

lea d in g him to suggest that B enjam in take up em p lo y­ m ent in a bank. forsaking his review er.” 7 S ch olem . a w e ll-o ff art d ealer in B erlin. a ctiv e ly consid erin g w h eth er to jo in the K P D or n o t. m ean w h ile. m etap h ysical for m ore top ical terrains. 156. T h e onset o f the great inflation o f 1923 struck at his fath er’s fortune. travel-rep orter and m ore esoteric diction for an often d isconcertin gly concrete lan ­ gu ag e. from herm eticism to pu blicism . H e becam e a prolific bookradio-scriptw riter. T h is is the hard schooling o f its new form . in favou r o f forms a lte rn a tin g betw een action and w riting. “ leaflets. for the m ost part w ritten b etw een A u gu st 1925 and S ep tem b er 1926.Publisher’ s Note 33 to stud y L u k a c s’s History and Class Consciousness. w ith a tten d an t tensions betw een the two. T h e p roject o f the Habilitationsschrift had thus also been an attem p t to escape fam ilial dependence through a university ap p o in tm en t. B en jam in had hitherto been fin a n cia lly supported by his father. E lsew here (“ A ttested A u d ito r o f Books” ) it d eclares: “ P rin ting. One-Way Street. Scholem reports. T h e solution he ad o p te d w as to be jo u rn a lism . B enjam in had to look for altern ative w ays o f earning his livin g. articles and p la ca rd s” . the ch aracter o f his o u tp u t u n d erw en t a drastic o u tw ard a ltera tio n — in a w ord. .7 T h is sh arp p o litical turn. represents the staccato ann ou n cem ent o f these changes. In the autum n o f 1925. In the afterm ath o f its failure. is pitilessly d ragged out onto the street b y advertisem ents and subjected to the b ru tal heteronom ies o f econ om ic chaos. o f w hich Bloch had ju st w ritten a review . Geschichte einer Freundschaft. he visited A sja L acis in R ig a. T h e b egin n in g o f his m ovem en t tow ards M arxism thus co in cid ed w ith the com pletion o f The Origin o f German Tragic Drama. and the political p ra ctice o f contem porary com m unism . was a cc o m p a n ie d — perhaps in p a rt p ro m p te d — by a tran sform ation in his econom ic situation. brochures. p. after the failure o f his thesis at F ra n k fu rt. h a v in g found in the book a refuge in w hich to lea d an autonom ous existence. F rom 1926 onw ards. Its first lines (“ F illin g S ta tio n ” ) proclaim the end o f “ the pretentious un iversal gesture o f the b ook ” . H e was now.

p. . T h en he m ust be alert to every h u m ilia ­ tion done to him and so discipline h im self that his sufferin g becom es no longer the d ow n hill road o f hate. it condensed B en ja­ m in ’s reactions to the econom ic m isery o f the tim e. One-Way Street set out the pro­ gram m e o f w hat was to be his critical practice in the W eim a r press: “ T h e critic is the strategist o f literary stru gg le” . and the degrad ation o f social and personal exp erience that a cco m p an ied it. T h e political conclusions he d rew from it w ere now intransigen tly rad ical. 931. T h e ch an ge can stand as the m otto o f his political rad icaliza tio n . I V . Its debts to surrealism (intercalation o f dream s) and to p h oto­ m ontage are ob vious: pointers to the profou nd tran sform ation in B en jam in ’s conception o f con tem p o rary art that was ev en tu a lly to find form ulation in the subversive functionalism o f his essays o f the thirties.9 he now reversed the terms o f the sam e passage. recurring again and again in his book review s o f the later twenties. T h e origin al kernel o f the w ork was. in fact.34 Com posed o f a m osaic o f aphoristic p aragraphs. First sketched in 1923. T h e m aterial crisis o f the G erm an intelligen tsia evoked here was to be one o f the most constant them es o f his jo u rn a listic in ter­ ventions. T h e p o litical overtones o f the p h rase— w h at Sch olem noted as the “ b ack gro u n d thunder o f M arxist v o ca b u la ry ” in the passages B en jam in read to him before p u b lica tio n 8— w ere not fortuitous. T h e first draft is contained in the m atchless scholarly apparatu s p rovid ed by the con tem porary editors o f B enjam in’s C o llected W orks: see Gesammelte Schriften. W here he had w ritten w ith co n tem p la tive resignation in the early draft o f 1923: “ But no-one m ay ever m ake peace w ith p o verty w hen it falls like a gig an tic sh adow u pon his countrym en and his house. One-Way Street is d elib e ra te ly at the antipodes o f the treatise form o f The Origin o f German Tragic Drama. p. 168. the section subtitled “ A T o u r o f G erm an In fla tio n ” . Sim ultaneously. to rea d : “ so dis­ cipline him self that his suffering no lon ger becom es the d ow n h ill road o f grief. cap tion ed by placards o f urban scenery. Bd. 8 Geschichte einer Freundschaft. 2. but the rising path o f re v o lt” . but the rising path o f p r a y e r ” .

h o w ever.1928: Briefe.1.1928: Briefe.t o f One-WayStreet — rath er in the sense th at the T ra g e d y book closed m y germ anistic cycle. p. entitled ‘ Parisian A r c a d e s ’ ” . .2. w arnings. d irectly inau gu rates the second great phase o f B en ja m in ’s m ajor w o rk — his prolon ged stud y o f B a u d ela ire’s Paris. T h e m icrocosm ic m iscellany o f the q u o tid ia n w ou ld continu e to provide the sparks for the larger 10 L e tte r o f 9. is not due on ly to its com p act register o f the sudden m u ta tio n in his critical. “ the im age o f history even in its m ost incon spicuous fixtures o f existence. T o H o fm an n sth al. a docu m en t o f an inn er struggle whose o b ject can be resum ed thus: to grasp the a ctu al as the obverse o f the etern al in history and to take an im print o f this hidden side o f the m e d a l.1935: Briefe. H e was lu cid ly conscious o f this tu rn in g-p o in t at the tim e. See also his letter o f 15. 49 1. 455.10 T h e kaleid osco p e o f urban objects.12 T h e p red ictio n w as to hold good. the w ork w ith w hich I am at present circu m sp ectly. It ab ove all lies in the fact th at in the same swift m o vem en t w ith w hich B en jam in passed from the banks o f tradition to those o f the a va n t-g ard e. am usem ents. aesthetic and p o litical options in the m id -tw en ties. signs w as designed to th ro w sudden light on the m o d em epoch. In it the w o rld ly them es o f One-Way SlfeeF w ill m arch past in an infernal in ten sification ” . .3. I continu e it in a second w ork. he also discovered the heuristic m eth od that was to be p e cu lia rly his th ereafter— “ the attem p t to estab lish ” . he w ro te: “ P recisely in its eccen tric elem ents the book is. 459. p. 12 L e tte r o f 30 . as he was later to w rite. buildings.” 11 His next w ords usher in the project that was to p re o cc u p y him for the rem ain d er o f his life: “ F or the rest the book ow es m u ch to Paris. 11 L e tte r o f 8.8. . 684-685. in other words. its rejects” . an alysin g his d evelopm ent in a letter to S ch o lem : “ O n ce I h ave finished .1929: Briefe. pp. One-Way Street. p rovision ally o c c u p ie d — the h igh ly re­ m a rk a b le and extrem ely precarious essay The Parisian Arcades: a Dialectical Fairyland— this w ill close for me a prod u ctive c y c le — tha. and represents m y first attem p t at confron ta­ tion w ith it. i f not a troph y. p.Publisher’ s Note 55 T h e p ivo ta l position o f One-Way Street w ith in B en jam in ’s w ork.

T h e essay on M o sco w likew ise owes its origin to B en jam in ’s relationship w ith L acis. p. 238. both in his articles and lectures (see. p. m ay throw new light on his precise political attitudes tow ards the conflicts in the internation al com m unist m ovem ent o f the tim e. First excerpted in L ’ Humanite.) 14 T h e tw o texts on M arseilles. reflecting B enjam in ’s affinity to Surrealism and exp erim en ta tio n w ith induced hallucination s. “ S u rrealism ” below . o f w h ich One-Way Street ends w ith one o f the most m e m o r a b le : perhaps the first and certain ly the finest— because most tem perate and r a tio n a l— expression o f that rejection o f the notion o f the m astery o f n atu re by technology that was afterw ards to b ecom e a h allm ark o f F ra n k fu rt M arxism . are o f a very d ifferen t ch ara cter. p. w hom he visited in the Soviet cap ital from D ecem b er 1926 to F eb ru a ry 1927. . Tow n scap es w ere to be a recu rrin g m o tif in B en ja m in ’s w ritin g henceforw ard. 14 Geschichte einer Freundschaft. It was not published until A u g u st 1925. expressing particu lar enthusiasm for M y Life and the History o f the Russian Revolution: see Gesckichte einer Freundschaft. 161. whose leaders had been d ep rived o f their posts in the p arty a few weeks before he a rriv e d . w ritten in late 1928. 13 It m ay be significant that Benjam in later displayed frequent adm iration for the w ork o f Trotsky. E arlier. N L B 1977). it is o f p a rticu la r interest as a vivid report o f B en jam in ’s personal reactions to w h a t he saw o f the U S S R in the final m onths o f S ta lin ’s drive to elim in ate the L eft O p p o si­ tion. S ch olem recounts that it was d u rin g this stay in M o sco w that B en jam in fin ally decided against jo in in g the K P D . 229.. p.36 historical illum inations o f B en jam in ’s w ork. for exam ple. T h e grou p published in this vo lu m e (III) starts w ith a description o f N aples w ritten in colla b o ratio n w ith Asja Lacis w hile the tw o w ere on C ap ri together in late 1924. he had been very struck by Where Is Britain Going?: ibid. and in his private corres­ pondence. w ell after the official denunciations o f the latter. 161.13 (His u n pu b lish ed d ia ry o f this period. soon to a p p ear in the Gesammelte Schriften. and “ T h e A u th or as P rodu cer” in Understanding Brecht. w hen its a p p e ara n ce as his first contribution to the Frankfurter £eitung m arked the real in cep tion o f his jou rn alistic practice.

F rankfu rt 1970. the cu ltu ral w ee k ly created by R o w o h lt V e rla g . represents B en ja m in ’s m ajo r reflection on the relationship b etw een the aesthetic avantga rd e in W estern E urop e and revo lu tion a ry politics. whose inn ovations had been eagerly seized upon by the Surrealists. a lth ou gh n ever ex a ctly established. through whose torm ented figu re the positive forces o f history could sweep. th at B enjam in was know n in G e rm a n y d u rin g his life-tim e. the editor o f the Neuer Schweizer Rundschau. D ed icated to G u sta v G lu ck . it was designed to show K rau s as a n egative hero o f destruction. con trib u tor to the Frankfurter J^eitung. C h a llen g e d by M a x R y ch n e r. in its d elicate blend o f sym p a th y and severity. T h e essay on K rau s is d istin ct in form and inten tion from either o f these two. “ Z u Benjam ins G ed ach tn is” (1940). as to w here he stood in the irrecon cilable conflict b etw een m ere m aterialist “ collectivism ” and the “ p rim ord iality 15 F or a discussion o f B en jam in ’s relationship to these papers. it w as for his critical articles as a pu b licist in these tw o organs. 9. T h e text on P h o to g ra p h y. in Uber Walter Benjamin. L o n g p rem editated and h igh ly w ro u gh t. . Its concerns look d ire ctly forw ard to B en ja m in ’s great study o f The Work o f Art in the Age o f Mechanical Reproduction o f 1936. 1 4 1 -1 4 4 . was one o f the first serious treatm ents o f it as a m ed iu m outside the professional m ilieu itself.Publisher’ s Note 37 T h e aesthetic essays (IV ) w h ich follow all date from the final years o f the W eim a r R e p u b lic . 16 T h e o d o r A d orn o. the friend w ho was the real-life m odel for The Destructive Character.15 His articles in the latter could be som ew h at m ore can d id p o litica lly than in the form er. a paper u ltim ately controlled by h eavy industry. it is B en ja m in ’s one sustained attem p t to foun d m ystical and m aterialist them es into a single form . “ the last b ou rgeo is” .16 T h e essay on Surrealism . As A d o rn o was to note in his ob itu a ry o f B enjam in. pp. see W itte. the liberal d a ily w ith the most respected feuilleton section in G erm an y . the house w hich had published The Origin o f German Tragic Drama and One-Way Street. each o f w h ich en joyed a w id e circu latio n . p. By this tim e B enjam in was an exp er­ ien ced . and the Literarische Welt.

receivin g from B enjam in a copy o f this letter. T h e direction w hich a m ore m aterialist version o f The Origin o f German Tragic Drama m ight h ave taken can be surm ised from B enjam in’s d eclaration in his review o f a history o f Silesian literatu re: “ W e need a book that represents baroque tragedy in close connection w ith the form ation o f bureau cracy. in accord w ith the T a lm u d ic d octrin e o f the forty-nine levels o f m eaning in any every p a rag ra p h o f the T o ra h . W ith the saturation o f bourgeois science. p.” 18 Sch olem . seen in retrospect.3 . w rote b ack tren ch ­ an tly that for all his ad m iration o f the essay on K ra u s he felt ob liged to say that B enjam in was d eceivin g him self i f he th o u gh t that a sym pathetic reader “ could find an y ju stificatio n o f y ou r sym pathies for d ialectica l m aterialism ‘ betw een the lines’ o f this 17 Letter o f 7. .19 3 1: Briefe. on the oth er hand. there exists none w h a tev er. . 193).3& o f religion and m etaphysics” . d ram atic unity o f time and action w ith the dark offices o f Absolutism . was certain ly not m a teria list B ut w h a t I did not know at the tim e I was w ritin g it. how ever tense and p rob lem atic. p.” 17 D eclarin g that he felt m ore in com m on w ith the “ crude and ru d im en tary analyses o f F ra n z M e h rin g than w ith the most profound periphrases from the am bit o f the ideas p rod u ced by the school o f H eidegger to d a y ” . 523. p. W ell: experience has tau gh t me that the shallow est o f com m unist platitudes contains m ore o f a h ierarch y o f m ean in g th an con ­ tem porary bourgeois profundity. 18 Letter o f 7. B enjam in replied in a lon g letter o f 19 31 that. he described his ow n position w ith an un w onted lack o f o b liq u ity : “ I have never b een able to study or think otherwise than in a w a y that I w o u ld define as th eo lo gica l— that is.19 3 1: Briefe. III. operatic apotheoses with the ju rid ic a l structure o f sovereign ty” (Gesammelte Schriften. 523. w anton love poetry w ith the inquisitions into pregn an cy o f the em ergent police state. The Origin o f German Tragic Drama . I can tell you at the sam e tim e that you w ill find a m ore groun d ed reply to your question than that w h ich I can give you expressis verbis. soon afterw ard s becam e ever clearer to m e : that betw een m y very special point o f view as a philosopher o f lan gu ag e and the outlook o f d ialectica l m aterialism there exists a m ediation. .3 . “ although d ialectical. w hich is alw ays no m ore than apologetic . betw een the lines o f m y essay on K a r l K ra u s w hich w ill shortly ap p ear in the Frankfurter £eitung .

the em b ellish m en t o f the w h ite terror against the V ienn ese workers.3. its in tellectu al purpose was lost even on those readers to w hom it was m ost addressed. w hen K rau s rallied to the clerical fascism o f Dollfuss. Bd. 524.22 and asked : “ Is there anyon e further w ho can fall? A bitter consola­ tio n — b u t on this front w e can suffer no m ore losses w orth m ention­ ing besides this one. 19 R e p r o a c h in g B enjam in for the “ fantastic d iscrep an cy” b etw een a term in o logy “ possibly close to com m unist v o ca b u la ry ” and m etap h ysica l conclusions “ absolu tely ind epen d en t o f a n y m aterialist m eth o d ” .19 31: Briefe. the “ author seems to know m uch abou t me that was hitherto unknow n to myself. In rep lyin g. p. he criticized his frien d ’s recent productions for the im pression they ga v e o f “ adven turism . 1078—1130. B enjam in defended his political choice “ to h a n g the red flag ou t o f m y w in d o w ” . 526.23 T h e final years o f the W eim a r period w ere ones o f acute personal crisis for B enjam in. p. K ra u s him self took characteristic u m b rage at it. 21 L e tte r o f 17. d en o u n cin g it for “ absym al feuilletonism ” and d eclarin g that a lth o u g h “ surely w ell-in ten tio n ed ” . “ m an ” and “ m onster” refer to the categories o f his essay on K rau s. T h e dem on has proved stronger than the m an or the m on ster: he could not be silent and so— b etrayin g him self— has accom p lish ed the ruin o f the d em o n ” .20 but was in effect u n a b le to dem on strate th at his essay on K ra u s had actu ally a ch ie v ed the synthesis he claim ed . A literary tour de force. 3. the a d m iratio n for the rhetoric o f S ta rh e m b e rg ” in Die Fackel. 532.9.. a lth o u g h I even now do not yet clearly ap p reh en d it and can only express the hope that oth er readers have understood it better (perhaps it is p sych o a n a lysis). 23 L e tte r o f 27. II.4 . . T h ree years later. “ D em o n ” . he noted “ the cap itu latio n to Austro-fascism . pp.19 3 1: Briefe.” 21 B enjam in kept a dignified silence at this a ttack . w h o was d ivorced from his wife D ora P oliak 19 Ibid. 620. see the ju d ic io u s editorial account in Gesammelte Schriften. 20 L e tte r o f 3 0 .1934: Briefe. p. K ra u s’ com m ents were published in Die Fackelin M ay 1931. p. 22 F o r this episode.Publisher’ s Note j g essay” . am b ig u ity and a cro b a tic s” .

shortly after A sja Lacis retu rned p erm a n en tly to Russia. T his crisis suddenly past. In J u ly . the Institute had m oved. i f in form ally. A fter the N azi v icto ry in G erm an y. T h ere he com pleted a entirely rew orked version o f his recollections for p u b lication as a book to be entitled A Berlin Childhood Around igoo. These virtu a lly d isappear in the “ m ilder an d m ore con ciliatory lig h tin g ” 24 o f the version inten ded for p u b lica tio n . and these in rad ically a ltered form . . 127. first to G en eva. p ervad ed by B en ja m in ’s socialist convictions. where he w rote his w ill and decid ed to take his life. he now set dow n the private au to b io gra p h ical m em oir (V ) that was p u b lish ed long after his death under the title Berlin Chronicle. Its review w a s— u n like any to w hich B enjam in had hitherto reg u la rly c o n trib u te d — an aca d em ic jo u rn a l. T h e Chronicle is the most intim ate d ocu m en t o f B en ja m in ’s yet to be published. w here B en ja m in ’s experience is tran sm uted into a series o f m ore objective notations o f his n ative city. In A p ril 1932 he sailed to Ib iza. His p u b licistic period was now effectively over. and then to N ew Y o rk . The tension betw een these two dim ensions o f the Zeitschrift fu r Sozial­ forschung. F rankfu rt 1970. It is also m uch m ore sharp ly political.40 in 1930. w here he spent the n ext three months in isolation. was not w ith out its effects on the editorial relationsh ip o f the 24 Sch olem ’s phrase: see his afterw ord to Berliner Chronik. T h e later text utilizes only a b ou t two-fifths o f the m aterials in the earlier. M arxist. p. T h e Berlin Chronicle is throughout far m ore d irectly personal than the Berlin Childhood. he m oved to N ice. T h e m ain outlet for his w ritin g was henceforw ard the Zeitschriftfur Sozialforschung. he spent the rest o f the sum m er in Italy. A p p ro a ch in g the age o f 40. T h e N azi seizure o f pow er a few m onths later ga v e the quietus to this project. prod u ced by the Institute for Social R esearch directed by M a x H o rk h eim er. E xile after 1933 cut short B en jam in ’s jou rn alism . rendered m ore acute b y its exposed position in an A m erican en viron m ent th orou gh ly hostile to any form o f socialism . but at the same time it was also one w ith a coherent p olitical c o m p lex io n — essentially.

am ong them B enjam in. respond ed en th usiastically to the essay. Som e time in 1934. for his part.25 H orkheim er. Bd. B enjam in. T h e long essay on E du ard Fuchs (V I) w h ich concludes this volu m e was one o f the most significant fruits o f this in tellectu al collab oration . T h e form o f his w ritin g consequently ch an ged in these years. D espite his com plaints in correspondence abou t the com m ission. he was u n exp ected ly satisfied w ith the final results. His contributions to the ^eitschrift. B enjam in found in the later thirties an arena o f collegial pu b lication that by and large un derstood . Collector and Historian is B e n ja m in ’s most considered and im portan t statem ent on histori­ 25 F or the editorial decision to restore this paragraph in the text printed in the C o lle cte d W orks. Its origin lay in H orkh eim e r’s ad m iration for the figure o f Fuchs.Publisher’s Note 41 jo u r n a l to its contributors. and com p leted the w ritin g o f the essay fairly q u ick ly in the first two m onths o f 1937. a veteran m ilitan t o f G e rm a n Social D e m o c ra c y w ho was also a n otable art historian. representative o f an o ld er gen eration o f G erm an M arxism . But there can be no d o u b t that for the first tim e in his life. II. for w h om he had testified at one o f the num erous trials in w hich F uchs had been prosecuted for his studies o f erotic art. and p a rtly because o f his lack o f sym pathy w ith the positivist cu ltu re o f w hich Fuchs. . p. speaking for the editorial board o f the Zjeitschrift. E v e n tu a lly . w ho knew and liked Fuchs. partook. 3. alth o u g h on occasion m uted by the tactical apprehensions o f his editors in N ew Y o rk . secured the om ission o f the first p arag rap h as too p ro n o u n ce d ly political in ton e. Eduard Fuchs. then a fellow -exile in his late sixties in Paris. see Gesammelte Schriften. ap p reciated and supported his w ork. w h ich was published in the jo u r n a l in O cto b er 1937. w ere far m ore d irectly p o litica l and m ore d elib e ra te ly theoretical than an yth in g he had w ritten in the W eim a r period. p artly because o f the am ount o f rea d in g it in volved . was relu ctan t to un dertake the w ork. he resum ed serious study for it in late 1936. H o rk h eim er ap p ro a ch ed B enjam in to com m ission an essay from him on Fuchs for the ^eitschrift. L eo L o w en th a l. 1355. C om m itm en t to the project was follow ed by postponem ent and tergiversation.

A p a r t from A Small History o f Photography and Eduard. Fuchs. translated by K in gsley Sh orter. Collector and Historian. but in a m ore com prehensive and discursive space. N LB . T h e dates at the end o f each text in this vo lu m e are those o f their com position (som etim es a p p roxim ate). not p u b lica tio n .42 cal m a terialism — to be read together w ith the Theses on the Philosophy o f History. the translations in clu d ed in the volu m e are by E dm u n d J ep h co tt. o f w hich it anticipates some o f the them es and even passages.

I .


articles. and placards. w h ile in 45 . and o f such facts as have scarcely ever becom e the basis o f convictions. thou gh aw ake. it m ust nurture the inconspicuous forms that better fit its influence in active com ­ m unities than does the pretentious. S ign ifican t literary w ork can on ly com e into b eing in a strict a ltern ation betw een action and w ritin g . U n d e r these circum stances true literary a ctiv ity can not aspire to take place w ith in a literary fram ew o rk — this is. brochures. the h a b itu al expression ofits sterility. In this state. O pinions are to the vast apparatu s o f social existence w hat oil is to m achin es: one does not go up to a turbine and pour m achine oil over it. For w ashin g brings only the surface o f the b od y and the visible m otor functions into the light. rather. O n ly this prom pt lan gu a g e shows itself a ctiv ely equal to the m om ent. B r e a k fa st R oom A p o p u la r tradition w arns against recou n tin g dream s on an em p ty stom ach. one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know . one rem ains under the sw ay o f the dream . universal gesture o f the book — in leaflets.One.Way Street T h is street is nam ed A sja Lacis Street after her w h o as an engineer cu t it through the auth or F il l in g S t a t io n T h e construction o f life is at present in the pow er o f facts far m ore than o f convictions.

— W e have long forgotten the ritual by w h ich the house of our life was erected. from broad d a ylig h t. and in lay in g clum sy hands on his dream visions he surrenders himself. w hom I had not seen for decades and had scarcely ever rem em bered in that tim e. 1 13 T h e hours th at hold the figure and the form H av e run their course w ith in the house o f dream . For only from the far bank. even d u rin g the m ornin g ablu tion . But w hen I aw oke it b ecam e clear that . T h e fasting m an tells his dream as if he w ere talkin g in his sleep. w h ere the deepest shafts are reserved for w hat is m ost com m on place. H e thus avoids a rupture betw een the n octu rn al and the d aytim e w o rld s— a precau tion ju stified only by the com bustion o f dream in a concen trated m o rn in g ’s w ork. in the solitude o f the first w a kin g hour. w hether for fear o f his fellow men or for the sake o f inw ard com posure. is u n w illin g to eat and disdains his b re ak ­ fast. W h a t things w ere interred and sacrificed am id m agic incantation s. Cellar . bu t otherwise a source o f confusion betw een vital rhythm s. T h e n arration o f dream s brings cala m ity. H e has outgrow n the protection o f d ream in g n aivete. m ay dream be recalled w ith im p u n ity. In a n igh t o f despair I d ream ed I was w ith m y first friend from m y school days. if not in p rayer. the grey penum b ra o f dream persists and. perverse antiquities do they not lay bare in the foundations. consolidates itself. No. Expressed in m ore m od em te rm s: he betrays himself. By w ay o f the stom ach. indeed. tem pestuously ren ew in g our frien d ­ ship and brotherhood. w hat en ervated . w h a t hor­ rible cab in et o f curiosities lies there below . But w hen it is u nder assault and en em y bombs are a lread y taking their toll.46 the d eeper strata. H e w ho shuns con tact w ith the d ay. T h is further side o f d ream is only a ttain ab le through a clean sing analogous to w ash in g yet totally different. because a person still h a lf in league w ith the dream w orld betrays it in his w ords and must incur its revenge.

It seem ed prep ared . for m any m ore th an their n um ber. O n rea ch in g it. w h o had been im m u red as a w a rn in g : that w h o e ver one d a y lives here m a y in no respect resem ble him . I turned it betw een m y hands. D ou btless there w ere places for m y ancestors. It bore no resem b lan ce to the one in W eim ar. childish characters. finished w orks w eigh lighter than those frag­ ments on w h ich th ey w ork th ro u g h o u t their lives. Dining H a ll . G oeth e rose to his feet and a cco m p an ied m e to an a d jo in in g cham ber. I b ega n to w eep w ith em otion. For only the . It was a perspective o f w hitew ashed corri­ dors like those in a school. I cannot recall h avin g seen rooms in the dream . he rose w ith difficulty. an urn from a n tiq u ity . Sittin g and w ritin g at it was the poet. — In a dream I saw m yself in G o e th e ’s study. and by gestu rin g I sought leave to support him . on the right. how ever. — A visit to G o e th e ’s house. T h e side o f the w ritin g desk a b u tte d on the w a ll opposite the w ind ow . in extrem e old age. A b o v e all. I find as I turn the pages m y nam e a lrea d y en tered in big. T o u c h in g his elbow . W h e n the m eal was over.One-Way Street w h at d esp air had b ro u g h t to light like a d etonation was the corpse o f th a t boy. as a present. Vestibule. it was very sm all and had on ly one w in d o w . u n ru ly . too. I was standing to one side w h en he broke o ff to give m e a sm all vase. I sat dow n beside G oeth e. A n im m ense heat filled the room . A t the end. Sta n d a r d C lo ck T o great w riters. w here a table was set for m y relatives. T w o eld erly English la d y visitors and a cu ra to r are the d re a m ’s extras. 47 F or M en T o co n v in ce is to con q u er w ith o u t conception . T h e cu rator requests us to sign the visitors’ book lyin g open on a desk at the farthest end o f a passage.

the m om entous lot shall fall. For w ith ou t exception the g rea t w riters perform their co m b in a ­ tions in a w orld that comes after them . feeling them selves th ereb y given b ack to life. only existed after 1900. For on ly that w hich we knew or practised at fifteen w ill one d ay constitute our a ttraction . sooner or later. and analysis. as w ell as D ostoevsky’s characters.48 more feeble and distracted take an inim itab le pleasure in con ­ clusions. M a n o r ia l l y T en -R oom F u r n is h e d A pa r tm en t T h e furniture style o f the second h a lf o f the nin eteen th cen tu ry has received its only ad eq u a te description. the crystal o f life’s happiness forms. each boy spins for him self the w heel o f fortune from w h ich . w ith its gigan tic sideboards distended w ith carvin gs. ju st as the Paris streets o f B au d ela ire’s poems. A n d one thing. T h e arran gem en t o f the fu rn i­ ture is at the same tim e the site p lan o f d ead ly traps. as in a caustic solution. T h a t this kind o f d etective novel begins w ith P o e — at a tim e w h en such accom m odation s h ard ly yet existed — is no cou n ter-argu m en t. therefore. in a certain type o f d etective novel at the d yn am ic cen tre o f w h ich stands the horror o f apartm ents. can never be m ade g o o d : h avin g n eglected to run a w a y from hom e. the b alco n y em b attled . F rom forty-eigh t hours’ exposure in those years. F or the genius each caesura. T h e bourgeois interior o f the 1860s to the 1890s. and the suite o f rooms prescribes the fleeing v ic tim ’s path. the sunless corners where palm s stand. fall like gentle sleep itselfin to his w orkshop lab ou r. A b o u t it he draw s a charm ed circle o f fragm ents. “ G enius is a p p lic a tio n . and the h ea vy blows o f fate.” C o m e B a c k ! A l l is F o r g i v e n ! L ike som eone perform ing the g ia n t sw ing on the h orizon tal bar.

G aston L ero u x has b ro u g h t the gen re to its apotheosis. A t the b egin n in g o f the lon g dow n hill lane that leads to the house o f -------. A c h ild in his n ightsh irt can n o t be p revailed upon to greet an . the op en in g o f its a rch w a y stood henceforth before me like an ear that has lost the pow er o f hearing.” T h e soulless lu xu riance o f the furnishings becom es true com fort only in the presence o f a dead body. as w riters o f “ d etective stories” — and perhaps also because in their works part o f the bourgeois p a n d em o n iu m is e x h ib ite d — h ave been denied the repu tation they deserve. to his siesta and him self. A ll the decisive blow s are stru ck left-h an ded . and w ith The Phantom o f the Opera. until that d a gger in its silver sling a b o v e the d ivan puts an end. F a r m ore interesting than the O rie n ta l landscapes in d etective novels is that ran k O rie n t in h ab itin g their interiors: the P ersian carp et and the ottom an. one fine afternoon. w h om I visited each evening. the indolent pasha in the caravan serai o f otiose en chan tm en t. S tren gth lies in im provisation. “ O n this sofa the au n t can n o t b ut be m u rd e re d . trem ulou sly aw aitin g the nam eless m urderer like a lascivio u s old lad y her gallan t. gathered K h ilim tapestries the m aster o f the house has orgies w ith his share certificates. and the lon g corridors w ith their singing gas flam es. feels h im self the E astern m erch an t. the h an g in g lam p and the genuin e C a u c a sia n d agger. G r e e n . B ehind the h eavy. T h e q u a lity in question has been cap tu red in isolated w ritin gs b y C on an D o y le and in a m ajor prod u ction by A . has been penetrated b y a n u m b er o f authors w ho. T h is ch ara cter o f the b ou r­ geois a p a rtm e n t.Way Street behind its b alu strad e. 49 C h in e s e C u r io s T hese are days w h en no one should rely u n d u ly on his “ com ­ p e ten ce” .One. K . is a gate. one o f the great novels about the n in eteen th century. fittin g ly houses o n ly the corpse. A fter she m oved .

A ll dis­ gust is o rig in ally disgust at tou ching.5° arrivin g visitor. in vok in g a higher m oral stan d­ point. In the sam e w ay. T h e airp lan e passenger sees only how the road pushes th rou gh the lan d scap e. adm onish him in vain to overcom e his pru d ery. T h e horror that stirs deep in m an is an obscure aw areness that in him som ething lives so akin to the an im al that it m ight be recogn ized. T h e C hinese p ra ctice o f c o p y in g books was thus an in com p arab le gu aran tee o f literary cu ltu re. now stark naked. In the m ean tim e he has w ashed. w hereas the copier subm its it to com m an d . before the visitor. that road cut th rou gh the in terior ju n g le forever closing beh ind it: because the reader follows the m ovem en t o f his m ind in the free flight o f d a y ­ d ream in g. G lo ves In an aversion to anim als the p red om in an t feeling is fear o f b eing reco gn ized b y them through contact. from the very scenery that for the flier is only the unfurled plain. it calls forth distances. the pow er o f a text is d ifferent w hen it is read from w hen it is copied out. prospects at each o f its turns like a com m an d er d ep lo yin g soldiers at a front. O n ly the copied text thus com m ands the soul o f him w ho is occu pied w ith it. how it unfolds accord in g to the same law s as the terrain surrounding it. w hereas the m ere reader n ever discovers the new aspects o f his inn er self that are open ed b y the text. T h e po w er o f a cou n try road is differen t w hen one is w a lk in g along it from w h en one is flyin g over it b y airplane. it is on ly by a d rastic gesture that overleaps its m a r k : the nauseous is vio len tly en gulfed. O n ly in this w ay is the para- . E ven w hen the feeling is m astered. and the transcript a key to C h in a ’s enigm as. w h ile the zone o f finest ep id erm al con tact rem ains taboo. belvederes. O n ly he w ho w alks the road on foot learns o f the po w er it com m ands. T h ose present. and o f how . clearings. A few m inutes later he reappears. eaten.

(I never pass by a w oo d en fetish. leave it b ehind . W e stride on. its monks co n tin u in g the w ork o f conversion am ong the natives. even to thin it out. exactin g sim ultaneously the o v erco m in g an d the subtlest elaboration o f m a n ’s sense o f disgust.) Charles Baudelaire I d ream ed I was a m em ber o f an explorin g p a rty in M exico. a M exican idol w ith o ut reflect­ in g : perh aps it is the true G od . W e jo in e d the cerem o n y and w itnessed its clim ax: tow ard a w ooden bust o f G o d the F ath er fixed h igh on a w all o f the cave. Mass w as celeb ra ted a cco rd in g to the most an cien t rites.One-Way Street dox o f the m oral d em and to be m et. and all the m ore en ig­ m a tica lly en ta n g led . b u t indistin ct. p rim eval ju n g le . a priest raised a M e x ic a n fetish. we cam e upon a system o f a b o v e-g ro u n d caves in the m ountains w here an order had survived from the tim e o f the first m issionaries till now . A fter crossing a high . A t this the divin e head turned thrice in denial from rig h t to left. H e m a y not deny his bestial relationship w ith anim als. and from a distance it is indeed open to v ie w . In an im m en se cen tral gro tto w ith a G o th ica lly pointed roof. To th e P u b lic : P le a s e T h e se P r o te c t a n d P la n tin g s P r e s e r v e N e w W h a t is “ so lv ed ” ? D o not a ll the questions o f our lives. 57 M e x ic a n E m bassy J e ne passe jamais devant un fetiche de bois. does not occur to us. rem ain b eh in d us like foliage obstructing our view ? T o uproot this foliage. un Bouddha doreune idole mexicaine sans me dire: c’ est peut-etre le vrai dieu. sh ad ow y. . as we live. the in v o ca tio n o f w hich revolts h im : he must m ake him self its m aster. a gild ed B u d d h a.

tailoring. H e w ho loves is attach ed not only to the “ fau lts” o f the beloved. the a w k w a rd m ovem ents and inconspicuous blem ishes o f the b od y w e love.52 C o m m en ta ry and translation stand in the same relatio n to the text as style and mimesis to n atu re: the same p h enom enon considered from different aspects. house­ work. flutters like a flock o f birds in the w o m a n ’s radiance. on that o f the profane. d azzled . But in a torm ent o f tension and ravish ­ ment. th at the fleeting darts o f adoration nestle. A n d as birds seek refuge in the leafy recesses o f a tree. moles. a tree not in our brains but. feelings escape into the shaded w rinkles. gard en in g. the seasonally fallin g fruits. outside ourselves. W rinkles in the face. Since the E nlighten m en t this has been one o f the m ustiest speculations o f the pedagogues. and a lopsided w alk bind him m ore lastingly and relentlessly than any b ea u ty . O n the tree o f the sacred text both are only the etern ally rustling leaves. in w hat is defective and censurable. rath er. toys. O u r feeling. T h is has long been know n. T h e ir infatuation w ith p sych o­ logy keeps them from p erceivin g th at the w orld is full o f the m ost u n rivalled objects for childish atten tion and use. then w e are. a cloud. A n d w h y ? I f the theory is correct that feeling is not located in the head. A n d the m ost specific. T h e y are irresistibly draw n by the detritus generated b y bu ild in g. In waste products they recogn ize . too. in the place w here we see it. sh ab b y clothes. or b ook s— that are supposed to be suitable for ch ild ren is folly. not only to the w him s and weaknesses o f a w om an. C o n s t r u c t io n S it e P edan tic b rood in g over the p rod u ction o f ob jects— visu al aids. or carpentry. A n d no passer-by w ou ld guess that it is ju st here. w here they can lie low in safety. that w e sentiently exp erien ce a w indow . in looking at our b eloved . For children are p a rticu la rly fond o f h au n tin g a n y site w here things are being visibly w orked upon.

M in is t r y o f t h e I n t e r io r T h e m ore an tagon istic a person is tow ard the traditional order. . as the most con clu sive p ro o f o f the un shakable au th ority o f the p rinciples he puts on d isplay. It is as if these law s. find its ow n w a y to them . in the artefact produced in play. n ow here yet realized . . T h u s are distinguished the types o f the an arch o-so cialist and the conservative politician. F la g . T h e norm s o f this sm all w orld m ust be k ept in m ind if one wishes to create things specially for child ren . placed him under ob ligation to en act them in a d va n ce at least in the confines o f his ow n existence. w ith ou t the slightest qualm s. secretly a p p ro v in g his ow n b eh aviou r. on the oth er hand. through its requisites and instrum ents.One-Way Street 53 the face th at the w orld o f things turns d irectly and solely to them . T h e m an. rath er than let o n e’s ad u lt a ctiv ity . C h ild re n thus prod u ce their ow n sm all w orld o f things w ith in the greater one. the m ore in e x o ra b ly he w ill subject his p rivate life to the norm s that he w ishes to elevate as legislators o f a future society. . In usin g these things they do not so m uch im itate the works o f adults as b rin g together. m aterials o f w id ely d ifferin g kinds in a new. H o w m u ch m ore easily the leave-tak er is lo ved ! For the flam e burns m ore p u rely for those van ish in g in the distance. intu itive relationship . S ep aratio n penetrates the d isap p earin g person like a p igm en t an d steeps him in gentle rad ian ce. w ho know s him self to be in acco rd w ith the most an cien t heritage o f his class or nation w ill som etim es b rin g his p riva te life into ostentatious contrast to the m axim s that he u n relen tin gly asserts in public. fuelled by the fleetin g scrap o f m aterial w a v in g from the ship or railw ay w in d o w .

W e greet him at the last in a lan gu age that he no lon ger understands. a t H a l f -M ast I f a person very close to us is d yin g. In the stock o f ph raseology that lays bare the a m a lg a m o f stupidity and cow ard ice constitutin g the m ode o f life o f the G erm an bourgeois. and perceive the ph enom ena o f decline as stab ility itself and rescue alone as extraord in ary. . by hum an reasoning. than to rise. T h e helpless fixation on notions o f security and property d erivin g from past decades keeps the a vera ge citizen from p erceivin g the quite rem ark ab le stabilities o f an en tirely new kind that underlie the present situation. should be most seriously considered. invisible . I m p e r ia l P a n o r a m a A Tour o f German Inflation i. no more surprising. But stable conditions need by no m eans be pleasant conditions. P eople in the n ational co m m u n i­ ties o f C en tra l E urope live like the inhabitants o f an en circled town whose provisions and gu n p o w d er are ru n n in g ou t an d for w hom d eliverance is. perhaps u n con d ition al. But the silent. verg in g on the m a r­ vellous and incom prehensible. scarcely to be ex­ p ected — a case in w hich surrender. B ecause the rela ­ tive stab ilization o f the p rew a r years benefited him . and even before the w ar there w ere strata for w h om stab ilized conditions am ou nted to stabilized w retchedness. O n ly a vie w that acknow ledges d ow nfall as the sole reason for the present situ a­ tion can ad van ce beyond en erva tin g am azem ent at w h a t is d a ily repeated. he feels com pelled to regard any state that dispossesses him as unstable.54 . . T o declin e is no less stable. there is som ething in the months to com e that w e d im ly a p p reh e n d — m uch as w e should have liked to share it w ith h im — could only happ en th rou gh his absence. the locu tion referring to im p en d in g catas­ tro p h e— that “ things c a n ’t go on like this” — is p a rticu la rly n otew orthy.

N oth in g. to even the most ob viou s d an ger. a w a y o f escape th at still seems invisible. therefore. A n d m ore than ever mass instincts h ave becom e con­ fused and estran ged from life. and the d iversity o f in d iv id u a l goals is im m ateria l in face o f the id en tity o f the d eterm in ing forces. So th a t in this society the picture o f im b ecility is co m p le te : u n ce rta in ty. in the per­ petual ex p ecta tio n o f the final on slau ght. rem ains b u t to direct the gaze. T his is the condition o f the en tire G e rm a n bourgeoisie. A curious p a ra d o x : people h ave on ly the narrow est private interest in m ind w hen they act. as d an ­ ger a p p roach es. in d eed d ecay o f the intellect. For on the one h an d . on nothin g excep t the ex tra o rd in a ry even t in w hich alone salvation now lies. A ll close relationships are lit up by an alm ost intolerable. b u t on the other. p ie rcin g c la r ity in w hich th ey are scarcely able to survive. because w e are in m ysterious co n tact w ith the pow ers besieging us. A g a in an d a g a in it has been show n that society’s atta ch m en t to its fa m ilia r and lon g-since-forfeited life is so rigid as to nu llify the g e n u in ely h u m a n a p p licatio n o f intellect. this society. m on ey stands ru in ou sly at the centre o f every vital interest. falls victim . this is the very b arrier before . rea lly call forth a m iracle. C on versely.One-Way Street 55 pow er th at C e n tra l E urop e feels opposin g it does not negotiate. and im poten ce. indeed perversion o f vital instincts. as a blind mass. foreth ou ght. 2. each o f whose m em bers cares only for his ow n abject w ell-bein g. 3. the assum ption that things can n o t go on like this w ill one d ay find itself apprised o f the fact th a t for the suffering o f ind ivid u als as o f com m unities there is o n ly one lim it b eyon d w h ich things cannot g o : a n n ih ila ­ tion. even in dire peril. w ith a n im a l insensibility b u t w ith ou t the insensate in tu ition o f anim als. yet they are at the same time m ore th an ever determ in ed in their b eh aviou r by the instincts o f the mass. B ut this necessary state o f intense and u n com p lain in g atten tion could. W h ereas the obscure im pulse o f the a n im a l— as in n u m erab le anecd otes relate— detects.

It is im possible to rem ain in a large G erm an city. and everyth in g as long as he conceals it. 5. u nreflecting trust. and then console him w ith the little adage. It is one o f those that m ay once have held good but have long since d egenerated. “ P overty disgraces no m a n . m ore and m ore. T h e case is no differen t w ith the brutal. N ot w ithou t reason is it custom ary to speak o f “ n a k ed ” w ant. is not the p ity or the eq u ally terrible awareness o f his ow n im pu n ity aw ak en ed in the onlooker. but his sham e. B ut no one m ay ever m ake peace w ith poverty w hen it falls like a g ig an tic shadow upon his cou ntrym en and his house.” W h en there was w ork that fed a m an. T h e n he m ust be alert to every hum iliation done to him and so disciplin e h im self that his suffering becom es no longer the d ow n hill road o f grief. F ilth and m isery grow up around them like w alls. . But o f this there is no hope so lon g as each blackest. the work o f invisible hands. so he m ay tolerate m uch as long as he is alone. helps no one un cover the dark powers th at h old his life in thrall. set forth in all its illusory causes and effects. there was also p o verty th at did not disgrace him . calm . But they dis­ grace the poor m an. but feels ju stifiable sham e w hen his w ife sees him bear it or suffers it herself. most terrible stroke o f fate. A n d ju st as a m an can en dure m u ch in isolation. in the n atural as in the m oral sphere. “ I f a m an does not w ork. but the rising path o f revolt.5^ w hich alm ost all relationships h a lt.” W ell and good. 4. T h e y do it. neither shall he e a t. W h a t is most d am ag in g in the display o f it. w here hunger forces the most w retch ed to live on the bank notes w ith w hich passers-by seek to cover an exposure that w ounds them . and health are d isappearing. d a ily and even hourly discussed by the press. does ind eed dis­ grace. if it arose from deform ity or other m isfortune. But this d ep rivation . so. into w h ich m illions are b o m and hundreds o f thousands are dragged by im poverishm ent. a p ractice started under the dictates o f necessity and m akin g visible on ly a thousandth part o f the hidden distress.

incom prehensible to ou t­ siders and w h o lly im p e rcep tib le to those im prisoned by it. T h e freedom o f conversation is being lost. squalor. as the o v erall pictu re. the sub ject o f o n e’s th o u gh t and speech. T o the foreigner curso rily a cq u ain ted w ith the pattern o f G erm an life w h o has even b riefly travelled abou t the country. T h e most E u rop ean o f all accom ­ plishm ents. w ith w h ich circum stan ces. in w h ich they m igh t be able to help one another. has com pletely deserted the G erm an s. th at m ore or less discernible irony w ith w h ich the life o f the in d iv id u a l asserts the right to run its course ind epen ­ den tly o f the co m m u n ity into w h ich it is cast. A n y o n e w h o does not sim p ly refuse to p erceive decline w ill hasten to claim a special ju stificatio n for his ow n continued presence. A w itty F re n ch m a n has said : “ A G erm a n seldom understands himself. is the vio len ce. As there 57 . had to m ake them a ga in and again. 7.One-Way Street 6. I f it was earlier a m a tter o f course in conversation to take interest in on e’s p artner. he w ill not say so. w h at really engenders the atti­ tude th a t th ey are d ea lin g w ith H ottentots in the G erm ans (as it has b een a p tly put). its in h ab ita n ts seem no less b izarre than an exotic race. and stu p id ity here subjugate people en tirely to collective forces. W h a t this them e in volves is not so m u ch the concerns and sorrows o f in d ivid u a ls. o f m oney. w h at com pletes the isolation o f G erm an y in the eyes o f oth er E urop ean s. It is as if one w ere trap ped in a theatre and had to fo llo w the events on the stage w hether one w an ted to or not. I f he says so. he w ill not m ake h im self u n d erstood . his a ctiv ity and in vo lvem en t in this chaos. w illin gly or u n w illingly. Irresistib ly in tru d in g on any con vivial exch an ge is the them e o f the conditions o f life. this is now rep la ced by in q u iry into the price o f his shoes or his u m b rella. b u t not m erely throu gh the real and le g e n d a ry atrocities th at G erm an s are reported to have com m itted . I f he has on ce understood him self. 8. as the lives o f savages alone are su b jected to tribal laws. R a th e r.” T his com fortless dis­ tance w as increased b y the w ar.

and the G erm an spring that never comes is only one o f countless . at least to d etach it from the b ack grou n d o f universal delusion. and handle their spines w ith infinite d exterity. E very free m an appears to them as an eccentric. w orkm en. L et us im agin e the peaks o f the H ig h A lps silhouetted not against the sky bu t against folds o f d ark d rap ery. if w e are not to perish by bleeding. in overco m in g the sum o f secret resistances— not only the overt ones— th at they put in our w ay. the country itself conspires. T h a t is w h y the air is so thick w ith life theories and w orld view s. A blind determ in ation to save the prestige o f personal existence. m irages o f a glorious cu ltu ral future b re ak ­ ing upon us overnigh t in spite o f all. place o f residence. T h e objects o f d a ily use gently but insistently repel us. and m om ent o f tim e. 9. for alm ost alw ays they finally serve to sanction some w holly trivial private situation. for everyone is com m itted to the op tical illusions o f his isolated standpoint. D a y by day. so there are m a n y exceptions for on e’s ow n sphere o f action. A n d in the degen eration o f things. It gnaw s at us like the things. From our fellow m en w e should exp ect no succour. rather than. W a rm th is ebbin g from things. W e m ust com pensate for their coldness w ith our w arm th if they are not to freeze us to death. In ju st this w a y a heavy curtain shuts o ff G e rm a n y ’s sky. and w e no lon ger see the profiles o f even the greatest m en. Bus conductors. and w hy in this cou n try they cut so presum ptuous a figure. T h e m igh ty forms w ou ld show up only dim ly. officials. For ju st the same reason the air is so full o f phantom s. they punish h u m an ity. 10. w ith w hich. through an im p a rtial disdain for its im poten ce and entanglem en t. em u latin g hu m an d ecay. is triu m p h in g alm ost everyw here. T h e people cooped up in this cou ntry no lon ger discern the contours o f hum an personality. salesm en— they all feel them selves to be the representatives o f a refractory m atter whose m enace they take pains to d em on strate through their ow n surliness.are m any insights into the gen eral failure. w e have an im m ense labour to perform .

12. is im peded in its unfoldin g b y the boundless resistance o f the outside w orld. w hether it springs from an in­ tellectu al or even a n atu ral im pulse. so is the city. against all laws. F ew things w ill further the om inous spread o f the cult o f ram b lin g as m uch as the stran gu lation o f the freedom o f residence.One. they are now ch ain ed together in u n n atu ral com ­ m u n ity. becom e in these regions percep tib le. E ach stam ps its ow ner. night sky th a t the veil o f v ib ra n t redness no lon ger conceals. 13. lea vin g him o n ly the choice o f a p p earin g a starvelin g or a . an d n ever has freedom o f m ovem ent stood in greater d isprop ortion to the a b u n d an ce o f means o f travel. S hortage o f houses a n d the risin g cost o f travel are in the process o f ann ih i­ latin g the e lem e n tary sym bol o f E u rop ean freedom . w ith the view o f the horizon . 1 1 . N o t by the lan dscape. aw areness o f the evervig ila n t elem en tal forces— are seen to be breach ed at all points by the in v a d in g countryside. the abortion s o f u rb a n architecton ics. are losing their intrinsic ch ara cter w hile am ­ b ig u ity displaces a u th en ticity . N o b le in d ifferen ce to the spheres o f w ealth and poverty has q u ite forsaken m a n u fa ctu re d things. A n d if m ed ieval coercion bound m en to n atu ral associations. w hich existed in certain forms even in the M id d le A ges: freedom o f dom icile. A n y h u m an m ovem en t. G rea t cities— whose in c o m p a ra b ly sustaining and reassuring pow er encloses those at w ork w ith in them in the peace o f a fortress and lifts from them . H ere one lives as i f the w eig h t o f the colu m n o f air supported b y every­ one had sud d en ly. highw ays. a lo n g w ith isolated m onstrosities from the open country. J u st as all things. T h e in secu rity o f even the busy areas puts the city d w eller in the o p aq u e an d tru ly d read fu l situ ation in w h ich he m ust assim i­ late. but by w hat in u n tra m m elled n ature is m ost b itter: plou gh ed lan d . in a perp etu a l process o f m in glin g and co n tam in atio n .Way Street §g related p h en o m en a o f d ecom p o sin g G erm an nature.

D elighted . For w e are a b le to m ake M o th er E arth no gift o f our own. T h e earliest customs o f peoples seem to send us a w a rn in g that in a ccep tin g w hat we receive so ab u n d an tly from n ature we should gu ard against a gesture o f avarice. these revertin g to the soil or to the ancestral dispensers o f blessings. 14. A n A th en ian custom forbade the picking up o f crum bs at the table. E xcavation s w ere in progress. the earth w ill be im poverished and the land yield bad harvests. (A n a =&v< 5c. that it snatches the fruit unripe from the trees in order to sell it most p rofitab ly. It is therefore fittin g to show respect in taking. Indeed. For w hile even true lu x u ry can be perm eated b y intellect and con viviality and so forgotten. I aw oke lau gh in g. in the p ro­ hibition on gath erin g forgotten ears o f co m or fallen grapes. I f society has so degenerated through necessity and greed that it can now receive the gifts o f nature only rap aciou sly. by retu rn in g a part o f all w e receive before lay in g hands on our share. and is com pelled to em p ty each dish in its determ in ation to h ave enough. I thought to m yself: a M exica n shrine from the tim e o f pre-anim ism .6o racketeer. from the A n a q u ivitzli. the lu x u ry goods sw aggerin g before us now p a rad e such brazen solid ity th at all the m in d ’s shafts break harm lessly on their surface. since they belon ged to the heroes. it is perhaps this im ­ m em orial practice that has survived. w itz [joke] = M exica n ch u rch [!]. U n d e r g r o u n d W orks I saw in a dream barren terrain. It was the m a rk et-p lace at W eim ar. I too scraped a b o u t in the sand. T h is respect is expressed in the ancient custom o f the libation . vi = vie. T h en the tip o f a church steeple cam e to light. transform ed.) C o if f e u r f o r F astidious L adies T h ree thousand ladies and gentlem en from the K u rfu rsten dam m are to be arrested in their beds one m ornin g w ith o u t .

One-Way Street e x p la n a tio n and d etain ed for tw en ty-fou r hours. T h e ty p o ­ g ra p h ica l exp erim en ts later u n d ertak en by the D adaists stem ­ m ed. B u t they show up for this very reason the top icality . th ey w ou ld prefer. it contrasts in p a rticu la r to the situation in w hich the art o f printin g w as d iscovered . the book o f books. w hich grew out o f the inner nature o f his style. th at hour held sacred o f old but in this c o u n try d ed icated to the executioner. not from con stru ctive principles bu t from the precise n ervous reactions o f these literati. F or w h eth er by coincid en ce or not. its a p p e ara n ce in G e rm a n y cam e at a tim e w hen the book in the most em in en t sense o f the w ord . should the occasion arise. an a rch itecto n ic one w hen it is built. w as in the Coup de des the first to incorporate the graph ic tensions o f the ad vertisem en t in the printed page. 61 C a u t i o n : Steps W o rk on go od prose has three steps: a m usical stage w hen it is com posed. it is true. A t m id n igh t a q u estion n aire on the d eath p e n a lty is distributed to the cells req u irin g its signatories to in d icate w h ich form o f execution. M a lla r m e . N ow ev ery ­ thin g in d icates th at the book in this trad itional form is nearing its end. T h is d ocum en t w ou ld h ave to be com p leted “ to the best o f their k n o w led g e” by those w ho h ith erto had m erely offered their unsolicited views “ in all co n scien ce” . B y first ligh t. w h o in the crystallin e structure o f his cer­ tain ly trad itio n a list w ritin g saw the true im age o f w h at was to com e. and w ere therefore far less en d u rin g th an M a lla r m e ’s. and a textile one w h en it is w o v en . A t t e s t e d A u d i t o r of B ooks Ju st as this tim e is the antithesis o f the R enaissance in general. the question o f cap ital p u n ish m en t w o u ld be resolved. had through L u th e r ’s tran slation b ecom e the p e o p le’s property.

T his is the h ard schooling o f its new form . m on ad ically. and so presents an astonishing cou n terpoin t to the three-dim en sion ality o f script in its origin al form as rune or knot notation. and the scholar studying it assim ilates it into his ow n card index. w h ich alread y eclipse the sun o f w h at is taken for intellect for city dw ellers. poets. an ou tdated m ed iation betw een tw o different filing systems. w ho w ill now as in earliest times be first and forem ost experts in w riting. w h ile film and advertisem ent force the printed w ord en tirely into the d ictatorial p erp en dicu lar.62 o f w hat M a llarm e. Printing. O th e r dem ands o f business life lead further. II centuries ago it began gra d u a lly to lie dow n. L ocu st swarm s o f print. in his herm etic room . In this picture w ritin g. colourful. T h e card index m arks the conquest o f three-dim en sion al w riting. it now begins just as slow ly to rise again from the ground. T h e n ew spaper is read more in the vertical than in the horizon tal plane. For ev eryth in g th at m a t­ ters is to be found in the card b ox o f the researcher w h o w rote it. passing from the upright inscription to the m anu scrip t resting on slopin g desks before finally takin g to bed in the printed book. techn ology. w ill grow thicker w ith each succeeding year. A n d before a child o f our tim e finds his w ay clear to open in g a book. conflicting letters that the chances o f his penetratin g the arch a ic stillness o f the book are slight.) But it is quite beyond dou bt that the d evelopm ent o f w ritin g w ill not in d efin itely be bound b y the claim s to pow er o f a ch ao tic acad em ic and com m ercial a ctiv ity . rather. a d va n cin g ever m ore d eeply into the grap h ic regions o f its new eccen tric figurativeness. is pitilessly d ragged out onto the street by advertisem ents and subjected to the b ru tal heteronom ies ol econom ic chaos. his eyes have been exposed to such a b lizza rd o f chan gin g. q u an tity is a p p ro a ch ­ ing the m om ent o f a q u alita tive leap w hen w ritin g. w ill be able to . had dis­ covered through a pre-established harm on y w ith all the derisive events o f our times in econom ics. (And tod ay the book is alread y. h avin g found in the book a refuge in w h ich to lead an autonom ous existence. w ill take sudden possession o f an ad eq u a te fa ctu al content. and p u b lic life. as the present m ode o f scholarly production dem onstrates.

R ela tio n sh ip s that could be represented gra p h ica lly must be ex p o u n d ed in w ords. W ith the fou n d atio n o f an in tern ation al m ovin g script they w ill ren ew their a u th o rity in the life o f peoples. and find a role a w a itin g them in com pariso n to w hich all the in n ovative aspirations o f rh eto ric w ill reve al them selves as an tiq u ated d a y ­ dream s. F or concep ts treated o n ly in their general significance. A n u m b er o f opponents all sharing the sam e argum en t should each be refuted in d iv id u a lly . 63 T e a c h i n g A id Principles o f the Weighty Tome. IV . if. V . in w hich the v a lu e o f opinions w o u ld be m arked w ith ou t their b eing th e re b y p u t on sale. I. V I I .One. B ut w h en shall w e a ctu ally w rite books like catalo g u es? I f the d eficien t con ten t w ere thus to determ ine the ou tw a rd form . C o n ce p tu a l distinctions lab oriou sly arrived at in the text are to be o b litera ted again in the relevan t notes. T h e ty p ic a l w o rk o f m odern scholarship is inten ded to be read like a ca ta lo g u e . E v e ry th in g th at is know n a priori abou t an object is to be consolid ated b y an a b u n d an ce o f exam ples. exam ples should be g iv e n . for exam p le. In stead o f being represented in a gen e a lo g ica l tree. V I . all fam ily relationships are to be en u m erated an d described. T erm s are to be in clu d ed for conceptions that. m achines are m en­ tioned. excep t in this d efin ition . a p p e ar n ow here in the w hole book. for exam ple. T h e w h o le com position m ust be perm eated w ith a protracted and w o rd y exp osition o f the in itia l plan.Way Street p a rticip a te o n ly b y m astering the fields in w h ich (quite un­ ob tru sively) it is b ein g c o n s tru c te d : the statistical and techn ical d iagram . an excellen t piece o f w ritin g w ou ld result. I I I . or How to Write Fat Books. II. T h e ty p e w rite r w ill a lien a te the hand o f the m an o f letters . all the d ifferen t kinds o f m achines should be enum erated.

the grow in g desire to com m u nicate w ill b ecom e in the end a m otor for com pletion. is the inven tion o f w om en. I. to ligh t up gleam in g crystals. and each is proud to be thus exem p lary for the eyes behind. P ost N o B ills The Writer’s Technique in Thirteen Theses. In your w orking conditions avoid ev eryd a y m ed iocrity. constructed m etrically. d en y h im self nothing that w ill not preju d ice the next. h a vin g com pleted a stint.64 from the pen only w hen the precision o f ty p o g rap h ic forms has d irectly entered the concep tion o f his books. M en h ave been ad ept at this for centuries in the field. N o one sees further than the b ack before him . by all m eans. D r in k G er m an B e e r ! T h e m ob. I f this regim e is follow ed. and triangles. W hen ever given the slightest op p ortu n ity. bu t do not read from it w hile the w ork is in progress. O n e m igh t suppose that new systems w ith m ore v a ria b le typefaces w ou ld then be needed. spheres. stan din g in line. In this w ay a ray o f light falls throu gh a chink in the w all o f the alch em ist’s cell. T a lk about w hat you h ave w ritten. II. A n y o n e inten din g to em b ark on a m ajor w ork should be lenient w ith him self and. but the m arch-past o f penury. im pelled by a frenetic hatred o f the life o f the m ind. afterw ard has its rhythm upset at a single po in t yields the finest prose sentence im agin ab le. II I. A period that. they form ranks and ad vance into artillery barrages and price rises in m arch in g order. G erm an s. has found a sure w a y to an n ih ilate it in the co u n tin g o f bodies. T h e y w ill replace the p lian cy o f the h and w ith the inn ervation o f com m an d in g fingers. . E very gra tifica tio n procured in this w ay w ill slacken y ou r tem po.

style fetters the idea. the m ore m atu rely developed it w ill 65 be on su rren d erin g itsejrff S p eech conquers thought. V I I I . X I I I . the form er acts as tou chstone for a diction am ple enough to b u ry even the m ost w a y w a rd sounds. T h e w ork is the d eath m ask o f its concep tion . X I . w hich it w ill then attract w ith m agn etic pow er. T h e id ea kills inspiration. and keep you r notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register o f aliens. T h e m ore circu m spectly you d elay w ritin g d ow n an id ea. bu t an a b u n d a n ce o f these utensils is indispensable. In tu itio n w ill aw aken in the process. pens. O n the oth er hand . a c h ild ’s d raw in g. S tages o f com p o sition : id e a — sty le— w riting. (Snob in the p rivate office o f art criticism . O n the left. L et no th o u gh t pass incognito. N ev er stop w ritin g because you have run out o f ideas. T h e valu e o f the fair cop y is that in p ro d u cin g it you confine attention to ca llig ra p h y . but w ritin g j ^ com m an d s it^/ V I I . X . a cco m p an im en t by an etude or a cacop h on y o f voices can b ecom e as significan t for w ork as the p ercep tible silence o f the night. A p ed an tic adherence to certain papers. A v o id h a p h a za rd w ritin g m aterials. to a b ack gro u n d o fin sipid sounds. N o luxury.One. C on sid er no w ork perfect over w hich you have not once sat from even in g to b road d a yligh t. IX . D o not w rite the conclusion o f a w ork in your fam iliar study. K e e p y ou r pen a lo o f from inspiration. S n o b : “ D oesn ’t this m ake Picasso seem such a waste o f tim e ? ” ) . Y o u w ou ld not find the necessary cou rage there. V . Nulla dies sine linea — b u t there m ay w ell be weeks. w ritin g pays o ff style. L ite ra ry hon our requires th at one break o ff on ly at an appointed m om en t (a m ealtim e. Thirteen Theses Against Snobs.Way $treet Sem i-rela x atio n . X I I . is d egrading. I f the latter sharpens the inner ear. a m eeting) or at the end o f the w ork. inks is beneficial. IV . F ill the lacu n ae o f inspiration by tid ily cop yin g out w hat is a lre a d y w ritten . on the right a fetish. V I .

T h e d o cu m en t’s inn ocen ce gives it cover. learn their craft. I X . X I . T h e virility o f works lies in assault. T h e im pact o f an art­ work increases w ith re­ peated view ing. In the art-w ork the for­ m al law is central. art-w orks.I. II. T h e m ore one loses on eself in a docum en t. the denser the subject m atter grow s. V I I I . N o docum ent is as such a w ork o f art. T h e art-w ork is on ly in ­ c id en tally a d ocum en t. IV . The Critic’ s Technique in Thirteen Theses. are artists rem ote Before docum ents. V II. . The prim itive m an b arri­ cades h im self beh ind subjectm atter. X III. A rt-w orks perfection. In docum ents the subject I I I . S u bject-m atter is the ou t­ com e o f dream s. A docum ent overpow ers only th rou gh surprise. I. O n V. X II. T h e critic is the strategist in the literary b attle. T h e art-w ork is synthe­ tic: an energy-centre. In the art-w ork conten t and form are o n e : m ean ­ ing. T h e art-w ork is a m aster­ piece. H e w ho cannot take sides should keep silent. X. a p u b lic is ed u cated . M e a n in g is the ou tcom e o f experience. T h e prim itive expresses h im ­ self in docum ents. In the art-w ork subject m atter is a ballast je tt i­ soned du rin g con tem p la­ tion. Form s are m erely dispersed in docum ents. T h e fertility o f the docu m en t d em a n d s: analysis. from each other in their m atter is w h o lly d om inan t. A ll docum ents com m u n icate through their su bject-m atter. II. T h e docum ent serves to in ­ struct. The artist sets out to con q uer m eanings. V I . T h e artist makes a w ork.

X I I . X I . to effect the takin g o f possession. v irg in a l still. P osterity forgets or acclaim s. the insertion o f a w eapon. V I I . Vintroduction d’ une arme. pour etablir la prise de possession. G en u in e polem ics a p p ro a ch a book as lo vin gly as a can nibal spices a b a b y . V . [T h irte e n — stopp in g at this num ber. V I . ou coupepapier. IX . or paper-knife. X . I V . T h e p u b lic must alw ays be proved w rong. C riticism m ust talk the la n g u a g e o f artists. T h e slogans o f an in ad eq u ate criticism peddle ideas to fashion. prete a un sacrifice dont saigna la tranche rouge des anciens tomes. S till less posterity. I felt a cruel pleasure. if the cause fough t for merits this. In his hand the art-w ork is the shining sw ord in the battle o f m inds. O n ly he w h o can destroy can criticize. A rtistic enthusiasm is alien to the critic.Way Street I I I . B eethoven and J e a n Paul. his m o rality and not his artistic d iscern m en t w as at fau lt. X I I I . encore. I f G oethe m isjudged H olderlin and K le ist. T h e less it has b een studied the better. yet alw ays feel represented b y the critic. “ O b je c t iv ity ” m ust alw ays be sacrificed to partisanship. N ot the p u b lic.J M arcel Proust Le reploiement vierge du livre. P olem ics m ean to destroy a book in a few o f its sentences. O n ly the critic ju d ges in face o f the a u th or.] Mallarme . 13 T r e iz e — f e u s un plaisir cruel de m’ arreter sur ce nombre. T h e critic has nothin g in com m on w ith the interpreter o f past cu ltu ra l epochs. C riticism is a m oral question .One. [The tight-folded book. aw aitin g the sacrifice that blooded the red edges o f earlier tom es. V I I I . 67 No. For the critic his colleagu es are the higher au th ority. F or the terms o f the cenacle are slogans. T h e art o f the critic in a nu tsh ell: to coin slogans w ithout b etray in g ideas. A n d on ly in slogans is the b attle -cry heard.

V . Books and harlots have a large progeny. For years one follows “ the h ea rt” w herever it leads. H er house. N ever again have I seen them so. X I . II. and d ay as night. Books and h arlots— both have their type o f m an. X I I I . I I I . Books and harlots in terw eave tim e. Books and harlots can be taken to bed. IX . X I I . X . Books and harlots have their quarrels in p u b lic. F rom every gate a . O rdnance I had arrived in R ig a to visit a w om an friend. Books and harlots— “ O ld b ig o ts— you n g w h ores” . the lan gu age w ere u n fam iliar to me. m en d aciou sly. H o w m any books w ere once notorious that now serve as instruction for youth . V I I . F or two hours I w alk ed the streets in solitude. Books and harlots are fond o f recounting. V I . w h o both lives o ff and harasses them . N either books nor harlots show that m inutes are precious to them. V I I I . Books and harlots love to turn their backs w h en p u ttin g them selves on show. the town. no one knew me. critics. Books and harlots have ever been u n h ap p ily in love w ith each other.68 I. T h e y are apt to vanish before they expire. As our interest becom es absorbed. they too are cou nting. I V . T h e y com m an d n ight as day. In reality they did not often notice it them selves. Books and harlots— footnotes in one are as banknotes in the stockings o f the other. Books and harlots— seldom does one w ho has possessed them witness their end. But closer a cq u ain ta n ce shows w hat a h u rry they are in. and one day a corp u len t b od y stands soliciting on the spot w here one had lingered m erely to “ study life” . In the case o f books. Books and harlots are p u b lic establishm ents— for students. N o b o d y was exp ect­ ing me. how they becam e w hat they are.

W hereas the nam es o f m y suppliers. — I know one w h o is absent-m inded. the a rticu la ­ ted stru ctu re o f the tract is invisible from outside. In t e r io r D eco r a tio n T h e tract is an A ra b ic form . For had she tou ched me w ith the m atch o f her eyes.One. But o f the two o f us I had to be. the hour o f a rendez- . been sitting in the streetcar. a netw ork o f streets that I had avoid ed for years. arou n d the corner.Way Street flam e d a rted . the addresses o f m y friends and acq u ain tan ces. the locatio n o f m y docum ents. In the orn am en tal density o f this presenta­ tion the d istin ctio n b etw een th em atic and excursive expositions is abolish ed . revealin g itself o n ly from w ithin . T h e surface o f its deliberations is not p ic to ria lly en liven ed . pro­ liferatin g arabesques. For she m ight have stepped out o f the ga te w ay . like the facades o f A ra b ia n buildings. at any price. the first to see the other. Its exterior is u n differentiated and u n obtrusive. they have not verb al h ead in gs b u t num bers. was d isen tan gled at a single stroke w hen one day a person d ear to me m oved there. 69 F i r s t A id A h igh ly em b ro iled q u arter. too. I should have gone up like a m agazin e. the a rticu la ­ tion o f w h ich begins on ly in the cou rtyard . I f it is form ed b y chapters. So. It was as if a searchlight set up at this person ’s w in d o w dissected the area w ith pencils o f light. each cornerstone sprayed sparks. b u t covered w ith un broken . Statio n er s Street-plan. and every street­ car cam e to w a rd me like a fire engine.

and no oracle can m atch its guile. enjoy his feeling in solitude. he must above all and at all costs be alone w ith himself.— “ Does not the reed the w o rld — W ith sweetness fill— M a y no less gracious w o r d — F low from m y q u ill!” Th is follows “ Blessed Y e a r n in g ” like a pearl that has rolled from a freshly-opened oyster-shell. in her political concepts. In such m anner does all fam e redeem its pledges. and the inscription he bears helps no one.7o vous are at m y finger-tips. F a n c y G oods T h e in com p arab le lan gu ag e o f the d ea th ’s h ead : total expres­ sionlessness— the b lack o f the eye-sockets— cou pled to the most u n bridled expression— the grin n in g rows o f teeth. w here every a lle yw a y shows its colour and every w ord has a passw ord for its echo. H ad that been foretold to h im — w hat a trium ph for the P h a r a o h ! T h e foremost W estern cu ltu ral em pire w ill one day bear at its centre the m em orial o f his rule. before going to the w om an to declare it. H ow does this apotheosis ap p ear in reality? N ot one am ong the tens o f thousands w ho pass b y pauses. Paper-weight. not one am on g the tens o f thousands w ho pause can read the inscription. For the im m ortal stands like this obelisk: regu la tin g the spiritual traffic that surges thunderously abou t him . Pocket diary. p a rty slogans. .— Place de la C o n co rd e: the O b elisk. declarations and com m ands are firm ly lodged. W h a t was carved in it four thousand years ago tod ay stands at the centre in the greatest o f city squares. w hen in love.— F ew things are m ore characteristic o f the N ord ic man than that. She lives in a city o f w atch w ords and inhabits a q u arter o f co n ­ spiratorial and fraternal terms. List o f wishes. must first contem plate.

— Y o u are given a book from the school library. feeling h im self aband oned . cultured and elegant friend sent me his new book and I was abou t to open it. O ften. and th at even here he is not needed. H e w h o observes etiq uette b u t objects to lyin g is like som eone w ho dresses fashion ab ly bu t w ears no vest. takes up a book. O n ly now and again do you dare to express a wish. R e a d in g . and one hand is alw ays on the page. W h en a va lu ed . In the low er classes they are sim ply handed out. For a w eek you w ere w h olly given up to the soft drift o f the text. in envy. Gifts m ust affect the receiver to the point o f shock. T o be h a p p y is to be able to becom e aw are o f on eself w ith ou t fright. you see coveted books pass into oth er hands. that surround ed you as secretly. densely and un ceasin gly as snow flakes. T h e child seeks his w ay along the h alf-h id d en paths. I f the sm oke from the tip o f m y cigarette and the ink from the nib o f m y pen flow ed w ith eq u a l ease. T h e peacefulness o f the book that enticed you further and further! Its contents did not m u ch m atter. 7/ E nlargem ents Child reading. the book is on a ta b le that is far too h igh . T o him the h ero ’s ad ven tu res can still be read in the .One-Way Street S om eon e w ho. For y o u w ere readin g at the tim e w hen you still m ade up stories in bed. he covers his ears. I should be in the A rcad ia o f m y w ritin g . Y o u entered it w ith lim itless trust. finds w ith a p an g that the p a g e he is abou t to turn is alread y cut. A t last desire was granted. I cau gh t m yself in the act o f straigh ten in g m y tie.

from classroom doors as he passes. His breath is part o f the air o f the events n arrated . w hen he gets up.— T h e clock over the school p la ygro u n d seems as if d am aged on his account. his every step makes uproar. Belated child . the w ords that are exch an ged . em braces his girl. sul­ tanas or preserves. T h e voice clatters on w ith ou t a break. H e m ingles w ith the ch ara c­ ters far more closely than grow n-ups do. tw enty h eavy sacks fly tow ards him . and no one sees. he works q u ietly w ith the rest until the bell sounds. A n d as the lover. straw berry ja m . as if they w ere w aiting. O n ce at hom e in the darkness. abandons itself to his delectation as under the open sky. heaps o f currants. and. u n encu m bered b y b read rolls. H e is un speakably touched by the deeds. and even the b utter responds ten d erly to the boldness o f this w ooer . com e m urm urs o f conspiracy. T h e hands stand at: “ L a te ” . E ach thread o f his ja c k e t is flour-w hite. Pilfering child . it gropes tow ards sugar or alm onds. L ike those o f a w retched soul at m idnight. his hand enjoys a tactile tryst w ith the com estibles before his m outh savours their sweetness. T h e teachers and pupils behind them are friends. T h e teach er’s voice clatters like a m ill-w heel. O r all is silent. T h e spot w here he stands is steeped in sunlight. H o w passionate this m eeting o f two w ho h ave at last escaped the spoon. bu t the m ill-hands now shake o ff their load to the n ew com er. and all the participan ts breathe w ith his life. But it avails him nothing. In a u d ib ly he puts his hand to the doorhandle. — T h ro u g h the chink o f the scarcely open larder door his hand advances like a lover through the night. ten. V io la tin g the peacefu l hour he opens the door. before kissing her. A n d in the corridor. G ratefu l and tem pestuous as one w h o has been ab d u cted from the parental hom e. he stands before the grin d in g stones. H ow in v itin g ly honey. even rice yield to his hand. is b lan ched over and over by the snow o f his reading. that he m ust carry to the bench. O n ce arrived at his seat.72 sw irling letters like figures and messages in d riftin g snowflakes.

his m oth er re-appears. N ext. researchers. His life is like a d r e a m : he knows nothin g lasting. H e is ensconced as the ju st ruler over a w orld that belongs to him . leavin g behind it ru n n in g layers and stream ing p len ty : m aidenliness renew ing itself w ith o u t com plaint. S ca rce ly has he entered life than he is a hunter. space begins to stam m er and the trees to rub their brows. B ut then he notices how d ou gh ty he h im self is. T h e etern al recurren ce o f all things has long becom e ch ild ’s w isdom to him . M usic starts and the child moves w ith a je rk a w a y from his m other. b ut w ith a d im m ed and m anic glow . comes a treetop. T a n g e n tia l trees and natives line his w ay. 73 Child on the roundabout. First he is afraid at lea vin g her. T o it . As the m usic slows. exactly as the child saw it thousands o f years a g o — ju st now on the rou nd abou t. betw een spirits and things years are passed in w hich his field o f vision rem ains free o f people. H e hunts the spirits whose trace he scents in th in g s. In him this passion shows its true face. in dream s. His beast is d e v o te d : like a m u te A rio n he rides his silent fish. in antiquarians. and life a p rim eval frenzy o f d om ination .— T h e board carryin g the docile anim als moves close to the groun d. the ju v e n ile D on Ju an . everyth in g seem ingly happens to him by chan ce. or a w ooden Z eus-bull carries him o ff as an im m acu late E u rop a. His hand. is best for flying. w ith the boom in g orchestrion as the crow n jew els at the centre. bibliom aniacs. T h en . in an O rien t. Untidy child .— E ach stone he finds. It is at the height w hich. the m u ch -ram m ed stake a b ou t w hich the lan d in g ch ild winds the rope o f his gaze. H is nom ad-years are hours in the forest o f dream . A n d his m oth er appears. each flow er picked and each b u tterfly cau g h t is a lrea d y the start o f a collection. T h e rou n d a b o u t becom es u n certain ground. has soon in vad ed all the cells and spaces. and every single th in g he owns makes up one great collection. em ergin g from the ju n g le . the stern In d ian expression w hich lingers on.One-Way Street w ho has pen etrated her bou d oir.

T h e child has long since helped at his m oth er’s lin en -cu pb oard . A n d behind a door he is him self door. a ghost. H ere he is enclosed in the w orld o f m atter. the clock need on ly strike and he w ill rem ain so. cast out its spell. bricks that are coffins. his fath er’s bookshelves. As its engineer the ch ild disenchants the glo om y paren tal ap a rtm en t and looks for E aster eggs. in their em p ty eye-sockets. T h e elem ent o f truth in this he finds out in his hiding place. crim e m useum and crypt. It becom es im m ensely distinct.74 he drags hom e his booty. A t no cost must he be found. cacti that are totem -poles and copper pennies that are shields. .— H e alread y knows all the h id ing places in the apartm en t and returns to them as to a house w h ere everyth in g is sure to be ju st as it was. he is told. Y e t once each year. His heart pounds. “ T o tidy u p ” w ou ld be to dem olish an edifice full o f prickly chestnuts that are spiky clubs. to p u rify it. he holds his breath. A n yo n e w ho discovers him can petrify him as an idol under the table. at the seeker’s touch he drives out w ith a loud cry the dem on w ho has so transform ed h im — indeed. In this struggle the a p artm en t is the arsenal o f his masks. speechlessly obtrusive. Stan d in g behind the d oo rw a y curtain . w hile in his ow n dom ain he is still a sporadic. T h e dinin g table under w hich he is crou ch in g turns him into the w ooden idol in a tem ple whose four pillars are the carved legs. A n d so. Child hiding. w ith ou t w a it­ ing for the m om ent o f discovery. In such m anner does a m an w ho is b eing hanged becom e aw are o f the reality o f rope and w ood. secure it. W h en he pulls faces. M a g ic discovery becom es science. w ears it as his heavy m ask and as a sham an w ill b ew itch all those w ho un suspectingly enter. w eave him forever as a ghost into the curtain. their fixed m ouths. His draw ers must becom e arsenal and zoo. the child becom es him ­ self som ething floating and w hite. banish him for life into the h eavy door. tinfoil that is hoarded silver. w arlike visitor. he grabs the hunter w ith a shout o f self-deliverance. T h a t is w h y he does not tire o f the struggle w ith the dem on. in m ysterious places. presents lie.

etern al vo ya g in g. T h e m ere w ord . or ju st intensely p reo ccu p ied w ith another. but very few. Antique spoon.One-Way Street 75 A n tiq u es Medallion. N o im agin ation w ith ou t inn ervation . blasted. Old map. in short. for w hom con tact w ith m other earth is to be shunned. to leave it sm oulder­ ing. by contrast. Prayer-wheel. . A n d from this it fol­ lows th at the facu lty o f im ag in a tio n is the gift o f in terpolatin g into the infin itely sm all. his portrait w ill ap p ear in alm ost every book.— T h e follow in g exp erien ce w ill be fam iliar: if one is in love. at m ost inflam es it. the beloved features w ith in it. N ow b reath ­ ing is the la tte r’s most d elicate regulator. M o reover. In stories. he appears as both protagonist and antagonist. T h ere is no in tact w ill w ith ou t exact p ictorial im agin ation . — O n ly im ages in the m ind vitalize the w ill. novels. o f in ven tin g. in its new ex­ panse. H ence the p ractice o f m ed itatin g Y o g a . com pressed fullness. — In a love affair most seek an eternal hom eland. a p p e ara n ce has a p a rad o x ical effect. w hich on ly in sp read in g draw s b reath and flourishes. These latter are m elan ­ cholics. Fan . w hich breathes in a cco rd w ith the holy syllables. — In everyth in g th at is w ith reason called beautiful. H ence its om n ipotence. o f receivin g each im age as i f it w ere that o f the folded fan. T h e y seek the person w ho w ill keep far from them the hom e­ la n d ’s sadness.— O n e thin g is reserved to the greatest epic w rite rs: the c a p a c ity to feed their heroes. T h e m ed ieval com plexion -books understood the yearn in g o f this hum an type for long jou rn eys. T h e sound o f form ulae is a can on o f such breath in g. O thers. T o that person they rem ain faithful. an extensiveness to contain its new . for every intensity. and novellas he is en countered in endless m etam orphoses.

speaks w ith her. besides other lesser objects. as now . alm ost life-size bust o f a w om an. L ike a clock o f life on w h ich the seconds race. separated from her. not dissim ilar to L e o n a rd o ’s F lora in the B erlin M useum . I go up to a glass showcase. shallow . so that the th o u gh t was alive in all its folds and crevices like a relief. aw ake and dressed. w ho shaded and sheltered it before us. T h en . the pagen um ber hangs over the characters in a novel. and now yields n oth in g but the precious block out o f w hich the im age o f on e’s future m ust be hewn. T h e m outh o f this golden head is open. In it. W atchm aker and J ew eller H e w ho. Torso. perhaps w hile hiking.76 Relief . witnesses the sunrise. in the ligh t o f our know ledge. fearful glan ce? I dream t that I was w a lk in g — a n ew ly-h atch ed priva te tutor — conversing collegially w ith R o eth e. bereft o f com fort and shadow . w e see it lie flat. W h ich reader has not once lifted to it a fleeting. A n d now the m o tif seems banal. and one realizes that it was she alone. W h ile he talks in an ad join in g room w ith an em p loyee. d ully shining.— O n e is w ith the w om an one loves.— O n ly he w ho can view his own past as an abortion sprung from com pulsion and need can use it to full a d va n ta g e in the present. p a rtly . one thinks again o f w h at was talked o f then. weeks or months later. and over the low er teeth je w e lle ry . bendin g low over it w ith love. stands a m etallic or enam elled. preserves all d ay before others the serenity o f one in ­ visibly crow n ed . taw d ry. For w hat one has lived is at best com p a ra b le to a beautiful statue w hich has had all its lim bs knocked o ff in transit. and he w ho sees d a yb reak w hile w orkin g feels at m id d ay as if he has him self placed this crow n upon his head. th rough the spacious rooms o f a m useum whose cu rator he was. A lon e.

IRepose” . — T w o people w h o are in love are a ttach ed above all else to their nam es. avec I’ amas de sa criniere sombrejEt de ses bijoux precieuxJSur la table de nuit. L o g g ia Geranium.) 77 A rc L amp T h e on ly w a y o f k n ow in g a person is to love them w ith ou t hope. Foliage plant.e. i. “ the early bird catches the w o rm ” — tr . — Should an obstacle prevent union. shared old age is at hand. Cactus bloom.].One-Way Street h an g in g from the m outh.— T o the lover the loved one appears alw ays as solitary. Asphodel. rests on the n ight-table like a ranunculus. is spread at m easured intervals. [T h e head. the abyss o f sexuality closes like that o f the fam ily. — (D ream -m o tifs: blushing [S c h a m -R o e th e ]. — M em o ry a lw ays sees the loved one sm aller. Morgenstunde hat Gold im Munde [G erm an sayin g: the m ornin g hour has gold in its m outh. at once the fantasy o f a contented. . I was in no d ou b t that this was a clock. a rgu in g.— B ehind som eone w ho is loved. Forget-me-not.— T h e tru ly lo vin g person delights in finding the beloved .] B au d elaire. Carthusian pink . in the w ron g. heaped w ith its dark m ane and precious jew els. comme une renoncule. “ La tete.

ParisSoir . in the landscape so in co m p arab le and irretrievab le is the rigorous connection betw een foreground and distance. for a few seconds. “ L ’ ln tra n . As soon as we begin to find our b ear­ ings. fallen asleep. that earliest pictu re can never be restored.— T h e blue distance that never gives w a y to fore­ ground or dissolves at our ap p roach . a town. the lan dscape vanishes at a stroke like the facade o f a house as we enter it. L a L ib e rte ” — a three-cornered cell in a h ard -lab ou r prison. H ab it has not yet done its work. w hich is not revealed spread-eagle and lon g-w in d ed w hen reached bu t only looms more com p a ct and threaten ing.” I dream t in these words and at once w oke w ith a start. It has not yet gained prep ond erance through a constant exp loration that has becom e habit. and had at once. “ L ’ ln tra n . P ra ctica lly everyone drinks only spoiled a n im a l-w a ter. H a l t f o r N o t M o r e t h a n T h r e e C abs I stood for ten m inutes w a itin g for an om nibus. . . T h ere is in tenem ent blocks a m usic o f such d eathly-sad wantonness that one cannot believe it to be for the p la y e r : it is m usic for the furnished room s w here on Sundays som eone sits . .78 L o s t -P r o p e r t y O f f i c e Articles lost. T h ro u g h excessive fatigue I had throw n m yself on m y bed in m y clothes in the b rig h tly-lit room . is the painted distance o f a b ackdrop. It is w hat gives stage sets their in com p arab le atm osphere. . . .— W h a t makes the very first glim pse o f a village. a n ew spaper vend or called inces­ santly in an u n va ryin g tone behind me. “ A hotel in w h ich an anim al is spoiled. I saw before me how b leak the corners w ere. O n ce we begin to find our w a y abou t. . I saw in a dream “ a house o f ill rep u te” . L a L ib e rte ” . Articles found. . Paris-Soir .

H ere stands one w h o fetches w ater from the tear-seas o f his contem poraries like a D an a id e . A n d none w ho w alks the paths o f life w ould . brand ishin g d raw n swords in each hand . N o nam e that w ou ld be m ore fittin gly honoured b y silence. N o post was ever m ore lo y ally held. but they all leave us b ew ild ered like messages from the beyond. and from w hose hands the rock w hich is to bury his enem ies rolls like that o f Sisyphus. w ho care not w hat h avoc they w reak in the realm o f the livin g. B lind like the manes lan gu a g e calls him to ven g ea n ce. he dances a w a r-d an ce before the b u rial vau lt o f the G erm an lan gu age. . yg M onum ent to a W a r r io r Karl AraMi.One. w rath ­ fully grin n in g. H e. the colourless flam e o f w it darts forth. But he can not err. E very sound is in co m p a ra b ly genuine. a C hinese idol. “ m erely one o f the epigones that live in the old house o f la n g u a g e ” . has becom e the sealer o f its tom b. and none ever was m ore hopelessly lost. T h e ir com m ands are infallible. as i f “ Blessed Y e a r n in g ” had never been com posed? H elpless as only spirits’ voices are w hen sum m oned up. nothing m ore god-forsaken than his adversaries.Way Street in thoughts that are soon garnished w ith these notes like a bow l o f over-ripe fruit w ith w ith ered leaves.N oth in g m ore d esolatin g than his acolytes. a m u rm u r from the ch th on ic depths o f lan gu a g e is the source o f his soothsaying. whose utterances even a defun ct lan gu age inspires? W h o ever conjured up a spirit as K ra u s did in the “ F orsaken ” . W h o e ve r tries his arm w ith him is cond em ned a lrea d y : in this m outh the a d versa ry ’s nam e itself becom es a ju d g em e n t. W h a t m ore helpless than his conversion ? W h a t m ore pow erless than his h u m a n ity? W h a t m ore hopeless than his b attle w ith the press? W h a t does he know o f the powers that are his true allies? But w h a t vision o f the new seers bears com parison w ith the listening o f this sham an. In ancien t arm our. as n arrow -m in d ed as spirits that know on ly the voice o f the blood. In d a y and n ight w atches he endures. W h e n his lips part.

For w hether the bourgeoisie wins or loses the fight. T h e continu ance or the end o f three thousand years o f cu ltu ral d evelopm ent w ill be decided by the answer. dangers. the ligh ted fuse must be cut. H istory knows n othin g o f the evil in fin ity contained in the im age o f the two wrestlers locked in eternal com bat.— T h e gently rising. It does not refer to a trial o f strength to decide the question “ W h o shall w in. T h e railing behind the church. O n an arch a ic field o f honour. and tem pi o f politicians are te ch n ica l— not chivalrous. it rem ains doom ed by the inner con tra­ dictions that in the course o f d evelopm ent w ill becom e d ead ly. T h e on ly question is w hether its d ow nfall w ill com e through itself or through the p roletariat. T h e honours at his death w ill be im m easurable. he rages before a deserted sepulchre. T r a v e l S ou venir s - Atrani. T h e true p o litician reckons on ly in dates. Before the spark reaches the d ynam ite. a gigan tic b a ttle­ ground o f b lo od y labour. I f you turn around. and the last that are bestow ed. all is lost. A n d if the abolition o f the bourgeoisie is not com pleted b y an alm ost calcu lab le m om ent in econom ic and techn ical d evelopm ent (a m om ent signalled by inflation and poison-gas w arfare). the church verges like G od H im se lf on the sea. w ho be d efeated ?” . T o think in this w a y is to rom an ticize and obscure the facts. but betw een . F ir e A l a r m T h e notion o f the class w ar can be m isleading. E ach m ornin g the C hristian E ra crum bles the rock.8o com e upon him . or to a struggle the outcom e o f w hich is good for the victor and bad for the van qu ished . T h e inter­ ventions. T h e litanies o f the old w om en at the “ A v e M a r ia ” : prep arin g to die first-class. cu rved baroque staircase lead in g to the church.

Versailles Facade.— T h e b ea u ty o f the tall sailing ships is unique. T h is place is deserted. A lley w a ys like air shafts. H ere d ance and silence becom e the leitmotifs. Marseilles. Y e t tod ay it is on ly the w all in the shade o f w hich one seeks to enjoy the prospect into blue distance created by L e N otre. T h en . These rooms p rovide only for dream s and festivities. sunniest square stands the cathed ral. and a 81 . Seville. in their w indow s or above their contours. A w ell in the m arket-p lace. O f its splendour it keeps none for itself.One-Way Street the w alls below . destruction reaffirm s the eternity o f these fallen stones. sil­ houetted against the horizon. their consum m a­ tion. to the south. since all hum an m ovem en t is absorbed by the soundless tum ult o f the ornam en t. the n ight falls alw ays into the four old R o m an quarters. giv in g it u n d iv id ed to that royal condition w hich it concludes. T h ro u g h the transient spectacle it opens in the sky.— O n the least frequented. It is un deflected b y p ractical considerations. Before this b a ck d ro p it becom es a stage on w hich the trag ed y o f absolute m on arch y was perform ed as an alle­ gorical ballet. in solitude: archaic plashing. Alcazar. the ga ze meets passing clouds.— R uins ju ttin g into the sky can ap p ear d ou b ly b eautiful on clear days w hen. despite the p roxi­ m ity at its feet o f L a Joliette. — A n arch itectu re that follows fan tasy’s first im pulse. Cathedral. In the late afternoon w om en a b o u t it. N ot only has their outline rem ained u n ch an ged for centuries. Navy.— It is as i f this chateau had been forgotten w here hundreds o f years ago it was p laced Par Ordre du Roi for on ly two hours as the m ovab le scenery for a Jeerie. b u t also they a p p e ar in the most im m u tab le lan d scap e: at sea. Heidelberg Castle. the harbou r.

— T h e distinction o f the stone-pine forest: its ro o f is form ed w ith ou t interlacem ents.— T h e special sense o f a town is form ed in part for its in h ab ita n ts— and perhaps even in the m em ory o f the traveller w ho has stayed th e re — by the tim bre and intervals w ith w hich its tow er-clocks begin to chim e. Freiburg Minster . sit readin g hym nbooks that.— W h a t the B yzan tine m adonn a carries on her arm is only a life-size w ood en doll. w ith their con ­ cordances and cross references. T h e facade gives an ind ication o f the w a itin g rooms w ithin . repre­ sented. and cabinets w here the lon g-distance traveller can discreetly wash are kept in readiness as confessionals. in 1893. is m ore intense than any she could display w ith a realistic im age o f a boy. place and tim e had con­ spired victoriou sly in this m on um en t against its architects and sponsors. N ea rly forty years w ere spent on it. un fath om able goods. T h is is the M arseilles religion station. St Basil’ s . Museo Nazionale . Boscotrecase. w here passengers o f the first to fourth classes (though before G od they are all eq u al). the bleak b u ild in g stands betw een q u a y and w arehouse. E xtracts from the railw ay traffic regulation s in the form o f pastoral letters h an g on the w alls. tariffs for the discount on special trips in S a ta n ’s lu x u ry train are consulted. But w hen all was com plete. as a child holds .82 p roletarian district to the north. and the w ealth o f the clergy had given rise to a gigan tic railw ay station that cou ld never be opened to traffic. As a reload in g point for in tan gib le.— A rc h a ic statues offer in their smiles the consciousness o f their bodies to the onlooker. Sleeping cars to eternity d ep art from here at M ass times. Moscow. look very m uch like internation al tim etables. H er expression o f pain before a C hrist whose ch ild h o od rem ains only suggested. Naples. w edged am on g their spiritual possessions as betw een cases.

In spring atten tion is cau gh t. later art laces its expressions m ore tigh tly. in brigh t sunshine. N o m oon was to be seen. A n d yet she is w inged . It shed intense rad ia n ce. A L ion . For in this plenitude o f stars the im ages o f the constellations stood sensuously present. she helplessly stretches her arms for a fruit that rem ains beyon d her reach.— As I stepped from a house in a dream the night sky m et m y eyes. N o th in g is m ore true. S ittin g. glasses and food. upon the earth. dense clusters o f stars. T oys Cut-out models. Baptistry. H ow a con vivial even ing has passed can be seen by som eone rem ain in g behind from the disposition o f plates and cups. Sky .One. Florence. by the you n g foliage. 83 O ptician In sum m er fat people are conspicuous. in cold rain by the still leafless branches. in w inter thin.Way Street out to us freshly picked flowers untied and u n arran g ed . like the a d u lt w ho binds the lastin g b ou q u et w ith cu ttin g grasses.— O n the portal the “ Spes” by A n d rea de Pisano. a M a id en . First p rin cip le o f w o o in g: to m ake oneself sevenfold. T h ere are . a Scale and m a n y others shone livid ly dow n. at a glance. In the eyes we see people to the lees.— Booths have pu t in like rockin g craft to both sides o f the stone je tty on w h ich the people jostle. to place on eself sevenfold abou t the w om an w ho is desired.

are two sirens w ith provocative breasts in oil colours. its in h ab itan ts savages sw ooning in covetous w on d erm en t before the things that E urope tosses at their feet. have seen.84 sailing vessels w ith high masts from w hich hang pennants. B ehind this. in the m anner o f m ovable scenery. O r they protru d e from a . rad ia tin g like spokes. But w ith w h at in ­ difference is it not received. at the top o f it deserted his blue wife. their ow n m arriage com e into b eing and cease to be. Into the q u arter the fleet has b rou gh t unrest: the w om en and girls on board have brazen airs. Elsew here exotic people stand on the deck ap p aren tly tryin g to frighten the p u b lic a w ay w ith eccen tric music. w ith a broad rollin g gait as on ships’ stairw ays. steam ers w ith smoke rising from their funnels. tacitu rn and ben u m b ed . Elsew here pipes bristle from the hair o f w om en w ho are seldom painted w ith skirts. Sea-lions. In m irrors they have seen the floor m elt a w a y beneath their feet like w ater. peacock-feathers. T h ere is. Those w ho re-em erge from below . and circulates endlessly through a tunnel. A m o n g them are ships into w hich one vanishes. on red scales w here d yed alcohol rises and falls. barges that keep their cargoes long stowed.— T h e landscapes o f shooting-ranges in fairgroun d booths ought to be described co llectively as a corpus. Y o u clim b up h esitantly. and before an u n articu lated strip o f w ood land . w hile right at the front. the y ello w m an w ho began w ooin g at the foot o f this scale. and stum bled into the open on rollin g stairw ays. For a few days the q u arter has becom e the port o f a south-sea island. for exam ple. tw o foresters are painted. Targets. dwarfs and dogs are preserved as in an ark. only men are ad m itted . the targets. and as lon g as you are aloft you realize that the w hole is cut o ff from the shore. veils. but throu gh hatchw ays you can see w om en ’s arm s. usually in tights. O n e is so totally cut o ff by the ocean that ev eryth in g is encountered here as if at once for the first and the last tim e. Even the railw a y has been b rou gh t in once and for all. and everyth in g edible has been taken aboard in the land o f idle lu xu ry. a polar w aste against w hich are set bundles o f w hite clay-pipes.

T w o convicts are seen m a n h a n d lin g a b ig w heel. T h e bear beats a drum w ith his p a w and lifts one leg..Way Street fan they spread in their hands. the door opens. (T h e third did not open. a ju d g e in a b lack robe and a priest h o ld in g a crucifix. I f the shot hits the m ark the gate opens and a b oard is extended on w h ich the m iscreant stands betw een tw o policem en. W hen the target is hit he pulls a b ell-cord. T h e first opens and a tiny person stands inside it and bows. S n o w W h ite freed o f the ap p le by a shot or L ittle R e d R id in g -H o o d released by a shot. T h e bell rings. “ L ’ hospitalite” . O n one occasion there w ere thirty-six such boxes and above the stage o f each was w ritten w h a t th ey held in store: “ Jeanne d’Arc en prison” . “ Les rues de Paris” . O n another booth : “ Execution capitale” .) Below . T h e father is seen in the m iddle o f the room holding a child on his knee and w ith his free hand rockin g a cradle con tain in g another. O n e thinks o f the fairy-tale o f the b ra ve little tailor. M o v in g pipes revolve slow ly in the furth er regions o f the clay-p igeon booths.One. “ Le bagne” [“ clin k ” ] — a door w ith a gaoler in front o f it. O n it lie three fruit. T h e shot breaks in m a g ic a lly upon the existences o f the puppets w ith that cu rative pow er that hews the heads from m onsters and reveals them to be princesses. Y e t an oth er constellation: a fiddler w ith his d a n cin g bear. N ex t to him an oth er is d ra g gin g a priest tow ards a cau ld ron in w h ich the d am n ed m ust stew. As is the case w ith the great door w ith ou t an inscrip tion : if you have hit the m ark it opens and before red plush curtain s stands a M o o r w ho seems to b ow slightly. A penurious interior opens. I f he hits the b u ll’ s-eye the p erform ance starts. and cou ld also im agine Sleep ing B eauty aw ak en ed w ith a shot. In front o f the closed gate a gu illotine. In the same w a y : “ Les delices du manage” . In the second tw o e q u a lly d im in u tive puppets revolve in a dance. T h e y seem to have to turn it. in front o f the table on w h ich the 85 . O th e r stands present th eatricals directed b y the spectator w ith his rifle. H e holds in front o f him a golden bow l. “ L ’ Enfer” — w hen its gates part a devil is seen torm en ting a w retch ed soul. W h en you shoot successfully the bow moves. H e places his neck a u to m a tica lly under the b lad e and is d ecapitated .

by the w aters o f the D vin a. fenced o ff and only thirty paces from the w ater. has sugar-sacks and coal in grey and b lack relief on a grey w all. boots and clothes. A t some corners there stand all the year round. have put in at the blackish dw arftown. pliers and the tiniest screws on one board that looks like a page from an ou t­ . a sm all horsem an w ith the inscrip­ tion: “ Route minee” . P rotru d in g from it at an angle is a lan tern w ith sim ilar pictures on its glass panes.) G rim y boards are the clay-grey foundation on w hich. outshone in the fresh N ovem ber air by the cheeks o f the ap p les. (T h e larger ships are m oored dow nstream . a b road . A n oth er house. A low corner-house w ith a shop for corsets and m illin ery is d ecorated w ith ladies’ faces com plete w ith finery. A t the end o f the je tty . Stereoscope. T h e apples on sale are packed in straw . stretches a lo n g the jetty. I f you hit the b u ll’s-eye there is a b an g and the rider somersaults w ith his horse. Sm all steamers. T h e w hole is like the facade o f a fantasy-broth el. O n e shop in the tow n has cases and belts larger than life on its bare brick w alls.— R iga. those sold lie w ith ou t straw in the housew ives’ baskets. sparse colours m elt. likewise not far from the h ar­ bour. alongside huts for fish. often show ing no m ore than their funnels above the q u ay w all. L ik e being scolded by the m ost-loved v o ice — such are these rods. but stays— needless to sa y — in the saddle. A dark-red ch urch rises beyond. glo w in g in the cold air. Iro n ­ m on gery is painted in detail. Som ew here else shoes rain from horns o f plenty. E veryw h ere you see w ares depicted on signboards or on house-w alls.— S everal shops for b oatin g-tack le in sm all houses near the jetty. a h u d d lin g city o f low w ooden booths. are the red-andw hite m ounds o f the apple-m arket.86 rem ain ing scenery stands. m eat. For a few coppers m ulti-coloured chastising switches. R opes are painted on them . ham m ers. and severe bodices painted on a yellow -ochre ground. d irty stone em b ankm en t w ithou t w areh ou se buildings. T h e d a ily m arket. pettybourgeois w om en w ith the coloured paper rods that penetrate as far as the W est only at C hristm as-tim e. cogs.

A n d two m others are there: one endlessly and gently shakin g her head like a depressive.— T h e nailing to the cross. Not for sale. Both tables are low and glass-covered. w hich a soldier offers him in slow jerks and then instan tly w ith ­ draws. then the Passion. w hile in their low er con cealed part the clo ck w ork that drives them ticks au d ib ly. A few steps lead up to it. B ib lical figurines follow . In the brigh t interior two tables extend tow ards the back. how ever. From 87 . stands m otionless but for his rollin g eyes.— N ext to the en tran ce prin cely personages are to be seen. the other. the other raisin g her arms slow ly. C hrist n o d s. It lies on the groun d. T w o executioners stand before him . fortress-like desolate buildin gs evokin g all the terrors o f T sarism . enthroned and flanked by two card inals. H ero d orders the slau gh ter o f the infants w ith m anifold m ovem ents o f the head. — A m ech an ical cab in et at the fair at L u cca . one free-w heeling w ith a cu ttin g sword. H e opens his m outh w ide w hile nodding. T h e exh ib ition is a ccom m od ated in a long sym m etrically-d ivid ed tent. on the point o f stab bin g. a sm all N ap oleon II I and an even sm aller V icto r E m m an u el as C ro w n P rince.— C hrist crucified . extends and lets fall his arm .One-Way Street m oded c h ild ’s pain tin g-b oo k. in vitin g m ovem ent w ith the righ t or left arm . a d ecap itated child u nder his arm . E ach tim e the S av io u r slightly raises his chin. F ran z J oseph stands there. T h e re are distorting m irrors on the w a lls. Pius I X . rise tall. T h e y touch w ith their inner edges so that on ly a n arrow space is left to w alk round them . Q u ee n E len a o f Italy . B etw een them . slaked by the sponge o f vin egar. the Sultaness. T h e hirelings h am m er in the nails. some roll their eyes and m ove their arms at the sam e tim e. W ilh elm I on horseback. Y o u enter the tent by the right-hand op en in g and leave it by the left. A n arrow raised board for child ren runs along the sides o f the tables. an oth er a sw ivellin g o f his glassy e y e s. T h e signboard shows a table w ith a few m otionless puppets. O n them stand the puppets (tw enty to tw en ty-five centim etres high on average). E ach o f them m akes a p a rticu la r ge stu re : one a spacious. b esee ch in gly . W ith such pictures the tow n is perm eated .

rem oves it. T h e auth or lays his idea on the m arble table o f the cafe.— T h e other table shows genre pictures. T h e n . A girl draws w ater and the u n falterin g thick stream o f glass runs from the w e ll-m o u th .— T h e en ch an ted lovers: a golden bush or a golden flam e parts in tw o w ings. and the top h a lf o f a la d y ’s b od y em erges. carefu lly poured and consum ed. T h e y turn their faces tow ards each other and then aw ay. T h e one on the right opens.— T w o m onkeys p la yin g vio lin s. as he altern a tely lifts one then the other. and pipe.— T h e m agic w ell: a farm -boy stands head-shaking at a w ell. T h e n it all starts again from the b eg in n in g . appears now a lo a f or an apple.— B elow each figure a sm all label. L e n g th y m editation.— A n A lp in e m aiden sp in n in g. m ake up his clin ical au d ience. as i f looking at each other in confused aston ishm en t. altern ately lifting his left arm and his right. W h a t this idea m ay be has no m ore connection w ith the m atter at h and than . E ach hand holds a fork on w h ich a d u m pling is im p a le d . T h e one on the left o p en s: from it rises half-length a m a n ’s body. W ith in are seen two puppets.behind an angel bends over the cross w ith a ch alice for blood. for he makes use o f the tim e before the arrival o f his glass. G a rg a n tu a w ith d um plings. d eliberately. arran ged as in an a m p h i­ theatre. U n d e r them . A g ain the right-hand contain er opens and now a ram ’s skull appears w ith the la d y ’s face betw een its horns. now a flow er or a d ie .— A m agician has two barrel-like containers in front o f him . puts the idea under chloroform . Coffee. T h e w hole d a tin g b ack to 1862. T h e n on the left a m on key presents itself instead o f the man. T h e num erous clientele. pencil. In front o f a plate he shovels them into his m outh w ith both hands. he unpacks his instrum ents: fountain pens.— A n o th e r m agician : he has a table in front o f him on w hich he holds beakers upside-dow n in each hand. as if it w ere filled. the lens through w h ich he exam ines the patien t. holds it in front o f the b od y and then.

and he pays the w a iter. For its d ay is lon g past. N ow things press too closely on h u m an society. T h e re b y “ m atter-of-factness” is finally d ispatched . in cash. “ in n o cen t” eye has becom e a lie. m an ip u la tin g paintings in the d ea ler’s exh ib ition room . F or the m an in the street. the m ercan tile g a ze ^ into the heart o f things is the advertisem ent. ju st as people w hom n o th in g m oves or touches any longer are tau gh t to cry again by film s. sen tim en tality is restored to h ealth and liberated in A m erican style. T h e “ u n clo u d ed ” . A n d ju st as the film does not present fu rn itu re and facades in com pleted forms for critical inspection. stirs sentient springs. T h e w arm th o f the subject is com m u n icated to him . his assistant. their insistent. knows m ore im por­ tant if not b etter things abou t them than the art lover view in g them in the show room w in d o w . h o w ­ ever. W h a t. w h ere toothpaste and cosm etics lie h a n d y for giants. je r k y nearness alone b ein g sensa­ tional. cauterizes proliferations o f w ords. C riticism is a m a tter o f correct distancing. it is m on ey that affects him in this w ay. and in face o f the hu ge im ages across the w alls o f houses. the gen u in e advertisem ent hurtles things at us w ith the tem po o f a good film . careens at us out o f a film screen. perhaps the w hole n aive m ode o f expression sheer in com p eten ce. T o d a y the m ost real. W ith the cautious lineam ents o f h a n d w ritin g the operator m akes incisions. /f i <' ^ ^ / . in the end.Way Street 89 the dream o f an anaesthetized patien t w ith the surgical inter­ vention. A t last the w h ole is fin ely stitched together with p u n ctu ation . displaces interned accents. / T h is S p a c e f o r R e n t I r>k Ca a ' y v Foojs lam en t the d ecay o f criticism . It was at hom e in a w orld w h ere perspectives and prospects counted and w here it was still possible to take a stan dp oint. inserts a foreign term as a silver rib.One. gro w in g to gigan tic proportions. brings him into perceived co n tact w ith things. It abolishes the ^ space w h ere con tem plation m oved and all but hits us b etw een the eyes w ith things as a car. A n d the paid critic.

and as I passed fam iliar places on m y w ay. w ith the light behind him . M e an w h ile snatches o f conversation show how m an y m atters are dealt w ith here that are m ore im portant than the one under discussion. A n d if her em ployer is either p ro o f against her charm s or else has long clarified his position as her ad m irer. and she knows how to turn this to a d va n ta ge w ith her boss. and so finally accep t this dis­ com fiting procedure as the legitim ate state o f affairs. T h e arm ch air too does its w ork. Y o u begin to w on d er w ho it is they are talkin g abou t. T h e other. is follow ed sooner or later by a liqu id ation . M ixed C a r g o : C a r r ia g e a n d P a c k in g In the early m ornin g I drove through M arseilles to the station. the n ew com er w ill glan ce over at her more than on ce. T h is treatm ent. and slow ly start to retreat from y ou r position. A telephone on the desk shrills at every m om ent.9° makes advertisem ents so superior to criticism ? N ot w h at the m oving red neon sign says— but the fiery pool reflecting it in the asphalt. It interrupts you at the m ost im portant point and gives your op pon en t tim e to contrive an answer. She is very pretty. Sum m oned or un­ sum m oned the secretary enters. His personnel are in m otion p rod u cin g card-indexes in w hich the visitor knows h im self to be entered under various rubrics. un- . reads this o ff the d a zzlin g ly illu m in ated face w ith satisfaction. T h e a p p aren t com fort that disarm s those entering is in reality a hidden arsenal. H e starts to tire. t O f f i c e Equipm en t c\ _ rp „ T h e boss’s room bristles w ith w eapons. soon you are so m uch at one w ith the firm th at you regret the m igrain e he com ­ plains o f on the telephone as a disturbance o f business (rather than w elcom in g it as an op portu n ity). you sit in it tilted as far b ack as at the den tist’s. and then new . Y o u think this to yourself. and hear w ith a fright that you r interlocu tor is leavin g tom orrow for B razil. too.

N o m atter by w h om : form erly a b eggar at the tab le en riched each b an qu et. T h e C o u n t o f S ain t-G erm ain fasted before loaded tables. H erm its have obser­ ved. T hose accustom ed to it must lead a S p a rtan life i f they are not to go dow n hill. food m ust be d ivid ed and d istributed if it is to be w ell received. W h en it w ent o ff I did not w ake up but saw m y self for a w hile lyin g. the city b ecam e a book in m y hands. how ever. into w h ich I h u rried ly glan ced a few last tim es before it passed from m y sight for w ho know s how lon g into a w areh ouse crate. not sociable conversation. T h e splitting up and giv in g are all-im p o rta n t. i f for o n ly this reason. O n ly then did I w ake. on the oth er hand. ' Stam p Shop T o som eone lookin g th rou gh piles o f old letters a stam p that has long b een out o f c ircu latio n on a to m envelope often says m ore than a rea d in g o f dozens o f pages. P la y in g host levels differences.One-Way Street fam iliar ones or others that I rem em bered only va g u ely. W h a t is sur­ prising. gi C losed fo r A l te r a tio n s In a d ream I took m y life w ith a gun. rivalries and conflict ensue. For it is only in co m p a n y that ea tin g is done ju stic e . T a k in g food alone tends to m ake one h ard and coarse. “ A ugeas” Se l f -Ser v ice R estau ran t T his is the w eightiest ob jection to the m ode o f life o f the confirm ed b ach elo r: he eats b y him self. is that w ith ou t food c o n v ivia lity grows p recarious. W hen all abstain. and b y this alone d om in ated conversation. binds to­ gether. a fru gal diet. Som etim es you com e across them on postcards and are unsure w hether you should d etach .

in the glass-cases o f cafes. m inute letters. and prophetic ones that give H u m b ert a m a rty r’s crown. T h ere are cerem onious ones that place a halo abou t the head o f Q u een V icto ria . T h is is w h y such pow erful pictures can be m ade o f pieces o f stam p stuck together. T h e y confine them selves to the o ccu lt part o f the stam p: the post­ m ark. Stam ps bristle w ith tiny num bers. pilloried before all eyes. like low er anim als. For the postm ark is the dark side o f stamps. M a n y o f them later figure in the w indow s o f stam p dealers. and m align an tly plot revenge for long days o f suffering. as entires b ran d ed over and over w ith post­ marks. T h e pursuer o f postm arks m ust possess like a detective inform ation on the most notorious post offices. But no sadistic fantasy can equal the b lack practice that covers faces w ith weals. T h ere are also.92 them or keep the card as it is. A n d the perverse pleasure in contrasting this vio lated stam p-body w ith its w hite lace-garnish ed tulle dress: the serrated border. lives on even w h en m utilated. But in them life bears alw ays a hint o f corruption to signify that it is com posed o f dead m atter. lan guish in g on a glass Salas y G om ez? Letters that rem ain lon g unopened take on a b ru tal look. they are disinherited. there are collectors w ho concern them selves only w ith post-m arked stamps. letters w ith a charge on them . T h e y are graph ic cellu lar tissue. As is know n. and cleaves the land o f entire continents like an earthquake. T h e ir portraits and obscene groups are littered w ith bones and riddled w ith w orm s. and like a cab b alist an in ven ­ tory o f dates for an entire cen tu ry. d im in u tive leaves and eyes. A ll this swarm s abou t and. and it w ould not be difficult to believe them the only ones w ho have penetrated the secret. like an archaeologist the art o f reconstructing the torsos of the most foreign place-nam es. like a page by an old m aster that has different but eq u ally precious draw ings on both sides. O r h ave they been deported. D o the colour sequences o f the long sets perhaps refract the light o f a strange sun? D id the postal ministries o f the V a tic a n or . and have to w ait in this case for years.

and the four great grey shades o f M ars and the u n nu m b ered stam ps o f S a tu rn ? C oun tries and oceans on stam ps are only the provinces. In a tigh tly-w o ven sp id er’s w eb they bear on ly a num ber. b ad ly perforated. one evening. o f anim als and allegories and states are record ed in them . T h e y are u n alterin g. too gleam in g breast-pin in the tie o f a sly. But then there are sm all stam ps w ith o u t perforations. there they are like the b ew itch ed num bers o f taxim eters. to see the light o f a can d le shining throu gh them from behind.One. as over phantom s. S crip t on T u rkish piastre-stam ps is like the slanted. only h a lf-E u ro p ean ized m erch an t from C on stantin ople. T hese are perhaps fa te’s true lo ttery tickets. kings on ly the hirelings o f num bers that steep them in their colours at w ill. the large. Postal traffic depends on their h arm on y as the m otions o f the planets depend on the h arm on y o f the celestial num bers. T h e y look like those first photos from w hich. w hich deck them ­ selves out like ban kn otes. w ith ou t in d ication o f cu rren cy or country. the num bers o f m onarchs and palaces. relations w e never knew look dow n on us: figure-shaped great-aunts or forefathers. E xtra-p ostage stam ps are the spirits am ong stam ps. garish form ats o f N ica ra g u a or C o lo m b ia . Stam p -alb u m s are m agic reference-books.Way Street 93 E cu a d o r cap ture rays unknow n to us? A n d w h y are w e not shown the stam ps o f the superior planets? T h e thousand grad ation s o f fire-red that are in circu latio n on V en u s. T h u m and T a x is too has the big figures on its stam ps. T h e y n u m ­ ber am on g the postal parvenus. . T h e changes o f m onarchs and forms o f go vern m ent pass over them w ith o u t trace. altogether too dand yish. in blacklacq u ered fram es. O ld Groschen-stam ps show ing only one or two large figures in an oval. O n e w ou ld not be surprised.

attends their pu rple assemblies. the w hole science o f the little nation w ith all its figures and nam es. A travel brochure for the C a p e o f G ood H ope. the b lack swan that is found on ly in A u stra lia and here glides on the w aters o f a pool as on the most pacific ocean. w ith their full colours. is instilled in him in sleep. even on the blue. T h e g e o g ra p h y and history o f the L illi­ putians. a G erm an and not b y chance a con tem porary o f J ean P aul.T h e child looks tow ards fa r-o ff L ib eria through an inverted opera-glass: there it lies beh ind its little strip o f sea w ith its palm s. Stam ps are the visiting-cards that the great states leave in a c h ild ’s room . a stam p-lan gu age that is to flowerlan gu age w hat the morse a lp h a b et is to the w ritten one. L ike G u lliv er the child travels am ong the lands and peoples o f his postage stamps. planted this seed in the sum m ery m iddle o f the nineteenth cen tu ry. ju st as the stamps show it. it is alw ays. Si P a r l a I t a l ia n o I sat at night in violent pain on a bench. O pp osite me on another tw o girls sat dow n. green and brow n issues. T h ere is. W ith V asco da G a m a he sails around a trian gle as isoscelean as hope and whose colours chan ge w ith the w eather. T h e y seemed to w a n t to discuss . w atches the lau n ch in g o f their little ships and celebrates w ith their crow n ed heads. It w ill not survive the tw entieth. W hen he sees the swan on A u stralian stam ps. But for how long w ill the flowers continue to bloom betw een the telegrap h poles? A re not the great artistic stam ps o f the post­ w ar years. H e takes part in their transactions. enthroned behind hedges. ju bilees. it is know n. a lread y the a u tu m n al asters and dahlias o f this flora? S tep han.

A n d the truth refuses (like a child or a w om an w ho does not love us). con ­ torted. T ru th w ants to be startled a b ru p tly . W h o could count the alarm signals w ith w h ich the inner w orld o f the true w riter is eq u ip p ed ? A n d to “ w rite ” is n othin g other than to set them ja n g lin g . in face o f this u n m otivated w hisp erin g in a lan gu age inaccessible to me. at one stroke. to step in such m anner am ong them . But how w ell-constituted she m ust be. facin g the lens o f w ritin g w hile w e crouch under the black cloth. how h ea lth ily built.Way Street g j som ething in confidence and b egan to w hisper. H ardw are Q u o tatio n s in m y w ork are like w ayside robbers w ho leap out arm ed and relieve the stroller o f his conviction. to oth er people. T h e n the sweet odalisque rises w ith a start. our cranium . alm ost u n recogn iz­ able. to keep still and look am iable. th at a cool dressing was b ein g applied to the painfu l place. rattled . and yet victoriou s. w h ether b y uproar. m usic or cries for help. T e c h n i c a l A id N oth in g is poorer than a truth expressed as it was thought. w raps it aroun d her and flees us. and the state His . C o m m itted to w ritin g in such a case. T h e provid er for all dep uty. it is not even a bad ph oto­ graph.One. from her self-im m ersion. T h e killin g o f a crim inal can be m o ra l— but never its leg iti­ m ation. m ankind is G od. snatches w h a tev er first comes to hand in the melee o f her b oudoir. cap tivatin g. But now I could not resist the feeling. N o b o d y except me was n ea rb y and I should not have understood their Italian how ever loud it had been.

T a x A d vice B eyond d ou b t: a secret conn ection exists betw een the m easure o f goods and the m easure o f life. M o n ey and rain b elon g together. T h e unlim ited satirical force o f such a book w ou ld be eq u alled only by its ob jectivity. betw een m oney and time.9$ I T h e expressions o f people m ovin g abou t a p ictu re-ga llery show I ill-con cealed disappoin tm ent that only pictures hang there. and he also observes: “ a few dozen m illion m inutes m ake up a life o f forty-five years. . the plan o f this w ork w ou ld not have escaped him . w hich is to say. m ultifarious. and disparate are its m om ents. T h e m ore trivial the content o f a lifetim e. Bliss is cloudless. are a w orld o f their ow n: orn am en tin g the facade o f hell. T h ere also comes a cloudless realm o f perfect goods. the stalw art heroes sheathing their swords before m on etary units. T h e w eath er itself is an index o f the state o f this w orld.” W hen a cu rren cy is in use a few m illion units o f w hich are insignificant. on w hich no m oney falls. life w ill have to be counted in seconds. For now here m ore n aively than in these docum ents does capitalism display itself in solem n earnest. the m ore fragm ented. A n d it w ill be frittered a w a y like a b u n d le o f bank n otes: A u stria cannot b reak the h abit o f thin kin g in florins. rather than shorter. V e r y aptly. and som ething m o re. T h e innocent cupids frolicking abou t num bers. the goddesses h old in g tablets o f the law . I f L ich ten b erg had found paper m on ey in circu la ­ tion. A descriptive analysis o f b an k notes is needed. knows no w eather. L ich ten b erg suggests that tim e w hiled a w ay should be seen as m ade sm aller. rather than years. w hile the gran d period characterizes a superior existence. if it is to ap p ear a respectable sum.

w hich does not consist in sexuality b u t w h ich in its fulfilm ent. w h y did you becom e a publish er? W e shall have the answ er by return m ail. I also have a w ife and children to look after. Y o u know how h igh ly I think o f you . you have put you r m on ey five times on n u m ber 27. I figure in y ou r arch ive as n u m ber 27. But. B ut a vo id posing as an honest businessm an. But a b itter feelin g o f d isappoin tm ent w ill rem ain. B ut you cannot hold it against me if even I now have to listen to m y com m ercial conscience. A n d I have not spared exp en ­ ses.One-Way Street L egal 97 P r o te c tio n for th e N eedy Publisher: M y exp ectations have been most ru dely disappoin­ ted. after all. o f course. But never a th o u gh t for the m o rro w — such is you th . and perhaps . despite all this. N ow you know w h y you b ecam e a publisher. I am he. I do not m ean.” A n d d o n ’t start m akin g scenes w ith you r n u m bers! O th erw ise y o u w ill be bou nced . like you r esteem ed father. C on tin u e to in d ulge y o u r habits. Y o u h ave p u b lish ed five o f m y b o o k s. I regret th at I am at present absolu tely u n ab le to support you further. m y c h ild . that I hold you a ccou n tab le for the losses o f the past years. D o not feign in n ocen ce w h en you have ga m b led ev eryth in g a w a y . do not talk abou t y o u r eight-hour w orkin g day. either. or the n ight w h en you h a rd ly get a n y rest. D o c t o r ’s N i g h t -B e l l Sexual fulfilm ent delivers the m an from his secret. you only took coupled bets. in other words. Y o u r w ork m akes no im pression on the p u b lic. I f there is an yon e w h o does w h a t he can for authors. I h a ve incurred ad vertisin g costs. you do not have the slightest pu llin g pow er. Y o u m ight ju st as w ell h ave entered an honest profession. Author: Sir. I am sorry that num ber 27 did not p rove a w inner. O n ly b ecause I com e n ext to you r lu ck y n u m ber 28. B ut perm it me to say one thin g in a d va n ce. In cid e n ta lly. “ T ru th and fid elity before all else.

and as his beloved frees him from the m o th er’s spell. C ow a rd ice and a p a th y counsel the form er. signals pass d ay and n ight through our organism like w ave im pulses. the w om an literally detaches him from M o th er E a r th — a m idw ife w ho cuts that um b ilical cord w h ich is w oven o f n a tu re ’s m ystery. there is in the first m ute shock a feeling o f guilt. M adame A r ia n e— S eco nd C o u r t y a r d on t h e L eft He w h o asks fortune-tellers the future u n w ittin gly forfeits an inner in tim ation o f com ing events that is a thousand times m ore exact than a n yth in g they m ay say. For before such prop h ecy or w arn in g has been m ediated by w ord or im age it has lost its vitality. is severed — not solved. rather than curiosity. presenti­ ments. was there not. the m essage is deciphered. an aura o f m ockery or . the m an is free to die. the last tim e you uttered it. days before. For presence o f m ind is an extract o f the future. sound differen tly in you r m outh? D o you not see in the flam es a sign from yesterd ay evening. lu cid ity and freedom the latter. T h e two are irrecon cilable. because his life has lost its secret. H ence. in a lan gu ag e you only now understand? A n d if an object dear to you has been lost. to act accord in gly. w hen you are taken unaw ares b y an outbreak o f fire or the news o f a death.9# in it alone. T h is secret is com p a ra b le to the fetter that binds him to life. we scarcely know how. that is the question. T h e re b y he attains rebirth. But it is now too late. hours. and only then. W e read it. the indistinct reproach : did you really not know o f this? D id not the dead person’s nam e. T o interpret them or to use them . O m en s. and n othin g is m ore unlike the subm issive ap a th y w ith w hich he hears his fate revealed than the alert d exterity w ith w hich the m an o f courage lays hands on the future. and precise aw areness o f the present m om ent m ore decisive than foreknow ledge o f the most distant events. H e is im pelled by inertia. the po w er to strike at our centre and force us. I f w e neglect to do so. T h e w om an cuts it.

the w atch w ord o f v icto ry . In ju st such m astery the ancient ascetic exercises o f fasting. this in co m p arab ly fine. Ad plures ire was the L atin s’ expression for dying. . His fe e lin g — even against all reason — makes him a m essenger from the realm o f the dead. in the naked body. m isused. p rovid ed him . E ven the ancients knew o f this true practice. A t B ellin zo n a I noticed three priests in the station w aitin g room . terra Africana !” W h a t w ou ld h ave becom e a portent o f disaster he binds b o d ily to the m om ent. chastity. T o turn the th rea ten in g future into a fulfilled now. w ith the most reliable instrum ent o f d ivin ation . that un lived life is h an d ed over to cards. and returned to us disfigured. “ Teneo te. m aking him ­ self the factotu m o f his b od y. the on ly desirable tele­ path ic m iracle.One-Way Street gg m ou rn in g a b ou t it that gave the secret a w ay ? L ike u ltraviolet rays m em ory shows to each m an in the book o f life a script that invisibly and p ro p h etically glosses the text. spread ing his arm s w ide as he fell. stars. in com ­ p a ra b ly tig h tly w oven tissue o f pure prediction fits us perfectly. stum b ling as he set foot on C arth a gin ian soil. w h en such d em ean ou r was part o f m a n ’s d aily hus­ b an d ry. F o r the com m u n ity o f all the dead is so im m ense that even he w h o only reports death is aw are o f it. spirits. on w akin g. E ach m ornin g the d ay lies like a fresh shirt on our b ed . to pick it up. cried out. is a w ork o f b o d ily presence o f m ind. w e do not go unpunished for ch eatin g the b od y o f its pow er to m eet the fates on its ow n grou n d and triu m ph. But it is not w ith im p u n ity that these intentions are exchanged . T h e y w ere sitting on a bench d iag o n ally opposite m ine. T h e m om ent is the C au d in e Y o k e b en eath w hich fate m ust b ow to the body. C ostume W a r d r o b e A bearer o f news o f d eath appears to him self as very im portant. and S cipio. T h e happiness o f the next tw en ty-fou r hours depends on our ability. P rim itive epochs. to be in an instant squan­ dered. and vigil h ave for all tim e celeb ra ted their greatest victories.

W h ile he speaks to them . w hen he w en t dow n. to step into b rillia n t sunlight? A n d yet the sun shone a few m inutes earlier. a light. in C ald eron . O u r readin g o f this form ula is im bued w ith exp ectation o f a place. and on ly now and then is one or the other very slightly raised and m oved. ju st as brigh tly. dism al edifice in whose closets and . em erging from the M e tro into the open air. T h e ir en try into the visual field o f non­ p a rticip atin g and truly im p a rtial persons allow s the harassed to d raw b reath . w ho was distinguished from his brothers by a red skull­ cap. fleein g” . T h e flight o f the dramatis personae is arrested by the stage. and the fam ily is the rotten. and kings. bathes them in new air. a footlight glare. B e t t in g O ffice Bourgeois existence is the regim e o f private affairs. P olitical con­ viction. T h e m ore im portan t the nature and im plications o f a m ode o f behaviour. Is there anyone w ho has not once been stunned. in Shakespeare. So q u ick ly has he forgotten the w eather o f the upp er w orld. T h e m om ent in w h ich they becom e visible to spectators brings them to a standstill.100 In rap t attention I observed the gestures o f the one seated in the m iddle. relig io n — all these seek hideouts. the further rem oved it is from observation here. his hands are folded in his lap. in w hich our flight through life m ay be likewise sheltered in the presence o fo n lo o k in g strangers. battles fill the last act. A n d as q u ick ly the w orld in its turn w ill forget him . I think to m yself: his right hand m ust alw ays know w hat the left is doing. princes. T h e ap p earan ce on stage o f those w ho enter “ fleein g” takes from this its hidden m eaning. For w ho can say m ore o f his ow n existence than that it has passed through the lives o f two or three others as gently and closely as the w eather? A g a in and again. finan cial situation. attendants and follow ers “ enter.

severed from all responsibility. the spiritual force o f m arriage is m anifest. T o be seen w ith a w om an on such-and-such an occasion can m ean m ore than to sleep w ith her. B ut w ho know s w heth er he w ill go ashore this tim e? F or this reason. T h e G erm a n seam en ’s b ar unrolls the n octurn al plan o f the c it y : to find the w a y from there to the brothel. In contrast. w here load in g and u n lo ad in g m ust often be done d a y and night. M u n d an e life proclaim s the total sub ju gation o f eroticism to p rivacy. the proletarian and the feudal type o f m en resem ble each oth er in that in w ooin g it is m uch less the w om an than their com petitors that they overcom e. valu e does not lie in the sterile “ h a rm o n y ” o f the partn ers: it is as the eccen tric offshoot o f their struggles and rivalries en acted elsew here that. T h e shift o f erotic em phasis to the pu b lic sphere is both feudal an d proletarian . too. b eau tifu l w om en and n ational dishes from the next. to the other bars is not difficult. In this they respect the w om an far m ore d eep ly than in her freedom . A t best the ca th ed ra l looms like a d ark prom on tory on the w a y to the tavern. service on the high seas is a holid ay by com parison w ith the lab o u r in harbours. and this th o rou g h ly private w ooin g. being at her com m and w ith ou t cross-exam in ing her. So w ooin g becom es a silent. For w h en a h arb ou r has been left behind. dead-serious transaction betw een two persons alone. is w h a t is really new in “ flirtin g” . T h u s in m arriag e. W h en a ga n g is then g iv en a few hours’ shore-leave it is a lread y dark.One-Way Street crannies the most ignom inious instincts are deposited. T h e ir nam es h ave criss-crossed the m ealtim e conversations for days. one sailor after another hoists like little pennants the nicknam es o f bars and d ance-halls.U p Beer H a ll Sailors seldom com e a sh o re. 101 Sta n d . to know w here G erm an beer can be drunk is ge o g ra p h y and ethnology enough. T h e ale-house is the key to every tow n . no sooner is the ship declared and m oored than tradesm en com e aboard w ith souvenirs: chains and picture- . like the child.

first. or the stoker. A n d listening to them one realizes w hat m en d acity resides in tourism . W e deplore the beggars in the South. the people whose transported lab ou r-p ow er m ain tains contact w ith the com m odities in the hull o f the ship. For he proves th at in a m atter at the same time as prosaic and holy. knives and little m arble figures. a Port Said bar stands d iagon ally opposite a H a m ­ burg brothel. oil-paintings. English shaving-soap and D u tch tob acco. Im b u ed to the m arrow w ith the in tern ation al norm o f industry. for the bourgeois. H e lives on the open sea in a city w here. foreign lands are enshrouded. and then G erm an beer. and only the m ost exact nuances speak to him . T h e city sights are not seen bu t b ou gh t. W h a t first asserts itself in every city is. T h e seam an is sated w ith close-ups. H e is so m uch at hom e in detail that the ocean routes w here he cuts close to other ships (greeting those o f his ow n firm w ith howls from the siren) b e­ com e noisy thoroughfares w here you have to give w a y to traffic. service on board . th ey are not the dupes o f palm s and icebergs. on the M arseilles C an nebiere. and the N eap olitan C astel del O v o is to be found on B arce lo n a ’s P laza C ata lu n a . in tellect and m orality. forgettin g that their persistence in front o f our noses is as justified as a sch olar’s before . In the sailors’ chests the leather belt from H on g K o n g is ju xtap osed to a p a n ora m a o f Palerm o and a g irl’s photo from Stettin. A n d their real h ab itat is exa ctly the same. H e can distinguish countries better b y the prep aration o f their fish than by their building-styles or landscapes. b an al and regen era­ ting as the givin g o f alms. T h e y know nothin g o f the h a zy distances in w hich. But for the o rd in ary sailor. the inter­ laced harbours are no longer even a hom eland. bu t a cradle. No V agran ts! A ll religions have honoured the beggar.102 postcards. consistency and principles are m iserably in ad eq u ate. For officers their n ative tow n still holds pride o f place.

new con- . It is the dangerous error o f m o d em m en to regard this exp erien ce as u n im p o rtan t and avoid a b le. N o shad ow o f hesitation. and T y c h o B rahe w ere c ertain ly not driven by scientific im ­ pulses alon e. is o f the sam e order. b y accostin g us. its hour strikes again and again . as did H illel that o f the Jew s. 103 To t h e P la n eta riu m I f one h a d to exp ou n d the d octrin e o f a n tiq u ity w ith utm ost b re vity w h ile stan d in g on one leg. and then neither nations nor generation s can escape it. T h e telep ath y o f the co a ch m a n w ho. T h e ancien ts’ in tercourse w ith the cosmos had been d ifferen t: the ecstatic trance. no slightest w ish or d elib era tio n in our faces escapes their notice. It is n ot. the exclu sive em phasis on an op tical co n n ectio n to the universe. c o n tain ed a p o rten t o f w h at was to com e. C opern icu s. w h ich was an attem p t at new and u n preced en ted com ­ m in g lin g w ith the cosm ic pow ers.” N o th in g dis­ tinguishes the an cien t from the m o d em m an so m uch as the form er’s absorp tion in a cosm ic exp erience scarcely k now n to later periods. F o r it is in this exp erien ce alone that w e gain certain k n ow led g e o f w h a t is nearest to us and w h at is rem otest to us. how ever. that m an can be in ecstatic con tact w ith the cosmos only com m u n ­ ally. K ep ler. Its w a n in g is m arked by the flow ering o f astro­ nom y at the b egin n in g o f the m o d em age. and n ever o f one w ith o u t the other. A ll the sam e. highfreq u en cy currents coursed throu gh the lan dscape. and to consign it to the in d iv id u a l as the p o etic rap tu re o f starry nights. electrica l forces w ere hu rled into the open country. H u m a n m ultitudes. m akes know n to us our p reviou sly unsuspected in clin ation to board his vehicle. T h is means. as was m ade terrib ly clear by the last w ar. to w h ich astronom y very q u ick ly led.One-Way Street a d ifficult text. gases. and o f the sh opkeep er w h o extracts from his ju n k the single chain or cam eo th a t cou ld d eligh t us. it cou ld o n ly be in this sentence: “ T h e y alone shall possess the earth w h o live from the pow ers o f the cosm os.

I f it is not gripp ed to the very m arrow b y the discipline o f this pow er. L iv in g substance conquers the frenzy o f destruction only in the ecstasy o f procreation. M en as a species com pleted their d evelopm ent thousands o f years a go. But because the lust for profit o f the ruling class sought satisfaction throu gh it. but m ankind as a species is ju st begin n in g his. aerial space and ocean depths thundered w ith propellers. In the nights o f ann ih ilation o f the last w ar the fram e o f m ankind was shaken by a feeling that resem bled the bliss o f the epileptic. is the purpose o f all technology. T h e paroxysm o f genuine cosm ic experience is not tied to that tin y fragm ent o f n ature that w e are accustom ed to call “ N a tu re ” . o f that relationship and not o f ch ildren ? A n d likewise techn ology is not the m astery o f nature but o f the relation betw een nature and m an. techn ology betrayed m an and turned the bridal bed into a bloodbath. and everyw h ere sacrificial shafts were d ug in M o th er E arth. T h e pow er o f the proletariat is the m easure o f its convalescence. to encounter there rhythm s from w hich the sick shall draw strength as they did earlier on high m ountains or at Southern seas. if w e are to use this term . in the spirit o f techn ology. 19 2 5 -2 6 . But w ho w ould trust a cane w ield er w ho proclaim ed the m astery o f children by adults to be the purpose o f ed u cation ? Is not ed ucation above all the indispensable ordering o f the relatio n ­ ship betw een generations and therefore m astery. so the im perialists teach. T h e “ L u n a p a rk s” are a prefiguration o f sanatoria. In tech n ology a physis is b ein g organized through w hich m an k in d ’s con tact w ith the cosmos takes a new and d ifferent form from that w hich it had in nations and fam ilies. T h e m astery o f nature. that is. T h is im m ense w ooing o f the cosmos was en acted for the first tim e on a p lan etary scale. A n d the revolts th at fol­ low ed it w ere the first attem p t o f m ankind to brin g the new body under its control. no pacifist polem ics w ill save it.stellations rose in the sky. O n e need recall on ly the experience o f velocities by virtue o f w hich m ankind is now prep aring to em bark on in ­ calcu lab le jou rn eys into the interior o f time.

II .


On Language as Such and on the Language o f Man E v e ry expression o f h u m an m ental life can be understood as a kind o f lan gu a g e. T o sum u p: all com m unica-" tion o f m en tal m eanings is lan gu age. com m u n ication in words b ein g on ly a p a rticu la r case o f hum an lan gu a g e and o f the ju stice. everyw h ere raises new questions. T h e existence J o f la n g u a g e. It is possible to talk abou t a lan g u a g e o f m usic and o f sculpture. T h is use o f the w ord “ la n g u a g e ” is in no w a y m etap h orical. For to think that we can not im ag in e a n yth in g that does not com m u nicate its m ental nature in its expression is en tirely m ean in gfu l. art. how ever. is not on ly coextensive w ith all the areas o f hu m a n m en tal expression in w h ich lan gu age is alw ays in one sense or an oth er inherent. or relig io n — tow ard the c o m m u n ica tio n o f m en tal m eanings. or w h a tev er u n d e rly in g it or founded on it. T h ere is no even t or th in g in eith er anim ate or in an im ate nature that does not in som e w a y partak e o f lan gu age. b u t w ith absolu tely everyth ing. A n existence entirely IOJ . p o etry. ju stice. for it is in the nature o f all to com m u n icate their m en tal m eanings. the greater or lesser degree o f consciousness that is a p p a ren tly (or really) involved in such co m m u n ica tio n can not alter the fact that w e cannot im agine a total absence o f lan gu a g e in anyth in g. in the m anner o f a true m eth od . a b ou t a lan gu age o f tech­ n o lo gy that is not the sp ecialized lan gu age o f technicians. Lan gu age^ in such contexts m eans the tenden cy inh erent in the subjects c o n c e rn e d — tech n ology. and this understanding. abou t a lan gu age o f ju stice th at has n othin g d ire ctly to do w ith those in w hich G erm an or E n glish legal ju d gm en ts are couched.

not through. A ll that is asserted here is that all expression. b u t rem ains a parad ox. is c ertain ly to be understood only as language. is by no means the expression o f everyth in g that w e could — th eo retically — express through it. L an guages therefore have no speaker.io8 w ithout relationship to lan gu age is an id ea . if p laced at the b egin n in g. insofar as it is a com m unication o f m ental m eaning. if this m eans som eone w ho com m unicates through these lan gu ages. to un derstan d a linguistic en tity it is alw ays necessary to ask o f w h ich m en tal en tity it is the direct expression. is the great abyss into w h ich all lin gu istic theory threatens to fall. and insoluble. T h a t is to s a y : the G erm an lan g u a g e. It is fu n d am en tal that this m en tal being ^com m unicates itself in lan gu age and not through lan gu ag e. on the other hand. rather. for exam ple. by its w hole innerm ost nature.* and to survive suspended precisely over this abyss is its task. the expression o f w hich is found in the a m b ig u ity o f the w ord logos. A n d expression. and this distinction seems so u n qu es­ tionable that it is. the tem ptation to place at the outset a hypothesis th at constitutes an abyss for all philosophizing? . taken as a hypothesis. is to be classed as lan gu age. M e n ta l b ein g com m u nicates itself in. the freq u en tly asserted id en tity b etw een m ental and linguistic being that constitutes a deep and in co m p re­ hensible p arad ox. as a solution. W h a t does lan gu ag e com m u n icate? It com m u nicates the m ental being corresponding to it. I f is therefore obvious at once that the m en tal en tity that com m unicates itself in lan gu ag e is not lan gu a g e itself b u t som ething to be distinguished from it. rather. T h is “ itse lf” is a m ental entity. a lan gu a g e. this p a rad o x has a place. but is the direct expression o f that w hich com m unicates itself in it. T h e distinction b etw een a m en tal en tity and the linguistic en tity in w hich it com m unicates is the first stage o f any study o f linguistic theory. T h e view that the m en tal essence o f a thing consists precisely in its la n g u a g e — this view . bu t this id ea can bear no fruit even w ith in that realm o f Ideas whose circu m feren ce defines the idea o f G od. w h ich m eans: it is not • « • * O r is it. N evertheless. at the centre o f linguistic theory.

the notion o f the m agic o f lan gu age points to som eth in g else: its infiniteness.On Language as Such and on the Language o f Man 109 o u tw a rd ly id en tical w ith linguistic being. and if one chooses to call this im ­ m ed ia cy m agic. b ut their m en tal b ein g only insofar as this is d irectly in clu d ed in their linguistic being. b u t: the lan gu age-lam p . the lam p in co m m u n ica tio n . W h ic h signifies: all lan gu a g e com m unicates itself. the lam p in expression. M e n ta l is iden tical w ith lin guistic being on ly insofar as it is c ap ab le o f com m u nication. T h e u n d erstan d in g o f lingu istic theory depends on giv in g this proposi­ tion a c la rity that annihilates even the ap p eara n ce o f tautology. A t the sam e tim e. N ot that w h ich appears most c le arly in its lan gu age is com m u n icable in a m en tal en tity. for exam ple. is by no m eans the lam p itself). but this capacity for com m u n ication is lan gu a g e itself. how ever. L a n g u a g e com m unicates the linguistic b eing o f things. O r : the lan gu age o f a m en ta l en tity is d irectly that w h ich is com m u n icab le in it. is the fu n dam en tal p ro b lem o f linguistic th eory. insofar as it is cap ab le o f b eing co m m u n ica ted . T h is is conditional on its im m ed iacy. does not com m u n icate the lam p (for the m en tal b ein g o f the lam p . M ed ia tio n . For ju s t because n othin g is com m u n icated through lan gu age. W h a t is co m m u n ica b le o f a m en tal entity. For in lan gu age the situ ation is this: the linguistic being o f all things is their language. as was ju st said by w ay o f transition. O r more p re­ cisely: all lan gu a g e com m u nicates itself in itself. it is in the purest sense the “ m ed iu m ” o f the com m u nication. W h a t is com m u n icable in a m en tal entity is its linguistic entity. O n this “ is” (eq u iva len t to “ is im m e d ia te ly ” ) everyth in g depends. L a n g u a g e therefore com m u nicates the p a rticu la r linguistic b eing o f things. insofar as it is communicable. is lan gu age itself.” T h e lan guage o f this lam p . T h e clearest m anifestation o f this being. T h is proposition is u n tau to lo gica l. then the p rim a ry problem o f lan gu a g e is its m agic. w h at is c o m m u n ica ted in lan gu a g e cannot be ex tern ally lim ited or . in this it com m unicates itself. w hich is the im m ed ia cy o f all m en tal com m u nication. T h e answ er to the question “ What does lan gu ag e co m m u n ica te?” 1 is therefore “ A ll lan gu ag e com m unicates itself. for it m eans: that w hich in a m en tal en tity is co m m u n ica b le is its lan gu age.

W h y nam e them ? T o w hom does m an com m u n icate him self? But is this question. A n d. he com m unicates h im self by n am in g them. a choice presented. W e only know o f no naming lan gu a g e oth er than that o f m a n . T h is is not anthropom orphism . applied to m an. It is therefore the linguistic being o f man to name things. Its linguistic being. for this does not happen through the nam es o f things. as applied to m an. F u rth erm ore. W h ich signifies: m an com m unicates his ow n m ental b eing in his lan guage. defines its frontier. if the lam p and the m ountain and the fox did not com m u n icate them selves to m an. Does m an com m unicate his m ental being by the nam es th at he gives things? O r in them ? In the p a rad o x ical n ature o f these questions lies their answer. m ea n s: the linguistic b eing o f m an is his lan gu a g e. through the w ords by w hich he denotes a thing. the ad vo cate o f such a . H ow ever. the lan gu age o f m an speaks in w ords.1 10 m easured. But do w e know any other languages that nam e things? It should not be a ccep ted that we know o f no languages other than that o f m an. this proposition. T o w h om does he com m unicate him self? Before this question can be answ ered w e must again in q u ire : how does m an com m u nicate him self? A profou nd distin ction is to be m ade. u n iq u ely constituted infin ity. T h e truth o f this answ er is shown in know ledge and perhaps also in art. and therefore all lan gu a g e contains its ow n in co m ­ m ensurable. A n y o n e w ho believes th at m an com m unicates his m ental being by nam es can not also assum e that it is his m ental b eing that he com m unicates. other than as ap p lied to other com m unications (lan guages)? T o w hom does the lam p com m unicate itself? T h e m ou n tain ? T h e fox? B ut here the answ er is : to man. M a n therefore com m unicates his ow n m en tal b eing (insofar as it is com m unicable) by naming all other things. how should he be able to nam e them ? A n d he nam es them . that is. to iden tify nam in g lan gu ag e w ith lan gu a g e as such is to rob lingu istic theory o f its deepest insights. T h e linguistic b eing o f things is their la n g u a g e . in face o f w hich an in trin sically false un derstan ding o f lan gu age is certain to give itself aw ay. eq u ally. not its verbal m eanings. for this is untrue.

know s no m eans. A ll nature. It m ean s: in naming the mental being o f man communicates itself to God. O n ly th ro u g h the lingu istic b eing o f things can he gain know ledge o f them from w ithin h im self— in nam e. com m u n icable w ith ou t residue. T h is view is the bourgeois conception o f la n g u a g e. an d on ly for this reason is the m ental b eing o f m an. because he speaks in n am e. com m u nicates itself in lan gu age. the in v alid ity and em ptiness o f w hich w ill becom e in crea sin g ly clear in w h a t follows. for that does happ en through the w ord by w h ich he denotes a thing. has as its sole purpose and its in c o m p a ra b ly high m ean in g that it is the innerm ost nature o f la n g u a g e itself. N a m in g is that by w hich n othin g beyond it is c o m m u n ica ted . from w hom in nam e la n g u a g e alon e speaks. and no addressee o f com m unication. M a n is the nam er. b y this we recognize th at th rou gh him pure lan gu a g e speaks. and for this very reason its o n ly speaker. its addressee a hu m a n being. only there is the nam e. . alone a m o n g all m en tal entities. H en ce he is the lord o f n ature and can give nam es to things. N am e as the heritage o f hu m an lan gu age there­ fore vouch es for the fact that language as such is the m ental being o f m a n . T h e quintessence o f this intensive totality o f lan gu a g e as the m en tal b ein g o f m an is n am in g. It holds that the means o f co m m u n ica tio n is the w ord . In n am in g the m en tal en tity th at com m unicates itself is language.On Language as Such and on the Language o f Man m view can on ly assume th at m an is com m u n icatin g factual subject m a tter to oth er m en. he can n o t com m u n icate h im self by it but only in it. in contrast. N a m in g . and on ly the n am e is there. and so finally in m an . O n this is foun d ed the differen ce betw een h u m an lan gu age and the la n g u a g e o f things. its object factu al. in the realm o f lan gu a g e. how ever. W h ere m en tal b eing in its com m u n ication is lan gu age itse lf in its absolute w holeness. B ut because the m en tal b eing o f m an is la n g u a g e itself. and in w h ich lan gu ag e itself com m unicates itself a b so lu tely. T h e other conception o f lan gu ag e. m an is the speaker o f lan gu age. In term in g m an the speaker (w hich. G o d ’s creation is com pleted w h en things receive their nam es from m an. M a n can call nam e the lan gu age o f la n g u a g e (if the genitive refers to the relationship not o f a means but o f a m edium ) and in this sense certain ly. no ob ject. insofar as it com m u n icates itself.

that is. can be cle arly posed first o f all as one o f ter­ m inology. for exam ple. Man alone has a language that is complete both in its universality and in its intensiveness. m an y languages im ply this m etap h ysical truth. then a thing. a question m ay now be asked w ith o u t the risk o f confusion.112 accord in g to the Bible. L a n g u a g e — and in it a m ental e n tity — on ly expresses itself p u rely w here it speaks in nam e. rath er. by virtue o f its m ental being. as communication. and thus m en tal b eing as su c h — can from the point o f view o f linguistic theory be described as o f linguistic nature. acco rd in g to w hich to express on eself and to address everyth in g else am ounts to the sam e. i. L an gu a ge is thus the m ental b eing o f things. becom es in its “ insofar” a tau tology.. how ever. or. com m u n icable. and the extensive totality o f lan gu a g e. N am e. that is. and this w ith regard to the density both o f the com m u n icatin g (nam ing) . a question that. There is no such thing as a meaning o f language. in its universal nam ing. So in nam e cu lm in ate both the intensive totality o f lan gu age. lan gu a g e is in com p lete w here the m en tal en tity that speaks from it is not in its w hole structure linguistic. I f m ental being is id en tical w ith lingu istic. and w h at is com m u nicated in it is— in accord an ce w ith its m ediating relatio n sh ip — precisely this m edium (lan gu age) itself. M e n ta l b ein g is therefore postulated at the outset as com m u n icab le. is situated within the com m u n icable. that is. g ra d u a lly . T h e differences betw een languages are those o f m edia that are dis­ tinguished as it w ere by their density. though o f the highest m eta ­ physical im portance. its un iversality. and the thesis that the lingu istic b eing o f things is id en tical w ith the m ental. so should they be called''’ ). cle a rly m eans the n am e g iv e r : “ As m an should nam e all kinds o f livin g creatures.e. is not only the last u tteran ce o f la n g u a g e but also the true call o f it. By virtu e o f its com m u n icatin g nature. something communicable per se. In the light o f this. as the absolu tely c o m m u n ica b le m ental entity. It is w hether m ental b e in g — not on ly o f m an (for that is necessary) but also o f things. insofar as the latter is com m unicable. as the u niversally com m u n icatin g (nam ing) entity. is a m edium o f co m m u n ica ­ tion. T h u s in nam e appears the essential law o f lan guage. language com­ municates a mental entity.

as it appears in religion. so that the expression that is lin gu istically m ost existent (i.e. are n atu ra lly constan tly interrelated.On Language as Such and on the Language o f Man 1 13 and o f the co m m u n ica b le (nam e) aspects o f com m u nication. produces a g ra d u a tio n o f all m en tal b eing in degrees. For it is addressed in nam e and expresses itself as revelation . notice is given that o n ly the highest m en tal being. T h e highest m en tal region o f religion is (in the con cep t o f revelation ) at the same tim e the on ly one that does not know the inexpressible. rests solely . w h ich know s only grad u al differences. such as w as a lre a d y fam iliar to scholasticism w ith regard to m en tal being. if it takes the in v io la b ility o f the w ord as the only and sufficient cond ition and ch aracteristic o f the d ivin ity o f the m en tal b ein g th at is expressed in it. by degrees o f existence or being. W ith in all linguistic form ation a con flict is w aged b etw een w h at is expressed and expressible and w h a t is inexpressible and unexpressed. elev a ted itself to the centre o f linguistic philosophy and constituted its m ost in tim ate conn ection w ith the ph ilosophy o f religion. the m ore existent and real the m ind. the most expressed is at the same tim e the p u re ly m en tal.e. For this latter thesis runs: the deeper. most fixed) is lin gu istically the m ost rounded and d efin itive. F or the m etaphysics o f lan gu ag e the eq u ation o f m ental w ith lin gu istic being. w h ich are clearly distinguished yet united only in the n am e lan gu a g e o f m an. N ow it is clear that in the eq u ation o f m ental and lin gu istic b eing the notion o f an inverse p rop ortion ality betw een the tw o is disputed. is m eant by the concep t o f revela tio n . h ow ever. in the p ersp ective o f the inexpressible.. at the same tim e the last m en tal entity. H o w ever. O n considering this conflict one sees. T h ese tw o spheres. T h is is the con cep t o f revelation . as i f o f its ow n accord . the m ore it is inexpressible and unexpressed. how ever. T h is grad u ation. w h ich takes p la ce w ith in m en tal b eing itself. w hereas it is consistent w ith the equation proposed a b o v e to m ake the relation b etw een m ind and lan gu age th o rou gh ly u n am b igu ou s. In this. E x a c tly this. in a w ord. b oth m en tal and lingu istic. i.. the eq u ation o f m ental and linguistic being is o f g rea t m etap h ysical m om en t to linguistic theory because it leads to the co n cep t that has a ga in and again. can no longer be em b raced b y a n y h igh er catego ry and so leads to the grad u atio n o f all being.

perceptible only in its m anifestation. T h e Bible expresses this sym bolic fact w hen it says that G o d breathes his breath into m an : this is at once life and m ind and lan gu ag e. does not rest on the ultim ate essence o f lan gu age-m in d . T h in gs are denied the pure form al principle o f la n g u a g e — sound. but the discovery o f w hat em erges o f itself from the b ib lica l text w ith regard to the nature o f la n g u a g e . I f in w hat follows the nature o f lan gu age is considered on the basis o f the first ch ap ter o f Genesis. also reports that m an was m ade from earth. T h e Bible. T h e second version o f the story o f the C reatio n . This is. w hereas all art. in the w hole story o f the C re atio n . it is m a gical (for there is also a m agic o f m atter). w ho is not created from the w ord. like every linguistic com m u n ica tion . w hich tells o f the b reathin g o f G o d ’s breath into m an. the mother o f reason and revelation. L a n gu a ge itself is not perfectly expressed in things them selves. must necessarily evolve the fu n dam en tal linguistic facts. and the B ible is on ly initially indispensable for this purpose because the present argu m en t b road ly follows it in presupposing lan gu a g e as an ultim ate reality. in­ exp licab le and m ystical. nor subjection o f the B ible to objective consid era­ tion as revealed truth. In this second story o f the C reatio n the m akin g o f m an did not take place through the w o rd : G od spoke— and there w a s— but this m an. and the sym bol o f this is sound. not ex clu d in g poetry. w hich is doubtless otherwise thou ght o f as creation w ith ou t m ediation. but on lan guage-m in d confined to things. . T h is com m u n ity is im m ed iate and infinite. is now invested w ith the gift o f lan gu ag e and is elevated above nature. T h e y can only com m u nicate to one another th rough a m ore or less m aterial com m unity. T h e in com p arab le featu re o f hum an lan gu age is that its m agical com m u n ity w ith things is im m aterial and p u rely m ental. its a lp h a and o m ega ” . the object is n either b ib lica l interpretation. the only reference to the m aterial in w h ich the C reato r expresses his w ill. This proposition has a double m ean in g in its m etap h orical and literal senses: the lan guages o f things are im perfect. even if in consu m m ate beauty. in regard in g itself as a reve la ­ tion. “ Language. and they are dum b.ii4 on m an and on the lan gu age in him . says H am an n .

nam es it. In it. T h e absolute relation o f nam e to kn ow ledge exists only in G o d . M an . A d m itte d ly this passage n ow here expressly refers to a relationship eith er o f m an or o f n atu re to the m aterial from w hich they w ere cre a te d . but the rhyth m b y w h ich the creation o f n atu re (in Genesis 1) is accom plished is: L et there b e — H e m ade (c re a te d )— H e nam ed. because it is in w a rd ly iden tical w ith the c re ativ e w ord . for a special relationship betw een m an and la n g u a g e resulting from the act o f creation. W ith the creative om nipotence o f la n g u a g e it begins. and in an en tirely d ifferent context it vouches. b ecause it is w ord . 1 : 1 1 ) on ly the w ords “ L et there b e” occur. the pure m ed iu m o f know ledge. Th is creativity. the deep and clear relation o f the creative act to la n g u a g e appears each tim e. T h a t m ean s: G od m ad e things k n ow ab le in their nam es. H e did not wish to subject him to lan gu ag e. b ut in this ve ry parallelism the d ivergence is all the m ore strik in g: in the threefold “ H e created ” o f 1 \2’].On Language as Such and on the Language o f Man 1 15 T h is curious revolution in the act o f creation. G od rested w h en he had left his creative pow er to itself in m an. and he did not nam e him . w here it concerns m an. w h ich had served Him as m edium o f creation. but in m an G od set lan gu age. w ith the sam e certain ty . in the first story o f the C re a tio n . la n g u a g e has a d ifferen t m ean in g: the trin ity o f the act is here preserved. In the creation o f m an the threefold rhyth m o f the creation o f n atu re has g iv en w a y to an en tirely differen t order. and at the end lan gu ag e as it w ere assim ilates the created . how ever. and the question w h eth er the w ords “ H e m a d e” envisages a creatio n out o f m aterial m ust here be left open. and G o d ’s w ord is co gn izan t because it is nam e. o n ly there is nam e. L a n g u a g e is therefore both creative and the" finished creation. In in d ivid u al acts o f creatio n ( 1 :3 . . it is w ord and nam e. is no less c le arly recorded. therefore. T h e m anifold rh ythm o f the act o f creation in the first chap ter establishes a kind o f basic form from w h ich the act th at creates m an diverges significantly. how ever. names them a cc o rd in g to k n ow ledge. that is: H e had cogn ized it through n am e. “ A n d he saw that it was g o o d ” . free. In G o d nam e is creative. In this “ L e t there b e ” and in the w ords “ H e n a m e d ” at the b egin nin g and end o f the act. G od did not create m an from the w ord .

becam e know ledge. m an knows a further linguistic com m u nion w ith G o d ’s w ord. and in this sense he is h im self creative. O f all beings m an is the only one w ho h im self nam es his ow n kind. G o d created him in his im age. to m ention the second part o f 2:2 0 in this context: that m an nam ed all beings. are the hum an nam e.ii 6 relieved o f its divin e actu ality.” A cco rd in g ly . T h e theory o f prop er nam es is the theory o f the frontier betw een finite and infinite lan g u a g e. Therefore the proposition that the m en tal b eing o f m an is lan g u a g e needs exp lanation . T h e deepest im ages o f this d ivin e w ord and the point w here hum an lan gu age participates most in tim ately in the d ivin e infin ity o f the pure w ord. how ever. In the w ord creation took place. A d a m nam es his w ife as soon as he receives her (w om an in the second chap ter. the point at w h ich it can not becom e finite w ord and know ledge. By it each m an is gu aran teed his creatio n by G od. T h e proper n am e is the com m union o f m an w ith the creative w ord o f G od . but scarcely im possible. as he is the only one w hom G od did not nam e. as is expressed by m ythological w isdom in the idea (w hich doubtless not in freq u en tly comes true) that a m a n ’s nam e is his fate. A ll hum an lan gu age is on ly reflection o f the w ord in nam e. “ but for m an there w as not found a helper fit for h im . N am e is no closer to the w ord than kn ow ledge to creation. for they nam e n ew born child ren . and G o d ’s linguistic being is the w ord. that . no nam e ought (in its etym o lo gical m eanin g) to correspond to any person. E ve in the third).) T h ro u g h the w ord m an is b ou n d to the lan gu ag e o f things. as the bourgeois view o f lan gu age m aintains. parents d ed icate their children to G o d . he created the k now er in the im age o f the creator. not etym o ­ logical sense— to any know ledge. T h e hum an w ord is the nam e o f things. In a strict sense. (N ot the on ly one. It is perhaps bold. M a n is the know er in the same lan gu age in w hich G o d is creator. the names they give do not corresp on d — in a m etap h ysical. His m ental b eing is the lan gu ag e in w hich creation took place. T h e infinity o f all hum an lan gu age alw ays rem ains lim ited and a n a lytica l in nature in com parison to the a bso lu tely unlim ited and creative infinity o f the divin e w ord. H ence it is no lon ger conceivable. By giv in g nam es. for the p rop er nam e is the w ord o f G od in hum an sounds.

for it is m uch too far-reach in g and pow erfu l to be treated in an y w a y as an afterth ou gh t. T h is know ledge o f the thing. and cannot b u t 1 . it is also the tran slation o f the nam eless into nam e. F o r a cco rd in g to m ystical theory the w ord is sim ply the essence o f the thing. that it is a sign for things (or know ledge o f them ) agreed b y some convention. F o r con cep tion and sp ontan eity together. w hich are found in this u n iq u e union only in the lingu istic realm . In nam e the w ord o f G o d has not rem ained cre a tiv e. By the relation. is not spontaneous creation. It is therefore the translation o f an im p erfect lan gu ag e into a m ore perfect one. the rejection o f bour­ geois b y m ystical linguistic th eory eq u ally rests on a m isunder­ stan din g. T h e tran slation o f the lan gu a g e o f things into that o f m an is 1 not o n ly a tran slation o f the m ute into the sonic. It is necessary to found the co n cep t o f tran slation at the deepest level o f linguistic theory. the w ord o f G o d shines forth. from w h ich in turn. T h a t is incorrect. as has happ en ed occasion ally. b ein g created from G o d ’s w ord and know n in its n am e b y a hum an w ord. and this w ord applies also to that concep tion w hich is en acted by the nameless in nam es. H o w ever. soundlessly. T ran slatio n is rem oval from one lan gu a g e into another through a continu u m o f transform ations. it has becom e in one part receptive. it does not em erge from lan gu ag e in the a b so lu tely u n lim ited and infinite m anner o f creatio n . in the m ute m a gic o f n ature. It is the translation o f the la n g u a g e o f things into that o f m an. even i f receptive to lan g u a g e. because the thin g in itself has no w ord . not abstract areas o f id en tity and sim ilarity. L a n g u a g e n ever gives mere signs. lan gu age has its ow n w ord .On Language as Such and on the Language o f Man n j the w o rd has an a ccid en tal relation to its object. T h u s fertilized. the translata b ility o f lan guages into one another is established. T ran slatio n attains its full m ean in g in the realization that every evolved la n g u a g e (w ith the excep tion o f the w ord o f G od) can be considered as a tran slation o f all the others. T ran slatio n passes through continu a o f trans­ form ation . m entioned earlier. the n am e th at m an gives to lan gu ag e depends on how lan gu age is c o m m u n ica ted to him . o f lan gu a g es as b etw een m ed ia o f v a ryin g densities. it aim s to give birth to the lan gu age o f things them selves. rather. how ever.

W ith this w ord in his m outh and in his heart.” By this com bin ation o f con tem p lation and n am in g is im plied the com m u n icatin g m uteness o f things (anim als) tow ard the w ord lan gu ag e o f m an. It w ould be insoluble w ere not the n am e-lan gu age o f m an and the nameless one o f things related in G o d and released from the same creative w ord. B ut obviously this n am in g is only an expression o f the id en tity o f the creative w ord and the cogn izing nam e in G od . in g a zin g grow m ore perfect. w hich in things becam e the com m u n ication o f m atter in m agic com m union. In the same chap ter o f the poem . the creative w ord in them is the germ o f the co gn izin g nam e. the origin o f lan gu a g e was as n atural. . In an alm ost sublim e w a y the linguistic com m u n ity o f m ute creation w ith G od is thus conveyed in the im age o f the sign. there is reason for the m u ltip licity o f hum an lan guages. saw w ith his eyes. H am an n says: “ E v ery th in g that m an heard in the begin nin g. For G o d created things. m ore perfect throu gh the w o rd . in his poem “ A d a m ’s A w a k en in g and First Blissful N ig h ts” . for G o d was the w ord. T h e lan gu age o f things can pass into the lan gu age o f know ledge and nam e on ly th rou gh . even i f m utely. by com m u n icatin g itself in the m anifold lan guages o f an i­ mals. and in m an the lan gu a g e o f know ledge and nam e in blissful m ind. . and felt w ith his hands was the livin g w ord . . ju st as G od. how ever. and as easy as a c h ild ’s gam e. As the unspoken w ord in the existence o f things falls in fin itely short o f the nam in g w ord in the know ledge o f m an. the poet expresses the realization that on ly the w ord from w hich things are created perm its m an to nam e them .” F ried rich M uller. and as the latter in turn must fall short o f the creative w ord o f G od . as close. m an perform s this task. n am ely know ledge. has G od sum m on m an to n am e-givin g in these w ords: “ M a n o f the earth step near. in the im a g e : G o d gives each beast in turn a sign. not the p rior solu­ tion o f the task that G o d expressly assigns to m an him self: th at o f n am in g things. too. gu aran teed by G od . In receivin g the unspoken nameless lan gu a g e o f things and con vertin g it by nam e into sounds. T h e o b jectivity o f this translation is.u8 add som ething to it. w hich receives them in nam e. w hereup on they step before m an to be nam ed. finally nam ed each thin g after it was created .

N am e steps outside itself in this k n ow led ge: the F a ll m arks the birth o f the human word. Its m agic is different from that o f n am e. (A c c o rd in g to the B ible. was therefore su b m itted : ju d g m e n t. A n d G od saw that it w as good. T h a t is really the F all o fla n g u a g e m ind. and w h ich has stepp ed out o f nam e lan gu a g e. w hereas later all k n ow led ge is again infin itely differen tiated in the m u ltip lic ity o f lan gu a g e.On Language as Such and on the Language o f Man 1 19 tra n sla tio n — as m a n y translations. T h e know ledge o f things resides in nam e. It is vain in the deepest sense. the u n created im itation o f the creative w ord. from w h a t w e m a y call its ow n im m an en t m agic. the creative w o rd o f G od . even the existence o f the tree o f k n o w led g e can not con ceal. “ p ra ttle ” . A d m itted ly. Its apples w ere supposed to im part k n o w led g e o f good and evil. know s good and evil. that o f go od an d evil. A d a m ite lan g u a g e-m in d th at stand betw een them . after the p rom ise o f the snake. and know s only one pu rifica ­ tion an d elevation .) T h e parad isiac la n g u a g e o f m an m ust h a ve been one o f perfect k n ow led ge. T h e k n ow led g e to w h ich the snake seduces. as it w ere ex tern ally . but eq u a lly m a gical. T h is ju d g in g w ord expels the first . as it w ere a p a ro d y b y the expressly m ediate w ord o f the expressly im m ed iate. to w h ich the p ra ttlin g m an. G od had a lre a d y cogn ized w ith the w ords o f creation. K n o w le d g e o f good and evil abandons nam e. T h e w ord as som ething extern ally com m u n icatin g. so m any la n g u a g e s— once m an has fallen from the p a rad isia c state that knew only one lan gu age. in the profou nd sense in w hich K ie r k e g a a rd uses the w ord . the sinner. For in rea lity there exists a fu n d a m en ta l id en tity betw een the w ord that. and the d ecay o f the blissful. it is a know ledge from outside. and the extern ally c o m m u n ic a tin g w ord. and this ve ry k n o w led g e is itself the on ly evil know n to the paradisiac state. But on the seventh day. the ju d g in g w ord has d irect k n ow led g e o f good and evil. this consequence o f the expulsion from parad ise a d m itted ly cam e a b ou t on ly later. was indeed forced to differentiate itself on a lo w er level as creatio n in nam e. F or th at the lan gu age o f pa rad ise was fully co gn izan t. the lan gu a g e o f know ledge. is nam eless. T h e w ord m ust com m u ni­ cate something (other th an itself). in order to becom e expressly. w h ereas th at o f good and evil is. in w h ich n am e no lon ger lives in tact. m agic.

the m agic o f ju d g m e n t. a mere sign. o f the w ord i as means. T h e im m ed iacy (w hich. nameless. into the abyss o f prattle. the sterner p u rity o f the ju d g in g w ord arose. m an a b a n d o n ed im m ed iacy in the com m u nication o f the concrete. offers only the grou n d in w hich its concrete elem ents are rooted. m an makes lan gu a g e a m eans (that is. how ever. the tu rn in g . too. F o r — it i must be said a g a in — the question as to good and evil in the w orld | after creation was em pty prattle. N am e. In the F all. stand outside the lan gu ag e o f names. T h e second m eaning is that from the Fall. in exch an ge for the im m ed iacy o f nam e d am aged by it. For the essential com position o f lan gu age the F all has a threefold significan ce (w ithout m en tion ing its other m eanings). laid the foundation for its m ultiplicity. since the eternal pu rity o f nam es was vio lated . w hen. in one part at any rate. w ith regard to existing lan gu age. a new im m ed iacy arises. and this later results in the p lu rality o f languages.120 hum an beings from paradise. is to be sought in the Fall. Since m en had injured the pu rity o f nam e. b eing u n n am ab le. T h e tree o f know ledge did not stand in the gard en o f G od in order to dispense in fo rm ation on good and evil. it could be on ly a step to lingu istic confusion. as a facu lty o f lan gu age-m in d . w hich no longer rests blissfully in itself. This im m ense iro n y marks the m yth ical origin o f law . A fter the F all. and fell into the abyss o f the m ediateness o f all com m u nication. nam e. In stepping outside the purer lan gu age o f nam e. For good and evil. in m akin g lan gu age m ediate. w hich m an leaves behind precisely in the abyss opened by this question. T h e third m eanin g that can perhaps be ten tatively ven tu red is that the origin o f abstraction. the deepest guilt. is the linguistic root) o f the com m u n icab ility o f abstraction resides in ju d gm en t. but as an em blem o f ju d g m e n t over the questioner. how ever. a know ledge in ap p ro p riate to him ). o f the em p ty w ord. w hich. in the F all. T h is im m ed iacy in the com m u nication o f abstraction cam e into b eing as ju d gm en t. and therefore also. they them selves have aroused it in accord an ce w ith the im m u table law by w hich this ju d g in g w ord punishes— and exp ects— its ow n a w ak en in g as the pnly. But the abstract ele­ ments o f la n g u a g e — we m ay perhaps surm ise— are rooted in the word o f ju d g m en t.

seco n d ly: she w ou ld lam ent. is m ute. im p oten t expression o f la n g u a g e. It is a m etap h ysical truth th at all nature w ou ld begin to lam ent i f it w ere en d ow ed w ith lan gu age. T h is proposition m eans. Speechlessness: that is the great sorrow o f nature (and for the sake o f her red em p tion the life and lan gu a g e o f man— not only. o f the p o e t— are in nature). itself becam e bliss. (T h o u g h to “ endow w ith la n g u a g e ” is m ore than to “ m ake able to sp eak ” . in it there is alw ays a lam ent. T ru e. is the m ost u n d ifferen tia ted . Because she is m ute. In all m ou rn in g there is the deepest inclination to speechlessness. T h e life o f m an in pu re lan gu age-m in d was blissful. and even w here there is on ly a rustlin g o f plants.) T his proposition has a d o u b le m eanin g. the a p p e ara n ce o f n ature is d eeply ch an ged . n atu re m ourns. T o be n a m ed — even w hen the nam er is G o d lik e and blissful— perhaps alw ays rem ains an intim ation o f m ou rn in g. as is supposed. Signs m ust b ecom e confused w here things are entangled. w h ich w e m ean by the deep sadness o f nature. nam ed by m an. w h ich was enslavem ent. the plan for the tow er o f B abel cam e into being. N atu re. N ow begins its oth er m uteness. T h e en slavem en t o f la n g u a g e in p rattle is jo in e d by the en slave­ m ent o f things in folly alm ost as its in evita b le consequence. it contains scarcely m ore than the sensuous b reath .” A fter the F all. T h a t w hich m ourns feels itself thorou ghly k n ow n b y the un kn ow able. Y e t the inversion o f this proposition leads even fu rth er into the essence o f n atu re. F rie d rich M u ller has A d a m say to the anim als that lea ve him after he has n am ed them . In this tu rn in g a w a y from things. w hen G o d ’s w ord curses the gro u n d . it can be clearly felt in the second ch ap ter o f G enesis how this m uteness. how ever. the sadness o f nature m akes her m ute. w h ich is in fin itely m ore than in a b ility or disincli­ n ation to com m u n icate. B ut how m uch m ore m elan ch oly to be nam ed not from . on ly o f lo w er degree. It m eans. L am en t. first: she w ou ld lam ent lan gu age itself. h ow ever. h ow ever. “ A n d saw by the n ob ility w ith w h ich they leaped a w a y from me that the m an had given them a n a m e .On Language as Such and on the Language o f Man 121 a w a y from th a t co n tem p la tio n o f things in w h ich their lan gu age passes into m an n eeded o n ly to be com pleted in order to deprive m en o f the com m on fou n d atio n o f an a lrea d y shaken lan gu agem ind. and linguistic confusion w ith it.

. calling them by their proper names.122 > the one blessed. founded on the nam e lan gu age o f m an. that in them w e find a translation o f the lan gu age o f things into an infinitely higher lan guage. T h ere is a lan gu age o f sculpture. O n the oth er hand. T h ere is. nonacoustic languages. here w e should recall the m aterial com m unity o f things in their com m u n ication . F or an un derstan ding o f artistic forms it is o f value to attem p t to grasp them all as languages and to seek their connection w ith n atural languages. accord in g to G o d ’s pron oun cem ent. how ever. paradisiac lan gu ag e o f nam es. in the relation o f h um an languages to that o f things. languages issuing from m atter. M oreover. they are over­ nam ed. W e are concerned here w ith nam eless. For in his creative w ord. w hich m ay still be o f the same sphere. I yet w hich. som ething that can be ap p ro x im ately described as “ over­ n am in g” : over-n am in g as the deepest linguistic reason for all . it is certain that the lan guage o f art can be understood only in the deepest relationship to the doctrine o f signs. in w hich nam e has a lread y w ithered . o f painting. A n exam ple that is approp riate because it is derived from the acoustic sphere is the kinship betw een song and the lan gu age o f birds. the com m u nication o f things is certain ly com m u nal in a w ay that grasps the w orld as such as an un divided w hole. G o d called them into being. but from the hun dred languages o f m an. W ith o u t the latter any linguistic philosophy rem ains entirely fragm en tary. In the lan gu age o f m en. O v ern a m in g as the linguistic being o f m elan ch oly points to another curious relation o f la n g u a g e : the overprecision that obtains in the tragic relationship betw een the lan gu ages o f hum an speakers. it is very con ceivab le that the lan gu age o f sculp­ ture or p ain tin g is founded on certain kinds o f thin g languages. T h in gs have no proper nam es except in G od . if not solely. o f poetry. because the relationship betw een lan guage and sign (of w hich that betw een hum an lan gu age and w ritin g offers only a very p articu lar exam ple) is origin al and fun dam en tal. m elancholy and (from the point o f view o f the thing) o f all d eli­ ' berate muteness. have know ledge o f things. Just as the lan gu age o f poetry is partly.

On Language as Such and on the Language o f Man 123 T h is provides an op p o rtu n ity to describe another antithesis that perm eates the w hole sphere o f lan gu age and has im portant relations to the antithesis a lrea d y m entioned betw een lan gu age in a n arro w er sense and signs. no reference has here been m ade. w h ich is the unity o f this m ovem ent m ade up o f lan gu a g e. T h e lan gu ag e o f n atu re is com p arab le to a secret password that each sentry passes to the next in his ow n lan gu age. w hich is preserved in m an as the co gn izin g nam e and ab ove m an as the ju d g m e n t suspended over him . even though it m ay still be an im perfect one. A ll higher la n g u a g e is a translation o f those low er. w ith w hich . T his sym bolic side o f lan gu age is con n ected to its relation to signs. to nam e and ju d g m e n t. T h e u n in terru pted flow o f this com m u nication runs th ro u g h the w hole o f nature from the low est forms o f existence to m an and from m an to G od . For lan gu age is in every case not only co m m u n ica tio n o f the com m u n icab le but also. but the m ea n in g o f the passw ord is the sen try’s lan gu a g e itself. for the w hole o f nature. for exam p le. unspoken lan gu age. too. and to n ature he gives nam es accord in g to the co m m u n ica tio n that he receives from her. to w h ich . until in ultim ate cla rity the w o rd o f G o d unfolds. but extends m ore w idely. the residue o f the creative w ord o f G o d . but m ost p ro b ab ly also a closely conn ected sym bolic function. 19 16 . is im bu ed w ith a nam eless. These have not on ly a co m m u n ica tin g function. lan gu age by no m eans necessarily coincides. a sym bol o f the n on com m u n icable. T h e lan gu a g e o f an en tity is the m edium in w h ich its m ental being is com m u n ica ted . w hich he gives to nature and (in proper names) to his ow n kind. M a n com m unicates him self to G od th rou gh nam e. T h ese considerations therefore leave us a purified concept o f lan g u a g e. o f course. in certain respects. at least exp licitly. at the same tim e.

Fate and Character F ate and ch aracter are com m on ly regarded as cau sally con­ nected. for . w hile ch aracter appears as som ething existing in the present and the past and therefore as perceptible. his fate w ou ld be known. for exam ple. or m ore cautio u sly stated. fate. w hereas the notion of analogously read in g a person’s fate from the lines in his hand seems un acceptab le. and therefore m od em men accep t the idea o f readin g ch aracter from. not in itself. the w a y in w hich he reacts. accessible. finding know ledge o f ch ara cter as such som ehow gen erally present w ithin them selves. L ike character. ch aracter b eing the cause o f fate. how ever. both w hat w ould happ en to him and w h at he w ou ld accom plish could be ex a ctly predicted. the ch aracter o f a person. It is. that for those able to perceive it (who find an im m ed iate know ledge o f fate as such in them selves) it is in some w ay present. can be apprehend ed only through signs. C o n tem p o ra ry ideas do not perm it im m ediate logical access to the idea o f fate. the physical features o f a person. and if. nonsensical. T h a t is. T h is appears as im possible as “ to predict the fu tu re” . T h e idea u n d erlyin g this is the follow ing: if. all the events in the areas entered by that ch aracter w ere know n. T h e supposition that some “ accessib ility” o f future fate contradicts neither that concep t itself nor the hum an powers o f percep tion pred ictin g it is not. for under this catego ry the foretellin g o f fate is un cerem oniously subsum ed. w ere know n in all its details. precisely the contention o f those w ho profess to pred ict m en ’s fate from no m atter w h at signs. on the one hand. on the other. as can be shown. too.

is d irectly in view . never accessible except through signs because it is situated above the im m ed iately visible level. no m atter how d ifferent their conceptions m ay be. the extern al w orld that the a ctive m an encounters can also in principle be red uced . T h e system o f c h a ra ctero lo gical signs is gen era lly confined to the body. T h e in q u iry that follows is not concerned w ith w h at such a system o f signs for ch ara cter and fate is like.Fate and Character 125 even if this or that ch ara cter trait. because despite all the superficial observation and false hypostasizing o f the signs. they do not in eith er system signify ch aracter or fate on the basis o f causal connections. and his inner . their concepts are inseparable. to his inner w orld. this or that link o f fate. For it is im possible to form an u n co n trad icto ry concep t o f the exterior o f an active hum an being the core o f w hom is taken to be ch aracter. but m erely w ith w h at it signifies. though d ifferent in other respects. because the distinction on w hich it rests is th eoretically un ten able. their spheres o f action interpen etrate. A nexus o f m ean in g can never be foun ded causally. B etw een the active m an and the extern al w orld all is interaction . the connection b etw een the sign and the signified constitutes in both spheres an eq u a lly herm etic and difficult problem . H ow ever. It em erges that the trad ition al conception o f the nature and the relationship o f ch aracter and fate not only rem ains prob lem atic insofar as it is in ca p a b le o f m akin g the possibility o f a pred iction o f fate ratio n a lly com prehensible. it is nevertheless a relationship that is m eant by these concepts. N o d efinition o f the extern al w orld can disregard the limits set by the con cep t o f the active m an. can becom e signs o f fate. to any desired degree. w hereas in the trad ition al view all the ph enom ena o f extern al life. if we disregard the ch a ra ctero lo gical significance o f those signs in­ vestigated b y the horoscope. even tho u gh in the present case the existence o f the signs m ay have been p rod u ced cau sally by fate and ch aracter. in ad dition to b o d ily ones. but that it is false. N ot only is it im possible to determ ine in a single case w h at finally is to be considered a function o f ch aracter and w h a t a function o f fate in a hum an life (this w ou ld m ake no d ifferen ce here if the two on ly m erged in e x p e rie n c e ).

fate in a religious context. O n the basis o f this definition the two concepts w ill becom e w h olly d ivergen t. and in the area o f fate ch ara cter w ill not be found. rather. In the G reek classical d evelopm ent o f the idea o f fate. H old erlin does not for nothing call the blissful gods “ fateless” . w here there is ch aracter there w ill. far from b eing theoretically distinct. no relation o f fate to innocence. T hus. A n d — this question strikes even d eep er— has fate any reference to good fortune. an intrinsic catego ry o f fate? H appiness is. the happiness granted to a m an is by no means understood as confirm ation o f an innocent cond u ct o f life. H appiness and bliss are therefore no m ore part o f the sphere o f fate than is innocence. as happens in com m on speech. therefore. indeed regarded in principle as one and the same thing. fateim posed m isfortune is seen as the response o f G od or the gods to a religious offence. For ch aracter is usually placed in an ethical. coincide. D oubts con cern in g this are aroused. C on sidered in this w ay ch aracter and fate. But an order the sole intrinsic .126 „ w orld sim ilarly to his outer w orld. n am ely that o f innocence. to m ention a typical case. by the absence o f any corresponding relation o f the concep t o f fate to the concept that necessarily accom p an ies that o f gu ilt in the ethical sphere. w h ich in turn can not be achieved until the latter has been m ore exactly defined. as m isfortune doubtless is. w ith certain ty. Such is the case w hen N ietzsche says. A d m itted ly. it must be clearly distinguished from that o f character. he has an experience that constantly recurs.” T h a t m eans: if a m an has ch ara cter his fate is essentially constant. “ I f a m an has ch aracter. to happiness? Is happiness. W e must banish them from both regions by revealin g the error by w h ich they w ere p laced there. therefore. but as a tem ptation to the m ost grievous offence. not be fate. how ever. In ad dition care m ust be taken to assign both concepts to spheres in w hich they do not. it also m eans: he has no fa te — a conclusion d raw n by the Stoics. T h ere is. usurp the rank o f higher spheres and concepts. hubris. w hat releases the fortunate m an from the em broilm ent o f the Fates and from the net o f his own fate. I f a concep t o f fate is to be attain ed . T h is error is caused. through associa­ tion w ith that o f guilt. as regards the con cep t o f fate.

T h is b alan ce is the scale o f law . it is d em on ­ strable that all legal gu ilt is n othin g oth er than m isfortune.” L a w condem ns. not to punishm ent but to gu ilt. instead. m oral infan tility. it w ould be false to assum e that on ly gu ilt is present in a legal con text. no m atter how the m isunderstood concept o f g u ilt appears to suggest the con trary. It is p ro b ab ly the basis o f all sublim ity. rem ain s unspoken. first b een condem ned and then becom e gu ilty. at bottom . T h ere is no question o f the “ m oral w orld o rd er” b eing restored. R a th er.Fate and Character 127 concepts o f w hich are m isfortune and gu ilt. in trag ed y pagan m an becom es aw are that he is b etter than his god. T h e law s o f fa te — m isfortune and g u ilt— are elevated by law to m easures o f the person. But not b y h avin g the endless p agan chain o f gu ilt and aton em en t superseded by the p u rity o f m an w ho has exp iated and is w ith the pure god . through confusing itself w ith the realm o f ju stice. It corresponds to the n atural cond ition . and w ithin w h ich there is no co n ceiv ab le p ath o f liberation (for insofar as som ething is fate. for in trag ed y d em on ic fate is b reached . A n oth er sphere must therefore be sought in w hich m isfortune and gu ilt alone c arry w eight. in the view o f life. w hich is on ly a residue o f the dem onic stage o f hu m a n existence w hen legal statutes d eterm in ed not only m en ’s relationships b ut also their relation to the gods. in w h ich genius. bu t the realization robs him o f speech. G u ilt an d aton em en t it does not m easure ju stly in the b alan ce. as condem ned. F ate shows itself. but m ixes ind iscrim in ately. the order o f law . has preserved itself lon g past the tim e o f the victo ry over the dem ons. appears. T h e p a rad ox o f the birth o f genius in m oral speechlessness. still d u m b . W ith o u t d eclarin g itse lf it seeks secretly to ga th e r its forces. G oeth e sum m arizes both phrases in the w ords “ T h e poor m an you let becom e g u ilty . is the su b lim ity o f traged y. M istak en ly. there­ fore. Fate is the gu ilt con text o f the livin g. the m oral hero. a b alan ce on w hich bliss and in n ocen ce are found too light and float u pw ard. rath er than G od . it is m isfortune and g u ilt) — such an order can not be religious. as havin g. not yet o f a g e — as such he is called a h ero — wishes to raise h im self b y shakin g th at torm ented w orld. It was not in law but in trag ed y that the h ead o f genius lifted itself for the first tim e from the mist o f gu ilt.

h avin g its foun dation in an en tirely different sphere. rath er. It has no present. that illusion not yet w h olly dispelled from w hich m an is so far rem oved that. In the m anner o f fate. It is not an autonom ous tim e. under its rule. for fateful m om ents exist only in b ad novels. on his side. the nature o f m an. and past and future it knows only in curious variation s. It is never m an but only the life in him that it strikes— the part in volved in n atural guilt and m isfortune by virtue o f illusion. the very b ein g that makes its ap p eara n ce in signs that either occu r spontaneously or are exp erim en tally produced. better. the subject o f fate is in d eterm in ­ able. It is no a ccid en t that both orders are connected w ith inter­ pretative practices and that in ch irom an cy ch ara cter and fate coincide a u th en tically. T h e ju d g e can perceive fate w herever he pleases. as. very different in its kind and m easure from the tim e o f red em p­ tion. T h e re b y she discovers in signs som ething a b ou t a n atu ral life in m an that she seeks to substitute for the head o f genius m entioned earlier. T h e fortune-teller w ho uses cards and the palm ist teach us at least that time can at every m om ent be m ade sim ultaneous w ith another (not present). or o f m usic. T h e concep t o f ch aracter m ust be d eveloped to a sim ilar level. definite things that com e to hand (things un chastely p regn an t w ith certain ty). T h e foundation o f the concept o f ch aracter w ill there- . Both concern the n atural m a n — or. and the clairvoyan te makes use o f the sim ple techn iqu e o f p lacin g it in the context o f gu ilt by means o f the first calcu lab le. but only invisible in his best part. w ith every ju d g m en t he must b lin d ly dictate fate. the m an w ho visits her gives w a y to the gu ilty life w ithin himself. the only one that em braces eq u a lly fate in traged y and the intentions o f the fortu n e-teller— that is com pletely indepen den t o f that o f ch aracter. O n d eterm in in g the p a rticu la r nature o f tim e in fate depends the com plete elu cid ation o f these m atters. less n atu ral life. or o f truth.128 o f the living. this life can be coupled to cards as to planets. he was never w h olly im m ersed in it. It is not therefore really m an w ho has a fate. but is parasitically dependent on the tim e o f a high er. T h ere is therefore a concept o f fa te — and it is the genuine concept. T h e gu ilt context is tem poral in a totally inau th entic w ay.

but above all w ords like “ self-sacrificin g” . h ow ever. as are expressed by the m orally in d ifferen t descriptions o f q u alities o f the intellect (such as “ cle ve r” or “ stu p id ” ). his deeds are interesting on ly insofar as they . T h is con n ection is effected by the idea o f a netw ork that can be tigh ten ed b y kn ow ledge at w ill into a dense fabric. the subject not o f m oral con d em n ation but o f high am usem ent. “ m aliciou s” . A t its centre. N evertheless. as the m ain protagon ist in a c o m ed y o f character. only its m oral accen t is w ith d raw n . only actions and n ever qualities can be o f m oral im portan ce. w e w ou ld call a scoundrel. for this is how ch a ra cte r appears to su p erficial observation. to give w a y to such co n d itio n a l evalu ation s. in either a positive or a negative sense. O n the oth er h an d . that the actions o f the com ic hero a ffect his p u b lic. N ot ju st “ th ievish ” . n ever m orally.Fate and Character 129 fore n eed likew ise to be related to a n atural sphere and to have no m ore to do w ith ethics or m orality than fate has w ith religion. “ en viou s” seem to in d icate ch ara cte r traits that can not be abstracted from m oral va lu a tio n . i f w e w ere confron ted by his actions in life instead o f by his person on the stage. his actions take on only the interest shed w ith the ligh t o f ch aracter. such abstraction is in all cases not on ly possible but necessary in order to grasp the m eaning o f the concep t. as m oral ph ilosophy is ob liged to dem onstrate. In the threads o f this w eft a w ea k un d erstan d in g believes it possesses the m oral nature o f the ch a ra cte r concern ed and can distinguish its go od and bad qualities. “ co u ra g eo u s” seem to im p ly m oral valu ation s (even leavin g aside the a p p a ren t m oral coloration o f the concepts). the con cep t o f ch aracter w ill have to be divested o f those features that constitute its erroneous connection to that o f fate. stands often enough a person w hom . A p p earan ces are a d m itte d ly to the co n tra ry . O n the com ic stage. It is never in them selves. the train ed eye o f the connoisseur o f m en is supposed to perceive finer and closer connections. in classical exam ples. “ e x tra v a g a n t” . “ ve n g efu l” . and the latter is. A lo n g w ith the broad u n d e rly in g traits. until w h at looked like a net is tigh ten ed into cloth. T h is abstraction m ust be such th at valu ation itself is fu lly p reserved . T h e true sphere to w h ich these pseudo-m oral ch aracter descrip­ tions are to be consigned is show n by com ed y. But.

It has nothing to do w ith the concerns o f p sych ology if miserliness or hypochond ria. It is the sun o f in d iv id u a lity in the colourless (anonym ous) sky o f m an. on the other hand . M o reo ver. in the b rillian ce o f its single trait. w hich casts the shadow o f the com ic action. the com plications and bonds o f his gu ilt.130 reflect the light o f ch aracter. w h ich allow s no other to rem ain visible in its p roxim ity. T his vision rem ains for its part likew ise in the realm o f nature. casts a . M o lie r e — does not seek to define his creations b y the m u ltip licity o f their ch ara cter traits. they d ep ict them w ith an intensifying crassness. T h e su b lim ity o f ch ara cte r com ed y rests on this a n on ym ity o f m an and his m o rality. O n the contrary. ch ara cte r gives this m ystical enslavem ent o f the person to the gu ilt con text the answer o f genius. alongside the utm ost d evelopm ent o f in d iv id u a lity th rou gh its exclusive ch ara cter trait. fate freedom . (This places C o h e n ’s profou nd d ictu m that every tragic action. T h e ch ara cte r trait is not therefore the knot in the net. o f p agan ism . W hile fate unfolds the im m ense com p lexity o f the gu ilty person. For the ch aracter o f the com ic figure is not the scarecrow o f the determ inist. how ever sublim ely it strides upon its cothurnus. o f origin al guilt. yet m oral insights are still at a p roxim ity to its essence that is a ttain ed by the opposed idea only in the form o f traged y. b y w ay o f its affinity to logic. in L ’ avare or Le malade imaginaire. it is the beacon in whose beam s the freedom o f his actions becom es visible. A b o u t h y p o ch o n d ria and m iser­ liness these dram as teach n oth in g. and its occasional red em p tion the cult. far from m akin g them com ­ prehensible. if the object o f p sych ology is the inner life o f m an understood em p irically. T h e vision o f ch aracter. M o lie re ’s characters are o f no use to it even as m eans o f dem onstration. one notes th at the great com ic p la y w rig h t— for exam ple. are hypostasized as the foun dation o f all action. is lib era tin g in all its form s: it is linked to freedom . genius opposes a vision o f the n atu ra l inn ocen ce o f m an. C h a ra cter is u nfolded in them like a sun. C o m p licatio n becom es sim plicity. w h ich is not its only form. psych ological analysis is d en ied an y access to his w ork. T o the d ogm a o f the n atu ral gu ilt o f hum an life. as can not be show n here. the irred eem ab le n ature o f w h ich constitutes the doctrine.

was a m anifestation o f the new age o f genius. 1919 . serve for the ancients p rim arily the ex p lo ration o f fate. like those.Fate and Character com ic sh ad ow . that the d octrin e o f tem peram ents tried to identify. for ex a m p le. in its most ap p ro p ria te context. in reco gn izin g that ch ara cter can on ly be grasped through a sm all n u m b er o f m orally in d ifferen t basic concepts. m orally ev alu a tive accen t o f its concepts. T h e stu d y o f ph ysiognom y. M odern ph ysiogn om ies reveals its con n ection w ith the old art o f d ivin atio n in the un fruitful. In precisely this respect the an cien t and m ed ieval physiognom ists saw things m ore clearly. like co m ed y. like other m antic sym bols.) 13 1 P h ysio gn o m ic signs. as also in the strivin g for a n a lytica l com plexity. in accord an ce w ith the d o m in a n ce o f the p a g an b e lie f in gu ilt.

w hich w ou ld discrim inate w ithin the sphere o f m eans them selves. It perceives in the use o f violent m eans to ju st ends no 13 2 . w ith o u t regard for the ends they serve. that violence can first be sought only in the realm o f m eans. It imposes itself in the question w hether violence. T h e sphere o f these issues is defined by the concepts o f law and ju stice. W ith regard to the first o f these. it is clear that the most elem en tary relationship w ith in any legal system is that o f ends to means. T o resolve this question a m ore exact criterion is needed. but. w ou ld contain is not a criterion for violence itself as a principle. is a means to a ju st or an unjust end. T h is. how ever. in a given case. T h e exclusion o f this m ore precise critical a p p roach is perhaps the p red om in an t feature o f a m ain curren t o f legal philosophy: n atural law . further. as a principle. For if violence is a means. T hese observa­ tions provide a critiqu e o f vio len ce w ith m ore— and certain ly d ifferen t— prem ises than perhaps appears. the criterion for cases o f its use. For w h at such a system. a criterion for criticizin g it m ight seem im m ed iately availab le. in the precise sense o f the w ord. assum ing it to be secure against all doubt. is not so. A critiqu e o f it w ould then be im plied in a system o f ju st ends. becom es violent. For a cause. only w hen it bears on m oral issues. and. rather. how ever effective.Critique o f Violence T h e task o f a critiqu e o f violence can be sum m arized as that o f exp oundin g its relation to law and justice. T h e question w ould rem ain open w hether violence. not o f ends. could be a m oral means even to ju st ends.

i f ju stified m eans on the one hand and ju st ends on the other w ere in irrecon cilab le conflict. violence is a p rod u ct o f nature.Critique o f Violence 133 greater problem than a m an sees in his “ rig h t” to m ove his body in the direction o f a desired goal. besides n atu ral selec­ tion. Th is a n tin om y w ou ld prove insoluble if the com m on d ogm atic assum p­ tion w ere false. for exam ple. P op u lar D arw in is­ tic ph ilosophy has often shown how short a step it is from this d ogm a o f n atural history to the still cru d er one o f legal philosophy. until the circu lar argu m en t had been broken. before the conclusion o f this rational contract. w hich. accord in g to the theory o f state o f n atu ral law . and m u tu a lly in d epen d en t criteria both o f ju st ends and o f justified m eans w ere established. w hich holds that the violence that is. by the justness o f the ends. unless force is misused for unjust ends. N o insight into this prob lem could be gain ed . app rop riate to n atu ral ends is th ereb y also legal. so positive law can ju d g e all evolvin g law on ly in criticizin g its means. this is done on the assum ption (w hich S pin oza. in a th o rou gh ly d ogm atic m anner. regards violen ce as the only origin al m eans. to “ju s tify ” the means. the use o f w hich is in no w a y p rob lem atical. alm ost alone. N atu ra l law attem pts. leg ality is that o f m eans. If. N otw ith stan d in g this antithesis. both schools m eet in their com m on basic d o g m a: ju st ends can be attain ed by ju stified m eans. a p p rop riate to all the vital ends o f nature. I f ju stice is the criterion o f ends. states ex p licitly in his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus) that the in d ivid u a l. I f n atural law can ju d g e all existing law only in criticizin g its ends. has de jure the right to use at w ill the violence that is de facto at his disposal. Perhaps these view s have been recently rekindled by D a r w in ’s b io logy. T h is thesis o f n atu ral law that regards violence as a n atural d atu m is d iam e trica lly opposed to that o f positive law . as it w ere a raw m aterial. A c c o rd in g to this view (for w h ich the terrorism in the F rench R e vo lu tio n p rovided an ideo­ log ical foun d atio n ). positive law to “ g u a ra n te e ” the justness o f the ends through the ju stificatio n o f the m eans. ju stified m eans used for ju st ends. w hich sees violence as a p ro d u ct o f history. how ever. . people give up all their violence for the sake o f the state. h ow ever.

R ath er. natural law is eq u ally so to the con tin gen cy o f means. T h e question that concerns us is. w h ich under certain . based on the nature o f violence. For in a critiqu e o f violence. Principles o f n atu ral law cannot decide this question. or. and therefore also the question o f a criterion o f justness. w hat light is throw n on the n ature o f violence b y the fact that such a criterion or distinction can be a pplied to it at all. but at the same time light w ill be shed on the sphere in w h ich alone such a distinction can be m ade. T o sum u p : if the criterion established by positive law to assess the leg ality o f violence can be analysed w ith regard to its m eanin g. but can only lead to bottom less casuistry.134 T h e realm o f ends. w ill soon enough be shown. T h e m ean in g o f the distinction betw een legitim ate and illegiti­ m ate violence is not im m ed iately obvious. Instead. in other words. and unsanctioned violence. For this critiqu e a standpoint outside positive legal philosophy bu t also outside n atu ral law must be found. o f course. the central place is given to the question o f the ju stificatio n o f certain m eans that constitute violence. so-called sanctioned violence. I f the follow ing considerations proceed from this it cannot. a criterion for the latter in positive law can not concern its uses bu t only its evaluation . and irrep laceable b y an y other. T h e extent to w hich it can on ly be furnished by a historico-philosophical view o f la w w ill em erge. it has a lrea d y been in d icated that positive law dem ands o f all violence a p ro o f o f its historical origin. the positive theory o f law is accep table as a h yp o th etical basis at the outset o f this study. m ean that given forms o f violence are classified in terms o f w hether they are sanctioned or not. For i f positive law is blind to the absoluteness o f ends. T h e m isunderstanding in n atural law by w hich a distinction is d raw n betw een violence used for ju st and unjust ends m ust be em p h atica lly rejected. because it undertakes a fu n dam en tal distinction betw een kinds o f violence ind epen d en tly o f cases o f their application. w h at is the m eaning o f this distinction? T h a t this distinction supplied by positive law is m eaningful. T h is distinction is b etw een historically ack n o w led ged . O n the other hand. is exclu ded for the tim e being from this study. then the sphere o f its ap p licatio n m ust be criticized w ith regard to its valu e.

Critique o f Violence 135 conditions is d eclared legal. dep en din g on w hether it serves n atural or legal ends. but on ly that directed to illegal ends. rather. the follow ing discussion w ill relate to con tem p o rary E u rop ean conditions. sanctioned. is the ten d en cy not to ad m it the n atu ral ends o f such in d ivid uals in all those cases in w hich such ends could.) From this m axim it follows that law sees violence in the hands o f ind ivid u als as a d anger u n derm in in g the legal system. For the sake o f sim plicity. as in the laws relatin g to the lim its o f ed u cation al a u th ority to punish. It w ill be argued that a system o f legal ends can not be m ain tained i f n atu ral ends are an yw h ere still pursued vio len tly. it strives to lim it by legal ends even those areas in w h ich n atu ral ends are ad m itted in prin ciple w ithin w ide boundaries. Since the ack n ow led gm en t o f legal vio len ce is m ost ta n g ib ly evid en t in a d eliberate subm ission to its ends. (T h e con trad ictio n b etw een this and the right o f self-defence w ill be resolved in w h at follow s. legal ends that can only be realized by legal pow er. can be m ost clearly traced against a back grou n d o f specific legal conditions. be usefully pursued b y violence. T h is m eans: this legal system tries to erect. in a given situation. In d eed . Ends that lack such ackn ow led gem en t m a y be called n atu ral ends. the other legal ends. for then violence as such w ou ld not be cond em ned . this is a m ere d ogm a. It can be form ulated as a general m axim o f present-day E u rop ean legisla­ tion that all the n atu ral ends o f in d ivid u als m ust collide w ith legal ends i f pursued w ith a greater or lesser degree o f violence. a h yp o th etica l distinction betw een kinds o f violence m ust be based on the presence or absence o f a general historical a ck n ow led gem en t ofits ends. how ever. as far as the in d ivid u al as legal subject is concern ed. T h e differing function o f vio len ce. C h ara cteristic o f these. as soon as these n atural ends are pursued w ith an excessive m easure o f violence. like that o f ed u cation. T o counter it one m ight perhaps consider the surprising possibility that the la w ’s interest in a m on opoly o f vio len ce vis-a-vis in d ivid u als is not exp lained by the intention o f preserving legal ends but. As a d anger n u llifyin g legal ends and the legal ex ecu tiv e? C e rta in ly not. in all areas w here in d ivid u a l ends could be usefully pursued b y violence. In the first place. by that o f preserving the law .

or the law . the right to use force . therefore. By w h at function violence can w ith reason seem so threaten ing to law . has aroused the secret ad m iration o f the public. and arouses even in defeat the sym path y o f the mass against law . to escape from a violence in d irectly exercised by the em ployer. ap art from the state. A n d as in the view o f the state. the violence o f w hich present-day law is seeking in all areas o f a ctiv ity to dep rive the in d iv id u a l appears rea lly threatening. O rg a n iz e d lab ou r is. in the form o f extortion. In this case. w hich a strike rea lly is. the right to strike conceded to lab ou r is certain ly not a righ t to exercise violen ce but. but only from the violence to w h ich it bears witness. w hen not in the hands o f the law . how ever repellent his ends m ay have been. This can not result from his deed. how ever. the right to strike constitutes in the view o f labour. rather. or service. is necessarily introd u ced . if it takes place in the context o f a conscious readiness to resum e the suspended action under certain circum stances that either have nothing w h atever to do w ith this action or only superficially m odify it. can be an en tirely non-violent. must be especially evid en t w here its ap p licatio n . It is true that the omission o f an action. A g ain st this view there is certain ly the objection that an omission o f actions. that violence. w here it am ounts sim ply to a “ severing o f relations” . a n on-action. T h is is above all the case in the class struggle. once this was no lon ger avoid ab le. and be so feared b y it. But its truth is not u n con d ition al. S u ch a consideration doubtless m ade it easier for a state pow er to con ceive the right to strike. and therefore not unrestricted. T h e m om ent o f violence. even in the present legal system. in the form o f the w orkers’ gu aran teed right to strike. T h e sam e m ay be m ore d ra stica lly suggested if one reflects how often the figure o f the “ g rea t” crim inal. pure means. U n derstood in this w a y. cannot be described as violence. is still perm issible. p ro b a b ly today the on ly legal subject entitled to exercise violence. into such an omission.136 itself. strikes conform ing to this m ay u n d o u bted ly occu r from tim e to tim e and involve on ly a “ w ith d ra w a l” or “ estran gem en t” from the em ­ ployer. threatens it not by the ends that it m ay pursue but by its m ere existence outside the law . w hich is opposed to that o f the state.

It therefore reveals an o b jective con trad iction in the legal situation. it is nevertheless to be so describ ed i f it constitutes extortion in the sense explained above. if u nder certain circu m ­ stances the law meets the strikers. T his can be reb u tted by a consideration o f m ilitary violence. w ith vio len ce. even con d u ct in v o lvin g the exercise o f a right can nevertheless. it som etim es regards w ith in d ifferen ce. that it is able to found and m od ify legal conditions. It w ou ld be entirely u n su itab le as a basis for. how ever. T h e strike shows. For in a strike the state fears above all else that function w h ich it is the object o f this study to id en tify as the only secure fou n d atio n o f its critiq u e. In this. since the specific reasons for strike a d m itted by legislation can n o t be p revalen t in every workshop. F or the state retains the righ t to declare that a sim ultaneous use o f strike in all industries is illega l. and the state w ill call this appeal an abuse. w hen active. relatively stable conditions. T h e possibility o f m ilitary law rests on ex a ctly the same objective c o n tra d ictio n in the leg al situation as does that o f strike law . but not a log ical con tra d ictio n in the law . lab o u r w ill alw ays ap p eal to its right to strike. such con d u ct. m erely the m eans to secure d ire ctly w h atever happens to be sought. since the right to strike was not “ so in ten d e d ” . as first appears. M o re sp ecifically. For. m ay be called vio len t i f it exercises a righ t in order to overth row the legal system th at has conferred it. or a m odification to. It w ill be objected that such a fun ction o f violence is fortuitous and isolated. it cou ld fulfill its end as p red atory violence. as n atu ral ends. and take em ergen cy m easures. how ever p a rad o x ical this m ay ap p ear at first sight. In this differen ce o f in terp retation is expressed the ob jective con tra d ictio n in the legal situation. For if violence w ere. but in a crisis (the revo lu tion ary general strike) confronts in im ically. h ow ever offended the sense o f ju stice m ay find itse lf thereby. w h ereb y the state acknow ledges a vio len ce whose ends. on the fact th at legal subjects sanction violence whose .Critique o f Violence 13J in a tta in in g certain ends. be described as violent. T h e antithesis b etw een the two con ­ ceptions em erges in all its bitterness in face o f a revo lu tion ary gen era l strike. that is to say. as perpetrators o f violence. w h en passive. that it can be so. under certain circum stances.

I f in the last w ar the critique o f m ilitary violence was the starting point for a passionate critique o f violence in g e n e ra l— w hich taught at least one thing. In d eed . precisely— in prim itive conditions that know h ard ly the beginnings o f constitutional relations. at least as a legal subject.13 s ends rem ain for the sanctioners n atu ral ends. despite its im potence. a threat that even today. In the great crim inal this violence confronts the law w ith the threat o f d eclarin g a new law . sim ilarly u n m etaph orical and political. It explains the above-m en tion ed tendency o f m od em law to divest the ind ivid u al. T h e state. T his sanction consists precisely in recogn izin g the new conditions as a new “ la w ” . as pred a to ry violence. necessary sanctioning. Y e t it is very striking that ev en — or. perhaps m ore ann ihilatin gly. as being prim ordial and p a ra d ig ­ m atic o f all violen ce used for n atu ral ends. there is inherent in all such violence a law -m akin g character. tow ard its ends. even that directed only to n atu ral ends. and even in cases w here the victor has established him self in in vu ln er­ able possession. violence was not on ly subject to criticism for its law -m akin g ch aracter. o f every victory. but was also ju d g ed . the one used by K a n t in talkin g o f “ E ternal P ea ce” ). in im portant instances horrifies the pu blic as it did in prim eval times. F or a d u ality in the function o f violence is characteristic o f m ilitarism . If. rather. A d m itted ly. regardless o f all other legal conditions. and can therefore in a crisis com e into conflict w ith their ow n legal or n atu ral ends. . and classes the right to strike. conclusions can be draw n from m ilitary violence. in the sense in w h ich it is the correlative to the w ord “ w a r” (for there is also a qu ite different m eaning. the w ord “ p e a c e ” . o f all violence. how ever. denotes this a priori. a peace cerem ony is entirely necessary. being ob liged to ackn ow led ge it as law -m akin g w hen ever external powers force it to concede them the right to con d u ct w arfare. therefore. quite regardless o f w hether they need de facto any guaran tee o f their continuation. m ilitary violence is in the first place used quite d irectly. W e shall return later to the im plications o f this insight. fears this violen ce sim ply for its law -m akin g character. that violence is no longer exercised and tolerated n a iv e ly — nevertheless. for another o f its functions.

w ith its doubtless incontestable m in im u m p ro g ra m m e— act in such a w a y that at all times you use h u m a n ity both in you r person and in the person o f all others as an end. M ilita rism is the com pu lsory. the use o f v io le n ce itself. Such a m axim m erely excludes reflection on the m oral and historical spheres. such a critique coincides w ith the critiq ue o f all leg al vio le n ce— that is. so freq u en tly attem p ted .* For positive law . and thereby on any m eanin g in actio n . For the subordination o f citizens to la w s— in the present case. V e r y good grounds for such d o u bt could be adduced. w ill c ertain ly claim to a ck n o w led ge and prom ote the interest o f m an ­ kind in the person o f each ind ivid u al. w h eth er it is perm issible to use. this second w ill be called the law preservin g function. w h ich can n o t be constituted i f “ actiori” is rem oved from its sphere. or still m ore closely than. if conscious o f its roots. that is. and never m erely as a m eans— is in itself in ad eq u ate for such a critiq u e. M o re im p o rta n t is the fact that even the appeal. w ith the critiq u e o f leg al or execu tive fo r c e — and cannot be perform ed by any lesser pro g ra m m e. . W h ile this view . an d b eyond this on an y m eaning in rea lity itself. to the catego rical im p era tive. universal use o f violence as a m eans to the ends o f the state. T h is com pulsory use o f violence has recen tly b een scrutin ized as closely as. rather. d oubt w h eth er this famous d em and does not contain too little. oneself or anoth er in a n y respect as a means. N or. or allow to be used. It sees this interest in the representation and preservation o f an order im posed by fate. * O n e m ight. R ather. S ince conscription is a case o f law -p reserving vio le n ce th at is not in p rin cip le distinguished from others. to the law o f general con ­ sc rip tio n — is a legal end. a rea lly effective critiq u e o f it is far less easy than the declam ations o f pacifists and activists suggest. It consists in the use o f vio len ce as a means o f legal ends. I f that first function o f violence is called the law -m a k in g fun ction. o f co u rse— unless one is prep ared to proclaim a q u ite childish a n a rch ism — is it achieved by refusing to ack n o w ­ led ge an y constraint to w a rd persons and d eclarin g “ W h at pleases is p e rm itte d ” . In it vio len ce shows itself in a fu n ction quite differen t from its sim ple app licatio n for natural ends.Critique o f Violence 139 w h ich could only com e into being through general conscription. w h ich claim s to preserve law in its very basis.

A deterrent in the exact sense w ould require a certain ty that contradicts the n ature o f a th reat and is not attained by any law . is the origin o f law . b u t law itself in its origin . But in this very violence som ething rotten in law is revealed. then it m ay be readily supposed that w here the highest violence. o f course. they in p u gn p a rticu la r laws or leg al practices that the law . on w h ich depends w hether the crim inal is app reh en d ed . becau se the . since there is alw ays hope o f e lu d in g its arm . rem ain im poten t against it. instead o f atta ck in g the legal system root and branch. law reaffirm s itself. the origins o f la w ju t m anifestly and fearsom ely into existence. T h e opponent o f these critics felt. T h ere is a useful pointer to it in the sphere o f punishm ents. violence crow ned by fate. th at over life and death. H o w ever superficial the argum ents m ay in m ost cases have been. nevertheless all attacks that are m ade m erely in the nam e o f a formless “ freed om ” w ith ou t b eing a b le to specify this higher order o f freedom . belongs in v io la b ly to its order. w hich resides in the fact that there is only one fate and that w hat exists. like fate. A m o n g them . that an a tta ck on cap ital p u n ishm en t assails. For law -preserving violence is a threaten ing vio len ce. perhaps w ith ou t k n ow in g w h y and p ro b ab ly in volu n tarily. to w hich it seems quite out o f “ p ro p o rtio n ” . In agreem ent w ith this is the fact that the death penalty in prim itive legal system s is im posed even for such crimes as offenses against p rop erty. A n d its threat is not intended as the d eterren t that un in form ed liberal theorists interpret it to be. cap ital punishm ent has provoked m ore criticism than all others. and in p articu lar w h at threatens. takes u nder the protection o f its pow er.I^o cannot escape criticism . above all to a finer sensibility. F or if violence. since the va lid ity o f positive law has been called into question. their m otives w ere and are rooted in p rinciple. This makes it all the m ore threaten ing. Its purpose is not to punish the infringem ent o f law bu t to establish new law . occurs in the legal system . The deepest purpose o f the un certain ty o f the legal th reat w ill em erge from the later consideration o f the sphere o f fate in w hich it origin ates. not legal m easure. A n d most im potent o f all w hen. F or in the exercise o f violence over life and d eath m ore than in a n y oth er legal act. not laws.

and law -p reserving.Critique o f Violence 141 latter knows itself to be infin itely rem ote from conditions in w h ich fate m ight im periously h ave shown itself in such a sentence. T ru e . w hich ackn ow ledges in the “ d ecision ” determ in ed b y place and tim e a m etap hysical categ o ry th a t gives it a claim to critical evalu ation . can no lon ger g u aran tee through the legal system the em p irical ends that it desires at an y price to attain. T h e ign om in y o f such an a u th o rity . I f the first is req u ired to prove its w orth in victory. a consideration o f the . becau se it is at the disposal o f these ends. w ith ou t the slightest relation to legal ends. R easo n m ust. or sim p ly supervising him . but w ith the sim ultaneous a u th o rity to decide these ends itself w ith in w id e lim its (in the right o f d ecree). It is law -m akin g. but are therefore allow ed to ram p ag e all the m ore b lin d ly in the most vu ln erab le areas and again st thinkers. h ow ever. T h e assertion that the ends o f p o lice violen ce are alw ays iden tical or even connected to those o f gen era l law is en tirely untrue. a ttem p t to a p p roach such conditions all the m ore resolutely. w h ich is felt by few sim ply because its ordinances suffice on ly seldom for the crudest acts. the police. w h en they are not m erely. if it is to b rin g to a conclusion its critiq u e o f both la w ­ m a k in g and law -p reservin g violence. U n lik e law . for its ch ara cteristic function is not the p rom u lgation o f laws bu t the assertion o f legal claim s for an y decree. a cco m p an yin g the citizen as a b ru ta l en cu m b ran ce throu gh a life regu lated by ordinances. in a kind o f spectral m ixture. the second is subject to the restriction that it m a y not set itself new ends. w h eth er from im p oten ce or because o f the im m an en t connections w ith in any legal system . R ath er. P olice vio len ce is em a n cip a te d from both conditions. from w hom the state is not protected by la w — this ig n o ­ m in y lies in the fact that in this a u th ority the separation o f la w ­ m a k in g and law -p reservin g violence is suspended. this is violence for legal ends (in the right o f disposition). the “ la w ” o f the p o lice re a lly m arks the point at w h ich the state. these tw o forms o f violence are present in another institu tion o f the m odern state. In a far m ore u n n a tu ral com bin ation than in the death p en a lty. T h erefo re the police in terven e “ for security reasons” in countless cases w here no clear le g a l situation exists.

In our time. . the origin o f every contract also points tow ard vio len ce. T h e y offer the fam iliar. T h e y lack the sense that a law -m akin g violence is represented by them selves. It need not be d irectly present in it as law -m akin g violence. how ever. law nevertheless appears. in so am bigu ou s a m oral light that the question poses itself w hether there are no other than vio len t means for regu la tin g conflicting h um an interests. parliam en ts provide an exam p le o f this. is im p licated in the p ro b lem a tic n ature o f law itself.14 2 police institution encounters n oth in g essential at all. the last m an i­ festation o f such forces bore no fruit for parliam en ts. like the ou tcom e. from w h at has been said. W hen the consciousness o f the laten t presence o f violen ce in a legal institution disappears. the institution falls into d ecay. should he b reak the agreem ent. all-p ervasive. but is represented in it insofar as the pow er that gu arantees a leg al con tract is in turn o f violent origin even if violence is not in tro d u ced into the con tract itself. A n d tho u gh the police m ay. it forfeits all va lid ity. N ot only th at. in G erm an y in p a rticu la r. W e are a b o v e all ob ligated to note that a totally n on -violen t resolution o f conflicts can never lead to a legal contract. like its n ow here tangible. everyw h ere appear the sam e. woeful spectacle because they h ave not rem ain ed conscious o f the revo lu tion ary forces to w h ich they ow e their existence. the pow er o f a ruler in w hich legislative and executive sup rem acy are united. even in the most favourable case. I f it lays claim to n either o f these pred icates. in particulars. It follows. that all violence as a m eans. it can n o t fin ally be denied that their spirit is less d evastatin g w h ere they represent. in absolute m on archy. leads fin ally to possible violence. gh ostly presence in the life o f civilized states. h ow ever peace­ fully it m ay have been entered into b y the parties. bears witness to the greatest con ceivab le d egen eration o f vio len ce. It confers on both parties the right to take recourse to violence in some form against the other. A ll violence as a m eans is either law -m a k in g or law -p reservin g. than in dem ocracies w h ere their existence. For the latter. A n d if the im portan ce o f these problem s can n o t be assessed w ith certain ty at this stage o f the in vestigation . Its pow er is formless. A cco rd in g ly . elevated by no such relation .

is con ceivab le w ith o u t a com pu lsive ch aracter. T h is rem ains. trust. h ow ever desirable and g ra tify in g a flourishing parliam en t m ight be by com parison. N ev er­ theless. p. by the opposing effort. L eg a l and illegal m eans o f every kind that are all the same violent m ay be confronted w ith n on-violent ones as u n alloyed means. ‘ It w ou ld be better oth erw ise’ is the u n d erlyin g feeling in every com prom ise. h ow ever. how ever freely accep ted . Politik und Metaphysik. T h e pacifists are confronted by the Bolsheviks and Syndicalists. . F or this reason techn iqu e in the broadest sense o f the w ord is their * U n ge r. For w h at p arliam en t achieves in vital affairs can on ly be those legal decrees that in their origin and outcom e are a tten d ed by vio len ce. peaceableness. but alw ays those o f in d irect solutions. the d e c a y o f p arliam en ts has perhaps alien ated as m an y m inds from the ideal o f a n on-violent resolution o f political conflicts as w ere attracted to it b y the w ar. no m atter how it m ay disdain all open vio len ce. and w h atever else m ight here be m entioned. C ou rtesy. sym pathy. is d eterm in ed by the law (the enorm ous scope o f w hich can n o t be discussed here) that u n alloyed means are never those o f direct. T h e y therefore never a p p ly d irectly to the resolution o f conflict betw een m an and m an. 8.” * S ign ifican tly.Critique o f Violence 143 no w on d er th at they can not achieve decrees w o rth y o f this violence. T hese h ave effected an an n ih ilatin g and on the w hole apt critiq u e o f present-day parliam ents. a discussion o f means o f political agree­ m ent that are in prin cip le n on-violent cannot be concern ed w ith p a rliam en tarian ism . Is any n on -violen t resolution o f conflict possible? W ith o u t d oub t. b ut on ly to m atters con cern in g objects. T h e relationships o f private persons are full o f exam ples o f this. how ever. T h e sphere o f non-violent m eans opens up in the realm o f h u m an conflicts relatin g to goods. b u t cu ltivate in com prom ise a supposedly non-violent m anner o f d ea lin g w ith po litical affairs. because the effort tow ard com prom ise is m otivated not in tern a lly but from outside. because no com prom ise. Berlin 1921. N on -violen t agreem en t is possible w h erever a civilized outlook allow s the use o f u n allo yed m eans o f agreem ent. T h e ir ob jective m anifestation. a “ product situated w ith in the m en tality o f violence. are their sub jective preconditions.

O n ly late and in a peculiar process o f d ecay has it been pen etrated by legal violence in the p en alty placed on fraud. Since such fear conflicts w ith the violen t n ature o f law d erived from its origins. lack in g confidence in its own violence. w ith the inten tion o f sparing law -p reserving violence m ore taxin g m anifestations. one effective m otive that often puts into the most relu ctan t hands pure instead o f violent m eans. and d ecep tion . no longer felt itself a m atch for that o f all others. T h is tenden cy o f law has also p la yed a p a rt in the concession o f the right to strike. D id not w orkers p reviou sly resort at once to sabotage and set fire to factories? T o induce m en to recon ­ cile their interests peacefu lly w ith ou t in v o lvin g the legal system. T h e y reflect not only the d eca y o f its ow n sphere.144 most p articu lar area. It grants this right because it forestalls vio len t actions the state is afraid to oppose. not out o f m oral considerations. w hich contradicts the interests o f the state. F or w hereas the legal system at its origin. lan gu ag e. It begins to set itself ends. For. For in it not only is n onviolen t agreem ent possible. fear o f the latter and m istrust o f itself in d icate its declining vitality. there is. in p ro h ib itin g fraud. Its profou ndest exam ple is perhaps the conference. ap art from all virtues. P ro b a b ly no legislation on earth origin ally stip u lated such a sanction. considered as a techn iqu e o f civil agreem ent. b u t for fear o f the violence that it m ight unleash in the d efrau d ed party. exem pt from punishm ent in R o m a n and ancient G erm an ic law . such ends are in a p p ro p ria te to the ju stified means o f law . Th is makes clear that there is a sphere o f hum an a greem en t that is nonviolent to the extent that it is w h o lly inaccessible to vio len ce: the proper sphere o f “ u n d erstan d in g” . on the prin cip le ins civile vigilantibus scriptum est. it is the fear o f m utual disadvan tages that th reaten to . h avin g itself no trace o f pow er abou t it. It turns to fraud. law restricts the use o f w h olly n onviolent m eans because they cou ld prod u ce reactive violence. the law o f a later period. is conten t to defeat law breaking w h erever it happens to show itself. therefore. R a th er. in the end. was. bu t also a dim inution o f pure means. but also the exclusion o f violence in prin ciple is quite ex p licitly d em on strab le by one significant factor: there is no sanction for lying. trusting to its victorious pow er.

the m oderate socialists) are a lrea d y p rep arin g the ground for a strong cen tralized and discip lin ed pow er that w ill be im pervious to criticism from the opposition. in them strike must under certain cond itions be seen as a pure means. m ust now be m ore fu lly ch aracterized . T h e y are also an tith etical in their rela­ tion to violence. Reflexions sur la violence. rath er than p u rely theoretical. how po w er is transferred from the p rivileg ed to the privileged . O f the partisans o f the form er he says: “ T h e stren gth en in g o f state po w er is the basis o f their conceptions. t Sorel. its partisans see even the m ost p o p u lar reform s as b ou rgeo is. T w o essentially different kinds o f strike. . cap ab le o f im posin g silence. 250. It “ nullifies all the id eological consequences o f every possible social p o licy . H e contrasts them as the political and the p ro letarian general strike. w hich constitute the most en­ d u rin g m otive for a p o licy o f pure m eans. Paris 1919. the p roletarian general strike sets itself the sole task o f destroyin g state pow er. and o f issuing its m en d a ­ cious d ecrees. pp. S u ch m otives are clearly visible in countless cases o f conflict o f interests b etw een priva te persons. and from the intelligen ce o f alm ost all. consid eration s— o f h a vin g first distinguished them . Sorel has the cre d it— from p o litica l. w h atever the outcom e m ight be. 5th ed..” f “ T h e po litical general strike dem onstrates how the state w ill lose none o f its strength. since the higher orders that threaten to o v erw h elm eq u a lly v ic to r and van quished are hidden from the feelings o f most.” “ T h is general strike clearly ann oun ces its ind ifferen ce tow ard m aterial gain through conquest * B u t see U n ger.* W e can therefore on ly p o in t to pure m eans in politics as analogous to those w hich govern p eacefu l intercourse b etw een private persons. how the mass o f producers w ill ch an ge their m asters.Critique o f Violence 145 arise from violen t confron tation . S p a ce does not here perm it me to trace such higher orders and the com m on interests corresp on d in g to them . p. A s regards class struggles. in their present organ ization s the politicians (viz. It is d ifferent w hen classes and nations are in conflict.” In contrast to this political general strike (w h ich in cid en ta lly seems to have been sum m ed up by the a b ortive G erm a n revo lu tion ). 18 ff. the possibilities o f w hich have a lrea d y been considered.

o f course. o f la w -m a k in g — for the revo lu tio n a ry m ovem en t: “ W ith the general strike all these fine things d isa p p ear. to brand such a general strike as violent. no ob jection can stand that seeks. the state was r e a lly . an ou tstan d in g exam p le o f violent omission. T h e extent to w hich such a rigorous con cep tion o f the general strike as such is cap ab le o f dim inishin g the in cid en ce o f actu al violence in revolutions. sim ple revolt. no lon ger en forced by the state. an u p h eaval that this kind o f strike not so m uch causes as consum m ates. E ven if it can rig h tly be said that the m odern econom y. m oral. such as several . is the strike b y doctors. Sorel rejects every kind o f program m e. as a pure means. more im m oral and cru d er than the p o litica l general strike. . as distinct from partial strikes w hich are for the m ost part a ctu a lly extortionate. the revolution appears as a clear. the basis o f the existence o f the ru lin g grou p . is nonviolent. w hich has eyes on ly for effects. akin to a blockad e. o f u to p ia — in a word. F or this reason.146 by d eclarin g its intention to abolish the state. and no place is reserved either for the sociologists or for the elegan t am ateurs o f social reforms or for the intellectu als w ho have m ade it their profession to think for the p ro leta ria t. seen as a w hole. on grounds o f its possibly catastrop h ic consequences. resem bles m uch less a m achine that stands idle w hen a b an d o n ed by its stoker than a beast that goes beserk as soon as its tam er turns his back.” W h ile the first form o f in terrup tion o f w ork is violen t since it causes only an external m od ification o f lab ou r conditions. bu t in the d eterm in atio n to resume only a w h olly transform ed w ork. For it takes place not in readiness to resum e w ork follow ing extern al concessions and this or that m odification to w orkin g conditions. w ho in all their enterprising benefit from the burdens borne by the p u b lic . Sorel has exp lain ed w ith h igh ly ingenious argum ents. By contrast. opposes precisely this kind o f strike for its alleged violence. the second. but on ly from the law o f its means. State pow er. the first o f these un dertakings is la w ­ m aking but the second anarchistic.” A g ain st this deep. and genu in ely revo lu tion ary concep tion . n ever­ theless the violence o f an action can be assessed no m ore from its effects than from its ends. T a k in g up occasion al state­ ments by M a rx. .

every co n ceiv ab le solution to hum an problem s. like the intercourse o f private persons. w hich w ere not a lw ays m ere form alities. O n ly occasion ally does the task o f diplom ats in their transactions consist o f m odifications to leg al systems. that o f d iplo­ m ats has en gend ered its ow n form s and virtues. A m o n g all the forms o f violen ce perm itted by both natural law an d positive law there is not one that is free o f the gravely p ro b lem a tic nature. peacefu lly and w ith ou t contracts. Since. rem ains im possible if violence is to tally exclu ded in p rin ciple. not to speak o f d eliveran ce from the confines o f all the w orldhistorical conditions o f existence ob tain in g hitherto. w ith ou t the slightest attem pts at resistance. w ere o f itself in irrecon cilab le conflict w ith ju st ends. justified means used for ju st ends. and then at the first op p ortu ­ n ity a b a n d o n ed life o f its ow n free w ill. therefore. to resolve conflicts case by case. if all the violen ce im posed by fate. b u t was not related to them as means at all b u t in som e different w a y ? T h is w ou ld throw light on the curious and at first d iscou ragin g d iscovery o f the u ltim ate insolubility o f all legal problem s (w hich in its hopelessness is perhaps com ­ . in the nam es o f their states. even though they have becom e so. o f all legal violence. a lrea d y ind icated . F u n d a m e n ta lly they have. A d elicate task that is m ore robustly perform ed by referees. M o re c le arly than in recent class struggles. the m eans o f n on-violent agreem ent have d eveloped in thousands o f years o f the history o f states. the question n ecessarily arises as to oth er kinds o f violence than all those en visaged by legal theory. In this is revealed at its most repellent an un scrupulous use o f vio len ce that is p ositively d ep raved in a professional class that for years. “ secured d eath its p re y ” . en tirely on the an alogy o f a greem en t betw een priva te persons. A c c o rd in g ly . but a m ethod o f solution that in prin ciple is above that o f the referee b ecause it is b eyon d all legal systems. H o w w o u ld it be. and therefore b eyond violence. how ever.Critique o f Violence i^y G erm a n cities h ave seen. and if at the sam e tim e a different kind o f violence cam e into vie w that certain ly cou ld be either the ju stified or the unjusti­ fied m eans to those ends. It is at the same tim e the question o f the truth o f the basic d ogm a com m on to both theories: just ends can be a tta in ed by ju stified m eans. using ju stified m eans.

it m ight appear that the action o f A p o llo and A rtem is is on ly a punishm ent. T ru e . These are to be found. V io len ce therefore bursts upon N io b e from the . scarcely a m anifestation o f their w ill. For ends that for one situation are just. N ot a m eans to their ends. M y th ica l violence in its a rch etyp al form is a m ere m anifestation o f the gods. no m atter how sim ilar it m a y be in other respects. For it is n ever reason that decides on the ju stificatio n o f m eans and the justness o f ends. are so for no other situation. P ro m eth eu s— challen ges fate w ith dign ified courage. not only as gen era lly valid (w hich follow s a n a ly tic a lly from the nature o f ju stice). he is im p elled by anger. It is rea lly this hero and the legal violen ce o f the m yth native to him that the pu blic tries to pictu re even now in ad m irin g the m iscreant. fights it w ith v a ryin g fortunes. but also as cap ab le o f gen era lizatio n . But their violence establishes a law far m ore than it punishes for the infringem ent o f one a lrea d y existing. as could be shown. but first o f all a m anifestation o f their existence. and valid .148 parab le only to the possibility o f conclusive pron ou n cem ents on “ rig h t” and “ w ro n g ” in evolvin g lan gu ages). M o reover. u n iversally a ccep ta b le. and is not left by the legend w ith ou t hope o f one d a y b rin gin g a new law to men. As regards m an. but fate-im posed violen ce on the form er and G o d on the latter. T h e legend o f N iobe contains an ou tstan d in g exam ple o f this. It is not a means but a m anifestation. above all in m yth. H ow little such divine vio len ce was to the ancients the law -preserving violence o f pun ishm en t is shown by the heroic legends in w h ich the h ero — for exam p le. that is. T h e non-m ediate function o f violence at issue here is illustrated by ev eryd a y experience. m ost significan tly. and can b rin g to ligh t a law on ly in its trium ph. this violen ce has th o rou gh ly objective m anifestations in w hich it can be su bjected to criticism . to the most visible outbursts o f a violence that is not related as a means to a p recon ceived end. contradicts the n atu re o f ju stice. w h ich . for exam ple. A n insight that is un com m on only because o f the stubborn p rev ailin g h abit o f con ceivin g those ju st ends as ends o f a possible law . N io b e ’s arrogan ce calls dow n fate upon itself not because her arrogan ce offends against the law but because it ch allen ges fa te — to a fight in w hich fate must trium ph.

in the a cco u n t o f m ilitary violence. both as an etern ally m ute b earer o f gu ilt and as a bou n d ary stone on the frontier b etw een m en and gods. he is acco rd ed rights even w hen the v ic to r’s su p erio rity in pow er is com plete. indeed. A t the sam e tim e this conn ection prom ises further to illu m in ate fate. H ere appears. the task o f “ p e ace” after all the wars o f the m y th ical age. but one necessarily and in tim a te ly bound to it. w h ich in all cases underlies legal violence. rath er. W h ere frontiers are d ecid ed the ad versary is not sim ply a n n ih ila te d . w ith violen ce as the m eans. pow er the p rin cip le o f all m yth ical law -m akin g. the sam e m y th ica l a m b ig u ity o f laws that m ay not be “ in frin g e d ” to w hich A n a to le F ran ce refers satirically w hen he says. under the title o f pow er. I f this im m ediate violen ce in m yth ical m anifestations proves closely related. Ju stice is the p rin cip le o f all divine en d-m aking. is w h a t is gu aran teed by all law -m akin g vio len ce. It is not a ctu a lly destructive. is the prim al ph enom enon o f all law -m a k in g violence. in a d em on ically a m b igu ou s w a y. what is to be established as law . and. indeed id en tical to la w ­ m a k in g vio len ce. at this very m om en t o f law -m akin g. in a terribly p rim itive form . w hom it leaves behind. A n d these are. A lth o u g h it brings a cruel d eath to N io b e ’s children . am biguous sphere o f fate. it sp ecifically estab­ lishes as law not an end u n allo yed by violence. b u t at the m om ent o f instatem en t does not dismiss violence. as m erely a m ed iate violence. to th at extent. it reflects a prob lem atic ligh t on law -m akin g vio len ce. A n a p p lica tio n o f the latter that has im m ense consequences is to be found in constitu tion al law . “ P oor and rich are eq u a lly forbidden to spend the night . m ore gu ilty than before th rou gh the d eath o f the children. For the function o f violence in law -m a k in g is tw ofold. m ore than the most ex tra v a ­ gan t ga in in prop erty. and to conclude in b ro a d outlin e the critiq ue o f the latter. H ere w e see m ost clearly th at pow er. For in this sphere the estab­ lishing o f frontiers.Critique o f Violence 149 u n certain . L aw -m a k in g is p o w er-m ak in g. “ e q u a l” rights: for both parties to the treaty it is the sam e line that m ay not be crossed. insofar as the latter was ch aracterized above. an im m ed iate m anifestation o f vio len ce. it stops short o f the life o f their m other. in the sense that law -m a kin g pursues as its end.

” It also appears that Sorel touches not m erely on a cultural-historical but also on a m etaphysical truth in sur­ m ising that in the begin nin g all right was the prerogative o f the kings or the n obles— in short. i f the form er sets boundaries. not chance. But how ever u n lu ck ily it m ay befall its unsuspecting victim . is also significant for an u n derstan ding o f law in another respect. the * H erm ann Cohen . in the u n derstan ding o f the law . it w ill rem ain so as long as it exists. has spoken o f the “ inescapable rea liza tio n ” that it is “ fa te’s orders them selves that seem to cause and brin g about this infringem ent. A n d the latter constitutes its antithesis in all respects. 2nd ed. the destruction o f w hich thus becom es ob ligatory. For each interven tion o f law that is provoked by an offence against the un w ritten and unknow n law is called. Berlin 1907. F ar from in a u g u ra tin g a purer sphere. ju st as the struggle over w ritten law in the early period o f the ancient G reek com m unities is to be u n der­ stood as a rebellion against the spirit o f m ythical statutes. . at least in prim eval times. divine violence is law -d estroyin g. but fate show ing itself once again in its d eliberate am ­ biguity. how ever. its occurren ce is.. T his very task o f destruction poses again.* T o this spirit o f law even the m odern principle that ign oran ce o f a law is not protection against punishm ent testifies. there is no eq uality. Ethik des reinen Willetts. unw ritten laws. I f m yth ical violence is law -m akin g. in the last resort.15 ° under the b rid ges. this offen ce” . and turns suspicion concern in g the latter into certain ty o f the perniciousness o f its historical function. in con trad istin ction to punishm ent. the m yth ical m anifesta­ tion o f im m ed iate violence shows itself fu n d am en tally identical w ith all legal violence. mutatis mutandis. Just as in all spheres G o d opposes m yth. p. H erm an n C ohen . 362. o f the m ig h ty. but at the most eq u a lly great violence. w hich alone can gu aran tee law . the question o f a pure im m ediate violence that m ight be able to call a halt to m ythical violence. m yth ical violence is confronted by the divine. A m an can u n w ittin g ly infringe upon them and thus incur retribution. in a b rie f reflection on the ancients’ conception o f fate. and that. T h e act o f fixing frontiers. For from the point o f view o f violence. retribution. L aw s and u n m arked frontiers rem ain.

w h ich consigns the livin g. w ith o u t threat. but o f law. For blood is the sym bol o f m ere life. T o this extent it is ju stifia b le to call this violence. right. not o f guilt. T h is. T h e dissolution o f legal violence stems. p a rticu la rly tod ay. It strikes p rivileged Levites. w ith regard to the soul o f the livin g. but it is so only relativ ely. divine violence pure pow er over all life for the sake o f the living. and a deep con n ection b etw een the lack o f bloodshed and the exp iato ry c h a ra cte r o f this violence is un m istakable. the latter is leth al w ith ou t spilling blood. the m ost violen t reactions. if m ythical violence brings at once gu ilt and retribu tio n . finally. a n n ih ila tin g. F or the question “ M a y I k ill? ” m eets its irred u cible answ er in the com m an d m en t “ T h o u shalt not k ill” . w ith G o d ’s ju d g m en t on the c o m p a n y o f K o ra h . to a retribution that “ ex p ia te s” the gu ilt o f m ere life — and doubtless also purifies the gu ilty. how ever. T h e ed u ca tive pow er. but by the ex p ia tin g m om en t in them that strikes w ith ou t bloodshed and. F or w ith mere life the rule o f law over the livin g ceases. B ut in a n n ih ila tin g it also expiates. if the form er is bloody. T h e first dem ands sacrifice. These are defined. not b y m iracles d irectly perform ed by G od . w ith regard to goods. and suchlike. therefore. if the form er threaten s. is one o f its m anifestations. w hich in its perfected form stands outside the law . ju st as G od was “ p rev en tin g” the . M y th ica l violence is blood y pow er over m ere life for its ow n sake. strikes them w ith o u t w arn in g . too. and to be countered by the a rg u m en t that taken to its logical conclusion it confers on men even leth a l po w er against one another. cannot be con ced ed . divin e pow er on ly expiates. the second accepts it. life. inn ocen t and u n h ap py. h ow ever. the latter strikes. T h e prem ise o f such an extension o f pu re or divin e pow er is sure to provoke. b y the absence o f all law -m akin g. and does not stop short o f an n ih ilation . T his com ­ m an d m en t precedes the deed. as cannot be shown in d etail here. T h e legend o f N iobe m ay be confron ted . T h is d ivin e pow er is attested not only by religious tradition but is also found in present-d ay life in at least one sanctioned m anifestation. never absolutely. as an exam ple o f this violence.Critique o f Violence 15 1 latter bound lessly destroys them . from the gu ilt o f m ore n atu ral life.

Those w ho base a con d em n ation o f all vio len t killin g o f one person by another on the com m an d m en t are therefore m istaken. or lim it to hum an life. . T o this a m b ig u ity the * K u rt H iller in a yearbook o f Das £iel. but as a gu id elin e for the actions o f persons or com m unities w ho have to w restle w ith it in solitude and. that is the a rgu m en t o f the in telligen t terrorist. in excep tional cases. w hich they either apply to all an im al or even vegetab le life. means the irred u cible. But just as it m ay not be fear o f pun ish m en t that enforces obedience. if existence. the injun ction becom es in a p p lica b le . to take on them selves the responsibility o f ign oring it. N o ju d g m e n t o f the deed can be derived from the com m an dm en t.*52 deed. w hen they are referred to two distinct spheres). . life (words whose a m b ig u ity is rea d ily dispelled. but in w h at it does to G o d and the doer. toted cond ition that is “ m a n ” . h ow ever. T h e proposition that existence stands high er than a just existence is false and ignom inious. . It exists not as a criterion o f ju d g m e n t. or. on w hich they possibly propose to base even the com m an d m en t itself. W e. A n d so n either the divin e ju d gm en t. a n a lo ­ gously to that o f freedom . T his is the d octrin e o f the sanctity o f life. can be know n in advance. T h e ir arg u m en tatio n . exem p lified in an extrem e case by the revo lu tion ary killin g o f the oppressor. ind eed ign ob le. profess that higher even than the happiness and ju stice o f existence stands existence itself. how ever. runs as follows: “ I f I do not kill I shall never establish the w orld dom inion o f ju stice . nor the grounds for this ju d g m e n t. It contains a m igh ty truth. if existence is to m ean nothin g other than mere life — and it has this m ean in g in the argu m en t referred to. T h u s it was understood by J udaism . But those thinkers w ho take the opposed view refer to a more distant theorem .” * As certain ly as this last proposition is false. if the proposition is inten ded to m ean th at the nonexistence o f m an is som ething more terrible than the (ad m itted ly subordinate) notyet-attained condition o f the ju st m an. it shows the necessity o f seeking the reason for the com m an d m en t no longer in w hat the deed does to the victim . better. w h ich expressly rejected the con d em n ation o f k illin g in self-defence. in com m en su rab le once the deed is accom plished. . . .

the last m istaken attem pt o f the w eak en ed W estern trad ition to seek the saint it has lost in cosm ological im p en etra b ility. at an y price. because only the idea o f its d evelop­ m ent m akes possible a critical. O n the b reak in g o f this cycle m ain tain ed by m ythical forms o f law . through the suppression o f hostile coun ter-violen ce. in his bod ily life vu ln erab le to in ju ry b y his fellow men. discrim inatin g.) T h is lasts until either new forces or those earlier suppressed trium ph over the hitherto law -m a k in g violen ce and thus found a new law . (V ariou s sym ptom s o f this have been referred to in the course o f this study. no m ore than w ith an y oth er o f his conditions and qualities. there is no sacredness in his condition. M a n cannot. in d irectly w eakens the la w ­ m a k in g vio len ce represented by it. A gaze directed on ly at w hat is close at h a n d can at most p erceive a d ialectica l rising and falling in the la w -m a k in g and law -p reservin g form ations o f violence. this id ea o f m a n ’s sacredness gives grounds for reflection that w hat is here pron oun ced sacred was accord in g to ancient m ythical th o u gh t the m arked bearer o f g u ilt: life itself. T h e critiq u e o f vio len ce is the philosophy o f its histo ry— the “ p h ilo so p h y ” o f this history. th ey could not be so by virtue only o f b eing alive. not even w ith the uniqueness o f his b od ily person. death. T h e law g o v e rn in g their oscillation rests on the circu m stance that all law p reservin g vio len ce. be said to coincid e w ith the m ere life in him . finally therefore on the abolition o f state pow er. H o w ever sacred m an is (or that life in him that is id en tica lly present in earth ly life. Perhaps. destined in its turn to d ecay. in its d u ration . ind eed p ro b a b ly . and afterlife). I f the rule o f . on the suspension o f law w ith all the forces on w h ich it depen ds as they d epend on it. dis­ tinguishes it essentially from the life o f anim als and plants? A n d even if these w ere sacred. (T h e a n tiq u ity o f all religious com m an d m en ts against m u rder is no cou nter-argu m en t. o f b eing in life. it is relativ ely recent. and decisive a p ­ p roach to its tem poral d ata. It m ight be w ell w orth w hile to track d ow n the origin o f the d ogm a o f the sacredness o f life.Critique o f Violence 15 5 prop osition qu oted above owes its p lau sibility. W h at. because these are based on other ideas than the m od em theorem .) F in ally. then. a new historical epoch is founded.

is to d ecid e w hen unalloyed violence has been realized in p a rticu la r cases. not divine. O n ce again all the eternal forms are open to pure d ivin e violence. w h ich we m ay call execu tive. D ivin e violence. Less possible and also less urgent for hum ankind. law -m a kin g violence. becau se the exp iatory pow er o f violence is not visible to men. too. is assured. Pernicious. unless it be in in co m p arab le effects. It m ay m anifest itself in a true w a r ex a ctly as in the divine ju d g m en t o f the m u ltitu d e on a crim in al. ad m in istrative violence that serves it. is the law -p reserving. is possible. w h ich m yth bastardized w ith law. But if the existence o f violence outside the law . this furnishes the p r o o f that revolution ary violence. B ut all m ythical. w ill be recogn izab le as such w ith certainty. the highest m anifestation o f u n allo y ed violence by m an. F or only m ythical violence. w hich is the sign and seal but never the means o f sacred execution. 1921 . as pure im m ediate violence. m ay be called sovereign violence. how ever.*54 m yth is broken occasion ally in the present age. and by w h at means. the com in g age is not so u n im a gin a b ly rem ote that an attack on law is altogeth er futile. is pernicious.

T h erefo re the order o f the profane cannot be b u ilt up on the idea o f the D ivin e K in g d o m . is a d ecisive categ o ry o f its quietest ap p roach . T h e relation o f this order to the M essianic is one o f the essential teachings o f the p h ilosoph y o f history. com pletes. through a ctin g. creates its relation to the M essian ic.Theologico-Political Fragment O n ly the M essiah h im self consum m ates all history. co n tain in g a problem that can be represented figu ra tively. the com in g o f the M essianic K in g d o m . increase another that is actin g in the opposite d irection. T h erefo re the K in gd o m o f G o d is not the telos o f the historical d y n a m ic . through b eing profan e. For this reason n othin g historical can relate itself on its ow n acco u n t to a n y th in g M essianic. and another m arks the d irection o f M essian ic intensity. then certain ly the quest o f free hu m anity for happiness runs counter to the M essianic d irectio n . so the order o f the profane assists. it cannot be set as a goal. therefore. T h e order o f the profan e should be erected on the idea o f h a p p i­ ness. It is the precondition o f a m ystical con cep tion o f history. F rom the stan dp oint o f history it is not the goal. I f one arrow points to the goal tow ard w h ich the profane d y n a m ic acts. and only in good fortune is its dow nfall r55 . T o have rep u d iated w ith utm ost veh em en ce the p o litica l significan ce o f th eocracy is the card in al m erit o f B lo ch ’s Spirit o f Utopia. T h e profane. For in happiness all th at is e a rth ly seeks its d ow n fall. b u t o n ly a religious m eanin g. in the sense that he alone redeem s. and therefore th eocracy has no political. but ju st as a force can. a lth ou gh not itself a catego ry o f this K in gd o m . but the end.

and the rhythm o f this etern ally transient w orld ly existence. 19 2 0 —21 . ad m itted ly. o f the inner m an in isolation. For nature is M essianic by reason o f its eternal and total passing aw ay.156 destined to find it. T o strive after such passing. even for those stages o f m an th at are nature. passes throu gh m isfortune. is happiness. corresponds a w orld ly restitution that leads to the etern ity o f dow n fall. the rh ythm o f M essianic nature. is the task o f w orld politics. W hereas. transient in its to tality. T o the spiritual restitutio in integrum. the im m ediate M essianic intensity o f the heart. as suffering. whose m ethod must be called nihilism . in its spatial but also in its tem poral totality. w hich introduces im m ortality.

T h e d estructive ch ara cte r knows only one w a tch w o rd : m ake ro o m .The Destructive Character It co u ld happ en to som eone looking b ack over his life that he rea lized th at alm ost all the d eeper obligation s he had endured in its course origin ated in people on whose “ d estru ctive ch a ra cte r” everyo n e was agreed. the b etter are his chances o f p ictu rin g the d estructive character. It is a sight that affords the d estru ctive ch ara cte r a sp ectacle o f deepest harm on y. H e w ou ld stum ble on this fact one day. But w h at con trib u tes most o f all to this A p o llo n ia n im age o f the destroyer is the rea liza tio n o f how im m en sely the w orld is sim plified w hen tested for its worthiness o f destruction. p erh ap s b y chan ce. It is n ature th at dictates his tem po. N o vision inspires the d estru ctive ch aracter. for he must forestall her. the 157 . O th e rw ise she w ill take over the destruction herself. o n ly one a c tiv ity : clearin g aw ay. o f his ow n condition. em pty space. T h e d estructive ch ara cte r is you n g and cheerful. H e has few needs. in d irectly at least. H is need for fresh air and op en space is stronger than any h atred. T h e d estru ctive ch ara cte r is alw ays b lith ely at w ork. For destroying reju ven ates in clearin g a w a y the traces o f our ow n age. T h is is the great bond em b ra cin g and un ifyin g all that exists. for a m om ent at least. First o f all. indeed erad ication . and the heavier the b lo w it deals him . it cheers b ecause ev eryth in g cleared a w a y m eans to the destroyer a com ­ plete red u ction . and the least o f them is to know w hat w ill replace w hat has been d estroyed .

T h e destructive ch aracter has the consciousness o f historical m an. too. and the case is its quintessence. Som eone is sure to be found w ho needs this space w ith ou t its being filled. b y m aking them p ra ctica b le and thus liq u id a tin g them . T h e destructive ch ara cter tolerates m isu n derstan d ing. the destroyer must be constan tly surrounded by people. T h e latter are called the destructive. som etim es b y the most refined. he sees a w ay. B eing mis­ understood can not harm him . T h e destructive ch aracter has no interest in being understood. T h e inside o f the case is the velvet-lin ed track that he has im printed on the w orld. comes abou t only because people do not wish to be m isunderstood. T o protect him from it is pointless. he does not prom ote gossip. N ot alw ays b y brute force. Som e pass things dow n to posterity. W here others encounter w alls or m ountains. witnesses to his efficacy. T h e destructive ch aracter stands in the front line o f the trad i­ tionalists. he has to clear things from it everyw h ere. T h e destructive ch aracter obliterates even the traces o f destruction. T h e destructive character is the en em y o f the etui-m an. But for this very reason he sees w ays everyw h ere. those destructive institutions o f the state. T h e d estructive ch aracter sees n othin g perm anent. . provoked it. so is he to rum our. Just as the creator seeks solitude. T h e most petty bourgeois o f all ph enom ena. O n the con trary he provokes it. A ttem pts in this direction he regards as superficial. T h e etui-m an looks for com fort.i 58 place w here the th in g stood or the victim lived. there. gossip. by m akin g them un touchab le and thus conserving them . the only w ork he avoids is b eing creative. others pass on situations. Just as a trigonom etric sign is exposed on all sides to the w ind . T herefore the destructive ch aracter is reliab ility itself. T h e destructive ch ara cter does his w ork. T h e destructive ch aracter is a signal. whose deepest em otion is an insuperable m istrust o f the course o f things and a readiness at all times to recognize that everyth in g can go w rong. ju st as oracles. But because he sees a w ay everyw h ere.

not that life is w orth livin g. N o m om ent can know w h at the next w ill bring. but that suicide is not w orth the trouble. T h e d estructive ch ara cter lives from the feeling. not for the sake o f the rubble. !93 ! . W h a t exists he reduces to rubb le. he alw ays positions him self at crossroads. bu t for that o f the w a y lead in g th rou gh it.The Destructive Character 159 B ecause he sees w ays everyw h ere.

it ruled both m icrocosm and m acrocosm . As is know n. h ow ever. O f w hat use to him is this schooling o f his m im etic fa cu lty ? / T h e answ er presupposes an u n derstan d ing o f the p h ylogen etic significance o f the m im etic facu lty.On the Mimetic Faculty ^Nature creates sim ilarities. w e must suppose that the gift o f prod ucing sim ilarities— for exam ple. is m a n ’s. p lay is for m any its school. in dances. and its realm is by no means lim ited to w hat one person can im itate in a n oth er. . This facu lty has a history. in both the p h ylogen etic and the on togen etic sense. T h e highest cap acity for prod u cing sim ilarities. the sphere o f life that form erly seemed to be govern ed by the law o f sim ilarity was com prehensive. whose oldest function this w a s— and therefore also the gift o f recogn izin g them . Perhaps there is none o f his higher functions in w hich his m im etic faculty does not p la y a decisive role. As regards the latter. O n e need only think o f m im icry. It m ust be borne in m ind that neither m im etic powers nor m im etic objects rem ain the same in the course o f thousands o f years. But these n atu ral correspondences are given their true im portance only if seen as stim u latin g and aw ak en in g the m im etic facu lty in man. R ath er. how ever. H ere it is not enough to think o f w hat we understand today b y the concept o f sim ilarity./T h e child plays at being not only a shopkeeper or teacher b u t also a w indm ill and a train. His gift o f seeing resem blances is n oth in g other than a ru dim en t o f the pow erful com pulsion in form er tim es to becom e and beh ave like som ething else. C h ild re n ’s p lay is everyw h ere perm eated by m im etic modes o f b eh aviour.

On the Mimetic Faculty have ch an ged w ith historical d evelopm ent. /


• T h e direction o f this ch an ge seems definable as the increasing d eca y o f the m im etic facu lty^ F o r clearly the observable world o f m odern m an contains on ly m inim al residues o f the m agical correspondences and analogies that w ere fam iliar to ancient peoples. T h e question is w h eth er w e are concern ed w ith the d ecay o f this fa cu lty or w ith its transform ation. O f the d irection in w h ich the latter m ight lie some indications m ay be derived, even i f in d irectly, from astrology. W e m ust assume in prin cip le that in the rem ote past the processes considered im itable in clu d ed those in the sky. In dance, on other cultic occasions, such im itation could be prod u ced , such sim ilarity m an ip u lated . But i f the m im etic genius was rea lly a life-determ ining force for the ancients, it is not difficult to im agin e that the new born child w as thought to be in full possession o f this gift, and in p a r ti- . cu lar to be perfectly m ou ld ed on the structure o f cosm ic being. // A llu sion to the astrological sphere m ay su p ply a first reference point for an u n derstan d ing o f the concep t o f non-sensuous sim ilarity. T ru e, our existence no lon ger includes w hat once m ade it possible to speak o f this kind o f sim ilarity: above all, the a b ility to produce it/N ev erth eless we, too, possess a canon acco rd in g to w hich the/ m ean in g o f non-sensuous sim ilarity can be at least p a rtly clarified/! A n d this can on is language^/ F rom tim e im m em orial the m im etic fa cu lty has been conceded some influence on lan gu age. Y e t this was done w ith ou t fo u n d a tio n : w ith ou t consideration o f a fu rther m eaning, still less a history, o f the m im etic faculty. But ab ove all such notions rem ained closely tied to the com m on place, sensuous area o f sim ilarity. A ll the same, im itative b eh aviou r in lan gu a g e form ation w as ackn ow led ged under the nam e o f on om atopoeia. N ow if lan gu a g e, as is evident, is not an agreed system o f signs, w e shall be constan tly obliged to have recourse to the kind o f thoughts that ap p ear in their most prim itive form as the on om atopo eic m ode o f exp lanation . T h e question is w h eth er this can be d eveloped and a d ap ted to im proved u n derstan d ing. “ E very w o rd — and the w h ole o f la n g u a g e” , it has been asserted,

“ is on om atop o eic” . It is d ifficult to conceive in any detail the program m e that m ight be im plied b y this proposition. H ow ever, the concept o f non-sensuous sim ilarity is o f some relevan ce. For if w ords m eanin g the sam e thin g in d ifferent languages are arran ged about that thin g as their centre, we have to inquire how they a ll— w hile often possessing not the slightest sim ilarity to one another are sim ilar to w h at they signify at their centre. Y e t this kind o f sim ilarity m ay be explained not on ly b y the relationships betw een words m eanin g the same thing in d ifferent languages, ju st as, in general, our reflections cannot be restricted to the spoken w ord. T h e y are eq u a lly concerned w ith the w ritten w ord. A n d here it is notew orthy that the la tte r— in some cases perhaps m ore viv id ly than the spoken w o r d — illum inates, by the relation o f its w ritten form to w h at it signifies, the n ature o f non-sensuous sim ilarity. In brief, it is non-sensuous sim ilarity that establishes the ties not only betw een the spoken and the signified but also betw een the w ritten and the signified, and eq u ally b etw een the spoken and the w ritten. G rap h o lo gy has taught us to recogn ize in h an d w ritin g im ages that the unconscious o f the w riter conceals in it. It m ay be supposed that the m im etic process that expresses itself in this w a y in the a ctivity o f the w riter was, in the very distant times in w h ich script originated, o f utm ost im portan ce for w riting. S crip t has thus becom e, like lan guage, an archive o f non-sensuous sim ilarities, o f non-sensuous correspondences. T his aspect o f lan gu age as script, how ever, does not d evelop in isolation from its other, sem iotic aspect. R a th er, the m im etic elem ent in lan gu a g e can, like a flam e, m anifest itself only through a kind o f bearer. T h is bearer is the sem iotic elem ent. T h u s the coherence o f words or sentences is the bearer through w hich, like a flash, sim ilarity appears. For its p rod u ction by m an like its perception by h im — is in m any cases, and p a rticu la rly the most im portant, lim ited to flashes. It flits past. It is not im p rob ab le that the rap id ity o f w ritin g and read in g heightens the fusion o f the sem iotic and the m im etic in the sphere o f lan gu age. “ T o read w h at was never w ritte n .” Such readin g is the most ancien t: readin g before all languages, from the entrails, the stars,

On the Mimetic Faculty


or dances. L a te r the m ed iatin g link o f a new kind o f readin g, o f runes and hieroglyphs, cam e into use. It seems fair to suppose that these w ere the stages b y w h ich the m im etic gift, w hich was once the foun d ation /Of occu lt practices, gain ed ad m ittan ce to w ritin g and la n g u a g e In this w a y lan gu a g e m ay be seen as the highest level o f m im etic b eh a vio u r and the most com plete archive o f non-sensuous sim ilarity: a m edium into w hich the earlier powers o f m im etic prod uction and com prehension h ave passed w ith o u t residue, to the point w h ere they have liq u id a ted those o f m a g ic ./


( W a l t e r B e n j a m in a n d A sja L a c is )

Som e years ago a priest was d raw n on a cart through the streets o f N ap les for in d ecent offences. H e was follow ed by a crow d h u rlin g m aledictions. A t a corn er a w ed d in g procession appeared . T h e priest stands up and m akes the sign o f a blessing, and the c a r t’s pursuers fall on their knees. So absolutely, in this city, does C ath o licism strive to reassert itself in every situation. S hou ld it d isa p p ear from the face o f the earth, its last foothold w ou ld p er­ haps not be R o m e, but N aples. N o w h ere can this people live out its rich barbarism , w hich has its source in the heart o f the city itself, m ore securely than in the lap o f the C h u rch . It needs C atholicism , for even its excesses are then leg alized b y a legend, the feast d ay o f a m artyr. H ere Alfonso de L ig u o ri was born, the saint w ho m ade the p ractice o f the C a th o lic C h u rch supple en ou gh to accom m od ate the trade o f the sw in dler and the w hore, in order to control it w ith m ore or less rigorous penances in the confessional, for w h ich he w rote a threevo lu m e com pen d ium . Confession alone, not the police, is a m atch for the self-adm in istration o f the crim inal w orld, the camorra. So it does not occu r to an inju red party to call the police if he is anxious to seek redress. T h ro u g h civic or clerical m ediators, i f not perso n ally, he approaches a camorrista. T h ro u g h him he agrees on a ransom . F rom N aples to C astellam are, the length o f the p ro­ le ta ria n suburbs, run the h ead qu arters o f the m ain lan d camorra. For these crim inals avoid quarters in w hich they w ould be at the disposal o f the police. T h e y are dispersed over the city and the 167

1 68 suburbs. T h a t makes them dangerous. T h e travellin g citizen w ho gropes his w a y as far as R om e from one w ork o f art to the next, as along a stockade, loses his nerve in N aples. N o more grotesque dem onstration o f this could be p ro v id ed than in the con vocation o f an in tern ation al congress o f ph iloso­ phers. It disintegrated w ith out trace in the fiery haze o f this city, w hile the seventh-centennial celeb ration o f the university, part o f whose tin ny halo it was intended to be, u nfolded am id the uproar o f a popular festival. C o m p la in in g guests, w ho had been instantly relieved o f their m oney and id en tification papers, appeared at the secretariat. But the b an al tourist fares no better. E ven B aedeker cannot propitiate him . H ere the churches can n o t be found, the starred sculpture alw ays stands in the locked w in g o f the m useum, and the w ord “ m an n erism ” w arns against the w ork o f the native painters. N othin g is en joyable except the fam ous drinking w ater. P o ve rty and misery seem as contagious as they are pictu red to be to ch ild ren , and the foolish fear o f being cheated is only a scanty ra tio n a liza tio n for this feeling. It if is true, as P elad an said, that the nin eteen th cen tury inverted the m edieval, the n atu ral order o f the v ita l needs o f the poor, m akin g shelter and clo th in g o b ligatory at the expense o f food, such conventions have here been abolished. A b eg g a r lies in the road prop ped against the sidew alk, w a v in g his em p ty hat like a leave-taker at a station. H ere p o verty leads d o w n w ard , as two thousand years ago it led dow n to the c ry p t: even to d a y the w ay to the catacom bs passes throu gh a “ garden o f a g o n y ” ; in it, even today, the disinherited are the leaders. A t the hospital San G en naro dei P overi the en tran ce is through a w hite com p lex o f buildings that one passes via tw o cou rtyard s. O n eith er side o f the road stand the benches for the invalids, w h o follow those go in g out w ith glances that do not reveal w h eth er they are c lin gin g to their garm ents to be liberated or to satisfy u n im a gin a b le desires. In the second cou rtyard the d oorw ays o f the cham bers h ave gratings; behind them cripples put their deform ities on show, and the shock given to d ay-d ream in g passers-by is their jo y . O n e o f the old men leads and holds the lan tern close to a


i6 g

fragm en t o f early C h ristian fresco. N ow he utters the centuries-old m a gic w ord “ P o m p e ii” . E very th in g that the foreigner desires, adm ires, and pays for is “ P o m p e ii” . “ P o m p e ii” makes the plaster im ita tio n o f the tem ple ruins, the lava n ecklace, and the louserid d en person o f the gu id e irresistible. T his fetish is all the m ore m iracu lo u s as only a sm all m in o rity o f those w hom it sustains h ave ever seen it. It is un d erstan d ab le that the m iracle-w ork in g M a d o n ­ na en th ron ed there is receivin g a brand-n ew , expensive church for pilgrim s. In this b u ild in g and not in that o f the V ettii, Pom peii lives for the N eapolitans. A n d to it, again and again, sw indling and w retchedness finally com e hom e. F an ta stic reports by travellers have tou ched up the city. In rea lity it is g rey : a grey-red or ochre, a grey-w hite. A n d en tirely g rey against sky and sea. It is this, not least, that disheartens the tourist. F or anyon e w h o is blind to forms sees little here. T h e city is cra g g y . Seen from a h eight not reached by the cries from below , from the C astell San M a rtin o , it lies deserted in the dusk, grow n into the rock. O n ly a strip o f shore runs level; behind it buildings rise in tiers. T en em en t blocks o f six or seven stories, w ith staircases c lim b in g their foundations, ap p ear against the villas as sky­ scrapers. A t the base o f the c liff itself, w here it touches the shore, caves h a ve been hew n. As in the herm it pictures o f the Trecento, a d oor is seen here and there in the rock. I f it is open one can see into large cellars, w hich are at the same tim e sleeping places and storehouses. F arth er on steps lead dow n to the sea, to fisherm en’s taverns installed in n atu ra l grottoes. D im ligh t and thin m usic com e up from them in the even ing. ^ A s pprpus as this stone is the architecture. B u ild in g and action in terp en etra te in the cou rtyard s, arcades, and stairw ays. In ev ery th in g they preserve the scope to becom e a theatre o f new , unforseen constellations. T h e stam p o f the defin itive is avoided. N o situ ation appears in ten ded forever, no figure asserts its “ thus and not oth er w ise’’T^This is how architectu re, the most b in d in g p art o f the com m un al rh yth m , comes into b ein g here: civilized , p riva te, and ordered on ly in the great hotel and w arehouse

and churches are the reference points— and not alw ays sim ple ones. a b o y 6 ^ ^ ' from „ih e passion for^ im ­ provisation. an arch ical. high domes are often to be seen on ly from a few places. E ven the most w retch ed p au p er is sovereign in the dim .xm lv from the indolence. in one o f the pictures o f N ea p o lita n street life that w ill never return. A n d only in these streets is the house. and even then it is not easy to find on e’s w a y to them . by the m urals o f the M a d o n n a . and dom eT) ItTs hidden. T h e stranger passes it by.. cou rtyard . im possihleJp distinguish the mass o f the church from that o f the neighbouring secular buildings. often only a curtain . ga te w ay . village-lik e in the centre. sim ultaneously a n im ated theatres^J B alcony. A single step takes him from the hu m ble o f d irty cou rtyard s into the pure solitude o f a tall. ^Porosity^ results not. w ith in the tenem ent blocks. ro o f are at the same time stage and boxes. h id d en behind barrels as i f behind church pillars. T h e inconspicuous door. w ith transepts. the cell o f the c ity ’s architectu re. in the N o rd ic sense. w indow . In contrast. In such corners one can scarcely discern w here b u ild in g is still in progress and w here d ilap id ation has a lread y set in. am ong wife and children. For n othin g is included. visible from afar. w hich dem ands that space and o p p ortu n ity be at a n y ‘ prlce preservecL Buildings are used as a p o p u lar stage. dual aw areness o f p a rticip atin g. at intervals. w h itew ash ed chu rch interior. is the secret gate for the initiate. w here three or four m en. For here his private self is not taken up by the four w alls. o f the S outhern artisan. b u ilt in. into w hich large networks o f streets w ere h acked on ly forty years ago.iy o buildings on the q u ays. T h e y are ajl_ d ivided into inn um erable. staircase. Shops. in all his destitution. For the typical N eapolitan church does ostentatiously o ccu p y a vast square. sit drinking. it seems held togeth er at the corners. His private existence is the baroque op en in g o f a heightened p u b lic sphere. em broiled. but also. gallery. I N ° one orients him self by house num bers. W h a t is en acted on the staircases is a high . Side alleys give glim pses o f dirty stairs lea d in g dow n to taverns. as if by iron clam ps. and o f enjoying in all his p o verty the leisure to follow the great pan oram a. wells. but b y d evotion or by despair.

T h is m usic is both a residue o f the last and a prelude to the next feast d ay. after a cafe closes. eru pt fra g m en ta rily from the buildin gs. altars o f coloured glossy paper on the w alls. is colou rfu lly h u n g w ith song texts. a little box beside him . A grain o f S u n d a y is hidden in each . So everyth in g jo y fu l is m ob ile: m usic. M u sic parades a b o u t: not m ournful m usic for the courtyard s. the street d ecorations are clo sely related to those o f the theatre. m ake an a n gu lar turn. head. but still less enclosed in the glo om y box o f the N ord ic house. M e a n w h ile a circle has form ed around him . b oiled cat skulls. Som eone kneels on the asphalt. H ere th ey can be bou gh t. cou n ted -ou t coins fall from the onlookers on to the lim bs. T h is is dem on strated to foreigners for rem u n eration . too. n ever entirely exposed. W ith coloured chalk he d raw s the figure o f C h rist on the stone. on ly to burst ou t again. and it is one o f the busiest streets. O n e o f the m usicians turns the organ w h ile the other. T h en the virtuosity o f the v a rie ty show. and in a few m om ents the pictu re is erased by feet. everyon e disperses. and d isap p ear. Irresistibly the festival penetrates each and every w orkin g d ay. O th e r things are paid for a cco rd in g to tariffs. p a p er rosettes on the raw chunks o f m eat.) A lon gsid e the leavings from res­ tauran ts. T h e stairs. toys. b u t b rillia n t sounds for the street. P ap er plays the main_part. beside it. and trunk o f his portrait. U n til he gathers them up. R ed.Naples ij i school o f stage m an agem en t. (E arlier they w ere w ere sought b y can d lelig h t. and w hile he w aits beside his w ork for fifteen m inutes or h a lf an hour. appears w ith his plate before anyon e w h o stops d ream ily to listen. T h e broad cart. and y ello w fly-catchers. ice cream circu la te through the streets. th ey are sold at stalls in the h a rb o u r district. the artist gets up. re a p p e a rin g everyw h ere. N o t the least exam p le o f such virtu osity is the art o f eatin g m a ca ro n i w ith the hands. P orosity is the in exh au stib le law o f the life o f this city. b elow it perhaps the head o f the M a d o n n a . V en d o rs give a fixed price for the cigarette butts that. blue. are cu lled from the chinks in the floor. a kind o f x ylo p h on e. In th eir m aterials. and fish shells. sparse.

along the coast betw een N aples and Salerno.1J2 w eekd ay. now over M in ori or Praiano. w ashlines run. stand fiery balls. but a lw ays over N aples. this secret. and from countless pipes the h ollow sound clam ours in the ears. and how m uch w eekd ay in this S u n d a y ! N evertheless no city can fade. H ere fire is substance and shadow . In these festivals the oldest elem ent o f their C hinese origin. It is subject to fashion and artifice. arom atic juices that teach eveiL th e tongue what_poros ity_c an be. you see a rain o f fire in every treetop. one is encircled. Roma and the Corriere di Napoli. I f politics or the calen d ar offers the slightest pretext. n othin g is dream y. V io le n tly if necessary. D u rin g the n ight o f Septem ber 7. it is sim ilar to flags b ein g raised elsewhere. . But here. R id in g under them on a festival night. bands o f m en. D ay and n igh t the pavilions glow w ith the pale. h ow ever. this childish jo y in tu m u lt puts on a w ild face. E ach parish has to outdo the festival o f its n eigh b ou r w ith new ligh tin g effects. W h o le trades are based on the spectacle. T h e y blow on g ig an tic paper cornets. Faint suns shine from glass vats o f iced drinks. O n ly explosions w in an apotheosis popu lar favour. H ig h above the streets. as th ou gh they were sticks o f gu m . A t the beach the stone pines o f the G ia rd in o P u b b lico form a cloister. more rapidly than N aples. A t P ied igrotta. N ew sp ap er boys d rag out the nam es o f their w ares. up to a hu n d red strong. N ow over Sorrento. scattered w orld condenses into a noisy feast. B rightly dressed boys fish in d eep-blu e stream s and look up at rouged church steeples. w ith garm ents suspended on them like rows o f pennants. From J u ly to Septem ber. an unbroken ban d o f fire runs. roam through every street. too. A n d regularly it is crow n ed w ith a fireworks display over the sea. the N ea p o lita n s’ m ain holiday. in the few hours o f S u n d a y rest. proves far superior to terrestrial splendours: the earth b o u n d suns and the crucifix surrounded by the glo w o f Sain t E lm o ’s fire. the orifice disguised w ith grotesque masks. It is cram m ed full o f festal motifs nestling in the most inconspicuous places. w eather m agic in the form o f the rockets that spread like kites. W hen the blinds are taken down before a w indow . in the evenings.

is read y to part w ith it for fifty. he has been true to the m ost an cien t fairgroun d practices. 173 T r a d e . d eeply rooted in N aples. and from it the ven d or takes som ething. and finally. People crow d around him .J c „ • |> * .playful love o f trade. in w hich the w hole fam ily takes p art. W h en it is thus w rap p ed . W ith the sam e m ysterious gesture he disposes o f one a rticle after another. L otto . A re there lots in this p ap er? Cakes w ith a coin in every tenth one? W h a t makes the people so covetous and the V . ^ a llu rin g and consum ing as now here else in Italy. the street ven d or has begun un­ p a c k in g his go o d s— um brellas. N aples is one o f the few cities w ith its ow n draw . anger in B ologna. A n d business life is assim ilated to it. he holds it aloft. m istrustfully. It disappears before one has cau g h t sight o f it into a piece o f pink or green paper. T h ere jire d elig h tfu l stories o f the N e a p o lita n ’s^. E very S atu rd a y at four o ’clock. W h e n . m an as in scru table as M o g ra b y ? H e is sealing toothpaste. w hen it lies dim inished on his arm . replaces th at o f alcoh o l. W ith the p aw nshop and lotto the state holds the p roletariat in a v ic e : w hat it advances to them in one it takes b ack in the other. voluptousness in V en ic e. A priceless exam ple o f such business m anners is the au ction. A m an stands in an un­ harnessed carriage on a street corner. en vy in R o m e. In a ' Iv vr. shirt m aterial. gro w in g heated. at eight in the m ornin g. crow ds form in front o f the house w here the num bers are draw n. he asks fantastic prices. sin ging its praises all the w hile. sh aw ls— presenting each item singly to his p u b lic.Naples T h e ir tru m p etin g is part o f u rban m anu factu re. greed in M ila n . drops the price at every fold. T h e w ell-kn ow n list o f the seven d e a d ly sins located pride in G en oa. ' I jo ( *s it . and in d o le n ce in N aples. w hen. avarice in Florence (the old G erm an s w ere o f a d ifferen t opinion and called w h at is know n as G reek lo ve Florenzen). borders on a gam e o f chan ce and adheres closely to the holid ay. w h ile serenely folding up the large cloth that he has spread out for five h u n d red lire. and in a trice it is sold for a few soldi. T h e m ore discreet and lib eral in to x ica tio n o f H a za rd . T h e lid o f the c o a ch m a n ’s box is open. as if he had first to test it him self. rem ains the a rc h ety p e o f business life. and.

only m uch m ore lou d ly. porous. L ik e a gallery. and altar. and cab b ag e. ------ Sim ilarly dispersed. Blissful confusion in the storehouses! For here they are still one with the ve n d o r’s stalls: they are bazaars. so. O n ly in fairy tales are lanes so long that one must pass through w ithout looking to left or right if one is not to fall prey to the devil. the T oled o. soap. W h a t distinguishes N aples from other large cities is som ething it has in com m on w ith the A frican k ra a l. the street m igrates into the livin g room .174 busy p ia zza a fat la d y drops her fan. H ousekeeping utensils hang from balconies like potted plants. H ere it is devoid o f charm . is here. T h ere is a dep artm en t store. in other cities the rich. hearth. for the N orthern E u rop ean the most private o f affairs. A cavalier appears and is prepared to perform his service for fifty lire. she is too unshapely to pick it up herself. w here people on chairs do their w ork (for they h ave the facu lty o f m akin g their bodies tables). . as in the kraal. So the house is far less the refuge into w hich people retreat than the inexhaustible reservoir from w h ich they flood out. Its traffic is am ong the busiest on earth. w ith chairs. not only into front yards. seductively d isplayed. and the lad y receives her fan for ten. too. cru d ely. a collective m atter. But w ith a tiny offsh oot— r u b b e r ^ balls. T o exist. Life bursts not only from doors. In a glass-roofed one there is a toyshop (in w h ich perfum e and liqueur glasses are also on sale) that w ou ld hold its ow n beside fairy-tale galleries. E ven the poorest one is as full o f w a x candles. m agn etic centre o f purchasing. T h e y negotiate. is the m ain street o f N aples. O n either side o f this n arrow alley all that has com e together in the harb our city lies insolently. outdone by the tightly packed m ultiplicity. T h e long ga n g w a y is favoured. From the w indow s o f the top floors com e baskets on ropes for m ail. fruit. each private attitu d e or act is p erm eated by streams o f com m u nal life. She looks around helplessly. Just as the livin g room reappears on the street. and com m ingled is private life. ch ocolates— it re-em erges som ew here else am ong the sm all traders stalls.

there is interpen etration o f d ay and night. things are not done ran d om ly but by proven recipes. and their hoofs have becom e so lon g that they can no lon ger stand. Bare w ood at the b ack . in the w in d o w o f the sm allest trattoria. the B yzan tin e saviour still asserts him self today. T h e same foods taste different at each stall. T h e poorer the q u arter. even at tw o — still in the streets. ju st as stiff. street and h o m e . w h ite spots. For this reason one sees child ren late at n ig h t— at tw elve. In the fourth or fifth stories o f these tenem ent blocks cows are kept. and iron bedsteads. A blue garm ent. W ith these toys the urchins can hit w h a tev er they like. outer light and inner darkness. as the street is o f carts. as a w ooden doll in the poorest shops o f S an ta L u cia.. red hem . w atery colours o f the M u n ich Kindi. Th is sleep. and red cheeks. W ith the pale. the M a d o n n a stands on the w alls o f the houses. sheaves o f photos on the w all. . H o w could anyone sleep in such room s? T o be sure. often no place. there are beds. there are often m ore than tw ice as m an y occupants. is therefore n o t the protected N orthern sleep. F rom stoves in the open street. A sceptre and a m agic w and even in their fists. cover the benches and are often d evou red raw w ith a little lem on. w rap p ed and w ith ou t arms or legs. noise an d peace. the m ore num erous the eating houses. crayfish. Poverty. T h ere is no hour. Starfish. too. In the w a y that. E ven the b an al beasts o f dry lan d becom e fantastic. T h e anim als never w alk on the street. fish and m eat lie heaped up for inspection. there is a n u an ce that goes beyon d the requirem ents o f the connoisseur. people. H ere. those w ho can do so fetch w h at they need. T h e ch ild that she holds a w a y from her like a sceptre is to be found. A t m id d ay they then lie sleeping behind a shop counter or on a stairw ay. T h is extends even into toys. as m an y as the room w ill hold. on ly the front is painted. In the fish m arket this seafaring people has created a m arine san ctu ary as grandiose as those o f the N etherlands.v n ' ' 1 ■ ’ Naples 175 b iscuit saints. cuttlefish from the g u lf w aters. But even if there are six or seven. for sleeping and eating. has brought a b ou t a stretchin g o f frontiers that m irrors the m ost rad iant freedom o f thought. w hich teem w ith creatures. w hich m en and w om en also snatch in shady corners. and lights.

T ru e laboratories o f this great process o f interm in glin g are the cafes. Ears. o f the confined bourgeois. T h e conversation is im pen etrable to anyon e from outside. T h e tables have a copp ery shine. if the father o f a fam ily dies or the m other wastes a w ay . eyes. they are sm all and round. and the opposite o f ev eryth in g V ienn ese. But if their increase becom es d evastatin g. Life is u n ab le to sit dow n and stagnate in them . N eap olitan cafes are b lu n tly to the point. and thus fam ilies interpen etrate in relationships that can resem ble adoption. nose. says the foreigner after him . and ice c re a m — ushers the visitor out. A n eighb ou r takes a child to her table for a shorter or longer period. In the overpop ulated quarters children are also q u ickly acq u ain ted w ith sex. literary w orld. A cup o f exces­ sively hot caffe espresso— in hot drinks this city is as u n rivalled as in sherbets. A prolonged stay is scarcely possible. breast. H elpin g gestures and through a im patien t touches attract the stran ger’s attention regu larity that excludes chance. spum oni. he says. and they have placed their order. here his cause w ou ld be hopelessly lost. clothespins. and tin sheep. . Yes. and shoulders are signallin g stations a ctivated by the fingers. open room s resem bling the political P eop le’s C afe. “ Vedere MapoJie pm M ori ” . T h e y are sober. T h ree q uick m ovem ents o f the hand. repeatin g an old pun. close or distant relatives are not needed. “ See N aples and d ie” . T h e lan gu age o f gestures goes further here than an yw here else in Italy. O n ly a few people sit dow n briefly here. but the N eap olitan b en evo len tly sends him aw ay. and a com panion w ho is less than stalw art turns hesitan tly on his heel in the d oorw ay. / 1924 . T h ese configurations return in their fastidiously specialized eroticism . sends him a few kilom etres farth er on to M o ri.iy 6 But the dem on o f p rofligacy has entered some o f these dolls that lie beneath cheap notepaper.

H o w ever little one m ay know R ussia. ■i M o re q u ick ly than M o sco w itself. the only real g u aran tee o f a correct un derstan d ing is to h ave chosen you r posi­ tion before you cam e. A n d how true-to-life his types are has b ecom e m ore obvious. T h e streets seem in rea lity as d esolately clean and sw ept as in the draw ings o f G rosz. w h y the stay is so ex a ct a touchstone for foreigners. It is o n ly: w h ich reality is in w a rd ly convergent w ith tru th ? W h ic h truth is in w a rd ly prep arin g itself to converge w ith the real? O n ly he w ho cle arly answers these questions is “ o b jectiv e” . T h is is the first b enefit to the intelligen t E u rop ean in Russia. A d m itted ly. one gets to know Berlin through M oscow . For som eone retu rn in g hom e from R ussia the city seems freshly w ashed. But. T h ere is no dirt. O n ly he w ho. equ ally. N ot tow ard his contem poraries (w hich is u n im p ortan t) but tow ard events (w hich is decisive). In R ussia above all. . by decision. by the fact o f “ S oviet R u ssia” . or w hich has greater po ten tial. this is . either._It . the q u estion at issue is not w h ich reality is better. A t the turnin g point in historical events that is in d icated . you can only see i f you h ave a lrea d y decided. bu t no snow. i f not constituted. w h at one learns is to observe and ju d g e E urope w ith the conscious kn ow ledge o f w h a t is going on in Russia. But som e­ one w h o wishes to d ecid e “ on the basis o f facts” w ill find no basis in 177 . W h a t is true o f the im age o f the city and its people applies also to the in tellectu al situation : a new perspective o f this is the m ost u n d o u b ted gain from a stay in Russia.M oscow r .obliges ev eryo n e to choose his stan dpoint. has m ade his d ialectica l peace w ith the w orld can grasp the concrete.

he w ill discover above all that Berlin is a deserted city. T h e y have their wares in a lau n d ry basket next to them . 2 '■ T h e city seems to d eliver itself at the outset. and how deserted and em p ty is B erlin ! In M o sco w goods burst everyw h ere ffom the houses. B erlin ’s lu x u ry seems unspeakable. can d y. A t first there is n othin g to be seen but snow. N ow she had stopped on the w ay to have a short rest in the street. w om en w ith fruit. E very fifty steps stand w om en w ith cigarettes. N o t only in the W est E nd. I must be on m y w a y . A b rig h tly coloured w oollen cloth protects apples or oranges from the cold. little carts. P rin cely solitude. R e tu rn in g hom e. O n e thinks: before leavin g her house a gran d m oth er must have looked aroun d to see w h at she could take to surprise her grand children . som etim es a little sleigh as w ell. the d irty snow that .. lean against railings. But w h at fullness has this street that overflow s not only w ith people. they are like a freshly swept. T h e y m ake o f the poorest w retch a grand seigneur p rom en ad in g on the terrace o f his m ansion. C o m p a red to those o f M oscow . In M oscow there are three or four places w here it is possible to m ake h ead w ay w ith ou t that strategy o f shoving and w ea vin g that one learns in the first w eek (at the sam e tim e. arc lam ps. serpentine gait to w hich the n arrow pavem ents have accustom ed m ost people. Y e t this is dispelled as soon as I seek w ords. therefore. . at the station. Berlin streets know no such places w ith sleighs. sacks. w ith two prize exam ples ly in g on top. N ext to them are sugar figures. and baskets. they h an g on fences. p rin cely desolation hang over the streets o f Berlin. People and groups m oving in its streets have solitude abou t them . K iosks.i 78 the facts. em p ty racecourse on w hich a field o f six-day cyclists hastens com fortlessly on. wom en w ith sweets. S tep p in g onto the Stolechnikov one breathes again : here at last one m ay stop w ith ou t com pun ction in front o f shopw indow s and go on on e’s w a y w ith ou t partakin g in the loitering. buildings crystallize into figures that are never to return. for the b read th o f the pavem ents is prin cely. . A n d it ^ begins on the asphalt. nuts. as the tech n iqu e o f ach ievin g locom otion on sheet ice). lie on pavem ents.

T h e w hole excitin g sequence o f s to p o g ra p h ic a l d um m ies th a t deceives him cou ld only be sjjawn by a film : the city is on its gu ard against h in v masks itself^ flees^intrigues. each th orou gh fare becam e for me a contested river. For every step one takes here is on n am ed groun d. lures him to w a n d er its circles to the po in t o f exhaustion. im a g in a tio n ju gg les w ith real buildings. “ orien tation film s” w ou ld run for foreigners. w ere rea lly still the open road. Y e t one d ay the gate. C a r horns d om in ate the orchestra o f cities. Streets that he had lo cated far ap a rt are yoked together by a corner like a pair o f horses in a co a ch m a n ’s fist. T h e im m ense bustle on the streets takes p lace softly. and streets. In the first phase the city still has barriers at a h u n d red frontiers. d u rin g the tourist season in great cities.) B ut in the end. 3 M o sco w in w inter is a q u iet city. T h e instan t one arrives. the old road to T v e r on w hich I now am . its real river. m aps and plans are victoriou s: in bed at night. A n d w h ere one o f these nam es is heard. w ith n oth in g to be seen far and w id e ex cep t the plain. A n d the cones o f light they project are so . I notice it as i f the T v e rsk a ia . A tran sp a ren cy w ith the inscription “ Kefir” glows in the evening. in a flash im ag in a tio n builds a w hole q u arter a b ou t the sound. O n the thick sheet ice o f the streets w a lk in g has to be relearned. T h is is because o f the snow. b u t also because o f the back w ard n ess o f the traffic. each house n um ber a trigon om etric signal. N ow the city turns into a la b y rin th for the new com er. and ea ch o f its g ig an tic squares a lake. (T his cou ld be a p p ro a ch ed in a ve ry p ractical w a y . found its real heights. T ru e . T h e y are used only ' 1 for w e d d in g s a n d funerals and for accelerated. T h is w ill lon g defy the later rea lity and rem ain b rittly em bedded in it like glass m asonry. T h e ju n g le o f houses is so im p en etrab le th at on ly b rillian ce strikes the eye. B ut in M o sco w there are only a few cars. the ch u rch that w ere the b o u n d a ry o f a district becom e w ith ou t w a rn in g its centre. the ch ild hood stage begins. go vern m en t. parks.Moscow iy g has a lre a d y installed itself. Before I discovered M o sco w ’s real landscape. i in the even in g they sw itch on brighter lights than are perm itted in a n y oth er great city. and the clean snow m ovin g up behind.

D a y in. such as can be b ou gh t everyw h ere in C ap ri. and still m ore frequ en tly. handkerchiefs. Chinese sell artfu lly m ade paper fans. too. T h e sm allest coloured rag glows out o f doors. A ll these carved w ooden utensils are m ore sim ply and solidly m ade than in G erm a n y . In the M iasn itskaia stands a w om an w ith linen goods. A ll the colours o f M oscow converge p rism atically here. w ho h a ve a large drill ground in the K rem lin . P ictu re books lie in the snow . Shoe polish and w ritin g m aterials. Beams o f excessive b rillian ce from the car h ead lights race through the darkness. the carts are y ello w and red. It is the w ild variety o f the street trade. U n d e r the bare trees o f the b oulevards are screens show in g palm s. Silent sw arm s o f ravens have settled in the snow. L o n g rows o f sleighs transport snow aw ay. at the p h o to g ra p h e r’s stand. ch ild ren ’s festivals are provided for. carts and spades. A n d som ething else.d a zzlin g that anyon e cau ght in them stands helplessly rooted to the spot. T h e eye is in fin itely busier than the ear. Single horsem en. tw o-h an dled baskets w ith plain square patterns. at the side o f the road stand tin y houses that have n ever been seen before. swings for . A basket seller w ith all kinds o f b rig h tly colou red w ares. m arb le stair­ cases. shy in their light. T h e re are m en w ith baskets full o f w ooden toys. rem inds one o f the South. A b o v e them shines the red signal that regulates the traffic passing throu gh the gate. the bird p erch in g on her tray or shoulder. a w hite ara can som etim es be seen. sober utensils becom e au d aciou s in street tradin g. yellow or red the ch ild ren ’s shovels. each w ith shining w indow s and a fence arou n d the front ga rd en : w ood en toys from the V la d im ir governm ent. O n e m orning. But a real parrot. and southern seas. T h e horses o f the cav alry. T h a t is to say. A picturesque b ack gro u n d for such anim als m ust be sought elsew here. at the centre o f R ussian pow er. In the b lin d in g light before the K re m lin gate the gu ard s stand in their brazen ochre furs. carries at the end o f his pole g lazed -p ap er cages w ith g la zed -p a p e r birds inside them . their peasant origin b ein g clearly visible. paper kites in the form o f exotic deep-sea fish. d olls’ sleighs. Serious. d a y out. a new consign­ m ent o f goods has arrived. T h e colours do their utm ost against the w hite. too. P edestrians force their w ay betw een cars and u n ru ly horses.

w h ich now . clothes-h an gers— all this spraw ls on the open street^as if it w ere not tw enty-five degrees b elow zero b ut high N e a p o lita n sum m er. is situated at the foot o f a c h u rch th at rises w ith b lu e dom es above the booths. R a th e r.Moscow 18 1 ch ild ren . T h e y have hot cakes to sell. h a n g in g th read ed on strings across the counters. Street trad in g is in p a rt ille ga l and therefore avoids a ttractin g attention. and sausage fried in slices. an d . R epairs are carried out on the spot. T h e people sim ply h a ve their wares lyin g in the snow. valenki. T h e s e are vendors w ith o u t perm its. shoes. T h e street trade culm inates in the large m arkets. W om en. C ooksh op owners gath er in the n eigh b o u rh o o d o f the lab o u r exchange. T h e y are too poor to p ay the |d u ty for a stall and have no tim e to stand in line m an y hours at an ioffice for a w eekly concession. on the Sm olenskaia and the A rb a t. a chicken. A t last I succeeded in w a tch in g him at w o rk : I saw him sell two o f his letters and fix them as initials to his cu stom er’s galoshes. lad ies’ u n d erw ear. First one passes the q u arter o f the scrap-iron dealers. gossiping or trad in g. stand offerin g it to passers-by. T his. the m ost fam ous o f all. form buttresses and colum ns. O n e finds old locks. I w as for a loftg--Time ' m ystified by a m a n w ho had m front o f him a densely lettered b oard . m easured if not w h isp ered words. But all this goes on silen tly. the rag -an d -b o n e m en w ith sacks on their b acks. I w a n ted to see a soothsayer in him . kitch en utensils. A t this m arket the a rch itecto n ic function o f w ares is p e rc e p tib le : cloth and fabric. hazelnuts.semitchky (sun­ ! flow er seeds. or a leg o f pork resting on a layer o f straw in her open hand . each w ith a piece o f m eat. stuffed birds. m etre rulers. calls like those o f every trad er in the South are unknow n. th ey sim ply run aw ay. T h e r e are no seats an yw h ere. the p eop le address the passer-by w ith w ords. A n d on the \ S u ch arev sk a ia . O n ly one caste parad es noisily throu gh the streets here. h an d tools. I saw som eone soldering over a pointed flam e. electrical goods. W hen a m em ber o f the m ilitia 'ap p ro ach es. a cco rd in g to a ru lin g o f the Soviet. becom e . everyone stands up. T h e n the w ide sleighs w ith three com partm en ts for peanuts. their m elan ch oly cry rings one or m ore tim es a w eek in every q u arter. in w h ich there is som ething o f the hu m ility o f b eggars. m ay no lo n ger be chew ed in p u b lic places).

w ar orphans. F rom her n avel rises a strong. T h e y are m ore num erous there than in other districts. these booths w ith pictures o f saints stand next to those w ith paper goods. W h ether. By d a y they are usually seen alo n e. T h e y . M o sco w swarm s w ith I (children everyw h ere. clouds com e from it instead o f en trails. T h is threesom e o f hands is deem ed a sym bol o f the H o ly T rin ity . Since the sale o f icons is considered a b ran ch o f the paper and picture trade. ^ \im portant. E ven am ong them there is a C om m u n ist hierarchy. therefore in a sense M em nos walls. are united in clubs. each one on his own w arp ath . w ell-form ed hand. She is h a lf naked. like a prisoner b etw een tw o policem en. T h e “ K om so m oltsy” . too. “ Oktiabr” (“ O cto b rists” ). as the eldest. T h e y have their clubs in every town and are rea lly train ed as the next generation o f the P arty. in their midst dances the C hrist child h old in g a violin in his hand. \ \ V (and m ove m ore purposefully and busily. one can still secretly b u y those strange icons that it w as a lrea d y pu n ishable u n der tsarism to sellj l do not know. T h e you n ger ch ildren b eco m e— at six — “ Pioneers” . so that th ey are alw ays flanked by por< ! traits o f Len in . la stly — or “ W o lv es” — is the nam e given to little babies from the m om ent they are able to point to the picture o f L en in . But in the even ing they jo in up before the lu rid facades o f m ovie houses to form gangs. large garmoshkas (accordions) form sounding w alls. T h ere was another d evotion al picture o f the M o th er o f G od that shows ^ her w ith open b elly. at the few stalls w ith pictures o f saints. are at the top. In dark ga tew ays you stum ble against furs built like houses. and foreigners are w arn ed against 4 f5 . u n speakab ly m elan ch oly besprizornye. and w ear a red tie as a proud distinction. N igh t w atch m en huddle inside on chairs. T h ere was the M other o f G o d w ith three hands.182 the ro o f o f the b ooth . ' i j \ In the street scene o f any proletarian q u arter the children are . B ut even now one also comes across the derelict. T h e street life does not cease entirely even at night. A t right and left the tw o others spread in the gesture o f blessing. from time to tim e bestirring them selves ponderously.

I f one also bears in m ind that a sup erin ten d en t has to look after the children. H er task is. one has to relate as d irectly and clearly as possible to the catchw ord s o f the street itself. T o get through to them at all. and in ad dition to keep a record o f all expenses for m ilk. ch ild re n ’s centres have been installed for years a lrea d y . tw enty or thirty child ren com e to the centre. but as n atu ra l a subject. it m ust becom e d rastically clear how m uch room such w ork leaves for the p rivate life o f the person perform ing it. as obvious a visual aid. em b ittered people was to go out on the street him self. and m aterials. an atten tive observer w ill perceive one th in g: how the liberated prid e o f the p roletariat is m atch ed by the em a n cip a ted bearin g o f the children. th at she is responsible for all this. singly or in groups. N eedless to say. som etim es arou n d a gu ide. in one w a y or another. to m ake con tact w ith the children o f her district. as the toy shop or doll-house for m iddle-class children . But am id all the im ages o f ch ild h o o d destitution that is still far from h a vin g been overcom e. but i f a superin ten den t does her w ork p rop erly. w ith its m any thousands o f experim ents. P olitics. is not tendentious. gam es are p layed . to o c c u p y and feed them . Food is d istributed . in the o rg a n iza tio n o f crow ds o f such children. T o begin w ith. . ch ild ren and workers m ove easily through these rooms. N o th in g is to be seen o f the forlornness o f the few p roletarian s w ho d are to show them selves to the oth er visitors in our m useum s. N o th in g is m ore pleasantly surprising on a visit to M o sco w ’s m useum s th an to see how. In R ussia the proletariat has rea lly b egun to take possession o f bourgeois cu ltu re. b read . trad itio n al p ed agogical m ethods never m ade m uch im pression on these infan tile masses. T h e on ly w a y for the ed u ca to r to un derstan d these th o rou gh ly savage. T h e y are supervised b y a fem ale state em ployee w h o seldom has m ore than one assistant.Moscow 183 m eeting such bands alone w h en w alk in g hom e. T h ere is the P o lytech n ic M useu m . there are collections in M oscow in w h ich w orkers and children can q u ick ly feel them selves at hom e. A d m itte d ly . to be heard. In each o f M o sco w ’s districts. o f the w hole collective life. it m ay be filled w ith hundreds o f ch ild ren after two weeks. w hereas on such occasions in our co u n try th ey have the ap p eara n ce o f p la n n in g a b u rg la ry. m istrustful.

and a strict criterion is necessary only w ith regard to the topical works th at relate to him . A n d the fact th at such scenes are still pain ted 1 en tirely in the spirit o f bourgeois art not only does no h a rm — it I actu ally brings them closer to this p u b lic. this is directed at foreigners w ho can n o t speak Russian. and serves the scholar as m uch as the children w h o w alk abou t for hours in these rooms (abou t m id d ay there is also a big. free puppet show. The Return from Exile in Siberia. and his class. 5 B egging is not aggressive as in the South. L o n g . w h ere the im p ortu n ity o f the ragam uffin still betrays some rem nan t o f vitality. H ere it is a corporation o f the dying. B artram . H ere the p ro letarian finds subjects fm m the history o f his m ovem en t: A Conspirator Surprised by the Police. T h e re is the a d m irab ly run toy m useum . cuts his cloak in two w ith his sw o rd : he kneels w ith both arm s outstretched. his w ork.education in_ari \ (as Proust explains very w ell from tim e to tim e) is not best pro­ m oted by the con tem plation o f “ m asterpieces” . docum ents. Forr .184 pieces o f apparatu s. as fine as any in the L u xem b o u rg ). A n o th er has the exact posture o f the pau per for w hom Sain t M a rtin . in old pictures. S h ortly before C hristm as. beseeching speeches are addressed to people. at the a p p roach o f a prom isin g-looking passer-by. w hich u n der its director. the child or the proletarian w ho is ed u catin g h im self righ tly ackn ow ledges very different w orks as m asterpieces from those selected by the collector. two children sat d ay after d a y in the snow against the w all o f the M u seu m o f the . has brought together a precious. T h e street corners o f some quarters are covered w ith bundles o f rag s— beds in the vast open-air hospital called M oscow . instru ctive collection o f Russian toys. T h ere is the fam ous T re tia k o v G a lle ry in w h ich one understands for the first tim e w hat genre p ain tin g means and how especially a p p rop riate it is to the Russians. The Poor Governess Enters Service in a Rich Merchant’s House. R a th er. and m odels relatin g to the history o f p rim ary prod u ction and m a n u fa ctu rin g industry. to em it a soft. Such pictures have for him a very transitory but solid m eaning. T h ere is one b egg a r w ho alw ays begins. d raw n -o u t h ow lin g.

) O n e o u gh t to know M o sco w as such b eggar ch ild ren know it. for they can n o t seriously intend such hopeless com petition . an d collect kopecks. O n e stands no m ore than five paces from the next. even th a t w ould not have been possible. P ro b a b ly in their h om elan d the w inter is no less harsh and their ragged furs are no w orse than those o f the natives. E ven priests w ho go b egg in g for their churches are still to be seen. T h e y have d evelop ed b egg in g to a h igh art w ith a hu n d red schem atism s and variations. approach one. each w ith ex a ctly the sam e article as his n eigh b ou r. sing a song. b o ard a vehicle. o f all the institutions o f M oscow . the bad social conscience. rem ain in g u n ch an ged in their place w hile ev eryth in g aroun d them shifts. perhaps. w here even street trad in g has the a p p e ara n ce o f begging. each d a y. they are allow ed to w arm them selves for ten m inutes. each life lies here as on a lab o rato ry table. and w him perin g. selling leather briefcases. But one very seldom sees an yon e give. they know w here one d ay each w eek at a certain hour they can fetch them selves crusts. A n d as i f it w ere a m etal from w hich an u n kn ow n substance . O th ers keep station at a streetcar term inus. B eyon d this it appears as an expression o f the u n ch an gin g w retchedness o f these b egg a rs. A few M on gols stand against the w a ll o f K ita i G orod . T h e y w atch the custom ers o f a pastry-cook on a busy street corner. T h e y know o f a corner beside the door o f a certain shop w here. 6 E ach th o ugh t. too. T h ere m ust be som e agreem ent b eh in d this. and accom p an y him . A n d there are places. w hin in g and plead in g. w hich opens purses so m uch w ider than does pity. covered w ith a scrap o f m aterial. N evertheless they are the on ly people in M oscow w hom one pities on accoun t o f the clim ate. to w hich this b u ild in g earlier belon ged. at a p a rticu la r tim e. B eggin g has lost its strongest fou n d ation. it is only the result o f ju d icio u s o rga n iza tio n that. and w here a sleeping place am on g stacked sew age pipes is free. they alone are d ep en d ab le.Moscow 185 R e vo lu tio n . ad m itted ly on ly a few. (But outside the E nglish C lu b . the most genteel in M oscow . until he has relinqu ished to them a piece o f his hot pie.

in an excellen t novella by Boris P ilniak. too. In d eed . T h e m aterial basis o f his existence is so slender that he is prepared. In this ru lin g passion there is as fnuch n aive desire for im provem en t as there is boundless curiosity and playfulness. against the person’s wishes if necescary. offices in buildin gs. F ew things are sh apin g Russia m ore p o w erfu lly today. N o organism . takes such m easures as are n eeded to conserve it. it is Russian. T his astonishing e x p e r im e n ta tio j^ it is here called remonte— affects not on ly M oscow . o f course. it m ust endure exp erim en tation to the point o f exhaustion. T h e P arty had him treated by their best doctors. had him take m ud baths and try rad iation treatm ent. most o f all. W hen he is cured he w ill go b ack to the K rem lin . W h en all proved in vain he was told. y ear out. from his W estern com rad e is this u n con d i­ tional readiness for m obilization. A gain st his w ill a high official undergoes an operation that has a fatal outcom e. even the h ealth o f com rades is a prized possession o f the P arty. y ea r in. w h at distinguished the B olshevik. "\ o N\ f and shoved about. R egu lation s are chan ged from d a y to d a y. w hich . T h e n one day he w as afflicted by severe sciatica.1 86 is by every m eans to be extracted. and not m o v e !” T h e next d ay he was a hotel porter. O r in w hich other cou n try can one hear stories like those told me b y the com m issionaire o f m y hotel? U n til 1924 he was em p loyed in in the K rem lin . the P arty. transferred. (A very fam ous nam e is m entioned here am ong the . T r u e : he was a m an o f letters before he b ecam e a victorious com m an d er. So it is presented. keep w arm . T h e cou n try is m obilized d a y and night. pieces o f furniture in the apartm ents are rearran ged. E m ployees in their factories. “ Y o u need a jo b in w h ich you can look after yourself. H e w ou ld not otherw ise be a m atch for this life. shops turn into restaurants and a few w eeks later into offices. no organ ization . can escape this process. to d ecam p . U ltim a tely . at a n y rate. N ew cerem onies for christening and m arriage are presented in the clubs as at research institutes. but streetcar stops m igrate. sent him to the C rim ea. W h ere else is it conceivab le that a distinguished m ilitary lead er should one d ay be m ade director o f a great state th eatre? T h e present director o f the T h ea tre o f the R evolu tion is a form er general. the Russian C om m unist.

T h ro u g h the hall door one steps into a .life_Aad m ade to serve it.frit* -C 'k { -•y A O <5 c ' H t-ic -j Moscow 1 87 dead o f the last few years. no longer exists. outside the polftical sphere. T h ere is in R u ssia — p a rticu la rly outside the P a r ty — on ly the most lo yal opposition. as we should like to im agine it in the W est— in tellec­ tuals h o ld in g them selves a lo o f and lan gu ish in g under the y o k e — does not exist. T h u s the red M ilita ry A c a d e m y em ployed as a teacher a general w ho is notorious for his part in the civil w ar. in each sm allest detail. O p p ositio n . too. T h e specialist is a sp earh ead o f this in creasin gly p ractical a p p ro a ch and the on ly citizen w ho. for o rga n ized . But this incid en t is also characteristic o f the opposing side. N or any space. placed them selves at the service o f the Bolsheviks.) T h ere is no know ledge and no f&culty that are not som ehow a p p ro p ria te d by collectiye. A p artm en ts that earlier accom m od ated single fam ilies in their five to eight room s now often lodge eight. the press a re so po w erfu l that no tim e rem ains for interests that do not converge w ith them . T h e b u reau cra cy. return in tim e as specialists to the posts they sabotaged d u rin g the civil w ar. or it has been an n ih ilated. or. it becom es beau tifu l and com prehensible o n ly through w ork. w h ich in tran sigen tly subordinates the prestige o f id eology to p ra ctica l dem ands. A t times the respect for this type verges on fetishism. T o the integration o f personal thoughts w ith the pre-existing field o f forces. F or it is not on ly the m ilita ry o f the tsarist em p ire w ho. life here is so tigh tly b ound that anyon e w ho abstains or cannot ach ieve it d egenerates in tellectu ally as if through years o f solitary confin e­ m ent. as is know n. is b arely com prehensible. gu aran teed con tact w ith co m ra d es— to this. For E uropeans such a point o f view . It h a s— w ith w h a tev er reservation s— accep ted the truce w ith the Bolsheviks. In tellectu als. political a ctiv ity . better. w ith the m and ate. H e had every cap tu red B olshevik u n cerem oniou sly hanged. has a n y status. 7 B olshevism has abolished private life. T o endure this existence in idleness is im possible because. For this new life w eighs on no one m ore h ea v ily than on the outsider observing from a distance. how ever virtu al.

T h e sta te— all house ow n er­ ship is n atio n a lize d — charges the u n em ployed one ruble m on thly for the same area for w hich the b ette r-o ff p ay sixty or m ore. / to o n ly thirteen squaxfi. E ven in the lo b b y one can encounter beds. h ave had to m ultiply the n u m ber o f rooms. For his accom m od a» tions he pays acco rd in g to his incom e. W eekly the furniture in the bare rooms is rea rra n g e d — that is the only lu x u ry ind u lged in w ith them . coloured glass the w indow s. A n y th in g that can not be based on the collec­ tive fram ew ork dem ands a disprop ortionate expenditure o f effort. the club. ornam ents fill the m antelpiece. A n yo n e w ho lays claim to m ore than this prescribed area must.nothinghum ancaniioijnil. often only h a lf the height o f the walls.which the attack o f com m odity. along w ith the m elan ch oly w ith w hich it is paid for. C u rtain s and partitions. (Such petty-bourgeois rooms are battlefieldsxtv€r .naetres o f livin g space. T h e outsider can go beggin g and sink into penu ry if he is not in a position. . sent to health resorts in the C rim ea .. an arm y cam p. from the house. A n essential feature o f the petty-bourgeois interior. and u sually the scanty inven tory is only a residue o f petty-bourgeois possessions that have a far m ore depressing effect because the room is so sparsely furnished. People can bear to exist in it because they are estranged from it by their w ay o f life.th£E£ again. as a m em ber o f the new bourgeoisie. was com pleteness: pictures must cover the w alls. For each citizen is entitled b y law 7 ^ .i88 little town. the street. to buy all this for thousands o f rubles. and at the same tim e a rad ical m eans o f exp ellin g “ cosiness” . if he can not ju stify his claim professionally. T h e ir dw elling place is the office. Indoors one on ly cam ps. on ly a part here or there has been in d iscrim in ately preserved. can enjoy expensive rad iation treatm ent. M o re often still. cushions the sofa. O f the m obile arm y o f officials on ly the b a g g a g e train is to be found here. m ake m anifold am ends. E very step a w ay from the preord ain ed p ath m eets w ith an im m easu rable b u reau cratic apparatu s and w ith im possible costs. how ever. covers the cushions.) O f all that.capital hasadvanced victoriously . w ith o u t p ayin g a penn y for it. T h e m em ber o f a trade union w ho produces a certificate o f illness and goes through the prescribed channels can be adm itted to the most m odern sanatorium .

Moscow i8g F or this reason there is no “ hom eliness” . at the cleared table o f a canteen. on ly the office and the clu b . only co m plicate m atters. But nor are there any cafes. plans them . on the K u zn etsk y B ridge. so alien is the id ea to the Russians. this w ill. “ T r u d ” . S ociety projects them to some extent. com m ittees are fixed at all hours in offices. the only reliable ed ucator. T h e cafes are th ereb y d ep rived o f their public. takes place. M eetings. lau n ch ed a poster cam p aig n for p u n ctu ality. proves viab le. T h e y fritter everyth in g a w ay . I f civ ilizin g calcu latio n slow ly establishes itself in the collective. G astiev. T h a t n othin g turns out as was intended and ex p e c te d — this b an al expression o f the rea lity o f life here asserts itself in each in d ivid u al case so in v io lab ly and inten sely that R ussian fatalism becom es com prehensible. H ere. is not m et w ith even in the cap ital o f Russia. and often h ave no site o f their own. on U litsa G ertsena. even for p rivate affairs. the trade-u nion institute for the study o f w ork. in the m anner o f m ed ieval guilds. From earliest times a large num ber o f clockm akers have been settled in M oscow . h ow ever. being held in corners o f noisy ed itorial rooms. factories. O n e w onders w ho a ctu ally needs them . (O n e is tem pted to say that m inutes are a cheap liqu or o f . transactions are under the aegis o f the new byt— the new en viron ­ m ent for w hich n othin g counts excep t the function o f the prod u cer in the collective. T h ere is a kind o f n atu ral selection and a struggle for existence betw een these m eetings. But how often m ust this be repeated until fin ally one o f the m an y is successful. 8 For each citizen o f M o sco w the days are full to the brim . n otw ith stan d in g all “ ra tio n a liza tio n ” . is ad ap ted .) A feeling for the valu e o f tim e. under its d irector. they are conven ed. “ T im e is m o n ey ” — for this astonishing statem ent posters claim the a u th ority o f L en in . in the first place. T h e re rem ain. (O n e is better provided for in a house that has only candles than w here electric light is installed but the supply o f current is in ter­ ru p ted hourly. therefore. T h e y are crow ded. in p a rticu la r streets. clubs. T h e new Russians call milieu. F ree trade and the free intellect have been abolished.

and then we w ake people. A tenacious shoving and b argin g d u rin g the b oard in g o f a vehicle usually overlo ad ed to the point o f bursting takes place w ith ou t a sound and w ith great cord iality. (I have never heard an an g ry w ord on these occasions. and follow the cam era for hours. T h e n w e do not w ake people. w e do it. O n ce I needed to be w akened at seven in the m orn in g: “ Please knock tom orrow at seven . But usually w e do w ake peop le. this w orld-historical exp erim ent in the new R ussia. but if w e do not think o f it we shall not w ake you. W e are under no ob ligation . In his use o f tim e. is illustrated in m iniatu re by a streetcar ride. T h e y m ake each hour superabundant. Y o u see. w e also forget som etim es w hen w e do not think o f it. then he w ill not w ake you. that they are tipsy w ith tim e. I am pu tting the message there w h ere he w ill find it. 9 T ra v e l by streetcar in M oscow is above all a tactical experience. tw enty.) O n ce everyone is inside. o f course. they forget w here they are go in g and w hy. and w a it hours. each life a m om ent. days. tim e collisions are therefore as m uch the order o f the d ay as the remonte. the m igration begins in earnest. or weeks until the prom ise is carried out. T h e conductresses stand fu r-w rapped at their places like Sam oyed w om en on a sleigh. W hen do you w a n t to be w aken ed? A t seven? T h en w e shall w rite that dow n. T h a t m eans “ at o n ce” . Just as you seldom hear the answ er “ n o” . T im e catastrophes. Y o u can hear it ten. A n d the com plete interpen etration o f techno­ logical and prim itive modes o f life.” T h e real unit o f tim e is the seichas. A c tu a lly w e usually do think o f it. the Russian w ill rem ain “ A sia tic ” longest o f all. but if it crosses our m ind. a rrivin g at the office distraught.) I f on the street a scene is being shot for a film . th irty times. T h ro u g h the ice-covered .igo w hich they can never get enough. if he does not find it. therefore. O f course. N eg ativ e replies are left to tim e. each d ay exhausting. H ere the new com er learns perhaps m ost q u ick ly o f all to a d ap t him self to the curious tem po o f this city and to the rh yth m o f its peasant population.” T h is elicited from the hotel porter the follow in g Shakespearean m ono­ logue: “ I f we think o f it we shall w ake you. But to be sure.

E ven this is an in co m p arab le experience for the sense o f touch. en joy superiority. at im portant stops the vehicle is alm ost com pletely em ptied.ik. for the ad ven t o f G reek O rth o d o x Christians overlaps the Christm as o f those Russians w ho celeb rate the feast by the W estern. N ow h ere does one see C hristm as trees . T h e w ay to the exit is blocked by a h u m an w edge. N o con d escen d in g'gaze: a tender. the M u scovite in the little sleigh is closely m in gled w ith people and things. swift brushing along stones. tree decorations. W h e re E uropeans. drives his veh icle close to the sidew alk. T h ere is room for not m ore than two on the n arro w bench. a child . W ith pines. H o w ever. he looks out on the sam e level as everyone else and brushes the passers-by w ith his sleeve. you have to thread you r w ay through this mass. candles. long jou rn eys in the cold are hard to bear and distances in this g ig an tic village im m easu rable. con veyan ce usu ally occurs in b atch es. T h e y do not know the slightest superfluity. d om in an ce over the masses. official calen d ar. T h e sleighs here take the horse into consideration first and then the passenger. that is the new. T h u s even the traffic in M o sco w is to a large extent a mass phenom enon. a blanket for the p assenger— and that is all. T h e izvozsh. Since you m ust board at the rear but aligh t at the front. A feed in g sack for the nags.Moscow ig i w indow s you can never m ake out w here the veh icle has ju st stopped. I f you do find out. you m ust keep a good b alan ce on sharp corners. on their rapid jou rn eys. E very th in g is based on the assum ption o f the highest ve lo city . and horses. people. Y o u feel like a child g lid in g through the house on its little chair. and as it has no b ack (unless you are w illin g so to describe a low rail).ch. So one can en counter w hole caravan s o f sleighs b lo ck in g the streets on a lon g row because loads th at require a truck are b eing stacked on five or six large sleighs. or a basket to take w ith h im — for all this the sleigh is the cheapest m eans o f tran sp o rt— he is tru ly w ed ged into the street bustle. it is o f little avail. it settles for m an y weeks in the streets. I f he has a box. 10 C hristm as is a feast o f the R ussian forest. T h e passenger is not enthroned high up.

and every year abou t this tim e the K u sta rn y M useum for R egio n al A rt holds a kind o f trade fair for all this. even w ithou t a S an ta Claus. a picture. N o night o f terror is as dark as this d urab le lacq u er night in whose w om b all that appears in it is enfolded. glinted in the sun. gold-em bellished im ages are again em erging from peasant life. Y e llo w and red on the b alalaik a. T h ere are the h eavy little boxes w ith scarlet interiors: on the outside. on a gleam in g-b lack backgrou nd . w a itin g for her lover. Beside her stands a child w ho w ants to take one. I saw a box w ith a picture o f a seated w om an selling cigarettes. and fruit crow d the street stalls and shops. U n der the tsars this industry was on the point o f extinction. A t a crossroads I found a w om an selling tree decorations. the old. . “ R e d ” and “ b ea u tifu l” are in [old] R ussian one w ord. But forest night. But on the right a stone and on the left a leafless tree are discernible. it was like an en chan ted apple basket in w h ich red and yellow w ere divid ed am on g different fruit. It turns g ree n — and then reddens and puts on a coat o f gold. fishes.IQ2 m ore b eau tifu lly decorated. It is as if only under Russian hands does w ood put forth such lu xu rian t greenness. or a girl in a sea-blue dress stands at night beside green flaring bushes. b lack and green on the little garmoshka for children. P itch -b lack night here. and every shade in the thirty-six eggs that fit one inside another. yellow and red. T h e sm aller ones are trim m ed only w ith silk b o w s. She is the Soviet “ M a d o n n a w ith the C ig a re ttes” . and green ribbons stand on the corners. C erta in ly the glo w in g logs in the stove are the most m agical m etam orphosis o f the R ussian forest. T h e glass balls. O n the w o m a n ’s apron is the w ord Mossel’prom. N ow . Pines are draw n through the streets on slow sleighs. houses. flares sky-blue and petrifies black. birds. it is fire frozen in all colours. tell how they com e from deep in the forests o f Russia. L ittle boats. N ow here does the hearth seem to glow w ith such splendour as here. lives in the w ood. A troika w ith its three horses races through the night. A n d w hen varnished. besides new m iniatures. little pines w ith blue. pink. too. too. But to the children the Christm as toys. But radiance is cap tu red in all the w ood that the peasant carves and paints.

now am on g textile goods and crockery stalls. and trusts a sw itch gear w ithin the lim its o f w hich it rem ains en tirely legal. each stalk o f a differen t colour. nor the g ig a n tic a lly tall h ollyh ock m ade o f lam pshades that the trad er carries throu gh the streets. and leaves m oney to the N E P m an. the glisten in g can d y-icin g flow er beds on cakes. roses. w hite. O r the glass cases full o f flow ers w ith the heads o f saints looking out am on g them . N or w h at the frost here inspires. M ost in tim ately o f all. 12 U n d e r cap italism po w er an d m on ey have becom e com m ensurable qualities. boards. O n the S trasn aia S q u a re I saw as I passed long twigs w ith red. A n y given a m ou n t o f m oney m ay be converted into a specific pow er. But it shines from the shop in the P etro vk a not h a lf as b eau tifu lly as the paper bunches o f artificial carnations. O n ly here are there structures m ade o f nothing bu t spun sugar. T h e Soviet state has severed this com m u n ication betw een m oney an d pow er. In the eyes o f a n y P a rty fu n ctio n ary. O th e r bouquets are seen at N ew Y e a r ’s. to bloom out o f whiteness. green bloom s stuck to them . So things stand on a large scale. W h en talkin g o f M o sco w flowers one m ust not forget the heroic C hristm as roses. sweet icicles w ith w hich the ton gue indem nifies itse lf against the b itter cold. But they outshine everyth in g. It reserves pow er for the Party. to put som ething . im ita tin g ice ferns on w indow s. even the highest. and gle a m in g dishes. It has in the sm ooth in terp la y o f press. there at last the m a rzip a n flora seems to have fulfilled en tirely M o sco w ’s dream . T h e Pastry C ook from ch ild re n ’s fairy tales seems to have survived on ly in M oscow . and the m arket va lu e o f all pow er can be calcu lated . F inally. snow and flowers are united in can d y icin g. lilies on the street. In m arkets they are the on ly wares to h ave no fixed stall and appear now am on g groceries.Moscow 11 i Q3 G reen is the suprem e lu x u ry o f the M oscow w inter. colou red wool. the peasant cloths w ith patterns. em b ro id ­ ered in blue w ool. raw m eat. blue. W e can only speak o f corruption w here the process is h an d led too hastily.

too. T o its mem bers the C om m unist P arty gu arantees the bare m inim um for m aterial existen ce— it does so p ra ctica lly. the most precise distinctions are m ade. too. could not otherw ise be explained. and no one likes to see him self disavow ed.” “ H e is an excellent com rade. the mistrust. . In the course o f it one o f them says: “ T h a t fellow M ik h a ilo vich was in m y office yesterday lookin g for a job . H e said he knew y o u . . even if only “ for the ch ild ren ” . you m ay exp ect stock phrases in rep ly: “ W e say here . everyone uses his nam e and his voice so cautiously that the citizen w ith a d em ocratic turn o f m ind cannot understand him . T w o close acq uain tan ces are h avin g a conversation. if not the only good.” T h e y chan ge the . I f you ask a superficial acq u ain tan ce here abou t his impressions o f how ever un im p ortan t a play. Russia is today not on ly a class but also a caste state. T o such discipline the life o f the ruling class is subjected.194 aside.” or “ T h e conviction is p revalent here . T o them . no one livin g abro a d has any idea o f the terrible social ostracism to w hich the N E P m an is here subjected. is quite unthinkable. T h is can be increased solely through literary activity alongside on e’s profession. H o w ever. pun ctual and h a rd -w o rk in g. un obtrusively change its line in Pravda. But how ever ex a g g era te d — or obsolete— the E u rop ean conception o f the official suppression o f nonconform ists in Russia m ay on the one hand be. to secure the “ fu tu re” . perceptible not only betw een strangers. A ju d g m en t is w eighed inn u m erab le times before being uttered to m ore distant contacts. For at any tim e the P arty can casually. it controls their further earnings and sets an upper lim it o f two hundred and fifty rubles on their m on thly incom e. how ever trivial a film. O n the other hand. B etw een them . is for most people the only gu aran tee o f other goods. . T h e silence. T his is also decisive for those w ho do not d irectly b elong to it. on the other. w ithout actu al obligation . Because a reliable political outlook. C aste sta te— that means that the social status o f a citizen is determ ined not b y the visible exterior o f his existence— his clothes or livin g p la ce — but exclusively by his relations to the P arty. the pow er o f the ru lin g authorities is by no means iden tical w ith their possessions. jobs are open to the extent that they do not overtly repudiate the regim e.

Y e t alw ays a sym bol o f the “ b ou rgeois” . It is kept behind glass. and so appears as an a ttra c ­ tion in revues. resolutions. is subject to one indispensable con d ition : that never (as one d a y h a p p en ed even to the C h u rch ) should a b la ck m arket o f pow er be op en ed . F rom early till late people dig for pow er. W h a t does it m a tter— R u ssia’s n ext gen eration w ill be adjusted to this existence. In ad m iration for this n atio n al a ch ievem en t all Russians are united. R ussia was the possession o f the tsar (indeed. But d a n cin g to it is forbid d en . A n d th ey un dertake this w ork in the consciousness o f h avin g alread y perfo rm ed u n im a g in a b ly difficult tasks. as poor. T ru e . and b u ilt up. Its health. so that a life w ith o u t m eetings and com m ittees. A ll the com ­ b in ation s o f our lea d in g figures are m eagre in com parison to the countless constellations that here confront the in d ivid u al in the course o f a m onth. T h a t people also enjoy listen ing to it in Russia is not surprising. debates. and in the sam e breath as full o f prospects. In this distorted view o f the bourgeois a n ation alistic m om ent is present. T h e y now set abou t d ra w ­ ing u p a gra n d in ven tory o f their hum an and territorial w ealth . h ave becom e over­ n igh t his im m easu rab ly w e a lth y heirs. A n d o f them ja z z is perhaps the m ost popular. how ­ ever. as a gold d ig g er’s life on the K lo n d ik e. “ W o u ld you be kind en ough to give me a few w ords on that M ik h a ilo vich in w ritin g ? ” C lass rule had ad op ted sym bols that serve to ch aracterize the op posin g class. for p rop agan d a p u r­ poses. the new system o f pow er. against the hostility o f h a lf the w orld. a grotesque im age o f the bourgeois type is constructed. But as they p a rt the first says. It is this reversal o f the pow er stru ctu re that makes life here so h eavy w ith conten t. a certain in toxication can result. It is as com plete in itself and rich in events. poisonous reptile. S h ou ld the E u rop ean correlation o f pow er and m oney . the discipline and com p eten ce o f the a d versary b eing overlooked. In rea lity the im age is often m erely ridiculous. It is one o f the crud e stage sets w ith the aid o f w hich. like a L rig h tly coloured . anyon e w alk in g past the endlessly piled -up valu ab les in the K rem lin collections is tem pted to say.Moscow 195 subject. how ever. “ a possession” ). and votes (and all these are w ars or at least m anoeuvres o f the w ill to pow er) can no lon ger be im agin ed . T h e people. as it were.

on a m ap o f Russia. the trial by fire o f the Bolshevik b u reau cra cy. Z urich . Q u ite certain ly the strong n ational feeling that Bolshevism has given all Russians w ithout distinction has conferred a new reality on the m ap o f E urope. w here he was born. ner­ vous territory far out to the west. W h en this handle is turned. at K a z a n . angu lar. perhaps not even the P arty. C ra co w . and perhaps enjoy that intoxication w ith gran d eu r w h ich is induced by the m ere sight o f R ussia. T h e y w ant to m easure. steeled and w ith the absolute certain ty o f victory. at a freely chosen m om ent. schem atic. O n it L e n in ’s life resembles a cam p aign o f colonial conquest across E urope. little electric lights flash. T h e reasons for this are above all econom ic. !3 In the R ed A rm y C lu b at the K rem lin . but C om m unism in Russia w ould be lost. People here have not yet developed E u rop ean consum er concepts and consum er needs. G en eva. the follow ing is seen: one after the other. Beside it is a handle. too. a m ap o f E urope hangs on the w all. Russia is begin nin g to take shape for the m an o f the people. up to the place o f his death. O n the street. at all the places throu gh w hich L enin passed in the course o f his life. their little land as a frayed. piled up by street vendors w ho offer them for sale. . (Here with Europe! ) — on it the W est is a com plicated system o f little Russian peninsulas. com pare.E . Petersburg. or even D en m ark . G orki. M oscow . O th e r towns are not m arked. M eyerh o ld uses a m ap in D . citizens can only be u rgen tly advised to look at their country on the m ap o f n eighb ou ring states. T h e m ap is alm ost as close to becom ing the centre o f the new Russian iconic cult as L e n in ’s portrait. to study G erm an y on a m ap o f P olan d . lie maps o f the S F S R * . the snow. * Soviet F ederated Socialist R epu b lic [N L B ]. Paris. T h e contours o f this w ooden relief m ap are rectilinear.ig6 penetrate Russia. but all Europeans ought to see. then perhaps not the country. France. Y e t it is possible that in addition an astute P arty stratagem is in volved : to equal the level o f consum ption in W estern Europe. A t Sim birsk.

A t th a t tim e the victorious class. P re-revolu tion ary ed u cation in R ussia was. T h e Russian A c a d e m y o f Science has for its part m ade a m an like W a lz e l— an a vera ge specim en o f the m o d em acad em ic bel esprit— a m em ber. T h e second a ca d em ic th e a tre — a state-supported in stitu tion — is pu tting on a p erform an ce o f the Oresteia in w hich a dusty an tiq u ity struts a b o u t the stage as u n tru th fu lly as in a G erm an C o u rt theatre. en tirely unspecific. T h ere are w riters like P iln iak w ho see in B olshevism the crow n in g o f the w ork o f Peter the G reat. is presu m ab ly sure o f victo ry sooner or later. E urop ean. In p resen t-d ay Russia it is q u ite different. In contrast. N ot so in the in tellectu al and scientific areas. T h is is a n ational. but also a copy o f C o u rt actin g in revo lu tio n a ry M oscow . the foundations o f a general ed u cation have yet to be laid. are those o f A m erica. are in R ussia seeking an accom m od ation . despite all the adventures o f its earliest years. d eso latin g form that they ow e fin ally to im perialism . had lon g been p e rv ad e d by the ideas o f the third estate. It is now ap p aren t in Russia that E u ro p ea n values are b ein g po p u larized in ju st the distorted. cu ltu ral .Moscow ig y 14 W h a t figure does the m an o f letters cut in a cou n try w here his em p lo yer is the p ro letariat? T h e theoreticians o f Bolshevism stress how w id ely the situation o f the proletariat in Russia after this successful revolution differs from that o f the bourgeoisie in 1789. ed u cation. and the n ational on the ele­ m en ta ry level. T h e E u ro­ pean m om en t in h igh er ed u cation . For m illions upon m illions o f illiterates. A n d as the m a rb le-stiff gesture is not on ly corru pt in itself. T h a t is one side o f the ed u cation al question. before it attain ed pow er. In tellectu a l organization . O n the other the victory o f the R e v o lu tio n has in m a n y areas accelerated the process o f E u ro p ea n iza tio n . and the m ental struggle for em an cip ation was fought out before the political. it has a still m ore m ela n ch o ly effect than in S tu ttga rt or A n h a lt. had secured for itself in struggles lasting decades the control o f the c u ltu ra l apparatu s. In the tech n ical area this tend en cy. h ow ever. R ussian task. P ro b a b ly the only cu ltu ra l conditions in the W est for w hich R ussia has a lively en ou gh u n derstan d ing for disagreem ent w ith it to be profitable.

T h e cou ntry is isolated from the W est less by frontiers and censorship than by the intensity o f an existence that is beyond all com parison w ith the E u rop ean. N ow they h ave fallen silent. M essage and subject m atter are d eclared o f p rim ary im portan ce. quotes Shakespeare as one o f the great poets w ho w rote before the invention o f printin g. In this R ussia is ahead o f W estern d evelop ­ m ents— but not as far ahead as is believed . U n ­ d oubted ly Russians know far less a b ou t the outside w orld than foreigners (w ith the possible excep tion o f the R o m a n tic countries) know about Russia. Such doctrines cut the grou n d from under the w riter’s feet ju st as irrev o cab ly as the econ om y has done on the m aterial plane. w orkin g in the dep artm en ts o f censor- . T h e old bourgeoisie has been an n ih ilated . the new is neither m a teria lly nor in tellectually in a position to establish extern al relations. T o d a y it is official d octrin e th at subject m atter.ig8 rapprochement as such (w ithout the fou n d ation o f the m ost concrete econom ic and political com m unity) is an interest o f the pacifist variety o f im perialism . I f an influential R ussian m entions Proust and Bronnen in the same breath as authors w ho take their subject m atter from the area o f sexual problem s. But if one o f R u ssia’s lea d in g authors. in conversation. F orm al controversies still played a not inconsiderable part at the time o f the civil w ar. and is for Russia a sym ptom o f restoration. In Russia the process is com p lete: the in tellectu al is above all a fun ctionary. decides the revo lu tio n a ry or co u n ter-revo lu ­ tion ary attitud e o f a w ork. this shows cle a rly the foreshortened perspective in w h ich E u rop ean m atters a p p e ar from here. Theses and dogm as th at in E u ro p e — a d m itted ly only for the last tw o cen tu ries— have been regarded as alien to art and beneath discussion by men o f letters are decisive in literary criti^ cism and prod uction in the new R ussia. such a lack o f train in g can on ly be understood from the com p letely changed conditions affectin g R u ssian w ritin g as a w hole. benefits only gossiping busy-bodies. not form . Stated more precisely: contact w ith the outside w orld is through the P arty and p rim arily concerns p o litical questions. the “ freelan ce” w riter must also disappear. For sooner or later. w ith the m iddle classes w ho are b ein g grou n d to pieces by the struggle b etw een cap ital and lab ou r.

abstractivists w ho u n d er w a rtim e C om m u n ism pu t their g ra p h ic p ro p ag an d a at the service o f the R e vo lu tio n h ave lon g since been dismissed. suprem atists. exam ple. In this it takes accou n t o f R ussian reality. but they are by far the most interesting. or a top hat before a h a tte r’s. mass m eetings. finance. T h ese are gifts from the personnel o f a factory to the M o sco w Soviet. B ut M oscow shops are in vitin g . or anecdote. each w ith a fez ad orn in g his head and each at his ow n little table. Also. and. It supports the notion o f d ictatorsh ip even in the field o f in tellectu al creation. P end ants before the en tran ce o f a T u rkish k itch en : gentlem en . h ow ever. if he survives. *5 N o w and again one com es across streetcars painted all over w ith pictures o f factories. In contrast. H e is a m em ber o f the ru lin g class. un spoiled m otifi that rem ain are most likely to be found here. T h e transfer o f the m en tal m eans o f prod uction into p u b lic ow nership can be distinguished on ly fictitiou sly from that o f the m aterial m eans. the W estern ad vertisem ent convinces first and forem ost by the expense . O f his various organ ization s the most prom inent is the gen era l association o f p roletarian w riters in R ussia. T o d a y on ly b an al cla rity is d em an d ed. red regim ents. T h ese vehicles carry the only political posters still to be seen in M oscow . B ut the constructivists. they have som ething o f the tavern abou t them . or golden b arbers’ basins. as otherw ise on ly old inn signs do. For n ow h ere are m ore n aive com m ercial posters to be seen than here. in R ussia m eans pow er. advertising is still tied to n arrative. T h e w retch ed level o f pictorial ad vertisin g is the on ly sim ilarity b etw een Paris and M oscow . C a te rin g to a prim itive taste. T h e shop signs point at right angles into the street. p a rticip atin g in w o rk — w h ich . the p roletarian can be train ed in the use o f both only under the p rotection o f d ictatorsh ip . C ountless w alls aroun d churches and m onasteries offer on all sides the finest surfaces for posters.Moscow ig g ship. Shoes fa llin g out o f a basket. the last ch arm ing. M ost o f these posters repel the W esterner. T o begin w ith. ju stice. a P om eran ian ru n n in g aw ay w ith a sand al in his m outh. C om m u nist agitators.

contentious life accosts the passer-by. blue. T h e w alls are cram m ed w ith pictures. S om ething sim ilar is to be seen in m an y clubs. h avin g neither the d a zzlin g electric signs o f B erlin. the film and au to ­ m obile industries. fin ally to reach its decisive phase on the roof. how ever. R e d pre­ dom inates. w h ich varies its style am ong factories and authors. T h e y are tem ple w alls to w hich the child ren d aily donate their ow n w ork as gifts to the collective. O n ly from an airplan e does one have a view o f the industrial elite o f the city. they are pervad ed by S oviet em blem s and heads o f Lenin. in black. a w orn step or a solid staircase— a silently determ ined. a pictu re o f boots or freshlyironed w ashing. on the frames o f front doors. T h e city. does not yet possess the sim plest— brand nam es. E very L enin niche has its w all n ew spaper. T h e gran d . T h a t h eight only the strongest. and pasteboard m odels. W a ll newspapers are for grow nups sch em ata o f the same collective form o f expression. O n e m ust ride through the streets on the streetcar to perceive how this struggle is continued up w ard through the various stories. O ften M o sco w ’s even in g sky glows in frightenin g b lu e : one has u n w ittin g ly looked at it through one o f the gig an tic pairs o f blue spectacles that project from op ticians’ shops like signposts. T h e y cam e into b eing under the pressure o f the civil w ar. T o d a y they are an o b liga to ry part o f the p u b lic life o f factories. show y d evice is alien to com m erce.200 o f w hich it shows the firm cap ab le. . nor the sunny solitude o f the rooftops o f great cities in the South. nor the forest o f chim neys o f Paris. T h e new spaper is the chronicle o f the collective. M ostly. w hen in m any places neither n ew spaper nor p rin tin g ink was availab le. 16 A n yon e en tering a Russian classroom for the first tim e w ill stop short in surprise. H ere alm ost every ad also specifies the com m od ity in question. yellow . d raw ings. T h e only th in g com m on to all is the n aive cheerfulness: colourful pictures interspersed w ith prose and verses. so in ven tive in ab b reviation s o f all kinds. youngest slogans and signs attain. and red letters o f v a ryin g sizes— as an arrow . the roofs o f M oscow are a life­ less w asteland. F rom the gatew ays.

cau sin g an explosion w ith a short circuit. c u ltu ra l institutions are g ra p h ic a lly recorded in lines o f d evelop ­ m ent. N otices. a third w ith his knee c a u g h t b etw een tw o pistons. a lo n g w ith com ponen ts o f tools. its short text clarified by m any ch arm in g d raw in gs. a g ricu ltu ra l d evelopm ent. an exp ert is called on to speak. pain ted proletarian ty p e s— a peasan t and an ind ustrial w o rk e r— sym bolize the smychka. In a niche a bust o f L en in . fill the red -d rap ed room to its farthest corners. and attend courses and ed u cation al evenings. In the len din g room o f the R ed A rm y bookshop hangs a notice. retorts co n tain in g chem icals d isp layed everyw h ere on the walls. E ven inside a fa ctory ev eryo n e is as i f surrounded by coloured posters all exor­ cising the terrors o f the m ach in e. E arlier. another. T h e erstw hile separees are tod ay bedroom s for the peasants o f both sexes w ho have received a komandirovka to visit the city. both facin g . drunk. too. must be stuck up in every pub. H e and his assistant have one tab le. w arn in g signs. m achin e parts. In the read in g room o f the peasant club on T r u b n a ia S qu are the w alls are covered w ith visual aids. T h e villa g e ch ro n icle. B ut as I cam e nearer. and d id actic pictures co ver the w alls o f the L en in niche elsew here. etc. the clasp in g togeth er o f tow n and co u n try.. the b u ild in g occu p ied by this club was one o f the lead in g restauran ts in M oscow . T h e hearin g o f evidence has ju st finished. litres. In h un d red s o f thousands o f copies a poster in trod u cin g the w eights and m easures norm al in E u rop e is dissem inated th rou ghou t the w h ole o f R ussia. show in g how m an y w ays there are o f ru in ing a book. sitting and standing. they turned out to be gas masks. O n e w orker is portrayed w ith his arm forced b etw een the spokes o f a d rivin g w heel. p rod u ction technique. on the righ t and the left. T h e proceedin gs take place on a stage in front o f w h ich . From tim e to tim e there is also p ed ag o g ica l theatre in the form o f “ legal p ro cee d in gs” . M etres.Moscow 201 It gives statistical reports bu t also jo c u la r criticism o f com rades m in g led w ith suggestions for im p rovin g the factory or appeals for co m m u n a l aid. kilogram m es. O u t o f cu riosity I w en t up to a sh e lf from w hich tw o N egro faces grim aced at m e. T h ere they are cond u cted th rou gh collections and b arracks. opposite him is the table o f the defence. A b o u t three h u n d red people.

T h e arg u m en tatio n now circles aroun d this case in m onotonous. She is accused o f m ed ical incom petence w ith fatal results. In the b ack grou n d . on others fraud. n In the streets o f M oscow there is a curious state o f affairs: the Russian village is p la yin g hide-and-seek in them . people have alw ays died in child b irth. T h e cou rt retires to deliberate. the ju d g e ’s table.202 sidew ays to the public. how ever. Before it. a peasant w om an . prostitution. is a farm yard or a village. T h en the presiding ju d g e turns to the assem bly: A re there any questions? B ut on ly a K om so m ol appears on the stage. O n one occasion. for w h ich everyone stands up: tw o years’ im prisonm ent w ith recogn ition o f m itigatin g circum stances. the ground is u n even. broad and expansive. T h ro u g h incorrect treatm en t she caused the d eath o f a w om an in ch ild b irth . alcoholism w ill be disposed o f in this w ay. being precipitates o f an existence th at requires that a stand be taken a hundred times each day. to d em and severe punishm ent. fron tally. hooliganism . T h e final w ord o f the d efen d an t: nichevo. Such d em on stra­ tions are carefully prep ared . I f you step through one o f the high g a te w a y s— they often have w rou gh tiron gates. In conclusion. T h e prosecution dem ands the death penalty. S olitary confinem ent is thus ru led out. the president points to the necessity o f establishing centres o f hygiene and instruction in ru ral areas. children ride a b ou t in sleighs. O p e n in g before you . w ith a thick branch in her hand. b ut I never found them clo sed — you stand on the threshold o f a spacious settlem ent. T h e austere forms o f such ed u cation al w ork are en tirely a p p rop riate to S oviet life. T h e defence counsel. For m ob ilizin g the p u b lic on questions o f B olshevik m orality in accord an ce w ith P arty wishes there can be no m ore effective means. A fter a short pause com es the ju d gm en t. dressed in black. sheds for w ood and tools fill the . T h e exp ert gives his repo rt: to b lam e for the m o th er’s death was the incorrect treatm ent. sits the defendant. sim ple trains o f thought. pleads against harshness. there can be no question o f im ­ provisation. in the cou n try there is a lack o f sanitary aid and h ygen ic instruction.

N or is there any W estern city that. a hotel nam ed L iverp oo l. and if all o f a sudden silence falls. ju st as on a large v illa ge green. T h e w et ground. skaters and skiers are en cou n tered th rou gh ou t the city. but the toboggan track is closer to the centre. w ith its starry lustre b y n igh t and its flow erlike crystals by day. W h a t looks so desolate in B ran d en b u rg stone a ttracts here w ith the lo vely colours o f w arm w ood. there is h a rd ly one in E u rop e w hose secret structure was not profaned and destroyed b y a m on u m en t in the nineteenth cen tu ry. a T ir o l b oard in ghouse. looks so ru ra lly formless and p erp etu ally sodden from bad w eath er. F rom there it still takes h a lf an hour to reach the centres o f urban w in ter sport. one can b elieve on eself in a villa ge in m idw inter. O n ly tow ard evening does it b ecom e invisible. peasant huts a ltern a te w ith art nouveau villas or w ith the sober facades o f eightstory blocks. T h e r e sleighs o f the m ost diverse construction are used: from a b oard that runs at the front on sleigh rails and at the b ack drags in the snow . w h ich look like city b u ild in gs from the front. (In contrast. to the most com fortable bobsleds. N ostalgia for M o sco w is en gendered not on ly by the snow. at the most it resem bles its outskirts.Moscow 203 corners. M o sco w builds up w ith nam es a little w orld w ithin itself. the a p p e a ra n ce o f R ussian farm houses. In the su b u rb a n streets lea d in g o ff the broad avenues. w ooden staircases give the backs o f houses. T h e re is a casino called A lc a za r. T h e c ity is still interspersed w ith little w ooden buildings in e x a ctly the sam e S lav o n ic style as those found everyw h ere in the su rround ings o f B erlin. Scarcely one o f these broad spaces bears a m onum ent. and in d ig en t taverns are found in the busiest parts. N o w h ere does M o sco w look like the city itself. I f you w an d er the streets in . deep in the R ussian in terio r. S now lies deep. F or b etw een low roofs the horizon o f the broad plains is con stan tly en terin g the city.) L ike every oth er city. So the street is a u gm en ­ ted by the dim ension o f landscape. T ru e . lon g con voys carry in g raw m aterials. in its vast squares. bu t also b y the sky. B u t then the shortage o f housing in M o sco w prod u ces its most astonishing effect. F re q u e n tly churches stand in these yards. trees stand here and there. cattle b ein g driven to the slaugh terh ouse. th aw in g snow or rain. the w ooden booths.

I f the ligh t com ing from them w ere not so unsteady. A ll these churches preserve their incognito. T h e subject o f the tsars was surrounded in this city by more than four hun dred chapels and churches. N evertheless the room is alw ays lit on ly b y candles. M ost o f the churches are b u ilt on an insipid. But there is still perhaps not a single spot in M o sco w from w hich at least one church is not visible. O n ly w ith tim e does one becom e accustom ed to pu ttin g together the long walls and crow ds o f low dom es into com plexes o f m onastery churches. spy over w alls. the half­ light lending itself to conspiracy. I f you enter one o f these churches you first find a spacious an te­ room w ith a few sparse portraits o f saints. A d jo in in g the anteroom is the only room for w orship. In the b a c k ­ ground it had a few sm all steps lead in g to a n arrow . T h e m onasteries still b ear traces today o f their old defensive purpose. low platform along w hich one advances past pictures o f saints to the iconostasis. 18 T h e churches are alm ost m ute. It then also becom es clear w h y in m any places M o sco w looks as tightly sealed as a fortress. w hich hide in the corners everyw h ere. w hich is to say by two thousand dom es. cover one another. M o re e x a c tly : at w h ich one is not w atch ed by at least one church. From the trashily painted ceiling hangs a crystal chan d elier. you w ould believe you had a festive illu m in ation before y ou r eyes. even pogrom s if the occasion dem ands. A n architectural okhrana was around him . and golden dom es are a can d ied O rien t. It is gloom y. a d ra w in g room w ith sanctified . a glim m erin g red light denoting each. N ow h ere do high tow ers ju t into the sky.204 the dusk you see in the large and sm all houses alm ost every w in d o w b righ tly lit. In such room s one can discuss the most dubious business. A t short intervals. T h e city is as good as free o f the chim es that on S undays spread such deep m elan ch oly over our cities. H ere B yza n tiu m w ith its thousand dom es is not the w on d er that the E u rop ean dream s it to be. A ll parts o f the w all that are not thus covered w ith pictures are lined w ith shining gold-coloured tin plate. a ltar succeeds altar. T h e side w alls are occu pied b y large pictures o f saints. sickly-sw eet p a tte rn : their blue. green.

p ra yin g or doing penance. and could on ly be surprised b y a gaze co m in g from an airp lan e. T h e va u lted passagew ays are n arrow . T h is b u ild in g alw ays holds som ething back. glass-covered pictures ly in g in rows or singly on desks the gen uflection is om itted. the w orshipp er. distorting w ith a sad rococo playfulness the m uch older d ecoration that sp aringly preserves in the in terior the m em ory o f the colourful spirals o f the d om es. F rom their inclined. O n e bends over them and kisses the glass. M a n y pictures o f saints h ave taken up positions outside on the facade and look d ow n from the highest cornices under the tin ny eaves like birds sh elterin g there. B ut the glow that now shines on ly occasion ally from the altars into the snow has been w ell preserved in the w ood en cities o f booths. beside the m ost precious old icons. T h e large pictures are g reeted b y m akin g the sign o f the cross and kneeling dow n to tou ch the grou n d w ith the fo re h e a d . d rab w in d o w s lookin g out onto the street from the assem bly rooms and tow ers o f the ch u rch as i f from a livin g room . Behind them the O r th o d o x priest is ensconced like the B uddhist m onk in his p agod a. sudden ly b road en in g in to a lta r niches or circ u la r chapels into w h ich so little light falls from the high w indow s above that isolated d evotion al objects th a t have been left stan d in g are scarcely discernible. B yza n tiu m seems to have no ch u rch -w in d ow form o f its ow n . (A n d it cou ld hard ly h ave tu rn ed out d ifferen tly. i f you enter R e d S qu are from the w est. In their snow -covered. then. series o f the gaudiest oil paintings are displayed. O n such desks. retort-shaped heads afflic­ tion speaks. M a n y ch urch es rem ain as u n ten d ed and as em pty. . Before sm all. goes on to the next. A m agical b u t u n ca n n y im pression: the profane. against w hich the b u ild ers forgot to take precautions. w ith renew ed signs o f the cross. for even in 1920 people still prayed here w ith fa n a tic a l fervour. H o w ever. its dom es g ra d u a lly rise into the sky like a pack o f fiery suns. T h e inside has been not ju st e m p tied b ut eviscerated like a shot deer.) W ith the rem oval o f all the furniture. T h e lo w er part o f the Basilius C a th ed ra l m ight be the ground floor o f a fine b o y a r house. the co lo u rfu l vegetal con volu tion s that proliferate as m urals in all the corridors and vau lts are hopelessly exposed.Moscow 205 w alls again st w hich the cerem on y unrolls.

In the orchestra o f such folk m usic. This is the term for an epic or ly rical subject that has been a d ap ted for the theatre. life in w inter is richer by a dim ension. It needs h a lf a d a y ’s .206 n arrow alleyw ays it is quiet. O n e is the vertical coordin ate o f m ealtim es. Chainaia. T h erefo re no one know s the city w ho has not know n it in snow. crossed by the evening h orizon tal o f the theatre. In M oscow . on drin kin g the hot tea and en joyin g the sharp zakuska. enthroned in concealm en t b eh in d silver chains. and dried peas in salt w ater. has d raw n tinsel and cotton-w ool-tufted F ath er Christm ases across her face like an oriental veil. for to this it is p rim arily ad ap ted . People live on the street as if in a frosty ch am b er o f m irrors. w ho. (T h ey can be found in every shop and office. O n e hears on ly the soft ja rg o n o f the Jew ish clothiers in their stalls next to the ju n k o f the paper dealer. In certain taverns one can dine in this w a y and enjoy in ad d itio n a prim itive intsenirovka. each pause to think is u n b elieva b ly difficult. O r each district m ust be visited durin g the season in w hich its clim atic extrem e falls. m an y o f the large grocery stores do not close until abou t eleven at night. Space literally changes accord in g to w h eth er it is hot or cold. 19 E ven the m ost laborious M oscow w eekd ay has tw o coordinates that define each o f its m om ents sensuously as exp ectation and fulfilm ent. O n e is never very far from either. M oscow is cram m ed w ith pubs and theatres. and on the corners tearoom s and beerhouses open. Sentries w ith sweets patrol the street. and it can be understood on ly throu gh this ad aptation. alongside accordions and violins. Beer is served w ith curious condim ents: tiny pieces o f dried w hite and b lack bread baked over w ith a salt crust. is M o sco w ’s m ost secret w inter lust. abacuses used as instrum ents are som e­ times to be heard. pivnaia — but usually both are painted on a b ack grou n d w here a dull green from the u p p er edge gra d u ally and sullenly merges into a d irty yellow . It is often a folk song cru d ely d ivided for a choir. T h e smallest calculatio n is u n th in k able w ithou t them .) The in toxicatin g w arm th that overcom es the guest on en terin g these taverns.

a d m itted ly slogans that he h im self suggested. h ow ever.Moscow 207 resolution even to m ail an a lrea d y addressed letter. It is sign ifican t th at the report o f the E nglish trad e-u n ion delegation. T h e m ou rn in g for L enin is. for Bolsheviks. no m a tter w h a t is put on the ta b le — vo d ka (w hich is here spiced w ith herbs). It flows into the w ea ry guest like honey. or a cu p o f te a — w arm th m akes the passing time itse lf an in toxican t. T o d a y oth er orders are in force than those o f L e n in ’s tim e. A t that tim e m any retu rn ed their m em b ersh ip books to the P arty. cakes. a . not c iv il w ar. T h e revo lu tio n a ry n ature o f true techn ology is em ­ p h asized ever m ore clearly. are left o u t for a few weeks. N evertheless. 20 O n the an n iversary o f L e n in ’s death m an y w ea r b lack arm bands. His nam e grow s and grows. but can al construction . It is as i f stabilization had a d m itted to their lives the calm . once hanging. L ike everyth in g else. flags throu ghou t the city are at half-m ast. his im age grow s q u ick ly rem ote. M a n y o f the b la ck -v eiled pennants. L e n in ’s a c tiv ity so a ccelerated the course o f events in his era that he recedes sw iftly into the past. in the op tic o f h isto ry— opposite in this to that o f sp a c e — m ovem en t in the distance means en largem ent. som etim es even the apathy. Y e t w h en yo u have finally found a restaurant. N ow it is m ade clear to every C o m m u n ist th at the revo lu tio n a ry w ork o f this hour is not conflict. R u ssia ’s m ou rnin g for a dead lead er is c e rta in ly not c o m p a ra b le to the attitudes ad op ted by other peoples on such days. electrification . Cases are know n o f such total d em o ra liza tio n that trusty pillars o f the P arty becam e d efraud ers w ith in a few weeks. that is u su a lly b ro u g h t on ly b y old age. this (w ith reason) is done in L e n in ’s nam e. T h e gen era tio n that was active in the civil w ars is g ro w in g old in v ita lity i f not in years. T h e halt the P arty one d ay called to w a rtim e C om m u n ism w ith the N E P h ad a terrible backlash. and factory b u ild in g . also m ou rn in g for heroic C om m u nism . F or a t least three days. w h ich felled m an y o f the m o v em en t’s fighters. T h e few years since its passing are for R u ssian consciousness a long time. and despite the severe cold it is a feat o f w ill pow er to go into a shop and b u y som ething.

It is also gra d u ally establishing its can on ical form s. thought it w orth m en ­ tioning the possibility “ that. yet another speaks perhaps m ore intensely and d ire ctly : L enin at a table bent over a co p y o f Pravda. certain ly.” E ven tod ay the cult o f his picture has assum ed im m easu rab le proportions. 1927 . W hen he is thu£ im m ersed in an ephem eral n ew spaper. this great R ussian revo lu tio n a ry reform er w ill even be pronounced a sa in t. It hangs in the vestibule o f the arm oury in the K rem lin . w h en the m em ory o f L en in has found its place in history.208 sober docum ent sparing w ith prognoses. T h e w ell-kn ow n pictu re o f the orator is the most com m on. the d ialectical tension o f his nature appears: his gaze turned. to the far horizon. as in form erly godless places the cross was erected b y converted heathens. but the tireless care o f his heart to the m om ent.

M arseilles T h e street . and to bounce the relu ctan t guest like a ball from one side o f the street to the other. “ Les bricks” . and cellars. and p rin ter’s ink. the ch am b er w here the trophies 209 . H u n ch b a ck s w ear it. the only valid field o f experience. F or this dep ot o f w orn -ou t a lleyw ays is the prostitutes’ q u arter. A vast agg lo m era tion o f steps. W h en this gu llet opens to catch the b la ck and brow n p roletarian bodies th row n to it by sh ip ’s com p an ies acco rd in g to their tim etables. a n gu lar territories like A frica n colonies. it is his hat. and oyster stalls. H as anyone yet pro b ed d eep ly enough into this refuse heap o f houses to reach the inn erm ost place in the gy n ae ce u m . o f p o verty. ready at a sign to en circle hesitant visitors. but it alread y has it. after the barges m oored a hun d red paces a w a y at the je tty o f the old harbour. turrets. arches. In visib le lines d ivid e the area up into sharp. A n d the d iscoloured w om en o f rue B outerie are given their only tint by the sole pieces o f clo th in g they w ea r: pink shifts. the red -lig h t district is called. the porters and w hores prod ucts o f d ecom position w ith a resem blan ce to hu m an beings. I f he forfeits n oth in g else in this gam e. T h e w hores are strateg ically placed. and beggarw om en . bridges. — A n dre Breton Marseilles — the yellow -stu d d ed m aw o f a seal w ith salt w a ter ru n n in g out b etw een the teeth. urine. B ut the p alate itself is pink. lavatories. It seems to be still a w a itin g its designated use. T h is com es from the tartar baking hard on the m assive ja w s: n ew spaper kiosks. T h e h arb ou r people are a bacillus cu ltu re. it exhales a stink o f oil. . . w hich is the colour o f sham e here.

just as. E very step stirs a song. a flap p in g o f w et linen. two hundred years ago. how ever. and abou t her neck is an oval o f w axen. But the chase is dangerous. O n this bashful. the lam ps in its velvet lin in g form constellations that have not yet been nam ed. and the net is finally torn w hen. a q uarrel. at m id d ay in the m ountains. A disused fortress is her holy footstool. leanin g against a pillar. there is a silence o f hens. A t night. d rip pin g hand. U nless. a grindstone im pales it from behind w ith its w h izzin g sting. and points unruffled to a sturdy b ab y in the act o f em ergin g from an egg. For in these deserted corners all sounds and things still have their ow n silences. the snake-ringed M e d u sa ’s heads over their w eather-beaten doorfram es have only now becom e u n am b igu ou sly the signs o f a professional guild. H igh in the em p ty streets o f the harb ou r district they are as densely and loosely clustered as butterflies on a hot flow er bed. if you are to pursue them w ith a net as they flutter a w a y unsteadily into the stillness. and . on w hich. It has a zip p er: the cabin at the foot o f the steel band o f the rack railw ay is a je w e l. shines a signet ring on a fishw ife’s h ard finger. T h e high-breasted nym phs. Noises. like a gigan tic hornet. the old H o tel de V ille. trilbies. she turns a defiant face to all the brothel keepers o f the quarter. T h e hill from w hich she looks dow n is the starry garm ent o f the M o th er o f G od. hu n tin g hats. signboards w ere hun g over them as the m idw ife B ian ch am ori has hung hers. T h u s the a lle y w a y passes betw een rows o f inn ocen t houses as i f shielded by a bashful hand from the harbour. o f the axe o f the cicadas. L ittle chains o f stream ers and sails are her earrings. glazed votive w reaths that look like relief profiles o f her forebears. jo c k e y caps — hang in rows on consoles or in layers on racks? From the in ­ teriors o f taverns the eye meets the sea. H ere. O n ly you h ave to have strayed up here alone. bowlers. a clatter o f buckets. into w hich the houses o f the C ite C hab as snuggle. a b a b y ’s b aw lin g. stood p atrician s’ houses. that is. Notre Dame de la Garde.210 o f m an h oo d — boaters. a rattlin g o f boards. from the coloured b u ll’s-eyes o f w hich the w orld shines back.

glorious cities one must have been a child in them . p lace and tim e had conspired victoriou sly in this m onum ent against its architects and sponsors. T h is is the M arseilles religion station. u n fath om ab le goods. w ith their concord an ces and cross-references. F or childhood is the d ivin in g rod o f m ela n ch o ly. sunniest square stands the cath ed ra l. O n the least frequ ented . the n arrow yard w here. tariffs for the d iscoun t on special trips in S a ta n ’s lu x u ry train are consulted. and a p roletarian district to the north. T h is place is deserted. and cab in ets w here the lon g-d istance traveller can discreetly w ash are kept in readiness as confessionals. the m onotonous residential quarters o f the lon g-stan d in g inh abitants. the harb ou r. E xtracts from the railw a y traffic regu ­ lations in the form o f pastoral letters hang on the w alls. the b leak b u ild in g stands betw een q u a y and w arehouse. N e a rly forty years w ere spent on it. w ed ged am ong their sp iritu al possessions as b etw een cases. Cathedral. the Passage de L orette. As a relo a d in g point for in tan gib le. the w hole w orld shrinks to a . T h e facad e gives an in d ication o f the w a itin g room s w ith in . in the sleepy presence o f a few w om en an d m en. S leep in g cars to eternity d ep art from here at M ass tim es. despite the proxim ity at its feet o f L a J o liette. w ho know som ething o f the sadness o f M arseilles. sit readin g hym n-books that. T h e grey houses o f the B o u leva rd de L on gch am p s. and to know the m ou rnin g o f such rad iant.Marseilles 211 from the shad y lips o f the cryp t issues je w e lle ry o f ruby-red and golden spheres on w hich sw arm s o f pilgrim s h an g like flies. and the w ealth o f the clergy had g iv en rise to a g ig a n tic railw a y station that could never be open ed to traffic. look very m uch like in tern a tio n al tim etables. in 1893. an d the trees o f the A llee de M eilh an give n othin g a w ay to the trav eller if chan ce does not lead him to the cu bicu lu m o f the city. the barred w indow s o f the C ours P uget. But w hen all was com plete. w here passengers o f the first to fourth classes (though before G od they are all equ al). The light from greengroceries that is in the paintings o f M o n ticelli com es from the inner streets o f his city. to the south.

T h e better ones. Portugaises. T h e pressure o f a thousand atm ospheres under w hich this w orld o f im agery w rithes. shell lim estone. to the “ C h o co lat M en ier” . A real-estate com pan y has carved its nam e on the gatew ay. in the centre. bubbles betw een the thighs and bellies o f glazed B uddhas. fin ally to irrigate the p alate as the best sauce for the q u iverin g creatures. A d m irab le. Monies marinieres— all this is incessantly sieved. to d ep artm en t stores. A n d the slow. U n fath om ab le wetness that swills from the upper tier. rears. stupid agen t o f inland trade. m ercu ry colum ns. paper. and the lust that. T h e y are covered w ith gau d y patterns and have sold their w hole length m an y hundreds o f tim es to the latest brand o f aperitif. on the thighs and breasts o f w om en. but d aily feeds foreigners at w h ite tables w ith dishes that are m uch too clean and as if su rgically rinsed? Shellfish and oyster stalls. or D olores del R io. Clovisses. after long voyages. grouped. prepared. Maremmes. into the m arshland o f cresses and through the woods o f F rench pennants. piles up. Walls. throw n a w ay . is the same force that is tested in the h ard hands o f seam en. Does not this interior correspond e x a ctly to the w hite m ystery ship m oored in the harbou r. and enam el. the breakers o f foam ing lips that forever surge against the stream ing steps. and sirens com m ingle. in a dirty. tasted. In the poorer quarters they are p o litically m ob ilized and post their spacious red letters as the fore­ .212 single S u n d ay afternoon. on the other q u ay . the discipline to w h ich they are subject in this city. counted. w here inkpots. the m ineral hereafter o f sea shells. Mautique. But over there. is the same that sends tremors through these streets on p ayd ays. anchors. presses from the m ineral w orld a red or blue velvet heart to be pierced w ith needles and brooches. Seism ic forces have throw n up this m assif o f paste jew ellery. w ear livery and are in the pay o f the ru lin g class. has no place in the unfettered elem ent. on the shell-covered caskets. w hich never puts to sea. steam ers. past yellow dom es o f lem ons. stretches the m ou n tain range o f “ souvenirs” . cracked open. cleansing flood over d irty planks and w a rty m ountains o f pink shellfish. Oursins de I’ Estaque.

to b lo w it up. m u tely beseeching us to lift the treasure from the ruins? W e hasten by. the w ar-d isa b led o f com petition. on w hom tags and tins o f b oot b lackin g h an g like b raid and m edals. B ar F a c u lta tif— and o v er all this the dust th at here conglom erates out o f sea salt. b u ryin g it in the shell splinters o f ev ery n ational and com m ercial lan gu ag e. C o m p to ir de la L im ite. the m iasm as o f stinking corridors against the d am p gloom under the plane trees in b roo d ­ ing squares. A ren c. for everyw h ere the Southern peddler has so p u lled his b e g g a r ’s c o a t aroun d him th at fate looks at us from it w ith a thousand eyes.Marseilles runners o f red gu ards in front o f dockyards and arsenals. A lim en tation M o d ern e. rue de J a m a iq u e . A n d they lon g to learn m ore abou t such nameless m is­ fortune than the m ere im age o f catastrophe that it presents to us. For w h a t ex trem ity m ust h ave b rou gh t a m an to tip such books as he has left on the asphalt before him . O utskirts are the state o f em erg en cy o f a city. the inland h arb ours. S ain t-A n toin e. H ow far w e are from the sad d ign ity o f our poor. b arb e d w ire against thorn y palm s. Bar du G a z . 2 13 The down-and-out w ho. aw aken s bad instincts in the passers-by. T h e y feel tem pted to m ake use o f so m uch fresh m isery. the m ore p o litica l the atm osphere becom es. the terrain on w hich incessantly rages the great d ecisive b attle b etw een tow n and cou ntry. sells his books on the corner o f rue de la R e p u b liq u e and the V ie u x Port. M in o te rie de la C a m p a g n e . after n ightfall. W e reach the docks. Suburbs. Septem es. It is the h an d -to-h an d figh t o f telegraph poles against A gaves. in S a in t-L a za re . But we shall falter a g a in at every corner. and to hope that a passer-by w ill be seized at this late hou r b y a desire to read ? O r is it all quite d ifferen t? A n d does a poor soul here keep vigil. the w arehouses. . short-w in ded outside staircases against the m ighty hills. Savon A b a tJ o u r. T h e lon g rue de L yo n is the pow d er con d u it that M arseilles has d u g in the lan d scap e in order. T h e farther we em erge from the in n er city. the scattered refugees o f w retchedn ess: the outskirts. the quarters o f po verty. It is now here m ore b itter than betw een M arseilles and the P roven9al landscape.

1928 . and m ica.214 chalk. and whose bitterness persists lon ger in the m ouths o f those w ho have pitted them selves against the city than the splendour o f sun and sea in the eyes o f its adm irers.

. now and then en joym ent. w h ole scenes and situations are e x p e rie n c e d . . . illu m in ation. som eth ing strange. in e lu cta b le is a p p ro a ch in g . H e also attains experiences that a p p ro a ch inspiration. the subject is surprised and overw helm ed . By ev eryth in g that happens. objects m ore b eau tifu l. the grou n d tilt steeply. . an o p aq u e heaviness o f the a ir. atm ospheric sensations oc c u r: va p o u r.” “ It is curious that hashish poisoning has not yet been exp erim en ­ 215 . o w in g to the freq u en tly sudden ru p tu re o f all m em ory o f past events.Hashish in M arseilles Preliminary remark: O n e o f the first signs that hashish is b egin n in g to tak e effect “ is a dull feelin g o f foreb od in g. w hen there is no tu rn in g a w a y from them . th o u gh t is not form ed into w ords. w eariness and torm en t. . im ages and chains o f im ages. a constan t and finally exhau stin g oscillation b etw een to tally differen t w orlds o f consciousness. in the m id d le o f a sen tence these transitions can take p la c e . . and fin a lly. all his utteran ces happ en to him like o u tw a rd events. . and by w h at he says and does. . longsu b m erged m em ories a p p e ar. m ore lum inous. rath er. A ll this the su b ject reports in a form that u su ally diverges very w id ely from the norm .. the situation can b ecom e so com p u lsively hilarious th at the hashish eater for m inutes on end is cap ab le o f nothing ex cep t la u g h in g . . His lau g h ter. . . at first they arouse interest.. C on n ection s becom e difficult to perceive. or else lu m p y and th reaten in g. S p a ce can exp an d . A ll this does not occu r in a continuous d ev elo p ­ m en t. it is typified by a con tin u al a ltern ation o f d ream in g and w a k in g states. T h e m em ory o f the in toxication is surprisingly c le a r. . colours g ro w b rig h ter.

vol. V ersailles. T h e most ad m irab le description o f the hashish trance is by B aud elaire (Les paradis artificiels) . fears that a shadow falling on the paper m ight hurt it. these are absolu tely regal. A t seven o ’clock in the evening. either. I think threequarters o f an hour have alread y passed. But it is on ly tw enty minutes. o f absolute d uration and im m easu rable space. A fterw a rd . 5. a w on d erfu l. A n d yet I am disturbed. the exp ectation o f being received kindly by people. “ D er H asch isch -R au sch ” . it is too noisy for me here. M y w alk in g stick begins to give me a special pleasure. or eternity too long. for one w ho has taken hashish. w hile I have ju st sat dow n to feast into etern ity. . in this city o f hundreds o f thousands w here no one knows me. W h a t n ow ? O n ly a certain ben e­ volence. . I feel this hum our infin itely w h en I am told at the R estau ran t Basso that the hot kitchen has ju st been closed. I lie on the bed.” From J o el and Frankel. So I lie on the bed. D u rin g the d ay I had been in A ix . the one on the right. the feeling that all this is indeed bright. the effects seem ing non-existent or so w eak that the precaution o f staying at hom e was unnecessary. 1926. is not too large. o f not b eing disturbed.2l6 ta lly studied. P. N ow the hashish ea ter’s dem ands on tim e and space com e into force. O n e reads the notices on the urinals. A t last I left the hotel. A g ain st the b ackgroun d o f these im m ense dim ensions o f inner experience. therefore not m y usual cafe. by a little ch ild crying. T h e nausea disappears. beatific hum our dwells all the m ore fon dly on the contingencies o f the w orld o f space and tim e. Seen from the h arb ou r. T h e feeling o f loneliness is very q u ick ly lost. H ow ever. But w hen no one does I am not d isappointed. despite this. . after lon g hesitation. M y first port o f call was the cafe on the corn er o f the C an n eb iere and C ours Belsunce. O p p osite me alw ays this view o f the belly o f M arseilles.3 7 M arseilles. . frequ ented . I took hashish. O n e becom es so tender. It w ou ld not surprise me if this or that person cam e up to me. As is know n. J u ly 29. Klinische Wochenschrift. W ith the absolute certainty. T h e street I have so often seen is like a knife cut. readin g and sm oking.

the disproportion o f seating m yself at so large a tab le caused me such sham e that I w alk ed across the entire floor to the opposite end to sit at a sm aller table that becam e visible to m e o n ly as I reached it. indeed a brass band. w h ich w ere. Y e t in the end I on ly reach ed the first. In that little h a rb o u r b ar the hashish then b egan to exert its can on ical m agic w ith a p rim itive sharpness th at I had scarcely felt until then. M ost o f the w in d o w tables w ere occupied. O n the w a y to the V ie u x Port I a lrea d y had this w on d er­ ful lightness and sureness o f step that transform ed the stony. For it m ade m e into a physiognom ist.Hashish in Marseilles 2 17 an im ated . I now . and I un derw en t som ething u nique in my e x p e rie n c e : I positively fixed m y gaze on the faces that I had around me. (I believe it was the farthest accessible to me w ith ou t d anger. as one can never do w ith sharp senses. It was a very a d va n ced post. seem ed to be p la yin g there. one is able to fill a glass ex a ctly to the b rim w ith ou t spilling a drop. and w ill rem ain so. a circu m stan ce I had gau g ed . I only ju st m an aged to ex p la in to m yself that it was nothing m ore than the b larin g o f car horns.) It was still sufficien tly far from rue Bouterie. this harb ou r tavern. a few petty-bourgeois fam ilies from the n eighbou rhood . or at least a contem plator o f physiognom ies. I must note how I found m y seat. B ut the m eal cam e later. W h a t m attered to me was the view o f the old port that one got from the u p p er floors. w ith the same a ccu racy w ith w h ich . For at this tim e I was still a vo id in g the C an n ebiere. in the trance. As I was sittin g d ow n . u n a rticu la te d earth o f the great square that I was crossing into the surface o f a cou n try road a lo n g w hich I strode at night like an en ergetic hiker. the little b ar on the harbou r. I was a g a in ju st on the point o f retreatin g in confusion. I had spied an em p ty table on the b alcon y o f the second story. so I w ent up to a very large one that had just been vacated . at the m ost. yet no bourgeois sat there. besides the true port p roletariat. w hen u tterly w ea ry. W a lk in g past below . in part. o f rem ark ab le coarseness or ugliness. for a concert. First. h ow ever. not yet quite sure o f m y regu latory functions. Faces th at I w ou ld n orm ally h ave avoid ed for a tw ofold reason: I should n either have w ished to a ttract their gaze nor endured their b ru ta lity .

O r. but from an extrem e politeness tow ard the dishes that I did not wish to offend by a refusal. w hen it lay clean on a plate before me. H e cam e back w ith the news that none was left.2l8 y suddenly understood how. and then. and was on the point o f ordering each item . S im ilarly at Basso's. and so on. until I finally reached the top o f the list. often not. shameless procurer. gratifyin g m yself w ith the am biguous assurance o f one w ho knows from profou nd study the wishes o f his em ployer. the deception vanished as deception s vanish in dream s: not in sham e and com prom ised. I cam e to a stop at a pate de Lyon. I n am ed some local dish. to be lon g m aintained. I then pointed to a place in the m enu in the vicin ity o f this dish. First I ordered a dozen oysters. M ore likely this: I b ecam e m y own skilful. T h en it b egan to take h a lf an etern ity until the w aiter reappeared . but then the nam e o f the one above it cau g h t m y atten tion . W as I m y ow n com p an y? Surely not so undisguisedly. W hether tips are usual in such taverns I do not know . a ja g g e d m ountain w ith all the inner gold o f b ea u ty gleam in g from the wrinkles. c o n te m p tu o u sly : . o f recogn izin g som eone I knew in every face. In short. I esp ecially rem em ber a boundlessly anim al and vu lg ar m ale face in w hich the “ line o f ren u n ciatio n ” struck me w ith sudden violence. glances. I could not w ait for him to appear. I succeeded in m akin g m yself really conspicuous. U n d e r these circum stances there was no question o f loneliness. L ion paste. better than an y treasure cask. I was on the stingy side. to a p a in te r— had it not h ap p en ed to R em b ran d t and m any oth ers?— ugliness could appear as the true reservoir o f b ea u ty . like a being w ho has perform ed his service. one after another. features. how ever. T h e m an w anted me to order the next course at the same tim e. It was above all m en ’s faces that had begun to interest me. N ow began the gam e. fond. But under other circum stances I should have given som ething in an y case. I th ought w ith a w itty sm ile. how ever. but p eacefu lly and am iab ly. T his was not ju st from greed. U n d er hashish yesterday. rather. often I knew the nam e. for fear o f attractin g attention by extra va ga n ce. I dou bt w h eth er that w ould have m ade me so happ y. I w ent into the bar-room and paid at the counter.

I hesitated before takin g wine.Hashish in Marseilles 2 ig this tend er rab b it or chicken m e a t— w h a tever it m ay be.” H ere I m ust observe in gen eral: the solitude o f such trances has its d ark side. the old gam es began a ga in . I strolled along the q u a y and read one after an oth er the nam es o f the boats tied up there. tryin g them out now this w a y . T h e square in front o f the harb ou r was m y palette. illu m in a tin g visions w ere not aw akened. m y ga ze had been ob liged to pass over certain excessively deform ed countenances. w ith o u t concern for the result. and I sm iled in turn at all the C h ristian nam es o f F rance. O n ly one o f them . now that. A piece o f ice was floatin g in the glass. in accord an ce w ith the c h a ra cte r o f the d ig n ita ry w hom they placed before a colonn ad e or a w in d o w . T h e love prom ised to these boats by their nam es seem ed w on d erfu lly b ea u tifu l and tou ch in g to me. I passed b y w ithou t cord iality. B ut first. A n d there is no d ou b t that tru ly b eautiful. this w ind ow . Aero II. there was a m om en t in the h arb ou r tavern w hen a violen t pressure in the d ia p h ra g m sought relief throu gh hum m ing. I had chosen m y seat on accou n t o f the open w in d o w . As I did so an in com p rehen sible gaiety cam e over me. O n . had n othin g to do w ith the square as he saw it but. like a painter d a y d re a m in g on his palette. e x a ctly as. I had tacitly decid ed that as soon as I had finished at Basso’s (it was abou t h a lf past ten) I should go elsew here and dine a second tim e. “ From cen tu ry to cen tu ry things grow m ore estra n g ed . Y e t it w en t ex cellen tly w ith m y drug. I noticed that it h ad a ten d en cy to chan ge w ith everyone w ho stepped onto it. as i f it form ed a figure a b ou t him that. rath er. T o m y lionish hu n ger it w ou ld not h ave seemed in a p p ro p ria te to satisfy itse lf on a lion. b ack to the w alk to Basso’s. M o reover. T o speak on ly o f the physical aspect. threw into a relief by this colonn ad e. L a te r I noted as I looked d ow n . on w h ich im a g in a tio n m ixed the q u alities o f the place. in the bar that I had ju st left. w h en I looked dow n. A n d as I did so from tim e to tim e. U p stairs at Basso’s. It was a h a lf bottle o f Cassis. th rou gh w hich I could look dow n on the dark square. w ith the view that the great p o rtra it painters o f the seventeenth century. clearly. w h ich rem in d ed me o f aerial w arfare.

m y new insight was en tirely different. it forms a kind o f figure and is more easily m em orable. cou ld have been. W e go fo rw ard . through a kind o f unguent w ith w hich I covered it. yet these w ere the sam e. at least in prose? A n d under hashish w e are en raptu red prose-beings in the highest pow er. as to that o f creation. one o u gh t to m editate on A r ia d n e ’s thread. prism atic edges. but also enjoy this pleasure o f discovery against the b ack grou n d o f the other. precisely as these very stones. by Johann es V . A n d this jo y is very d eeply related to the jo y o f trance. A deeply subm erged feeling o f happiness that cam e over me afterw ard. T o begin to solve the riddle o f the ecstasy o f trance.220 the other hand. F ortu n ately I find on m y new spaper the sentence “ O n e should scoop sameness from reality w ith a sp oon . w h ich appeared to say som ething sim ilar: “ R ich a rd was a yo u n g m an w ith un derstan ding for everything in the w orld that was o f the same k in d . but in so d oin g w e not only discover the twists and turns o f the cave.” This sentence had pleased me very m uch. w hich. on a square o ff the C an n eb iere w here rue P arad is opens onto a park. W h a t jo y in the m ere act o f u n ­ rolling a ball o f thread. For I saw only nuances. O n e often speaks o f stones instead o f bread. Jensen. also the sidew alk o f Paris.” S everal weeks earlier I had noted another. in the night the trance cuts itself o ff from e v eryd a y reality w ith fine. These stones . I should like to say: it shrinks and takes on the form o f a flow er. W hereas Jen sen ’s sentence am ounted. I im m ersed m yself in contem plation o f the sidew alk before me. T h e certain ty o f un rollin g an artfully w ound skein — is that not the jo y o f all p ro d u ctivity . rhythm ical bliss o f un w in d ing the thread. the p a rticu la r b eing confined today solely to nuances. as I had understood it. rational sense it had had for me earlier w ith the in d iv id u a l m agical m ean in g o f m y exp erience the d a y before. solitude works in these states as a filter. thoroughly m echanized and ratio n alized . It en abled me now to confrqnt the political. to sayin g that things are as we know them to be. is more difficult to recall than everyth in g that w ent before. W h a t one writes dow n the follow ing day is m ore than an en u m eration o f im pressions.

w hen the glass is rubbed. A n d the sad confused story o f B arn ab as seem ed to me no bad destination for a streetcar going into the outskirts o f M arseilles. O f how I was in cap ab le o f fearin g future m isfortune. W ell.” So began a train o f thought that I am no longer able to pursue. w h ile I was in the state o f deepest trance. It was am using to see a yo u n g m an w ith a girl in a w h ite dress com in g tow ard me and to be im m ed ia tely ob liged to th in k: “ She got a w a y from him in there in her shift. But its last link was certain ly m uch less banal than its first an d led on perhaps to im ages o f anim als. “ A ll m en are b ro th ers. vagrants. w e ll. future solitude. not-veryeven tful spot w here I found myself. ex a ctly as.” I felt flattered b y the th o u gh t o f sitting here in a centre o f dissipation. are electrified and fall at every m ovem ent into the most unusual relationships. earlier. w h ich . rode past me in a cab. . S om eth ing very beautiful was go in g on aroun d the door o f the dance hall. It h a p p en e d suddenly. w h a t do I k n o w ? — passed me as “ D an te and P e tra rc h ” . read the sign on a streetcar that stopped briefly at the square w here I was sitting. w hich was su d d en ly seized b y a raven ous hun ger to taste w h at is the same in all places and countries. H ere. G irls d isplayed them selves in the d o o rw a y. and b y “ h ere” I did not m ean the town but the little. But there w ere not only know n faces. T h e m usic from a n earb y n igh t-clu b that I had been fo llo w in g p la yed a part in this stage. and I sank into a dream o f them . from the shadows o f the boat. N ow and then a C h in ese in blue silk trousers and a glo w in g pink silk ja c k e t stepped outside. U . “ B a r n a b e ” . had sudden ly d etach ed him self in the form o f a harb ou r loafer and pim p. G . and now he is fetch in g her back. People and things behave at such hours like those little stage sets and people m ade o f elder pith in the g la zed tin-foil box. o f w ho else m ight be sharing m y in to x ica tio n this even ing. A n d yet I th o u gh t w ith im m ense pride o f sitting here in M arseilles in a hashish tran ce. for hashish w ould alw ays rem ain. But events took place in such a w a y th a t the ap p eara n ce o f things tou ched me w ith a m agic w an d . M y m ood was free o f all desire. H e was the d oorm an .Hashish in Marseilles 221 w ere the b read o f m y im ag in a tion . two figu res— citizens. how few.

w hen w e love. T h e y w ere stuck at the level o f dialect. It was not far from the first cafe o f the evening. in w hich. she now throws us. our existence runs through n a tu re’s fingers like golden coins that she can not hold and lets fall to purchase new birth thereby. I have forgotten on w h a t grounds I perm itted m yself to m ark the beat w ith m y foot. T h e phenom enon o f alienation that m ay be in volved in this. T h e people o f M arseilles sudden ly did not speak good enough F rench for me. suddenly. In the little bar. w hich K rau s has form ulated in the fine dictum “ T h e m ore closely you look at a w ord the m ore d istantly it looks b a c k ” . A n d w h en I recall this state I should like to believe that hashish persuades nature to perm it us— for less egoistic purposes— that sq u an d ering o f our own existence that we know in love. T h is is against m y ed u cation. not o f streets.” T h e trance abated w hen I crossed the C an n ebiere and at last turned the corner to have a final ice cream at the little C afe des C ours Belsunce. I called the rush switches o fja z z . w ith ou t hoping or exp ectin g anythin g. For if. ev eryth in g was suddenly subm erged in the noise o f voices. 1928 . in am ple handfuls to existence. and it did not happen w ithout inn er disputation. T h ere w ere times w hen the intensity o f acoustic im pressions blotted out all others. A t any rate I find am ong m y notes the surprised com m ent “ H ow things w ithstan d the g a z e .222 T h e m usic that m eanw h ile kept rising and falling. appears to extend to the op tical. above all. the am orous jo y dispensed by the co n tem p la ­ tion o f some fringes blow n by the w in d had convinced me that the hashish had begun its work. W h a t was most p eculiar about this din o f voices was that it sounded en tirely like dialect.

IV .


at an y price. Louis A ragon . H e can gauge the energies o f the m ovem ent. arrive at the con viction that this p a ltry stream w ill never drive turbines. W h a t sprang up in 1919 in F ran ce in a sm all circle o f lite ra ti— we shall give the most im p o rta n t nam es at on ce: A n d re Breton. in the case o f Surrealism . Paul E lu a r d — m ay have been a m eagre stream . H e is in the valley. and so has no excuse for takin g the m ovem ent for the “ artistic” . T h a t is his opportun ity. m ore precisely. or. T h e know -alls w ho even tod ay have not ad van ced b eyon d the “ au th en tic origins” o f the m ovem en t. T h e necessary g ra d ­ ient. is produced by the difference in in tellectu al level betw een F ran ce and G erm an y. he has had d irect experience o f its h igh ly exposed posi­ tion b etw een an anarchistic frond* and a revo lu tio n a ry discipline. P h ilip p e S oupault. R o b ert Desnos. and he know s how frantic is the d eterm in atio n that has aw aken ed in the m ovem ent to go b eyond the stage o f eternal discussion and. and even now have n othin g to say a b ou t it except that yet another clique o f literati is here m ystifying the hon ou rable p u b lic. to reach a d ecisio n . 225 . fed on the d am p boredom o f post-w ar E urope and the last trickle o f F rench decadence.Surrealism The L a st Snapshot o f the European Intelligentsia In tellectu a l currents can generate a sufficient head o f w ater for the critic to install his pow er station on them . after len gth y d eliberation . are a little like a gath erin g o f experts at a spring w ho. As a G erm an he is lon g a cq u ain ted w ith the crisis o f the intelligen tsia. w ith that o f the hum anistic concep t o f fre e d o m . T h e G erm an observer is not standing at the head o f the stream .

is over. conclusive. fixes a notice on his . im age and sound interpen etrated w ith au tom atic precision and such felicity that no chink w as left for the penny-in-the-slot called “ m ea n in g” . I f it was such at the outset. A n d they can be taken at their w ord w hen they assert that R im b a u d ’s Saison en enfer no longer had a n y secrets for them. retirin g to bed abou t d a yb reak . was shown by A ra go n in 1924— at a tim e w hen its d evelopm ent could not yet be foreseen— in his Vague de reves. this means that the sphere o f poetry was here explored from w ithin by a closely knit circle o f people pushing the “ poetic life” to the utm ost limits o f possibility.226 “ p o etic” one it superficially appears. Stated m ore briefly and d iale ctica lly . “ T h e r e ’s no such th in g . T h ere is alw ays. it was. beside the passage “ on the silk o f the seas and the arctic flow ers” . he later w rote.” In just how inconspicuous and perip heral a substance the d ialectical kernel that later grew into Surrealism was origin ally em bedded. precisely at the outset that Breton d eclared his intention o f break in g w ith a praxis that presents the p u b lic w ith the literary precipitate o f a certain form o f existence w hile w ith h o ld in g that existence itself. E very th in g w ith w hich it cam e into con tact was integrated . For there is no dou bt that the heroic phase. how ever. or d ecay as a p ublic dem onstration and be transform ed. it seem ed the most integral. earlier precursors w ill be discussed later). But at the time w hen it broke over its founders as an inspiring dream w ave. whose catalogu e o f heroes A ra g o n left us in that w ork. For this book is indeed the first docu m en t o f the m ovem ent (in recent tim es. SaintPol R o u x. a m om ent w hen the original tension o f the secret society m ust either explode in a m atterof-fact. T o d a y it can be foreseen. absolute o f m ovem ents. Im age and lan gu a g e take precedence. lan gu age on ly seem ed itself w here sound and im age. Life only seem ed w orth livin g w here the threshold betw een w akin g and sleeping was w orn a w ay in everyone as by the steps o f m ultitudinous im ages flooding b ack and forth. in such m ovem ents. profane struggle for pow er and dom ination. C an the point at issue be more d efin itively and incisively presented than by R im b au d him self in his personal copy o f the book? In the m argin. Surrealism is in this phase o f transform ation at present.

but at a n y rate not lite ra tu re — will also know . passionate revolt against C ath olicism in w h ich R im b au d . B ut the true. livin g experience that allow ed these people to step outside the dom ain o f intoxication .) T his profane f illu m in ation did not a lw ays find the Surrealists equal to it. o f “ Surrealist exp erien ces” . L au tream ont. Also before the self. not the wife o f F u lle r’s . creative overco m in g o f religious illu m in ation certain ly does not lie in narcotics. and A p o llin a ire b rou gh t Surrealism into the w orld.Surrealism 227 door: “ Poet at w o rk . A r a g o n ’s in com p arab le Paysan de Paris and B re to n ’s Nadja. I shall refer later to the bitter. and the very w ritings that proclaim it most pow erfully. that the w ritings are concern ed literally w ith experiences. I w ant to pass w here no one yet has passed. q u ie tly !— A fter you . In the w o rld ’s ! structure dream loosens in d iv id u a lity like a bad tooth. and the religious lesson is stricter. pre1 cisely the fruitful. or to them selves. and b rou gh t the two things closer together than the Surrealists could h ave liked. For exam ple. dearest la n g u a g e . there is in Nadja an excellen t passage on the “ d elightful days spent lootin g Paris under the sign o f S acco and V a n z e tti” . to w hich hashish. T h is is not the place to give an exact definition o f Surrealist experience. or w h atever else can give an in trod u ctory lesson. w atch w ord s.” L a n g u a g e takes preced ence. docum ents. we know only the religious ecstasies or the ecstasies o f drugs. T h is loosening o f the self by in toxication is. opium . or opium sm oking. a m aterialistic. T h e opium o f the people.” B reton notes: “ Q u ietly . show very d isturbin g sym ptom s o f d eficiency. But anyone w ho has p erceived that the w ritings o f this circle are not literature bu t som ething else— dem onstrations. not w ith theories and still less w ith phantasm s. hours o f hashish eatin g. bluffs. a n th rop ological inspiration. N ot on ly before m eanin g. for the sam e reason. L en in called religion. (But a dangerous on e. But M a d am e S acco also appears. at the same tim e. It resides in a profane illumination. A n d these experiences are b y no m eans lim ited to dream s. Breton adds the assurance that in those days B ou levard B on n e-N ou velle fulfilled the strategic prom ise o f revolt that had alw ays been im plicit in its nam e. forgeries i f you w ill. It is a card in al error to believe that.

a m oral exhibitionism . stucco w o rk — all ornam ents are grist to the cat b u rg la r’s m ill— m ay have taken it also into the h um id backroom o f spiritualism . the author tells us. verandas. retired m ajors. th at we b ad ly need. a fortune-teller w ho lives at 3 rue des Usines and tells P aul E luard that he can expect no good from N ad ja.. M oreover. N ow I concede that the breakneck career o f Surrealism over roof­ tops. “ A t just that tim e” (i. ligh tn in g conductors. one need only take love seriously to recogn ize in it. (In M oscow I lived in a hotel in w hich alm ost all the room s w ere occupied by T ib e ta n lam as w ho had com e to M oscow for a congress o f B uddhist churches. I found out that in these rooms lived m em bers o f a sect w ho had sworn never to o ccu p y closed rooms. gutters. W h o w ould not wish to see these adoptive children o f revolution m ost rigorously severed from all the goings-on in the conventicles o f dow n -at-heel dow agers. w h ich comes surprisingly close to the Surrealist conception o f love. “ A ll the poets o f the ‘ new style’ .” E rich A u e rb a ck points out in his excellent . to o — as Nadja also in d icates— a “ profane illu m in atio n ” . and I tried to picture w ith great inten ­ sity how people saw life then . I was struck b y the n um ber o f doors in the corridors that w ere alw ays left ajar. W h a t had at first seem ed accid en tal began to be disturbing. because it was the tim e o f the ‘ courts o f lo ve’.” W e have from a recent author quite exact inform ation on P roven cal love poetry.e. has becom e m ore and m ore an a ffair o f petty-bourgeois parvenus.228 victim but a voyante. T h e shock I had then m ust be felt by the reader o f Nadja. “ I took a great interest in the epoch o f Louis V I I . and emigre profiteers? In other respects B reton ’s book illustrates w ell a n u m ber o f the basic characteristics o f this “ profane illu m in atio n ” . But I am not pleased to hear it cau tiou sly tapp in g on the w in d ow panes to inquire abou t its future. Nadja has ach ieved the true. once an aristocratic virtu e.) T o live in a glass house is a revo lu tion ary virtue p ar excellence. It is also an in to x ica ­ tion. w eathercocks. w hen he knew N a d ja ). D iscretion concern in g on e’s ow n existence. creative synthesis betw een the art novel and the roman-d-clef. H e calls Nadja “ a book w ith a b an gin g d o o r” .

H e is closer to the things that N a d ja is close to than to her. the earliest photos. in esoteric love. W h a t form do you suppose a life w ou ld take that was d eterm in ed at a decisive m om ent precisely b y the street song last on ev e ry o n e ’s lips? . into revo lu tio n a ry experience. Is not perhaps all ecstasy in one w orld h u m iliatin g sobriety in that com p lem en tary to it? W h a t is it that cou rtly Minne seeks— and it. they all have a p p ro x im ately the sam e very curious experience o f lo v e . too. N o one before these visionaries and augurs perceived how d estitu tion — not only social but arch itecto n ic. m atters least. B reton and N ad ja are the lovers w ho convert everyth in g that w e h ave experienced on m ournful railw ay jo u rn eys (railw ays are begin n in g to age).Surrealism 22g Dante: Poet o f the Secular World. L e a v in g aside A r a g o n ’s Passage de I’ Opera. W h a t are these things? N oth in g could reveal more a b ou t Surrealism than their can on . fashion able restaurants w h en the vogue has begun to ebb from them . the objects that h ave begun to be extinct. “ possess a m ystical beloved. if not action. enslaved and enslaving o b jects— can be sudden ly transform ed into revo lu tio n a ry nihilism . not love. but also on the m ornin g before a b attle or after a victo ry . binds Breton to the telepath ic g ir l— if not to m ake ch astity. too. So. the first fa ctory buildin gs. in the first glan ce throu gh the rain -b lu rred w ind ow o f a new a p artm en t. W here shall I b egin ? H e can boast an ex traord in ary discovery.” T h e dialectics o f in toxication are indeed curious. the dresses o f five years ago. T h e lad y. T h e y b rin g the im m ense forces o f “ atm osp h ere” concealed in these things to the point o f explosion. T h e relation o f these things to revo lu tio n — no one can have a m ore ex a ct concep t o f it than these authors. H e was the first to perceive the revo lu tion ary energies that ap p ear in the “ o u tm o d ed ” . for Breton. all are subject to a kind o f secret bond that determ ines their inner and perhaps also their outer lives. the p o verty o f interiors. to them all A m o r bestows or w ithholds gifts that resem ble an illu m in ation m ore than sensual pleasure. gra n d pianos. a tran sport? Into a w orld that borders not only on tom bs o f the S acred H eart or altars to the V irg in . in the first iron constructions. on G odforsaken S u n d ay afternoons in the proletarian quarters o f the great cities.

the dead o f the picture galleries. from P lace M aub ert. A t the centre o f this w orld o f things stands the most d ream ed -o f o f their objects. on e’s ow n. N ad ja is an exponent o f these masses and o f w hat inspires them to revolution: “ T h e great living. he used it w ith M a ch iav ellian calcu latio n to blow C ath olicism (to w hich he in w a rd ly clung) to sm ithereens. graves.” T h is speech was attributed to A p ollin aire by his friend H enri H ertz.230 T h e trick by w hich this w orld o f things is m astered — it is m ore proper to speak o f a trick than a m eth o d — consists in the substitu­ tion o f a political for a historical view o f the past. w hich are b eau tifu l as arm our from the age o f ch ivalry. the m echanics w hom m oney ennobles. in the fate o f their masses. here stands the fabulous keeper o f keys h old in g a bunch o f the keys to all times. N o picture by de C h irico or M a x Ernst can m atch the sharp elevations o f the c ity ’s inner strong­ holds. and m onasteries. we find the catalogu e o f these fortifications. A n d no face is surrealistic in the sam e degree as the true face o f a city. in palaces. But civilizatio n w ill give them short shrift. to m ake you rself at hom e in their autom obiles. in their fate. “ O p e n . w hich one must overrun and o ccu p y in order to m aster their fate and.” H ere. and to w eld yo u rself to all the people w h o tod ay are still prou d o f their privileges. w hich I am inconsolable not to have know n. w ith arbours like im p en etrable tunnels— a d ra w in g room on the bottom o f a la k e ” — there is som ething that brings b ack to m y m em ory that m ost u n com p re­ . In his vo lu m e o f novellas. to the “ T h ea tre M o d e rn e” . But in B reton ’s description o f her b ar on the upper floor— “ it is quite dark. castles. w ho knows w here to press the most artful lock and invites you to step into the m idst o f the w orld o f today. therefore. w here as now here else dirt has retained all its sym bolic power. corpses behind screens. to m ingle w ith the bearers o f burdens. in the sense that I alw ays w an t to prove that it com m ands forever everyth in g that is m in e. But only revolt com pletely exposes its Surrealist face (deserted streets in w hich whistles and shots dictate the outcom e). the city o f Paris itself. you. A p o llin a ire originated this technique. to take your places in the internation al sleeping cars. sonorous unconsciousness that inspires m y only con vin cin g acts. L ’ heresiarque.

the b elief in a real. separate existence o f concepts w h eth er outside or inside thin gs— has alw ays . For w ritten as it dem ands to be w ritte n — that is. to w hich. it was alm ost alw ays a flag under w hich sailed a cargo that could not be declared because it still lacked a nam e. are crossroads w here gh ostly signals flash from the traffic. It was the b ack room on the first floor. w ith couples in the blue light. and in co n ceiva b le analogies and connections b etw een events are the order o f the day. T h e Surrealists’ Paris. as in old ch am b erm aid s’ books. p h o to g ra p h y intervenes in a very strange w a y. too. not as a collection to w hich p a rticu la r “ specialists” all con trib u te “ w hat is most w orth k n ow in g” from their fields. is a “ little u n iverse” . T h is is the m om ent to em b ark on a w ork that w ou ld illu m in ate as has no oth er the crisis o f the arts that we are w itnessing: a history o f esoteric poetry. gates. For a rt’s sake was scarcely ever to be taken litera lly . T h is realism . It m akes the streets. In such passages in Breton.Surrealism 231 hended room in the old Princess C afe. too. squares o f the city into illustrations o f a trashy novel. N or is it by any m eans fortuitous that no such w ork yet exists. T h a t is to say. T h e last page w ou ld have to show an X -ra y pictu re o f Surrealism . but as the d eep ly grou n d ed com position o f an in d ivid u al w ho. portrays less a historical evolution than a constan tly renew ed. things look no different. draws o ff the b an al obviousness o f this an cien t arch itectu re to inject it w ith the most pristine intensity tow ard the events described. A n d this must be noted if only to counter the o b lig a to ry m isun derstan ding o f I’ art pour I’ art. Breton indicates in his Introduction au discours sur le peu de realite how the ph ilosophical realism o f the M id d le A ges was the basis o f poetic experience. prim al upsurge o f esoteric p o etry — w ritten in such a w a y it w ou ld be one o f those scholarly con ­ fessions that can be cou nted in every century. A n d all the parts o f Paris that ap p ear here are places w h ere w h at is betw een these people turns like a revo lvin g door. the cosmos. W e called it the “ an atom y school” . h o w e ver— that is. it was the last restauran t designed for love. T h ere. from inner com pulsion. It is the region from w hich the lyric poetry o f S urrealism reports. w ord -for-w ord quotations w ith page num bers refer. in the larger one.

too— then such integration is too im ­ petuous. But to d a y ’s writers fill this g a p . the cu lm in ation o f w hich Breton sees in poetry (w hich is defensible). H ow slogans. or Surrealism . In the transform ation o f a h igh ly contem plative attitu d e into revolu tion ary opposition. and concepts are here interm ingled is shown by the follow in g words o f A p o llin a ire ’s from his last m anifesto.” T his utterance o f A r a g o n ’s shows very clearly the path Surrealism had to follow from its origins to its p o liticization . “ T h e thought o f all hum an a ctiv ity makes me la u g h . in other words. w ho origin ally belonged to this group.232 very q u ick ly crossed over from the logical realm o f ideas to the m agical realm o f words. In his excellen t essay “ La revolution et les intellectuels” . D ad aism . a nation. not as artistic d abb lin g. w hether it is called Futurism . “ T h e conquests o f science rest far more on a surrealistic than on a logical th in kin g” — if. Pierre N aville. now it is the turn o f poets to create new ones that the inventors on their side can then m ake rea l” (A p o llin a ire )— to com pare these overheated fantasies w ith the w ell-ven tilated utopias o f a S ch eerbart. m agic form ulas. they m ake m ystification. in 1918: “ For the speed and sim plicity w ith w h ich w e have all becom e used to referring by a single w ord to such com plex entities as a crow d. L ’ esprit nouveau et les poetes. A n d it is as m agical experim ents w ith words. the foundation o f scientific and technical d evelopm ent. It is very instructive to com pare the m o v em en t’s over­ precipitate em b race o f the un com p rehen d ed m iracle o f m achines — “ the old fables have for the most part been realized.” If. how ever. their synthetic works create new realities the plastic m anifestations o f w hich are ju st as com plex as those referred to by the words stan din g for collectives. H e says. th at w e must understand the passionate ph onetic and grap h ical transform ational gam es that have run through the w hole literatu re o f the a van t-gard e for the past fifteen years. righ tly called this d evelopm ent d ialectical. there is no m odern eq u ivalen t in literature. the hostility o f the bourgeoisie tow ard every m anifestation o f radical in tellectu al freedom p la yed a . A p ollin aire and Breton ad vance even m ore en ergetically in the same d irection and com plete the linkage o f Surrealism to the outside w orld w ith the declaration. the universe.

w hich could in some sense transform the substance o f the S lavo n ic soul itself. or to F a b re-L u ce. has not yet taken p la c e . d ictated by em barrassm ent and lin ­ guistic ign oran ce. the bourgeoisie is as thick-skinned as it is sensitive to all action. as is know n. in an ticip ation o f such horrors.” It is typ ical o f these left-w in g F rench in tellectu als— ex a ctly as it is o f their . o f p la cin g things in some kind o f sym bolic illu m in ation . P u blish ­ ing houses are storm ed. B ut how prob lem atic is even the typ ical m ed iatin g book by D u h am el. burst out w ith the cry “ L o n g live G e r m a n y ” . T h e chapters “ P ersecu tion ” and “ M u rd er” in A p o llin a ire ’s Poete assassine contain the fam ous description o f a pogrom against poets. It manifests itself clearly enough in the present R ussian orien tation o f these circles. calls its co m p a n y to a last crusade. tow ard w hich. In A ra go n . “ Im a g in a tio n ” . This hostility pushed Surrealism to the left.Surrealism 233 lead in g part. poets lynched . H ow difficult to b ear is the strained uprightness. and to assess strategically the line arrived at by Surrealism . d eeper revo lu tion . w ho deem ed the celeb ration for a poet they w orshipped com prom ised b y the presence o f nationalistic elem ents. under such p o litical auspices. load ed w ith every kind o f bourgeois ill-w ill. w hich appeared in L ’ Humanite. W e are not o f course referrin g here to B eraud. T h ere is rem ark ab le agreem ent betw een the w ays in w hich. they rem ain ed w ithin the boundaries o f scandal. books o f poem s throw n on the fire. W ith the m anifesto “ In tellectuals A gain st the M o ro ccan W a r ” . for exam ple. A t that tim e. w hen the Surrealists. w ho pioneered the lie abou t Russia. P olitical events. H ow revealin g his resum e: “ the true. a fu n d am en tally different platform was gain ed from that w h ich was ch aracterized by. T o understand such prophecies. A p o lli­ naire and A ra g o n saw the future o f the poet. accelera ted this d evelop ­ m ent. the forced anim ation and sincerity o f the Protestant m ethod. w ho trots behind him like a devoted donkey. the fam ous scan d al at the Sain t-Pol R o u x ban quet. above all the w a r in M orocco. A n d the same scenes are takin g place at the same tim e all over the w orld. one must investigate the m ode o f thought w idespread am o n g the so-called w ell-m ean in g left-w in g bourgeois intelligentsia. shortly after the w ar.

approxim ates conservation. T h e ir collective achievem ent. w hich touches very closely on the third canto o f the Chants de Maldoror. But p o litica lly and econ o­ m ically they must alw ays be considered a poten tial source o f sabotage. to disinfect and isolate against all m oralizin g d iletta n ­ tism. . bu t to traditional culture. to be understood. N o one else understood. is G od -in spired . contains a ju stification o f evil in w hich certain motifs o f Surrealism are m ore pow erfu lly expressed than by any o f its present spokesmen. as he did. how ever. and com ing across the scenario o f a horror play b y Breton that centres abou t a violation o f children. T h is chapter. A n d the astonishing thin g is that in d epen d en tly o f one another they set its clock at ex a ctly the same hour. to be m ore exact. w ith o u t know ing o f one another. L ittle has happ ened so far to prom ote this understanding. not to the R evolu tion . as far as it is positive. one m ight perhaps go b ack a few decades. R im b au d . T h e seduction w as too great to regard the Satanism o f a R im b a u d and a L au trea m o n t as a pend ant to art for a rt’s sake in an in ven tory o f snobbery. how n aive is the view o f the Philistines that goodness. O n ly in contrast to the helpless com prom ises o f “ sen tim en t” are certain central features o f Surrealism . and forty years later in W estern E u rop e the w ritings o f D ostoyevsky. and in it we are ind epen d en t and self-sufficient beings. indeed o f the Surrealist tradition. w orked on their infernal m achines. and L au trea m o n t exploded at the same tim e. “ S ta v ro g in ’s C on fession ” from The Possessed. For S tavrogin is a Surrealist avant la lettre. h ow ever rom antic. C on vin ced o f this. O n e m ight. O n e finds the cult o f evil as a political device. w hereas evil stems en tirely from our spontaneity. Betw een 1865 and 1875 a n um ber o f great anarchists. C h aracteristic o f this w hole left-w in g bourgeois position is its irrem ediable couplin g o f idealistic m orality w ith p o litical p ractice. select from D osto yevsk y’s entire work the one episode that w as a ctu ally not published until about 1915.234 Russian counterparts. one resolves to open up this rom an tic d um m y. one finds som ething usable inside. too— that their positive function derives entirely from a feeling o f ob ligation . If. for all the m an ly virtue o f those w ho practise it.

A lfred de M usset. he ga v e the devil no o p p ortu n ity to m eddle in his handiw ork. and it is the ach ievem en t o f M a rce l C ou lon to h ave defended the p o et’s true im age against the C a th o lic usurpation by C lau d el and B errichon. 1869. separated by an infin ity from the cliches through w hich sin is perceived by the Philistine. B audelaire. only the m ethod is m ore ph ilosoph ical and less n aive than that o f the old school. b u t he is one. O n the oth er hand. a sim ilar attem p t in the case o f R im b a u d was successful. in the m ost w retch ed part o f him self. and h a p p ily. cru elty. and says: “ O f course. b y his ow n accou n t. in his edition o f the com plete w orks in 1927. A n d here. and that a d d u ced by S o u p au lt rests on a confusion. both in the course o f the w orld and also in ourselves. T h a t is w h y all these vices have a pristine v ita lity in his w ork. but etern ally new. to w hich we are disposed if not called . vengeance. H e considered vileness itself as som ething preform ed.” B ut i f L a u tre a m o n t’s erratic book has a n y lin eage at all. there is no d ocu m en tation for it. H e places him self in the line o f descent from M ick ie w icz. M ilton. U n fo rtu n a tely . but also baseness. after all. too. T h e pitch o f tension that en abled the poets under discussion to ach ieve at a distance their astonishing effects is d ocu m en ted quite scurrilously in the letter Isidore D ucasse addressed to his publisher on O cto b er 23. rather. in even the most ign oble actions. as the bourgeois idealist sees virtue. can be assigned one. S ou they. they are perhaps not “ sp len d id ” . only sings o f despair in order to depress the reader and thus m ake him lon g all the m ore intensely for goodness as a rem edy. and precisely in them . w hich he does not tire o f d en oun cin g and consigning to his ow n and ev eryo n e’s . R im b a u d is ind eed a C ath o lic. “ as on the first d a y ” . as he did. o f w hich only V ic to r H u go and a few others are still a liv e . S o u p a u lt’s attem pt.Surrealism 235 N o one else saw inspiration. to w rite a p o litical cu rricu lu m vitae for Isidore D ucasse was therefore a quite u n derstan d ab le and not un perceptive venture. or. it is that o f insurrec­ tion. I som ew hat sw elled the note to brin g som ething new into this literature that. D o sto yevsk y ’s G od created not only h eaven and earth and m an and beast. So that in the end one really sings on ly o f goodness. in an attem p t to m ake his p o etry look a ccep table.

” A n d this proves to them that “ m an k in d ’s struggle for liberation in its sim plest revo lu tion ary form (w hich. have they bound revolt to revolution? H o w are w e to im agine an existence oriented solely tow ard B ou levard B onn e-N ouvelle.236 hatred. as we know . he writes in the Saison en enfer. because they are convinced that “ freedom . T h is it m ay call its most p a rticu la r task. Since B akunin. to you I have entrusted m y treasure” . in rooms b y Le C orbu sier and Oud? T o win the energies o f in toxication for the revo lu tio n — this is the project abou t w hich Su rrealism circles in all its books and enterprises. by the tim e he turned his b ack on poetry. is liberation in every respect). T h e aesthetic o f the painter. T h is is another dictum aroun d w hich a poetics o f Surrealism m ight grow like a clim b in g plant. the constructive. h ow ever. rem ains the only cause w orth servin g. u n dialectical conception o f the nature o f intoxication . d ictatorial side o f revolu tion? In short. T h e y are the first to liq u id ate the sclerotic liberal-m oral-h u m an istic id eal o f freedom . to the depth o f the insights o f Poe. to sink its roots deeper than the theory o f “ surprised” creation originated b y A p ollin aire. For them it is not enough that. his ow n and ev eryo n e’s c o n te m p t: the part that forces him to confess that he does not un derstan d revolt. E urope has lacked a rad ical concept o f freedom . T h e Surrealists have one. “ H atred . as long as it lasts.” But are they successful in w eld in g this experience o f freedom to the other revo lu tion ary experience that we have to ackn ow led ge because it has been ours. This com ponent is id en tical w ith the anarchic. m ust be en joyed un restrictedly in its fullness w ith o u t any kind o f p ra gm a tic calculation . A d d ed to this is an in a d eq u ate. had lon g sin ce— in his earliest w o rk — taken leave o f religion. But to place the accen t exclu sively on it w ou ld be to subordinate the m ethodical and disciplin ary prep aration for revolution entirely to a praxis oscillatin g betw een fitness exercises and celeb ration in advance. w hich on this earth can on ly be b ough t w ith a thousand o f the hardest sacrifices. ( . But that is the concession o f a com m u nard dissatisfied w ith his own con trib u tion w ho. an ecstatic com ponent lives in every revolution ary act. the poet.

T h e reader. w ealth . In the nam e o f his literary friends he delivers an u ltim atu m in face o f w h ich this u n prin cipled. “ T o w in the energies o f in toxication for the revo lu tion ” — in other words. For histrionic or fan atical stress on the m ysterious side o f the m ysterious takes us no fu rther. O f angels. o f art as the reaction o f one surprised. for exam ple. as the profane illu m in ation o f th in kin g abou t the hashish trance. are types o f illu m in ati ju st as m uch as the op ium eater. the loiterer. These are m ere im ages. the thinker. not a trace. w ill not teach us h a lf as m uch a b ou t readin g (w hich is an em in en tly telepath ic process). rath er than th a t!” W ell. surrealistic. A n d m ore profane. A n d the stock im ag ery o f these poets o f the social-d em ocratic associations ? T h e ir gradus ad parnassum? O ptim ism . the d ream er. A very different air is b reath ed in the N av ille essay that makes the “ organ ization o f pessim ism ” the call o f the hour. is enm eshed in a n um ber o f pernicious rom an tic prejudices. it w ill interest you all the m ore how m uch an excursion into poetry clarifies things. as the profane illu m in ation o f readin g abou t telepath ic phenom ena. T h e socialist sees that “ finer future o f our children and gra n d ch ild ren ” in a condition in w hich all act “ as if they w ere an gels” . A n d the most passionate investigation o f the hashish trance w ill not teach us h a lf as m uch abou t thin kin g (w hich is em in en tly n arco tic). poetic politics? “ W e have tried that b everage. by virtue o f a d ialectica l optic that perceives the ev eryd a y as im pen etrable. T h e most passion­ ate investigation o f telepath ic phenom ena.Surrealism 237 en etat de surprise. A n y serious ex p lo ra ­ tion o f occult. we penetrate the m ystery only to the d egree that we recogn ize it in the ev eryd a y w orld. ph an tasm agoric gifts and ph enom ena presupposes a d ialectica l intertw inem ent to w hich a rom an tic turn o f m ind is im pervious. and everyone has as m uch “ as i f he w ere ric h ” . filled to bursting w ith m etaphors. freedom . and everyone lives “ as if he w ere free” . N o t to m ention that most terrible d ru g — ourselves— w hich we take in solitude. the jl&neur. the im p en etrab le as everyd ay. A n y th in g . . dilettan tish optim ism m ust u n failingly show its true c o lo u rs: . the ecstatic. For w h at is the program m e o f the bourgeois parties? A bad poem on springtim e.

how ever. in invective. Indeed. can no longer be m easured out by contem plation . F or to organize pessimism means n othin g other than to expel m oral m etaphor from politics and to discover in political action a sphere reserved one hundred percent for im ages. A b solu tely. But w hat now. w h at next? H ere due w eigh t must be given to the insight that in the Traite du style. even at the expense o f his artistic a ctiv ity. betw een nations. required in distinction betw een m etaph or and im age. betw een individuals. A n d he tells them better. and artists. A n d that means pessimism all along the line. For in the jo k e. thinkers. in m isunderstanding. A n d un lim ited trust only in I. Surrealism has com e ever closer to the C om m u nist answer. M istrust in the fate o f literature. I f it is the double task o f the revo lu tion ary intelligentsia to overth row the intellectual predom inance o f the bourgeoisie and to m ake contact w ith the p roletarian masses.238 w here are the conditions for revo lu tion ? In the ch an gin g o f a tti­ tudes or o f extern al circum stances? T h a t is the card in al question that determ ines the relation o f politics to m orality and can not be glossed over. E xtension: now here do these tw o — m etaphor and im age — collide so d rastically and so irreco n cila b ly as in politics. T ro tsk y had to point o u t— as early as Literature and Revolution— that such artists w ou ld on ly em erge from a victorious revolution. A n d yet this has h indered hard ly an y b o d y from a p p roach in g it again and again as i f it could. This im age sphere. In reality it is far less a m atter o f m aking the artist o f bourgeois origin into a m aster o f “ proletarian a rt” th an o f d ep loyin g him . a h ap p y insight into questions o f style that needs extending. the intelligentsia has failed alm ost entirely in the second part o f this task because it can no longer be perform ed con tem platively. A r a g o n ’s last book. m ight not perhaps the interruption o f his “ artistic career” be an essential part o f his new fun ction ? T h e jokes he tells are the better for it. at im portant points in this sphere o f im agery. and callin g for proletarian poets. but three times mis­ trust in all recon ciliatio n : betw een classes. T o counter this. F arb en and the peaceful perfection o f the air force. m istrust in the fate o f freedom . G. mistrust in the fate o f E u rop ean h u m an ity. in all cases . too.

o f the brand o f V o g t and B ukharin. absorbing and consum in g it. T h e y exchange. on ly be prod uced in that im age sphere to w h ich profane illu m in a ­ tion initiates us. the longsought im age sphere is opened. m ore con cretely. the p lay o f hum an features for the face o f an alarm clock that in each m inute rings for sixty seconds. or w h a tever else w e w ish to throw to them . the w orld o f universal and in tegral actualities. o f bodies. and all the b od ily innervations o f the collective becom e revo lu tio n a ry discharge. and R im b a u d . can not lead w ith ou t ru p tu re to an th ro p o lo gica l m aterialism . to a m an. w here nearness looks w ith its ow n eyes. in w hich p o litical m aterialism and ph ysical nature share the inner m an. O n ly w hen in techn ology body and im age so in terp en etrate that all revo lu tion ary tension becom es b od ily collective in n ervation . so that no lim b rem ains unrent. T h e re is a residue. through all its p o litical and factual reality. the in d ivid u al. in a w ord . on ly the Surrealists have understood its present co m ­ m ands. the psyche. For it must in the end be ad m itted : m eta­ p h ysical m aterialism . as is attested by the experience o f the Surrealists. N evertheless— indeed. A n d the physis th at is being organ ized for it in tech n ology can. F or the m om ent. w ith d ialectica l ju stice. T h e collective is a body. w here the “ best ro o m ” is m issing— the sphere.Surrealism 239 w here an action puts forth its ow n im age and exists. G e o rg B uchner. N ietzsche. 1929 . precisely after such d ialectica l a n n ih ila tio n — this w ill still be a sphere o f im ages and. too. has reality transcended itself to the extent d em an d ed by the Communist Manifesto. and earlier o f H ebei.

N ot that hucksters and charlatan s did not approp riate the new techniques for gain. after abou t five years o f effort. In d u stry m ade its first real inroads w ith the visitin g card picture. H u g o and N a d a r — cam e in its first decade. T h u s it is that the historical or. w h ich had been know n at least since L e o n a rd o ’s tim e. ph ilosophical questions suggested by the rise and fall o f ph otograph y h ave gone unheeded for decades. A n d if people are starting to be aw are o f them today. m ore obviously than in the case o f the p rin tin g press. assumed control o f the enterprise and m ade it public. W hen. the state. It w ould not be surprising if the p h otog rap h ic 240 . if you like. But this was the decade w h ich preceded its ind u strialization . even in that early period . there is a definite reason for it. B ut that was closer to the arts o f the fairgroun d. aided b y the patent difficulties encountered by the inventors. and was sensed by m ore than on e— by men who strove ind epen d en tly for the same ob jective: to cap tu re the im ages in the cam era obscura. both N iepce and D ag u erre sim ultaneously succeeded in doing this. perhaps. than to industry. whose first m anufacturer significan tly becam e a m illionaire. T his p a ved the w a y for a rap id on goin g developm ent w hich long precluded any b ackw ard glance. w ith com ­ pensation to the pioneers. w here ph otograph y is at hom e to this day. the tim e was ripe for the invention. indeed.f U V A Small History o f r U s r ir Wv*fv*'-S> T h e fog that surrounds the begin nin gs o f ph otograph y is not as thick as that w hich shrouds the early days o f p rin tin g. T h e latest w ritings on the subject point up the fact that the flow ering o f p h o to g ra p h y — the w ork o f H ill and C am eron . they did so en masse.

and G o d ’s im age can not be cap tu red by any m achin e o f h u m an devising. A ttem p ts at th eoretical m astery o f the subject have so far been en tirely r u d i­ m en tary. T h e p a n o ra m a it sketches is b ro a d en ou gh not on ly to m ake the d u b io u s 1 H elm u th Bossert and H ein rich G u ttm an n . it said. H ein rich S ch w a rz. a stranger to all tech n ica l considerations. A n d no m atter how extensively it m a y have been d eb a ted in the last cen tury. der Meister der Photographie.1 for real insights into their nature. ga v e in the C h a m b e r o f D ep uties on 3 J u ly 1839. David Octavius H ill . Aus der Friihzeit der Photographic 1840—1870. borne on the w ings o f d ivin e inspiration . F o r they un dertook n oth in g less th an to legitim ize the p h o to g ra p h er before the very trib u n al he w as in the process o f overtu rn in g. as has been established after th o rou gh G erm an in vestig ation . W ith 80 plates.” H ere w e have the philistine notion o f art in all its o v erw een in g obtuseness. in the m om ent o f highest d ed ication. T h e utm ost the artist m ay ventu re. F a r d ifferen t is the tone o f the address w hich the physicist A ra g o . M . L e ip zig i93i- . at the high er b id d in g o f his ge n iu s. are h ark in g b ack to the pre-in dustrial h ey d a y o f p h o to g ra p h y had an u n dergrou n d co n ­ nection w ith the crisis o f cap italist industry. it was this fetishistic and fu n d a m en ta lly a n ti-tech n ical con cep t o f art w ith w h ich the theoreticians o f p h o to g ra p h y sought to grap p le for alm ost a hun d red years. a va ila b le in fine recent p u b lica tio n s. is to rep rod u ce m a n ’s G od -given features w ith o u t the help o f a n y m achine. the Leipziger Stadtanzeiger. T h e b eau tifu l th in g a b ou t this speech is the connections it m akes w ith all aspects o f h u m an a ctiv ity. 1930. sp eakin g on b e h a lf o f D a g u e r re ’s inven tion . Ein Bildbuch nach 200 Originalen. B ut that does not m ake it an y easier to use the charm o f old ph otographs. b asica lly the discussion n ever got a w a y from the lud icrous stereotype w h ich a ch au vinistic rag. for the first tim e.A Small History o f Photography 241 m ethods w h ich today. M a n is m ade in the im age o f G od . N evertheless. w h ich feels th at its end is n igh w ith the a la rm in g a p p e ara n ce o f the new tech n ology. the very wish to do such a th in g is blasphem ous. “ is not ju st an im possible u n dertakin g. n a tu ra lly w ith o u t the sm allest success. Frankfurt a. felt it m ust offer in tim ely opposition to this b la c k art from F ran ce. “ T o try to cap tu re fleeting m irror im ages” .

now and then som eone w o u ld ask after the originals. it offers an insight into the real scope o f the inven tion . a pale grey im age cou ld be discerned. B ut after two or three generations this interest fades. A d m itted ly a num ber o f his studies lead even d eeper into the new techn ology than this series o f portraits: anonym ous im ages. w h at they expect o f it a lw ays turns out to be a trifle com ­ pared w ith the succession o f subsequent discoveries o f w hich the instrum ent w as the o rig in . so did the h igh ly regarded English p o rtrait painter D av id O c ta v iu s H ill base his fresco o f the first general synod o f the C h u rch o f Scotlan d in 1843 on a long series o f p o rtrait photographs. In the hands o f m an y a painter. not posed subjects. w h o even now is still real and . we en cou n ter som ething new and stra n g e : in H ill’s N ew h a ve n fishwife.242 project o f a u th en ticatin g p h o to g ra p h y in terms o f p a in tin g — w hich it does a n y w a y — seem beside the p o in t. “ a p p ly it to the observation o f nature. B ut these pictures he took himself. D a g u e rre ’s ph otograph s w ere iod ized silver plates exposed in the cam era obscura.” In a g rea t arc A r a g o ’s speech spans the field o f new technologies. says A ra go . how ever. seductive m odesty. unpretentious m akeshifts m eant for internal use. do so on ly as testim ony to the art o f the painter. Such figures had lon g been know n in painting. though. som ething that can not be silenced. T h e y w ere not infreq u en tly kept in a case. the pictures. that fills you w ith an u n ru ly desire to know w h at her nam e was. W here the p a in tin g rem ained in the possession o f a p a rticu la r fam ily. the w om an w h o w as alive there. in the proper light. th ey becam e a techn ical adjun ct. there rem ains som ething that goes b eyond testim ony to the p h otog rap h er’s art. in 1839 a plate cost an a verage o f 25 gold francs. w hile as a painter he is for­ gotten. her eyes cast dow n in such indolent. A n d it is they. w h ich had to be turned this w a y and that until. like jew ellery . W ith p h otograp h y. Just as 70 years later U trillo p ain ted his fascinating view s o f Paris not from life but from picture postcards. T h e y w ere one o f a k in d . m ore im portant. if they last. “ W h en inventors o f a new in strum en t” . that gave his nam e a place in history. from astrophysics to p h ilolog y: alongside the prospects for stellar p h o to g ra p h y w e find the idea o f establish­ ing a p h otog rap h ic record o f the E g y p tia n hieroglyphs.

w ith w h ich rea lity has so to speak seared the subject. bu t her ga ze passes him by. Y e t at the sam e tim e p h o to g ra p h y reveals in this m aterial the ph ysiogn om ic aspects o f visu al w orlds w h ich d w ell in the sm allest things. w ith its devices o f slow m otion and en largem en t. i f only in gen eral terms. w e have no idea at all w h a t happens d u rin g the fraction o f a second w hen a person steps out. “ A n d I ask: how did the b ea u ty o f that hair. w e h a v e some id ea w h at is in volved in the act o f w alk in g. m ean in gfu l yet covert enough to find a h id in g place in w akin g dream s. cellu la r tissue.A Small History o f Photography 243 w ill never consent to be w h olly absorbed in art. absorbed in an om inous distance. no m atter how carefu lly posed his subject. the beholder feels an irresistible urge to search such a p ic ­ ture for the tin y spark o f con tin gen cy. shortly after the birth o f her sixth child. D etails o f structure. P h otog rap h y. the father o f the poet. H ere she can be seen w ith him . those eyes. to find the in ­ conspicuous spot w here in the im m ed iacy o f that lon g-forgotten m om en t the future subsists so eloq u en tly th at we. ly in g in the b edroom o f his M oscow house w ith her arteries severed. to w h ich desire curls up senseless as sm oke w ith o u t fire. bu t w hich. w ith w h ich tech n ology and m edicine are n orm ally co n cern ed — all this is in its origins m ore n ative to the cam era than the atm ospheric lan d scap e or the soulful portrait. such as a painted pictu re can never again h ave for us. N o m a tter how artful the ph otograp h er. reveals the secret. from the tim e o f his en g a g e ­ m ent to that w om an w h om he then found one d a y. b egu ile our fo reb ea rs: h ow did that m outh kiss. here to o : the most precise tech n ology can give its products a m agical va lu e. Im m erse yo u rself in such a picture long en ou gh and you w ill recogn ize h ow alive the contrad ictions are. o f the H ere and N ow . m ay rediscover it. For it is another n atu re that speaks to the cam era than to the e y e : other in the sense th at a space inform ed b y hum an consciousness gives w a y to a space inform ed by the u n ­ conscious. W hereas it is a com m on place that.” O r you tu rn up the pictu re o f D au th en d ey the p h otograp h er. looking b ack . en larged and c a p a b le . It is th rou gh p h o to g ra p h y that w e first discover the existence o f this op tica l u n ­ conscious. he seems to be h old in g her. for exam ple. ju st as we d iscover the instinctu al unconscious th rou gh psychoanalysis.

Urformen der Kunst. T h e h u m an countenance held a silence about it in w hich the gaze rested. uncom prom ised by captions. so he reported. 120 plates. H ill’s subjects. In short. “ D o n ’t look at the cam e ra ” . and gothic tracery in the fu ller’s thistle. for their part. the p ortraitu re o f this period owes its effect to the absence o f contact betw een a ctu ality and p h otography. Published with an Introdu ction b y K a rl N ierendorf. cou ld be derived from their attitude. so p o w erfu lly was everyone affected by the u n accu stom ed clarity and the un­ accustom ed truth to nature o f the first d agu erro types” . T h u s Blossfeldt w ith his astonishing plan t ph otographs2 reveals the forms o f ancien t colum ns in horse w illow . people and babies. preferring to consult them in the coffee hou se. . It has been said o f H ill’s cam era that it kept a discreet distance. But his subjects. that so distastefully im plicates the b u yer and to w hich there is no better counter than the w a y old D au th en d ey talks about d a g u erro ty p es: “ W e d id n ’t trust ourselves at first” . “ to look lon g at the first pictures he developed. N ew spapers w ere still a lu x u ry item . p h otograp h y had not yet becom e a jou rn alistic tool. they m ain tain a certain shyness before the cam era. and believed that the little tiny faces in the pictu re could see us. W e w ere abashed by the distinctness o f these hum an im ages. and ord inary people had yet to see their nam es in print. Berlin 1931. too. a b ish op’s crosier in the ostrich fern. M a n y o f H ill’s portraits were m ade in the 2 K a rl Blossfeldt. Photographische Pjlanzen bilder. T h e first people to be reprod u ced entered the visual space o f p h otograp h y w ith their innocence in tact. But that did not m ean the “ th e y ’re looking at y o u ” o f anim als. m ake the difference betw een techn ology and m agic visible as a th o rou gh ly historical variab le. totem poles in tenfold enlargem ents o f chestnut and m aple shoots. are no less reserved. w ere p ro b ab ly not far from the truth w h en they described “ the p h en o­ m enon o f p h o to g ra p h y ” as still b ein g “ a great and m ysterious exp erien ce” . and the w atch w o rd o f a later ph otograph er from the h eyd ay o f the art. even if for them this was no m ore than the conscious­ ness o f “ stan din g before a device w h ich in the briefest tim e could produce a pictu re o f the visible en viron m ent that seem ed as real and alive as nature itself” .244 o f form ulation. w hich people seldom bought.

T h e low light-sensitivity o f the early plates m ade p rolon ged exposure outdoors a necessity. ev ery ­ thin g suggests that B ern h ard von B rentano w as right in his view “ that a p h otog rap h er o f 1850 was on a par w ith his instrum ent” — for the first tim e. T o a p p reciate the full im p a ct m ade by the d agu erro typ e in the age o f its d iscovery. A n d indeed the cem etery itself.A Small History o f Photography 245 E d in b u rgh G reyfriars c e m e te ry — n othin g is m ore ch aracteristic o f this ea rly period than the w a y his subjects w ere at hom e there. But this setting could never have b een so effective i f it had not been chosen on tech n ica l grounds. too. rests assured. T h is in turn m ade it d esirab le to take the sub ject to some ou t-of-th e-w ay spot w here there was no obstacle to q u iet concen tration. “ is the m ain reason w h y these ph otographs. E v ery th in g abou t these early pictures w as built to last. its im m o rtality . resem ble w ell d raw n or pain ted pictures and prod u ce a m ore vivid and lasting im pression on the b eh old er than m ore recent p h oto g ra p h s. the subject as it w ere grew into the picture. and for a lon g w hile the last. not only the in com p arab le groups in w hich people cam e to g eth er— and whose d isappearan ce was surely one o f the most tellin g sym ptom s o f w h a t was h ap p en in g in society in the second h a lf o f the c e n tu ry — b u t the very creases in p eop le’s clothes have an air o f perm an en ce. the shape it has borrow ed from its w earer is not u n w o rth y o f the creases in his face. d u rin g the considerable period o f the exposure. a p a rt from their sim plicity. one should also bear in m ind that entirely new . as K ra c a u e r has ap tly noted. hollow ed out like ch im ney-pieces. looks like an interior. In short. says O rlik o f early p h o to g ra p h y .” T h e procedure itself caused the subject to focus his life in the m om ent rather th an h u rry in g on past i t . in one o f H ill’s pictures. w ith inscriptions inside instead o f flames. in the sharpest contrast w ith ap p earan ces in a sn ap -sh ot— w hich is app rop riate to th at ch an ged en viron m ent w here. the split second o f the exposure determ ines “ w hether a sportsm an becom es so fam ous th at p h otograph ers start takin g his picture for the illustrated pap ers” . a separate clo sed -off space w here the gravestones prop ped against gab le w alls rise up from the grass. J u st consider S ch ellin g ’s coat. “ T h e expressive coheren ce due to the len gth o f tim e the subject had to rem ain still” .

the painters parted com p an y on this point w ith the tech n ician . T h in gs d evelop ed so rap id ly that by 1840 most o f the in n u m erab le m iniaturists had a lre a d y becom e professional photographers. even A ra g o . Piersons. stan din g leg and trailing leg. on occasional tables or little stands in the d ra w in g room : leather-bound tomes w ith u g ly m etal hasps and those giltedged pages as thick as you r finger. P ap a in his first term at university . w h ere foolishly d rap ed or corsetted figures w ere d isplayed : U n cle A le x and A u n t R iek ch en . H ere the experience o f their origin al livelih oo d stood them in good stead. ex p licitly com m en ted : “ A s regards the effect prod u ced by the im perfect tran sparen cy o f ou r atm osphere (w h ich has been loosely term ed ‘d eg ra d atio n ’ ). yo d ellin g . lea n in g again st a polished d o o rja m b . there seems to h ave been a kind o f B ib lical blessing on those first p h otograp h ers: the N ad ars. Stelzners. little T ru d i w h en she was still a b a b y . though. b u t before lon g exclu ­ sively. B ayards all lived w ell into their eighties and nineties. . indeed. to m ake ou r sham e com plete. at first on ly as a sideline. and it is not their artistic b ack gro u n d so m uch as their train ing as craftsm en that w e have to than k for the high level o f their p h o to g ra p h ic achievem ent.e. the cop yin g o f im ages a p p e arin g in it — “ to help them to render it a cc u ra te ly . and finally. w e ou r­ selves: as a parlo u r T y ro le a n . a sharp decline in taste set it. . T h is was the tim e ph otograph album s cam e into vo gu e. businessm en in vad ed professional p h otograp h y from every side.246 vistas w ere then b ein g opened up in lan d scap e p a in tin g b y the most ad van ced painters. Conscious that in this very area p h o to g ra p h y had to take over w here p ain tin g left off. T h e y w ere m ost at hom e in the chilliest spots. T h e real victim o f ph otograph y. and w h en later on the retouched n egative. was not lan d scap e pain tin g. in his historical review o f the early attem pts o f G io v a n n i B attista Porta. as is proper. becam e ubiquitous. . or as a sm artly tu rn ed -o u t sailor. how ever. not even exp erienced painters exp ect the cam era o b scu ra” — i. T h is tran sition al generation disappeared very g ra d u a lly . w a v in g our hat against a painted snow scape. In the end.” A t the m om en t w hen D ag u erre succeeded in fixing the im ages o f the cam era obscura. b u t the p o rtrait m iniature. w hich was the bad p a in te r’s revenge on p h oto g ra p h y.

in a sort o f con servatory landscape.A Small History o f Photography 24J T h e accessories used in these portraits. w h ich was o n ly later com bin ed w ith the new p h o to g ra p h ic reproduction . H e w o u ld surely be lost in this setting w ere it not for the im m ensely sad eyes. H ere too w e see in op eratio n the law th at new ad vances are prefigured in older techn iques. T h e re the b oy stands. an atm osp h eric m edium . their tapestries and easels. it consists in the absolute co n tin u u m from brightest ligh t to darkest shadow . . further im pedim en ta w ere soon ad d ed . since it u su ally stands on a carpet. w h ich occu pied so am biguous a place b etw een execution and representation . A n d once ag a in the tech n ical eq u iva len t is ob viou s. w h ich d om in ate this lan dscape predestined for them . b etw een torture ch am b er and throne room . As an E nglish trad e jo u r n a l o f the tim e p u t it. T h is pictu re in its infin ite sadness forms a pen d an t to the early p h otograp h s in w h ich people did not yet look out at the w orld in so ex clu d e d and god-forsaken a m anner as this boy. A n d i f at first head-holders or kneebraces w ere felt to be sufficient.” T h is was the period o f those studios. such as Spaniards w ear. T h e most cap ab le started resisting this nonsense as early as the sixties. b ut the w a y it is used in p h o to g ra p h y is absurd. the subject holds in his left hand an in o rd in a te ly large b ro a d -b rim m ed hat. B ut anyon e can see that pillars o f m arb le or stone are not erected on a foun dation o f carp e tin g . perhaps six years old. A n d as i f to m ake these upholstered tropics even stuffier and m ore oppressive. for the earlier art o f p o rtrait p a in tin g had produced the strange flow er o f the m ezzo tin t before its d isappearan ce. T h e m ezzo tin t process was o f course a tech n iqu e o f reproduction . First it w as pillars. and to w h ich an early po rtrait o f K a fk a bears p a th e tic witness. th at lent fullness and secu rity to their gaze even as it p enetrated that m edium . dressed up in a h u m ilia tin g ly tight c h ild ’s suit overloaded w ith trim m in g. T h e b ack grou n d is th ick w ith palm fronds. the pedestals and b alu s­ trades and little oval tables. or curtains. “ in p ain tin g the pillar has some p la u sib ility. w ith their draperies and palm trees. are still rem iniscent o f the period w hen because o f the lon g exposure tim e the subjects had to be given sup­ ports so that they w o u ld n ’t m ove. T h ere was an a u ra a b o u t them . such as w ere to be seen in fam ous paintings and must there­ fore be artistic.

A fter 1880. w ith a technician o f the latest school. A n d yet. cam e into vo gu e . exactly as it was banished from rea lity by the d eepen ing degeneration o f the im perialist bourgeoisie. in every client. whose rig id ity b etrayed the im poten ce o f that gen eration in the face o f tech n ical progress. It was this atm osphere that was som etim es cap tu red w ith d elicacy and depth by the now old-fashioned oval fram e. w hereas the ph otographer was confronted. before b ein g ruined by the print. “ in w hich n othin g disturbs the tran q u illity o f the com position ” . n otw ithstan d in g this fashionable tw ilight. esp ecially in Jugendstil. in the ph otographer. w h ich “ gives these early ph otographs their greatness” . in terru p ted b y artificial highlights. For that a u ra was by no means the m ere prod u ct o f a prim itive cam era. T hus. a p en u m b ra l tone. a pose was m ore and m ore cle a rly in evidence. So m uch for the techn ical considerations behind the atm ospheric appearances. T h ese pictures w ere m ade in rooms w here every client was confronted.248 T h e w a y light struggles out o f darkness in the w ork o f a H ill is rem iniscent o f m ezzo tin t: O rlik talks abou t the “ coherent illu m i­ n atio n ” b rou gh t abou t by the lon g exposure times. w h a t is again and again decisive for p h otog rap h y is the . For soon advances in optics m ade instrum ents a vailab le that put darkness entirely to flight and recorded ap p ear­ ances as faith fully as a n y m irror. M a n y group photos in p a rticu la r still preserve an air o f anim ated c o n v ivia lity for a b rie f space on the plate. h o w ­ ever. ph otographers m ade it their business to sim ulate w ith all the arts o f retou chin g. R a th e r. T h a t is w h y it w ould be a m isreadin g o f these in cu n a b u la o f p h o to g ra p h y to m ake too m uch o f their artistic perfection or their taste. the au ra w hich had been banished from the pictu re w ith the rou t o f darkness throu gh faster lenses. D elaroch e a lre a d y noted the “ u n p reced en ­ ted and exq u isite” general im pression. w ith a m em ber o f a rising class eq u ipp ed w ith an au ra that h ad seeped into the very folds o f the m a n ’s frock coat or flopp y cravat. though. A n d am ong the in v en ­ tion ’s contem poraries. in that early period subject and tech n iqu e w ere as ex a ctly congru ent as they becom e incon gru en t in the period o f decline that im ­ m ediately follow ed. especially the so-called ru bber print.

the pianist strikes the key and the note rings out. the ph otograp h er. show ed such pretty tow n views. H e lived in Paris poor and unknow n.” T h ere is. h o w e v e r— to con tin u e the m e ta p h o r— a Busoni o f p h oto g ra p h y. N o P aderew ski w ill ever reap the fam e. T h e pain ter and the p h oto­ gra p h er both have an instrum ent at their disposal. com plete w ith tou ched -u p m oon. disgusted w ith the profession. has the ad van tage o f a m ech a n ical device th at is subject to restrictive laws. B erenice A b b o t from N ew Y o rk has gath ered these together. aroun d 1900. . he died recently. “ must first p ro­ duce the note. m ust seek it out. w ip ed o ff the m ask and then set a b ou t rem ovin g the m ake-up from reality too. an a d va n ce p arty o f the on ly rea lly broad colum n surrealism m an aged to set in m otion. w hen A tg e t was there before th em . B oth w ere virtuosi.000 pictures. correspond to the vio lin ist’s prod u ction o f sound. H e reached the pole o f utm ost m astery. w hile the violinist is under no such restraint. like the pianist. and that is A tg et.3 T h e co n tem p o ra ry jou rn a ls “ kn ew n oth in g o f the m an w ho for the m ost part h aw ked his pictures rou nd the studios. selling his pictures for a trifle to p h otog rap h ic enthusiasts scarcely less eccen tric than him self. leavin g behind an oeuvre o f m ore than 4. b ath ed in m id n igh t blue. A tg e t’s Paris photos are the forerunners o f surrealist p h o to g ra p h y . C am ille R ech t has found an ap t m etap h or: “ T h e violin ist” . for the painter. A tg e t was an actor w ho. H e w as the first to disinfect the stifling 3 Eugene A tg e t Lichtbilder. ever cast the alm ost fabulous spell. but at the sam e tim e precursors. find it in an instant'. often for the price o f one o f those picture postcards w h ich . he n eglected to plan t his flag there. sold them o ff for next to n othin g. D ra w in g and colourin g. T h erefo re m a n y are a b le to flatter them selves that they have discovered the pole. he says. T h e com b in ation o f u n p aralleled absorption in their w ork and extrem e precision is com m on to both. and a selection has ju st appeared in an ex cep tio n a lly beautiful vo lu m e published b y C a m ille R e ch t. T h ere was even a facial resem blance.” In d eed .A Small History o f Photography 249 p h o to g ra p h e r’s attitud e to his techniques. th at P agan in i d id . b u t w ith the bitter m astery o f a great crafts­ m an w h o alw ays lives in the shadow s. Paris and L e ip zig 1931.

they p um p the au ra ou t o f reality like w ater from a sinking ship. here a piece o f balu strade. rom an tically sonorous nam es o f the cities. or the Paris courtyards. is the m ark o f a perception whose sense o f the sameness o f things has grow n to the point w here even the singular. is ju st as passionate an in clin a ­ tion in our d a y as the overcom in g o f w h a tever is u nique in every situation by m eans o f its reprod u ction . cast adrift. and thus such pictures too w ork against the exotic. w here from night to m ornin g the hand-carts stand in serried ranks. or a lam p-post w ith a life-buoy b ea rin g the nam e o f the to w n — this is n othin g b u t a literary refinem ent o f them es that A tg e t discovered. A tg e t alm ost alw ays passed b y the “ great sights and the so-called lan d m ark s” . Lille. to trace a range o f m ountains on the horizon. Antwerp or Breslau b u t show ­ ing only details. or the tables after people . or rath er to the masses. H e looked for w hat was u n rem arked. or a b ra n ch that throws its shadow on the observer. E very d ay the need to possess the ob ject in close-up in the form o f a picture. w h at he did not pass by was a lon g row o f boot lasts. to b rin g things closer to us. or rath er a copy. N ow . H e cleanses this atm osphere. the destruction o f the aura. A n d the difference betw een the copy. T h e stripp in g bare o f the object. is divested o f its u n iqueness— by m eans o f its \reproduction. forgotten.250 atm osphere gen erated by con ven tion al portrait p h o to g ra p h y in the age o f decline. becom es m ore im perative. W h ile resting on a sum m er’s noon. W h en a van t-g ard e periodicals like Bifur or Variete publish pictures cap tion ed Westminster. W h a t is aura. that b ran ch . w hich illustrated papers and newsreels keep in readiness. or a gable w all. and the picture is unm istakable. there a tree-top whose bare branches criss-cross a gas lam p. a ctu a lly ? A strange w eave o f space and tim e : the un ique ap p earan ce or sem blance o f distance. no m atter how close the ob ject m ay be. U n iquen ess and d u ration are as in tim ately conjoin ed in the latter as are transience and rep ro­ d u cib ility in the form er. the un ique. until the m om ent or the hou r becom e part o f their a p p e a ra n ce— that is w h at it means to breath e the aura o f those m ountains. indeed he dispels it altogether: he initiates the em an cip ation o f object from a u ra w hich is the most signal ach ievem ent o f the latest school o f p h oto­ graphy.

It gives free p la y to the p o litica lly ed u cated eye. Das Antlitz der £eit. how ever. N o 5. E m p ty the P orte d ’A rc e u il by the F ortification s. A n d anyon e w ho did not know it was ta u g h t b y the best o f the Russian films that m ilieu and landscape. em pty. A u g u st S an d er4 has com piled a series o f faces that is in no w ay inferior to 4 A u gu st Sander. Berlin 1930. how ever. reveal them selves m ost readily to those ph otograph ers w ho succeed in cap tu rin g their anonym ous p h ysiogn om y. So the R ussian feature film was the first o p p o r­ tu n ity in decades to put people before the cam era w ho had no use for their ph otographs. But it was no lon ger a portrait. to do w ith ou t people is for p h o to g ra p h y the most im possible o f renun ciations. It is in these a ch ievem en ts that surrealist p h otograp h y sets the scene for a salutory estrangem ent b etw een m an and his sur­ roundings. rath er sh yly d ra w in g b ack into their private space in the face o f such p ro ceed in gs— the w a y S ch op en h au er w ith d rew into the depths o f his ch air in the F ran kfu rt picture. depends very m uch on the subject. as it w ere p resentin g them at face valu e. the space w h ere they lived . W h a t w as it? It is the ou tstand ing service o f a G erm an p h otograp h er to have answ ered this question. W h eth er this is possible. em p ty the triu m p h al steps.A Small History o f Photography 251 have finished eatin g and left. T h a t generation did not pass on its virtues. em p ty the courtyard s. . A n d im m ed iately the hu m an face ap p eared on film w ith new and im m easu rab le significance. m erely w ith o u t m ood . . as it should be. taken a b ou t 1850— for that very reason allow ed that space. at four differen t places on the b u ild in g ’s facade. u n d er whose ga ze all intim acies are sacrificed to the illu m in ation o f detail. or the brothel at R u e . T h e y are not lonely. alm ost all these pictures are em p ty. gigan tic. . the P la ce du T ertre. the dishes not y et cleared a w a y — as they exist in their hundreds o f thousands at the same hour. R e m ark a b ly . too. the city in these pictures looks cleared out. T h e gen eration th at was not obsessed w ith go in g dow n to posterity in ph otograph s. whose street n u m ber appears. It is obvious that this n ew w a y o f seeing stands to gain least in an area w here there w as the greatest self-in du lgen ce: com m ercial p o rtrait p h oto g ra p h y. to get onto the p la te w ith them . O n the other hand. like a lo d gin g that has not yet found a new tenant.

and he has done it from a scientific view poin t. W ork like S an d er’s could overnigh t assume unlooked-for topi­ cality. on e’s closest relatives and friends. bu t delicate too.252 the trem endous physiogn om ic gallery m ounted by an Eisenstein or a P udovkin.” T h e author did not approach this enorm ous un d ertak in g as a scholar. and then back dow n all the w ay to the id io t. Sudden shifts o f pow er such as are now overdu e in our society can m ake the ab ility to read facial types a m atter o f vital im portance. as the publisher says. w rote L ich tw a rk b ack in 1907. ad optin g a scientific standpoint superior to the ph otograph er o f d e ta il. there is a m ore specific incentive one m ight offer the publisher. “ His com plete w ork com prises seven groups w hich correspond to the existing social order. indeed bold sort o f observation. the earth-bou nd m an. but. on e’s sw eetheart” . one w ill h ave to get used to being looked at in terms o f o n e’s provenance.” So it was quite in order for an observer like D ob lin to have hit on precisely the scientific aspects o f this w ork. A n d one w ill have to look at others the same w a y. or w ith the a d vice o f ethnographers and sociologists. takes the observer through every social stratum and every w alk o f life up to the highest representatives o f civilizatio n . It was assuredly a very im partial. very m uch in the ' spirit o f G o e th e ’s rem ark: “ T h ere is a delicate em piricism w hich so intim ately involves itself w ith the ob ject that it becom es true th eo ry. ' “ In our age there is no w ork o f art th at is looked at so closely as a ph otograph o f oneself. w hich helps us to u n d er­ stand the nature and history o f organs. “ S an d er starts o ff w ith the peasant. “ from direct ob servation ” . W h eth er one is o f the left or right. A p a rt from this basic en cou ragem en t. and is to be published in some 45 folios con ­ taining 12 ph otographs ea ch . It is a train ing m anu al. so this ph otographer is doing com parative p h otograp h y.” So far w e have a sam ple volu m e contain ing 60 reproductions. thereby m ovin g the in q u iry out o f the realm o f aesthetic distinctions into that o f social . w h ich offer inexhaustible m aterial for study.” It w ou ld be a pity if econom ic con­ siderations should prevent the con tin u in g pu b lication o f this extraord in ary b od y o f w ork. S a n d er’s w ork is m ore than a picture book. com m en tin g: “Just as there is com p arative an atom y.

A Small History o f Photography


functions. O n ly from this v a n ta g e point can it be carried further. It is ind eed significan t th a t the d ebate has raged most fiercely arou n d the aesthetics o f photography as art, w hereas the far less q uestion able social fact o f art as photography was given scarcely a glan ce. A n d yet the im p a c t o f the p h otog rap h ic reprod u ction o f art w orks is o f very m uch g rea te r im p ortan ce for the function o f art than the greater or lesser artistry o f a p h o to g ra p h y that regards all exp erien ce as fair gam e for the cam era. T h e am ateu r w ho returns hom e w ith great piles o f artistic shots is in fact no m ore ap p ealin g a figure than the hunter w h o com es b ack w ith q uan tities o f gam e o f no use to anyon e but the dealer. A n d the d a y does indeed seem to be at hand w h en there w ill be m ore illustrated m agazines th an gam e m erchants. So m uch for the snapshot. B ut the em phasis ch a n ­ ges co m p letely if w e tu rn from photogra.phy-as-art to art-asp h o to g ra p h y . E veryon e w ill h ave noticed how m uch easier it is to get hold o f a picture, m ore p a rticu la rly a piece o f sculpture, not to m en tion arch itectu re, in a p h o to g ra p h than in reality. It is all too tem p tin g to b lam e this sq u arely on the decline o f artistic a p p recia ­ tion, on a failure o f c o n tem p o ra ry sensibility. B ut one is b rou ght up short b y the w a y the u n d erstan d in g o f great w orks was transform ed at a b o u t the sam e tim e the techniques o f rep rod u ction w ere b ein g d evelop ed . T h e y can no lon ger be regarded as the w ork o f in d i-1 v id u a ls ; they have b ecom e a collective creation, a corpus so vast it can be assim ilated on ly th rou gh m in iatu rizatio n . In the final analysis, m ech a n ical rep rod u ction is a tech n iqu e o f dim inu tion that helps m en to ach ieve a control over w orks o f art w ith ou t w hose aid they could no lon ger be used. j I f one th in g typifies present-d ay relations betw een art and p h o to g ra p h y , it is the unresolved tension b etw een the two in tro­ d u ced b y the p h o to g ra p h y o f w orks o f art. M a n y o f those w ho, as ph otograph ers, d eterm in e the present face o f this tech n ology started out as painters. T h e y turned their b a c k on painting after attem pts to b rin g its expressive resources into a livin g and u n ­ eq u iv o ca l relationship w ith m o d em life. T h e keener their feel for the tem per o f the times, the m ore prob lem atic their starting point becam e for them . For once again, as eighty years before, photo-

grap h y was takin g over from painting. “ T h e creative po ten tial o f the n ew ” , says M o h o ly -N a gy , “ is for the m ost part slow ly revealed through old forms, old instrum ents and areas o f design that in their essence have a lrea d y been superseded b y the new, but w h ich u nder pressure from the new as it takes shape are driven to a euphoric efflorescence. T h u s, for exam ple, futurist (structural) p ain tin g b rought forth the clearly defined Problematic o f the sim u ltaneity o f m otion, the representation o f the instant, w hich was later to destroy it — and this at a tim e w hen film w as a lrea d y know n but far from being understood . . . S im ilarly, som e o f the painters (neoclassicists and verists) tod ay using representation al-objective m ethods can be reg a rd e d — w ith c a u tio n — as forerunners o f a new representational optical form w h ich w ill soon be m akin g use only o f m echan ical, techn ical m ethod s.” A n d T ristan T z a r a , 1922: “ W hen everyth in g that called itself art was stricken w ith palsy, the p h otograp h er switched on his thousand can d le-pow er lam p and gra d u a lly the light-sensitive paper absorbed the darkness o f a few ev eryd a y objects. H e had discovered w h at cou ld be done by a pure and sensitive flash o f light that was m ore im portan t than all the con ­ stellations arran ged for the ey e ’s p leasu re.” T h e ph otographers w ho w ent over from figurative art to p h otog rap h y not on o p p o r­ tunistic grounds, not by chance, not out o f sheer laziness, tod ay constitute the avan t-gard e am ong their colleagues, because they are to some extent protected b y their backgrou nd against the greatest d anger facin g p h otog rap h y tod ay, the touch o f the com ­ m ercial artist. “ P h otograp h y as a rt” , says Sasha Stone, “ is a very dangerous field ” . W here p h o to g ra p h y takes itself out o f context, severing the con ­ nections illustrated by Sander, Blossfeldt or G erm ain e K r u ll, w here it frees itself from ph ysiognom ic, po litical and scientific interest, then it becom es creative. T h e lens now looks for interesting ju x t a ­ positions; p h otog rap h y turns into a sort o f arty jou rn alism . “ T h e spirit that overcom es m echanics translates exact findings into parables o f life .” T h e m ore far-reach in g the crisis o f the present social order, the m ore rigid ly its in d iv id u a l com ponents are locked together in their death struggle, the m ore has the c re a tiv e — in its

A Small History o f Photography


deepest essence a sport, b y con tra d ictio n out o f im ita tio n — becom e a fetish, whose lineam ents live on ly in the fitful illu m in ation o f ch an g in g fashion. T h e creativ e in p h otog rap h y is its cap itu latio n to fashion. The world is beautiful— that is its w atch w ord . T h erein is unm asked the posture o f a p h o to g ra p h y that can endow any soup can w ith cosm ic significan ce bu t can not grasp a single one o f the hum an connexions in w h ich it exists, even w h ere most far-fetched subjects are m ore con cern ed w ith saleability than w ith insight. B ut because the true face o f this kind o f p h o to g ra p h ic creativity is the ad vertisem en t or association, its log ical cou n terp art is the act o f un m asking or construction. As B recht says: “ the situation is com ­ p licated by the fact that less than ever does the m ere reflection o f rea lity reveal a n yth in g a b o u t reality. A p h otograp h o f the K r u p p w orks or the A .E .G . tells us next to nothin g abou t these institu­ tions. A c tu a l rea lity has slipped into the fu n ctional. T h e reification o f hum an relatio n s— the factory, sa y — m eans that they are no lon ger exp licit. So som ething m ust in fact be built up, som ething artificial, po sed .” W e ow e it to the surrealists that they trained the pioneers o f such a constru ctivist ph otograp h y. A further stage in this contest betw een cre ativ e and constructivist p h otog rap h y is typified b y the R ussian film . It is not too m uch to say that the great achievem ents o f the R u ssian directors w ere on ly possible in a cou n try w h ere p h o to g ra p h y does not set out to charm or persuade, but to exp erim en t and instruct. In this sense, and in this only, there is still some m ean in g in the g ra n d ilo q u en t salute offered to ph oto­ gra p h y in 1855 b y the u n cou th painter o f ideas, A n toin e W iertz. “ For som e years now the glo ry o f our age has been a m achin e w h ich d a ily am azes the m ind and startles the eye. Before another cen tu ry is out, this m ach in e w ill be the brush, the palette, the colours, the craft, the exp erience, the patien ce, the dexterity, the sureness o f touch, the atm osphere, the lustre, the exem plar, the perfection, the very essence o f p ain tin g . . . L et no one suppose that d a gu erro typ e p h o to g ra p h y w ill be the death o f art . . . W hen the d a gu erro ty p e, that in fan t p rod igy, has grow n to its full stature, w hen all its art and its strength have been revealed, then w ill G enius seize it by the sc ru ff o f the neck and shout: C om e w ith me,

256 you are m ine n ow ! W e shall w ork to g eth er!” . H ow sober, indeed pessimistic by contrast are the w ords in w h ich B au d elaire ann ou n ­ ced the new techn ology to his readers, tw o years later, in the Salon o f 1857. L ik e the precedin g q u otation , they can be read tod ay only w ith a subtle shift o f em phasis. B ut as a cou nterpart to the above, they still m ake sense as a violent reaction to the en croachm en ts o f artistic p h otograp h y. “ In these sorry days a new ind u stry has arisen that has done not a little to strengthen the asinine b e lie f . . . that art is and can be nothing oth er than the accu rate reflection o f nature . . . A vengeful god has hearkened to the vo ice o f this m ultitude. D agu erre is his M essiah .” A n d : “ I f p h o to g ra p h y is perm itted to supplem ent some o f a rt’s functions, they w ill forth­ w ith be usurped and corru pted b y it, thanks to p h o to g ra p h y ’s n atural alliance w ith the m ob. It m ust therefore revert to its proper duty, w hich is to serve as the h an d m aid en o f science and the arts” . O n e thing, how ever, both W iertz and B audelaire failed to g r a s p : the lessons inherent in the a u th en ticity o f the ph otograph . T h ese cannot be forever circu m vented b y a com m en tary whose cliches m erely establish verb al associations in the view er. T h e cam era is getting sm aller and sm aller, ever readier to cap tu re fleeting and secret m om ents whose im ages paralyse the associative m echanism s in the beholder. T h is is w here the caption comes in, w h ereb y p h otograp h y turns all life’s relationships into literatu re, and w ith ­ out w hich all constructivist p h o to g ra p h y m ust rem ain arrested in the ap proxim ate. N ot for n othin g h ave A tg e t’s ph otographs been likened to those o f the scene o f a crim e. But is not every square inch o f our cities the scene o f a crim e? E very passer-by a cu lp rit? Is it not the task o f the p h o to g ra p h e r— descendant o f the augurs and haruspices— to reveal gu ilt and to point out the gu ilty in his p ic­ tures? “ T h e illitera cy o f the fu tu re” , som eone has said, “ w ill be ignorance not o f readin g or w ritin g, but o f p h o to g ra p h y .” But must not a ph otograph er w ho can n o t read his ow n pictures be no less accoun ted an illiterate? W ill not the caption becom e the most im portant part o f the p h otograp h ? S u ch are the questions in w h ich the interval o f ninety years that separate us from the age o f the dagu erro type discharges its historical tension. It is in the illum in a-

A Small History o f Photography 257 tion o f these sparks that the first photographs em erge, beautiful and u n ap p ro ach a b le , from the darkness o f our grand fathers’ d ay. i 93i

Karl Kraus
D edicated to G u stav G lu ck

I. Cosmic M a n
H ow noisy everyth in g grows.
— Words in Verse I I

In old engravings there is a m essenger w ho rushes tow ard us crying aloud, his hair on end, brand ishin g a sheet o f paper in his hands, a sheet full o f w ar and pestilence, o f cries o f m u rder and pain, o f danger from fire and flood, spreading everyw h ere the “ latest new s” . News in this sense, in the sense that the w ord has in Shakespeare, is dissem inated by D ie Fackel [ The Torch].* F u ll o f b etrayal, earthquakes, poison, and fire from the mundus intelligibilis. T h e hatred w ith w hich it pursues the tribe o f jou rn alists that swarms into infinity is not only a m oral but a vital one, such as is hurled by an ancestor upon a race o f degenerate and dw arfish rascals that has sprung from his seed. T h e very term “ p u b lic op inion ” outrages him. O pinions are a private m atter. T h e pu blic has an interest only in ju d gm en ts. E ither it is a ju d g in g public, or it is none. But it is precisely the purpose o f the p u b lic opinion generated by the press to m ake the pu blic in cap ab le o f ju d g in g , to insinuate into it the attitude o f som eone irresponsible, u n in ­ form ed. Indeed, w h at is even the most precise inform ation in the daily new spapers in com parison to the hair-raising m eticulousness observed by Die Fackel in the presentation o f legal, linguistic, and political facts? Die Fackel need not trouble itself abou t pu blic opinion, for the blood-steeped novelties o f this “ n ew spaper” dem and a passing o f ju d gm en t. A n d on nothing m ore im petuously, urgently, than on the press itself.
* T h e jou rn al edited by K rau s from 1899 until his death in 1936 [N L B ].


Karl Kraus


A h atred such as that w h ich K rau s has h eap ed on jou rn alists can n ever be founded sim ply on w h at they d o — how ever obnoxious this m ay b e; this hatred m ust have its reason in their very n atu re, w h eth er it be an tith etical or akin to his ow n. In fact, it is both. His most recent portrait ch aracterizes the jo u rn a list in the first sentence as “ a person w ho has little interest either in h im self and his ow n existence, or in the m ere existence o f things, but w h o feels things on ly in their relationships, above all w h ere these m eet in even ts— and only in this m om ent becom e united, substantial, and a liv e .” W h a t we have in this sentence is n oth in g other than the n egative o f an im age o f K ra u s. Indeed, w h o could have show n a m ore b u rn in g interest in h im self and his ow n existence than the w riter w h o is never finished w ith this subject; w h o a m ore atten tiv e concern for the mere existence o f things, their origin ; w h om does that coin cid en ce o f the event w ith the date, the witness, or the cam era cast into d eeper despair than him ? In the end he b ro u g h t together all his energies in the struggle against the em pty phrase, w hich is the linguistic expression o f the despotism w ith w h ich , in jo u rn a lism , top ica lity sets up its dom inion over things. T h is side o f his struggle against the press is illu m in ated m ost v iv id ly by the life’s w ork o f his com rade-in-arm s, A d o lf Loos. Loos found his p rovid en tia l adversaries in the arts-and-crafts m ongers and architects w ho, in the am bit o f the “ V ie n n a W o rk ­ shops” , w ere striving to give birth to a new art industry. H e sent out his rallyin g cry in n um erous essays, p a rticu la rly , in its en d u rin g form u lation, in the article “ O rn a m en tatio n and C rim e ” , w h ich a p p eared in 1908 in the Frankfurter %eitung. T h e ligh tn in g flash ign ited by this essay described a curiously zig za g course. “ O n read in g the w ords w ith w h ich G oeth e censures the w a y the Philis­ tine, and thus m any an art connoisseur, run their fingers over en gravin gs and reliefs, the revelation cam e to him that w h at m a y be tou ched cannot be a w ork o f art, and that a w ork o f art m ust be out o f re a ch .” It was therefore L oos’s first concern to sep arate the w ork o f art from the article o f use, as it was th at o f K rau s to keep ap a rt inform ation and the w ork o f art. T h e h ack jo u rn alist is in his heart at one w ith the ornam en talist. K rau s did not tire o f denounc-

as one w ho blurred the b o u n d a ry betw een jou rn alism and literature. “ T h e n ew spaper industry. as H ein e’s was that o f feuilletonism . “ W ho was it that brought into the w orld this great excuse: I can do w h at I am n o t? ” T h e em pty phrase. politics. anyw here. in any region o f life. A n d not from ju st any m aterial: ev eryth in g that has happened in the m eantim e. econom ics. “ that to the m ixtu re o f ele­ ments . as the creator o f the feuilleton in poetry and prose. he later p laced even N ietzsche beside H eine as the b etrayer o f the aphorism to the im pression. dem ands separate areas for w orkin g and selling. gives it value for the connoisseur. But for this very reason the liberation o f lan gu age has becom e identical w ith that o f the em pty p h rase— its transform ation from reprod u ction to p rod uctive instrum ent. must by now have been reached and jo u rn a listica lly processed.” O r. In this d u ality o f a chan ged life d ra g gin g on in un chan ged forms. like a factory. .” Both forms ap p ear as sym ptom s o f the chronic sickness o f w hich all attitudes and standpoints m erely m ark the tem perature c u r v e : in au th en ticity. T h e em pty phrase o f the kind so relentlessly pursued by K rau s is the label that m akes a thought m arketable. It. Die Fackel itself contains m odels o f this. w hile u nable to coin new p la ti­ tudes. leaves the spirit o f m ankind in the state o f being un able to do w ithou t old ones. etc. he added psychology. art. T ru e. indeed. its un tyin g w ou ld have to follow a d ifferent pattern.260 ing H eine as an ornam entalist. how ever. three times in the b igger new spapers— a p a rticu la r q u an tity o f w ork has to have been procured and prep ared for the m achine.” he said o f the latter. . the w orld ’s ills grow and prosp er.” In these words K rau s deftly tied the knot b in d in g tech n ology to the em pty phrase. as ornam ent. the w a y flow ery lan gu age. is an abortion o f technology. in the decom posing E u rop ean style o f the last h a lf century. “ It is m y op in ion . A t certain times o f d a y — tw ice. as K rau s so splendidly sums it up: “ H e ought to throw light on the w a y in w hich technology. jou rn alism being clearly seen as the expression o f the changed function o f lan gu age in the w orld o f high capitalism .. It is from the unm asking o f the inauthentic that this battle against the press arose. . and that the new level o f lan gu age that he created is the level o f essayism.

and if it cou ld it w ou ld not h a p p en . For the sh ab b y. and w h ich . In the em pires bereft o f im agin ation . in these times. in these un speakable times. and w h eth er it com es from anim als. press. R ig h tly so. it m ust sum ­ mon the dead from their graves. or m erely from m ortars shall . catch in g them selves in the act. T h e com b in ation o f b ib lical m agn iloq u en ce w ith stiff-necked fixation on the indecencies o f V ien n ese life— th at is its w a y o f a p p ro a ch in g ph enom ena. w here pens are d ip p ed in b lood and swords in ink. in these g ra v e tim es that have lau gh ed them selves to death at the possibility o f gro w in g serious and. E xp ect from me no w o rd o f m y ow n . w hich w ill again be sm all if they still have tim e. w e prefer to address as fat times and truly also as hard tim es. obtrusive abu n d an ce o f these V ien n ese coffee-houses. because in the field o f o rgan ic grow th such transform ations are not possible. for in the room w here som eone w rites the noise is so great. from child ren . in these loud times. “ In these great times. that w h ich is not thought m ust be done. w hich ju st preserves silence from m isinterpretation . w here m an is d y in g o f spiritual starvation w h ile not feeling spiritual hun ger. two m onths after the ou tb reak o f w ar. w ith w hich all the dem ons that had p o p u la ted this possessed m an passed into the herd o f the swine w h o w ere his contem poraries. w hich I knew w hen they w ere sm all.Karl Kraus 261 even i f not the th eory: its form ulae are o f the kind that tie up. is lan gu a g e subordin ate to m isfortune. he called this subject b y its nam e in the speech “ In T h is G re a t A g e ” . w hen precisely w h a t is h a p p en in g could not be im agined . b u t th at w hich is only thought is inexpressible. and o f reports that b ear the b lam e for d ee d s. and society scandals is on ly a m inor m anifestation o f a foreknow led ge that then. overtak en by their ow n traged y. suddenly arrived at its true and origin al su b ject. N one excep t this. It is not conten t to call on the w orld as witness to the m isdem eanours o f a cash ier. you can exp ect no w ord o f m y ow n from me. n ever that untie. seek w ord s. and w hen w h at m ust happen can no lo n ger be imagined. b oom in g w ith the fearful sym phony o f deeds that en gend er reports. lon g for d istraction and then. m ore sw iftly than an y could p erceive. N or should I be c ap ab le o f saying a n y th in g n ew . T o o d eep ly am I aw ed by the u n alterable.

His silence is a dam before w h ich the reflecting basin o f his know ledge is constantly deepened. K rau s knew this criterion from the first. billow s. and m oreover there is . to dism antle the situation. L et him w ho has som ething to say step forw ard and be silen t!” E veryth in g K rau s w rote is like th a t: a silence turned inside out. N otw ith stan d in g their abu n d an ce. each o f the instances o f this silence seems to have broken upon it w ith the suddenness o f a gust o f w ind. Those w ho now have nothing to say because it is the turn o f deeds to speak. W ith w h at precautions this is surrounded can be seen from the b arbed w ire o f editorial pronouncem ents that encircles each edition o f Die Fackel. tact is m oral alertness— Stossl calls it “ conviction refined into d ialectics” — and the expression o f an unknow n conven tion m ore im portan t than the ack n ow led ged one. a silence that catches the storm o f events in its black folds. he distinguishes betw een degrees o f the m onstrous. a precise apparatus o f control is brought into p la y : through a m eshing o f oral and w ritten forms the polem ical possibilities o f every situation are totally exhausted. rather. to discover the true question the situation poses. the constructive. H e w ho addresses deeds violates both w ord and deed and is tw ice despicable. and to present this in place o f any other to his opponents. as from the razor-sharp definitions and provisos in the program m es and lectures a cco m ­ pan yin g his readings from his ow n w ork. and does so precisely because his criterion is never that o f bourgeois respectability.262 not be decided now. and alertness constitutes the figure o f K rau s the p o le­ micist. talk on. forever u n w illin g to conform to principles proffered to it. its livid lining turned outw ard. Its first principle is. creative side o f tact. in K rau s w e see its most d estructive and critical face. But for both. know ledge. w hich once above the threshold o f trivial mis­ dem eanour becom es so q u ick ly short o f breath that it can form no conception o f v illa in y on a w orld-h istorical scale. His alertness perm its no one to ask it questions. Im m ed iately. K rau s lived in a w orld in w hich the most sham eful act was still the faux pas. T h e trinity o f silence. I f in J o h a n n Peter H ebei we find. developed to the utm ost. T h is profession is not extinct.

His con cep t o f creation contains the th eological in h eritan ce o f speculations that last possessed con tem p o rary v a lid ity for the w hole o f E u rop e in the seventeenth century. the tossing o f the sea. his sp iritu al eye not yet tou ched by science. I believe them sm al­ ler. w h ich m ade creation into a ch u rch in w hich n othin g rem ained to recall the rite excep t an occasional w h iff o f incense in the mists. plants. tact is the ca p a city to treat social relationships. “ T h e stirring o f the a ir . and was m oved to fear and ad m iration . . a n im atin g the soul through the infinite intercourse o f . . but the lack ey like an A d a m in livery. the tw in klin g o f the stars I hold g r e a t: the thunderstorm ap p ro a ch in g in splendour. so the m oral law acts silently. on consideration o f all relationships. indeed. the verd u re o f the earth.Karl Kraus 263 no other criterion for true tact. and conspicuous events are on ly single m anifestations o f these laws. the earth qu ak e la y in g w aste to countries. . the shining o f the sky. child ren . bu t w hen his m ind was opened. the m ountains spew ing fire. Ju st as in nature the general laws act silently and incessantly. For tact is n o w — as n arrow m inds im agine i t — the gift o f allottin g to each. how ever. W hen m an was in his infan cy. O n the contrary. K ra u s in arm our. A t the th eological core o f this concept. the storm d riv in g the surf. . and so not only to ap p roach the king as if he h ad been b o m w ith the crow n on his brow . as n atu ral. and his echo is heard w herever K rau s concerns him self w ith anim als. w hen his gaze began to be d irected at the connections betw een things p a r­ ticu lar phenom ena sank from sight and the law rose even higher. H ebei possessed this noblesse in his priestly bearin g. he was seized by w hat was close at hand and obtrusive. and w on d er increased. . though not d ep artin g from them . the ligh tn in g flash that cleaves houses. . even as parad isiac relationships. I do not hold greater than the form er p h en o m en a. to coincide w ith the cosm opolitan credo o f A u strian worldliness. qu ite w ith ou t constraint. w h at is socially befitting.” Stifter writes. because they are on ly effects o f far high er laws. m iracles ceased. the gro w in g o f corn. It is a theological criterion. a transform ation has taken place that has caused it. “ the rip plin g o f w ater. Stifter gave this creed its most au then tic stam p.

” T a c itly . C ertain ly the dog is not for n othin g the em blem atic beast o f this author: the dog. a river cond em ned to m eander through a landscape o f hell. so for him . It is a landscape in w hich every day fifty thousand tree trunks are felled for sixty new spapers. once d ep loyed against creation. either. for him creatio n ’s true m irror virtu e. let alone a historical resolution. gratitu d e smile from times lost and rem ote. that is. “ A n d on ly the anim al that is conquered by h u m an ity is the hero o f life” : n ever was A d a lb e rt S tifter’s patriarch al credo given so lugubrious and heral­ dic a form ulation. K raus im parted this inform ation under the title “ T h e E n d ” . storms. This insolently secularized thu n d er and ligh tning. whose last act is w orld conflagration. the terrible years o f his life are not history. that o f the d o g ” . w ill not stop short o f its m aster. w ho is n othin g . K rau s. purity. M ore num erously and eagerly than abou t their m aster they th ron g w ith un lovely sniffings about the m ortally w ounded opponent. For that m ankind is losing the figh t against the creatu rely w orld is to him ju st as certain as that techn ology. H ow lam entable that people usurp its p lace! These are his followers.264 hum an beings. and earth q u a k es— cosm ic m an has w on them b ack for creation by m aking them its w orld-historical answer to the crim inal existence o f men. the ideal exam ple o f the follower. But this nature o f S tifter’s and his m oral universe are transparent enough to escape an y confusion w ith K a n t. It is in the nam e o f anim al creation that K rau s again and again bends tow ard the anim al and tow ard “ the heart o f all hearts. and the m iracles o f the m om ent w hen deeds are perform ed are only sm all signs o f this general p o w er. As a deserter to the cam p o f anim al creatio n — so he m easures out this wilderness. F or as the landscape o f A u stria fills u nbroken the cap tivatin g expanse o f S tifter’s prose. and to be still recogn izab le in their core as creation. p la n eta ry kind. His defeatism is o f a supranation al. the holy has given place to the m odest yet questionable concept o f law . surf. in w hich fidelity. b u t nature. O n ly the span betw een C reatio n and the L ast J u d gm en t here finds no redem ptive fulfilm ent. and history for him is m erely the w ilderness d ivid in g his face from creation. in these famous sentences.

becam e his profession. H ow m uch renu n ciation and how m uch irony lie in the curious struggle for the “ n erves” . party. press. Indeed. if anyw here. the better. the con tem po rary. finally against neighbours in every form . as a private in d ivid u a l. and constitution. In this fig h t— and on ly in . the last root fibres o f the V ien n ese to w hich K rau s could still find M o th er E arth adherin g. in other w ords. w hom he conceived and con vin ced in one and the sam e act. constantly to find new enem ies. T o defend this against police. o f econom ic and ph ysical existence. ev eryd a y im itations. becam e the problem o f p rivate life. and patios extend in g far into the d raw in g rooms that are no longer d ra w in g room s— such a w atch w o rd w ould be the most rea ctio n a ry o f all w ere not the private life that K rau s had m ade it his business to defend precisely that w h ich . but the subject grew under his hands. and concepts. is m anifest the strange in terp la y betw een rea ctio n a ry theory and revo lu tion ary practice that is m et everyw h ere in K rau s. It is en tirely logical w hen the im poverished. His w ord can be decisive only for those w hom it did not beget. from whose ranks cam e Peter A lten b erg. in a society that is in the process o f b u ild in g houses w ith glass w alls. can only seek sanctu ary in the tem ple o f livin g things in that most w ithered form . “ K r a u s ” . the agitator. K rau s is right to put it to the hardest test. m orality. A n d 265 the m ore personal and un founded this devotion. writes R o b ert Scheu. and A d o lf Loos. unlike the bourgeois form .Karl Kraus excep t devoted creatu rely life. to secure private life against m orality and concepts in a society that perpetrates the po litical radioscopy o f sexu ality and fam ily. H e becam e the ad vo cate o f the nerves and took up the fight against the petty. it is that they are recruited solely from those w hom K rau s h im self first called in tellectu ally to life. that o f the poor. the private life that is dism antling itself. house and hom e. H e found that they w ere ju st as w orth y an object o f im passioned defence as were prop erty. “ had discovered a great subject that had never before set in m otion the pen o f a publicist: the rights o f the nerves. But if a n y th in g makes plain w h at is infinitely ques­ tion able in these creatures. reduced h um an b ein g o f our days.” H ere. op en ly shaping itself. is in strict accord an ce w ith this social u p h e a v a l.

reconciling h a rm o n y — w hole and in tact from a single fragm en t o f sentence.” K rau s once said. It is not in the last underm ined by w h at others must avoid : its ow n despotism . and how right he then is to clin g to this. for exam ple. “ For the m a n . it w ould be disappoin tin g to observe how it arrived at its pron oun cem ents— by fairness. and nothing holds them in check except K r a u s ’s decision to step in person before his threshold and pay hom age to the ruins in w hich he is a “ private in d iv id u a l” . “ M a n y w ill be right one d ay.266 i t — his followers also have their use. T h u s he em bodies the secret o f a u th o r ity : never to disappoint. and he gla d ly prefers others’ being right to his being w ro n g . a single intonation . a single w ord. or even self-consis­ tency. injustice. But it w ill be a rightness resulting from m y wrongness to d a y . in confidence o f a truly prestabilized . m ore for w hat they say than for w hat they w rite. is the precon dition o f his p o lem ical au thority. But the coincid en ce o f personal and objective elem ents not on ly in his opponents but above all in him self is best dem on strated by the fact that he never puts forw ard an opinion. since it is they w ho most sublim ely ignore the anon ym ity w ith w hich the satirist has tried to surround his private existence. and least o f all for their books. inconsistency.” T o prove his m anhood in this w ay is denied to K ra u s . A u th o rity has no other end than this: it dies or disappoints.” T h a t is the lan gu age o f true authority. For opinion is false ob jectivity that can be separated from the person and incorp o rated in the circu latio n o f com m odities. w hich is able to lift the in tellectu al universe o f an a u th o r— all the m ore surely the more worthless it is. his existence dem ands that at most the self-righteousness o f others is opposed to his wrongness. T h a t K rau s attacks people less for w hat they are than for w hat they do. As decisively as he makes his ow n existence a p u b lic issue w hen the fight dem ands it. In sigh t into its operations can discover on ly one th in g: . he has alw ays ju st as ruthlessly opposed the distinction betw een personal and ob jective criticism w ith the aid o f w hich polem ics are discredited. “ being right is not an erotic m atter. and w hich is a ch ief instrum ent o f corruption in our literary and political affairs. O n the contrary. K rau s never offered an argum en t th at had not engaged his w hole person.

that it does not tire o f trem blin g before itself. and frequ en tly also the possibility o f a situation. not on ly in w hat it represents. it m ay be. It not only claim s that the true events are its news o f events. W e have p laced the person w ho is supposed to report outbreaks o f fire. to fulfil its responsibility tow ard itself. and w h o ought doubtless to p la y the most su bordin ate role in the state. though never before others. O n ce again the instrum ent has run a w a y w ith us. in pow er over the w orld. h ow ­ ever unjust. . and that this sense o f responsibility never allow s him to accep t argum ents d erived from his private constitution or even from the lim its o f hum an cap acity. over fact and over our fa n ta sy. that w hile w ar correspondents are not allow ed to witness events. w hich in any case exists. but alw ays only from the m atter at hand. over fire and over the house. he passes by night am ong the sentence constructions o f the jou rn als. Is it speech? N o: life. It is not idle to prognosticate its outcom e. It is not a servan t— how could a servant d em and and receive so m u c h — it is the event. the chim era o f an “ im p a rtial transm ission o f new s” . T h e new s­ paper is an instrum ent o f pow er. K rau s least o f all. But it was n ever a m ore intim ate union than in the theory o f lan gu age. can leave the utopia o f an “ o b jectiv e” n ew spaper. that it never does enough to satisfy itself. m ercilessly b in d ing tow ard itself in the sam e degree as tow ard others. but it also brings abou t a sinister id en tification that constantly creates the illusion that deeds are reported before they are carried out. In cogn ito like H aroun al-R ash id . soldiers becom e reporters. to its ow n devices.Karl Kraus 267 that it is binding. from behind the petrified facades o f phrases. T h e characteristic o f such u nlim ited a u th ority has for all tim e been the union o f legislative and execu tive pow er. T h is is therefore the most decisive expression o f K r a u s ’s au th ority.” A u th o rity and w ord against corruption and m a g ic — these are the catchw ords d istributed in this struggle. N o one. and. I therefore w elcom e the ch arge that all m y life I have overestim ated the press. It can d erive its valu e only from the ch ara cter o f the pow er it serves. from a private point o f view . he peers into the interior. the m artyrd om o f w ords: “ Is the press a m essenger? N o : the event. discovers in the orgies o f “ b lack m a g ic ” the violation.

I I. But not in all parts. A n eye that can n o t adjust to this darkness w ill never perceive the outline o f this figure. T h is is enough to give a m easure o f how little K rau s w ou ld have to w in or lose in such a struggle. h ow ­ ever. T h e d ark b ack grou n d from w hich his im age detaches itself is not form ed b y his contem poraries. O n it w ill be w asted all the gestures that K rau s tirelessly m akes in his u n con q u erab le need to be perceived. it is the expression o f this pow er. too. T h e d em on ’s solitude. then a new blossom ing o f p arad isiac. Demon H ave I slept? I am ju st falling asleep. T h a t cannot be done. as in the fairy tale. the un in terrupted lam ent. others rem ain that are m ore deeply im m ersed in it than one suspects. For. If. T o the ever-repeated sensations w ith w hich the d aily press serves its public he opposes the eternally fresh “ n ew s” o f the history o f creation: the etern ally renew ed. T h e great work o f L eop old L iegler springs from an ap olo­ getic posture. is felt b y him w ho gesticulates w ild ly on the hidden hill: “ T h a n k G od n obody knows m y nam e is R u m p elstiltsk in . that all a pologetic argum ents miss their m ark. — Words in Verse I V It is deeply rooted in K r a u s ’s nature.268 but also in w h at it does.” Ju st as this . T h e ligh t o f the first d ay falls on h im — thus he em erges from this darkness. high capitalism defiles not only the ends but also the m eans o f journalism . but is the prim eval w orld or the w orld o f the dem on. From that now prevailing it w ill distinguish itself first o f all b y pu ttin g out o f circulation ideals that debase the form er. the dem on in K ra u s has m ade van ity the expression o f his being. and it is the stigm a o f every d ebate concern in g him . T o certify K rau s as an “ ethical p ersonality” is his first objective. o f how un errin gly Die Fackel w ou ld illu m in ate it. cosm ic h u m an ity can no m ore be expected o f a pow er that defeats it than a second bloom ing o f the lan gu age o f G oethe or C lau d iu s.

from the obscurest and driest fact a piece o f his m u tilated flesh hangs. T h ere is no reproach to him . he th ereby indicates the nature o f the relationship o f his own o p p o­ nents to himself. it is attained chiefly by the card iac strength o f great thoughts. that could not find its most legitim ate form ulation in his ow n w ritings. in K rau s eccen tric reflection is in continuous uproar. his capacities are m aladies. a m b ig u ity. I f he does not see his reflection in him self. and a self-expressive art op eratin g w ith the m ost archaic. H e w ill p ay any price to get h im self talked abou t. the pow erful heart o f his style is nevertheless the im age he bears o f h im self in his ow n breast and exposes in the most m erciless m anner. his life and his suffering. is m anifest: self-expression and unm asking m erge in it as self-unm asking. no vilification o f his person. A n d if he then offers a sacrifice to his van ity. fibres and nerves q u iv er. W h ile such thoughts are q u ite u n m istakable in K rau s. Y es. “ A n ti-S em itism is the m en tality . . that m eans seriously a tenth part o f the jib es that the stock-exchange w it holds ready for his ow n b lo od ” . I f style is the pow er to m ove freely in the length and breadth o f linguistic th in kin g w ith out fa llin g into b an ality. restless bounds to reach the lecture podium . for w hom in a subordin ate clause. crossing a room w ith swift. how ever. and over and above the real ones. and is alw ays justified by the success o f these speculations. indeed in a com m a. all its nakedness. in a p article. in those passages w here self-reflection is raised to self­ ad m iration . As such he has been described by K a rin M ichaelis. too. “ T h e patien t o f his gifts” . and w ith it the typ ical reader o f Die Fackel.Karl Kraus 269 d a n cin g dem on is never still. In this zone. Id iosyn crasy as the highest critical o r g a n — that is the hidden logic o f this self-reflection and the hellish . In this w a y his style comes into being. that he exposes w ith all its w ounds. In fact. . w h ich drives the blood o f lan gu a g e through the cap illaries o f syntax into the rem otest lim bs. he sees it in the ad versary at his feet. V iertel called him . he w o u ld not be the dem on that he is w ere it not fin ally himself. His polem ics have been from the first the most intim ate in term in glin g o f a tech n iqu e o f unm asking that works w ith the most a d va n ced means. K rau s has said. the dem on. his van ity makes him a h yp o ch o n d riac. he is vain.

not w ith ou t cause. T h e quotations in Die Fackel are m ore than d ocu m en tary proof: they are masks stripped o ff m im etically by the quoter. the Chinese pitch.” K rau s has said. glu tton y and dis­ honesty. w hat emerges in ju st this connection is how closely the cru elty o f the satirist is linked to the am biguous m odesty o f the interpreter. Indeed. the lowest kind o f flattery. digs out the grubs o f hum bug. ign om in y and bonhom ie. probing betw een syllables. “ I a m . childishness and covetousness. O ffen b ach . im ita tin g w hile it glosses. His m im etic genius. In them his ow n voice tries out the a bun d an ce o f personae in h ab itin g the perform er— persona: that through w hich sound passes— and abou t his fingertips d art the gestures o f the figures po pu latin g his voice. the exposure o f in a u th e n tic ity — m ore difficult than that o f w ickedn ess— is here perform ed beh aviou ristically. is festively unleashed in the readings o f dram as whose authors do not for nothing o ccu p y a p ecu liarly in term ed iate position: Shakespeare and N estroy. teasing. in order to annihilate them . T h e grubs o f ve n a lity and garru lity. “ T o rm e n t” . mimesis plays a decisive role. Has courtesy here becom e the cam ou flage o f hate. T o cre ep — so is term ed. a state that was experienced. dram atists and actors. threatening. torm enting. shot through w ith all the lightning flashes o f im provisation. This q u ib b ler. w hich in his p u b lic readings is heightened beyond com prehension. because it alone offered him the thousand opportunities to break out. ap art from K rau s. pu llin g faces in the m idst o f polem ics. It is as if the dem on in the m an sought the tum ultuous atm osphere o f these dram as. by no one as d eep ly as by K ierk ega a rd . “ perhaps the first instance o f a w riter w ho sim ultaneously writes and acts his w ritin g ” . too.2yo state known only to a w riter for w hom every act o f gratification becom es at the same time a station o f his m artyrdom . But in his polem ics. H e im itates his subjects in order to insert the cro w b a r o f his hate into the finest join ts o f their posture. A d m itted ly. hate the cam ou flage o f courtesy? H o w ever that m ay be. o f w h ich . both have attained perfection. and K rau s creeps into those he im personates. com poser and conductor. and thus he shows his va n ity its most legitim ate p la ce: in m im e.

here has its seat. a n atu re that is the highest school o f aversion to m ankind and a pity that is alive only w hen m ingled w ith ven gean ce. printed m atter. and certain ly not the com m ent o f his friend A d o lf Loos. had I on ly been left the choice / to carve the d og or the butcher. N o! T his incorru p tib le. H ow utterly b an al. K rau s the “ timeless w orld -d istu rb er” has been confronted w ith the “ eternal w orld -im p ro v er” on w hom benign glances not infre­ q u en tly fall. is their d erivation o f his hatred from love. “ O h .” A las. But w h at im plicates him so d eeply is m ore than the deeds and m isdeeds. and also the cause and the result o f th at ever-w atch fu l gu ilty conscience in w hich the dem on has his h ab itat. R ig h tly . / I should have chosen. “ stands on the frontier o f a new a g e . rath er than the totality o f his gifts— is so d elicately and precisely o rgan ized that all o u tw a rd confirm ation only disrupts it. it is the lan gu a g e o f his fellow m en. W ell it m ay. he declares. he was the h an d s” . Brecht said. “ K r a u s ” . so that anyon e listening to his “ hardness” w ith “ the ears o f the sou l” w ou ld find the reason for it in com passion. w hen it is obvious how m uch m ore elem ental are the forces here at w o rk : a h u m an ity that is only an alternation o f m alice and sophistry. b y no means.Karl Kraus 271 there is so m uch talk in K rau s in such op aq u e allusions. F or he stands on the threshold o f the Last J u d gm en t. if this m an is to be certified as the “ pattern o f a harm oniously and perfectly form ed hu m an ty p e ” . piercin g. Few insights can stand beside this. docum ents are n oth in g but the defensive reaction o f a m an w ho is h im self im p li­ cated. His protests against letters. “ W h en the age laid hands upon itself. if he is to a p p e a r— in a term as absurd stylistically as se m a n tica lly — as a ph ilanthropist. As in the most . and at the same tim e how fu n d am en tally w rong. His passion for im ita tin g them is at the sam e tim e the expression o f and the struggle against this im plicatio n . sophistry and m alice.” N oth in g is m ore perverse than to try to fashion him after the im age o f w h a t he loves. resolute assurance does not spring from the noble poetic or hu m ane disposition that his followers are so fond o f attrib u tin g to him . T h e econ om y o f his errors and w eaknesses— a fantastic edifice.

N othin g is understood about this m an until it has been perceived that. and the dam n ed floating before them . T h is is the inh eritan ce that has com e dow n to him from the serm on o f A b rah a m a San ta C lara. It has been said o f K rau s that he has to “ suppress the Jewishness in h im se lf” . Still less in the posture o f those radicals w ho storm paragraphs w ithou t ever for a m om ent h avin g taken thought o f justice. nothing better refutes this than the fact that. sw ord-sw allow in g p h ilology in the new spapers pursues justice just as m uch as language. A n d not in a pettybourgeois revolt against the enslavem ent o f the “ free in d iv id u a l” by “ dead fo rm u lae” . K rau s accuses the law in its substance. even that he “ travels the road from Jewishness to freed om ” . A ll his fireeating. the blessed. the ready w it o f the w holly un con tem plative m om ent. becom e a cham ber. for him . For this is the last official act o f this zea lo t: to place legal system itself under accusation. a legal ch am b er over w hich lan gu ag e presides. saints hard-pressed against the fram e extend defensive hands tow ard the b reath tak in gly foreshortened extrem ities o f the angels. it is only to file a com plain t at the L ast Ju d gm en t.2J2 opulent exam ple o f baroque a ltar painting. a single advertisem ent. the w ord o f som eone else in his m outh as other than a corpus delicti. H e does not stand on the frontier o f a new age. o f necessity and w ithou t exception. too. and his own as other than a ju d g in g w ord. ev ery th in g — lan gu age and fa c t— falls for him w ithin the sphere o f justice. a single phrase. and the inversion that allow s his w ill only theoretical. It is to m isunderstand his theory o f lan guage to see it as other than a contribu tion to the linguistic rules o f court. not in its . and ap p aren tly alm ost w ith ou t cause. K rau s is no historic genius. I f he ever turns his b ack on creation. E ach thought has its ow n cell. so the w hole o f w orld history presses in on K rau s in the extrem ities o f a single item o f local news. K rau s knows no system. his know ledge only p ra ctica l expression. if he breaks o ff in lam entation . T h en ce the overw h elm in g im m ed iacy. T o w orship the im age o f divine ju stice in la n g u a g e — even in the G erm an la n g u a g e — that is the gen uin ely Jew ish som ersault by w hich he tries to break the spell o f the dem on. ju stice and lan gu age rem ain founded in each other. But each cell can in an instant.

too. K rau s portrayed him self as hopelessly subjugated to the d em on . enjoys itself. A n d no d ifferent is the loveless and self-gratifying trope o f possessed m in d : the jok e. M ore exactly. His charge is the b etray a l o f justice by law . on m yself. indeed. he finds m ost g a p in g w here m ind and sexuality m eet— in the trial for sexual o ffen ces— and he has sounded in these fam ous w ords: “ A sexual trial is the d eliberate d evelopm en t from an in d ivid u al to a general im m orality. therefore. in the p an dem on iu m o f the age he reserved for him self the most m elan ch oly place in the icy wilderness lit b y reflected flam es. he has sung the m ost m oving lam ent. N ow . through w hich I share the gu ilt for . in this charm ed circle he holds his fondest rendezvous w ith the lem ures. right-saying. H ere. T h ere he stands on the “ L ast D a y o f M a n k in d ” — the “ g ru m b le r” w ho has described the p reced in g days. For over ju risd iction . he does so precisely because his ow n dem on is d raw n so p o w erfu lly by the abyss it represents. right-spelling. he confronts the press. N eith er reaches its ob ject. so that it m ight be heard by the spirit w ho takes pity on the victim s. He has seen through law as have few others. not w ithou t reason. M a y he receive the keynote o f this age. even though he m ay have renounced for all tim e his connection w ith a hum an ear.” M in d and sexuality m ove in this sphere w ith a solidarity whose law is am b igu ity. the ego w om en no m ore than the jo k e w ords. the jok e. I f he nevertheless invokes it. they shim m er in the most w insom e n uan ces: in the repartee lust com es into its ow n. “ I h ave taken the traged y. h ow ever. surrounded by sweet fem inine m irages “ such as the b itter earth does not h a rb o u r” . o f the w ord by the concept. and woe to the form er if the latter should be w antin g. w hich is d ivid ed into the scenes o f d eca yin g h u m an ity. strid en cy that o f secrecy. the echo o f m y bloodstained m adness.Karl Kraus 273 effect. By the abyss that. w hich dies o f the absence o f a single letter and for w hich. against w hich dark b ackgrou n d the proven gu ilt o f the accused stands out lu m in o u sly . T h e possession o f dem onic sexuality is that o f the ego that. D ecom position has taken the place o f procreation. stands o rth og rap h y. w h ich derives its existence from the w o r d : the p rem editated m urder o f im agination . and in onanism . in his “ E legy on the D eath o f a S o u n d ” .

as it does the m anifestoes o f that generation o f poets. in their runn ing that is alw ays precipitous. But on ly one. “ gestuft” . . not only in the u n fath om ab le folds o f their garm ents. T h e sam e phenom enon appears quite different to som eone w ho looks at their backs. U n m is ta k a b le— and Expressionists them selves proclaim it — is the influence o f early m edieval m iniatures on the w orld o f their im agination . . “ In clin a tio n ” m ay be seen. lead less tow ard heaven than d ow n w ard . stepped. . one o f them . But anyon e w ho exam ines their figu res— for exam ple. they lean tow ard one another. b ut also in their w hole expression. as it were in w a rd ly curved. to and even under the earth. T h e slogans are w ell k n o w n — w ith w hat scorn did not K rau s him self register them : “ geballf ’ .274 these noises. in the witnesses o f the entrance into Jeru salem — into terraces o f hum an necks. It is im possible to find for their em otional im pact an expression th at ignores the fact that they could be clim b ed like heaped rocks or rough-hew n steps. steeped]. M a y he accept it as red em p tio n !” “ I share the guilt. w e are able to call by its nam e. really clenched in steep steps.” Because this has the ring o f the m an i­ festoes o f an intelligentsia seeking to call to m ind the m em ory o f an epoch that seemed to be turnin g a w ay from it. W h a tev er powers m ay have fought out their spiritual battles on these shoulders. in w hich an o rigin ally hum an im pulse was converted alm ost w ith ou t . As if falling sickness had over­ taken them thus. T hese backs are p ile d — in the saints o f the adorations. sentences. aspect is revealed by the front o f these figures. there is som e­ thing to be said abou t this gu ilt feeling in w hich private and historical consciousness so viv id ly m eet. as the deep hum an affect trem ulously pervad in g the w orld o f these m iniatures. W h a t finally rem ained o f Expressionism . from w hich his m ature w ork was nourished by roots that cracked open their soil. o f hum an shoulders that. not only in their w ideopen eyes. “ gesteilt” [clenched. stage sets. from our experience o f the condition o f the defeated masses im m ed iately after the end o f the w ar. the paintings w ere com posed. T his gu ilt w ill alw ays lead to Expressionism . in the servants o f the G ethsem ane scene. in the V ie n n a G enesis— is struck by som ething very m ysterious. before all else.

as he did in the Wall o f . It is. O n ly B au d elaire hated as K rau s did the satiety o f h ealth y com m on sense. as it m ade love stand out against perversion. o f the dem on. than the literary expert. and the com prom ise that intellectuals m ade w ith it in order to find shelter in jou rnalism . w ho unleashed this im p lacab le struggle. makes them p itia b le ” . to tech n iqu e. artiste. T o m eet them throu gh sacrifice he one day threw h im self into the arms o f the C a th o lic C h u rch . that linked expertise as closely as possible to craftsm anship. So K rau s can call by their nam e the laws o f his ow n craft. “ P enury can turn every m an into a jou rn alist. As a “ g ru m b le r” he particip ates in their lot in order to denounce them . but not every w om an into a p ro stitu te. the com plete agreem en t o f tw o form s o f existence— life under the aegis o f m ere m ind or o f m ere se x u a lity — in w hich is founded that solidarity o f the m an o f letters w ith the w hore to w h ich B au d ela ire’s existence is once again the most in violab le testim ony. was the experience and the nam e o f that nam eless pow er tow ard w hich the backs o f people bent: gu ilt. and every feuilleton poses anew the insoluble question o f the relationship betw een the forces o f stup id ity and m alice. Id le ch atter is its true substance.Karl Kraus . the leitm o tif— that the Philistine know s n othin g o f lo v e — is articu lated w ith a sharpness and persistence that have a coun terpart on ly in the correspon din g attitu d e o f decadence. fu n d a ­ m en tally. w hich for the decaden t m ovem ent applies to love as w ell.” the false bottom In this form ulation K rau s b etrayed o f his polem ic against journ alism . indeed the d an d y w ho has his forebear in B aud elaire. the en ligh t­ ened friend o f m an and nature. “ T h a t an obed ien t mass is led into d anger not by an unknow n w ill b u t by an unknow n gu ilt. It is m uch less the ph ilanthropist. and allow ed poetry to shine at its brightest only against the foil o f hack w riting.275 residue into a fashion. In those biting m inuets that K rau s w histled to the chasse-croise o f J u stitia and V en u s. o f m ind. and denounces them in order to pa rtici­ pate. J ournalism is b etrayal o f the literary life. For it was precisely art for a rt’s sake. entw ined w ith those o f sexuality. in the p roclam ation o f art for a r t’s sake. whose expression is gossip. K rau s w rote as ea rly as 1912.

Y e t it is only the en tanglem en t o f sexual w ith com m ercial intercourse that constitutes the ch aracter o f prostitution. the late-com er. how he lets hatred. m alice ensnare one another. T h is is therefore for K rau s the forum that it has alw ays been for the great jo u rn a lis t— for a C arrel. T h a t to him the fit state o f m an appears . as prostitution is existence under the aegis o f mere sexuality. w ho brings the w om an the jo y o f v a riety and w ill trium ph as the last in the sequence. to be a disturber o f the p eace. contem pt. E vasion o f the genuine and dem onic function o f m ere m ind. a Lassalle. T h e life o f letters is existence under the aegis o f m ere m ind. / but paym ent. as a m anifestation o f com m od ity exchange. w ho perhaps does not live. w ins lo v e !” T his a m b ig u ity — this double nature as tw ofold n atu raln ess— makes prostitution dem onic. by an un erring instinct. But K rau s “ enlists w ith the pow er o f n a tu re. w ho leads the w hore to the street exiles the m an o f letters to the courtroom . in order finally to end her jo y in variety w ith the last thrust that J a ck holds in readiness for L u lu . It is a natural phenom enon as m uch in terms o f its natural econom ic aspect. w hich incites her w ith intuition. “ C o n tem p t for prostitution? / H arlots worse than thieves? / L earn this: not on ly is love paid. N ot because he has superior qualities but because he is the other. but whose victory over him is certain.2 j6 China. not a social deform ation.” N ow if la n g u a g e — this we read betw een the lines— is a w om an. T h e dem on. how ever. and w ant to be the first. how m ultifariously he forms his thought. o f fem ale sexuality. as in terms o f its n atu ral sexuality. how far is the author rem oved. too. R o b ert Scheu rig h tly perceived that for K ra u s prostitution was a n atural form . abstention from atta ck in g the whore from b e h in d — K rau s sees this double omission as defin ing the jou rn alist. rather than slake her w ith know ledge. But they rub it from her brow like a bad dream . how he slows his step and seeks the d etou r o f follow ership. T h e m an “ has wrestled a thousand times w ith the other. a Paul-Louis C ourier.” T h a t the sociological area never becom es transparent to h im — no m ore in his attack on the press than in his defence o f prostitu tion — is conn ected to this attach m en t to nature. from those w ho hasten to be the first w ith her.

the night w a tch . His night. prim eval state. I I I . in its pristine. “ I w ork d a y and night. m ere sexuality into m ere m ind. how ever. and w here these two abstractions hostile to life find rest in recogn izin g each other. they w ere a ttem p tin g to shunt him for as long as possible into this siding w here his w ork could be assim ilated in the great store . o f the lecture hall w here he is alone w ith his w ork. to ask the clock w hether it is tired and the night how it has slep t. R a th e r. but as an elem ent o f nature per se. For this reason. was not w h at people m eant by callin g K rau s a V ienn ese satirist. In face o f this reality. So I h ave a lot o f free tim e. M onster A lre a d y the snow falls. o f an a rch a ic nature w ith ou t history.Karl Kraus 277 not as the destiny and fulfilm ent o f n ature liberated through revo lu tio n a ry chan ge. how ever. rom an tic n igh t: it is the hour betw een sleeping and w akin g. It is not rem oved from the realm o f gu ilt that he has traversed from pole to pole: from m ind to sexuality. or a m oonlit. For night is the m echanism by w h ich m ere m ind is converted into m ere sexuality. This. T o ask a picture in the room how it likes w ork. he entitles the logbook o f this control. the “ pure m in d ” that his followers w orship in the m aster’s activity is revealed as a worthless chim era. d isqu ieting reflections even on his idea o f free­ dom and o f h um an ity.” T h ese questions are sacrificial gifts that he throws to the dem on w hile w orking. is not m aternal. By Might. — Words in Verse I II Satire is the only legitim ate form o f regional art. o f the n octu rn al room w here he is alone w ith his dem on. none o f the m otives for his developm ent is m ore im p ortan t than the continuous cu rb in g and checking o f m ind. to w hich K ra u s exposed h im self m ore h arro w in g ly than any other. throw s u n certain. how ever. the cen trepiece o f his threefold so litu d e: th at o f the coffeehouse w here he is alone w ith his enem y.

278 o f literary consum er goods. w hich consists in the d evourin g o f the adversary. His recollection o f his origin is not w ith ou t filial piety. the press. “ H u m an ity. For this reason. In such directives the great satirists have taken the m easure o f the hu m anity o f their fellow men. and hum an d ign ity ” — thus K rau s concludes the dispute betw een the can n ib al and hum an rights. so that the proposal to eat people has becom e an essential constituent o f his inspiration. if it must. be­ . In contrast. was destined to becom e the political prose o f 1930. w ith ou t sacrificing or gain in g a single m otif.” T h u s d ra w in g the frontier betw een the private and p u b lic spheres. It should be com pared to M a r x ’s treatm ent o f the “Jew ish q u estion ” . T h e presentation o f K rau s as a satirist can thus yield the deepest insight both into w hat he is and into his most m elan choly caricature. from S w ift’s pertinent project concern in g the use o f the children o f the less w ealth y classes. T h e satirist is the figure in w hom the can nib al was received into civilizatio n . cu ltu re. he was at pains from the first to distinguish the genuine satirist from the scribblers w ho m ake a trade o f m ockery and in their invectives have little m ore in m ind than givin g the pu blic som ething to lau gh about. to L eon B lo y ’s suggestion that landlords o f insol­ vent lodgers be conceded a right to the sale o f their flesh. and com m unicates w ith him in the true m ystery o f satire. in order to ju d g e how totally this p layfu l reaction o f 1909— the reaction against the clas­ sical ideal o f h u m a n ity — was likely to becom e a confession o f m aterialist hum anism at the first opportu n ity. the great type o f the satirist never had firm er ground under his feet than am id a generation abou t to board tanks and put on gas masks. A d m itted ly. For that it had to thank its p artner. w hich in 1789 was supposed to in au gu rate freedom . and freedom are precious things that cannot be bough t d early enough w ith blood. u n d er­ standing. one w ould need to understand Die Fackel from the first n u m ber on literally w ord for w ord to predict that this aesthetically oriented journalism . In him civilizatio n prepares to survive. w hich disposed o f hu m an ity in the w ay to w hich K ra u s alludes in these w ords: “ H um an rights are the fragile toy that grow nups like to tram p le on and so w ill not give u p . a m ankind that has run out o f tears but not o f lau gh ter.

” says K ierk ega a rd . T h is is O ffe n b a c h ’s secret: how in the deep nonsense o f p u b lic d iscip lin e— w h eth er it be o f the u p p er ten thousand. “ the distin ction b etw een p u b lic and private affairs is abolished in p riva te-p u b lic prattle. Before its rad ian ce the chim eras o f progress evaporate. freshly rehearsed and w ith m usical accom p an im en t. like the w ind in the * K a rl K rau s translated and edited O ffe n b a c h ’s La Vie Parisienne. b etray in g id yll to parod y. and in F rescata ’s lines it hums. ren u n ciation . rather than sings. the ab u n d an ce o f m usical devices read y to perform all duties. T h e voice o f K rau s speaks. this inn er m usic. as m usic.Karl Kraus 2 jg cam e a m ockery. and good is b rou gh t together. It whistles b itin g ly abou t the peaks o f d izzy in g stup id ity. u n itin g pain and p leasu re— this gift is here d eveloped to its purest p itc h . . the Closerie des L ilas in his perform ance o f La Vie Parisienne. becom es cu n n in g and evasion. to lead m aterialist h u m a n ity to victory. N onsense is true. Ju st as p rattle seals the enslavem ent o f lan gu age w ith stup id ity. “ A n d the inim itab le d u p licity o f this m usic. . T o fail to recogn ize the b ea u ty o f fem inine stu p id ity was for K rau s alw ays the blackest Philistinism . m ock ery to lyricism . a dance floor. A n d w h at as lan gu age m ight have been ju d ic ia l strictness. stu p id ity beautiful. [n l b ] . or a m ilitary sta te— the deep sense o f private licen ­ tiousness opens a d ream y eye. reverb erates shatterin gly from the abyss o f the absurd.” A n a rc h y as the only internation al constitution that is m oral and w orth y o f m an becom es the true m usic o f these operettas. beautiful. “ T h ro u g h the n ew sp ap er. M u sic as the preserver o f the m oral order? M u sic as the police o f a w orld o f pleasure? Y es. discrim ination. that is “ the Purpose o f the o p eretta” that K rau s discovered and in O ffe n b a c h * raised to its most expressive level. on the G ran d e C h au m iere. that is the splendour that falls on the old Paris ballroom s. A n d in O ffe n b a c h ’s op eretta the bourgeois trin ity o f true. so op eretta transfigures stupidity through music. ob stru ction and postponem ent. weakness good. in its star turn on the trap eze o f stupidity. w h ich sim ultaneously puts a plus and a m inus sign before ev eryth in g it says. . ” T o open a d ialectica l d eb ate betw een the p u b lic and private zones that com m ingle d em o n ica lly in prattle.

and for the last tim e invokes his evil privilege o f am bigu ity. lares o f the troglodytes. a T im o n — no m ore thoughtful.280 chim ney. “ Shakespeare had foreknow ledge o f everyth in g” — yes. A n d the w ork gives him all this in return. no m ore dign ified or b etter— but. A fool. T h ere they stan d: Schober. his ow n Shakespeare. K rau s. more real than before. household gods o f stupidity from prehistoric times. Bekessy. O ffe n b a c h ’s w ork is touched by the pangs o f death. does not speak the words o f O ffen b ach or N estroy: they speak from him. K rau s tears aside this curtain and suddenly reveals the interior o f his cabinet o f horrors. K r a u s ’s poetry stands opposite the colon o f the dramatis persona. h alf-blan k. and the other skits. and w ith the w ild gestures o f a fairgrou n d showm an w ith w h ich he accom panies the w hole perform ance. from a rem ote village in the Swiss m ountains K rau s throws dow n this challen ge to m ankind. no. N either has. a n y th in g in com m on w ith men. or rather true mask. For at m om ents it is transform ed into a cu rtain . It is the mask o f T im on . older. “ A n anim al feud is on. no longer enemies but curiosities. is revealed. L ike T im o n ’s verse. But above all o f K rau s. rarer still. A ll the figures . It contracts. For where this fickle voice is heard. in his recitals. Shakespeare portrays inhum an figu res— and T im on as the most inhum an o f th e m — and says: N atu re w ould produce such a creature if she w ished to create som ething befitting the w orld as your kind have fashioned it. rids itself o f everyth in g superfluous. and T im o n w ants only the sea to w eep at his grave. or wants. A n d now and then a b reathtaking. such is K rau s. the m isanthrope. heirloom s from the w orld o f O ffen b ach or N estroy. a requiem to the generation o f our grandfathers. a C alib an . half-glittering w h orem on ger’s glance falls on the crow d before him. K err. It is only now that the satirist’s true face. and so w e renounce h u m a n ity ” . o f the role. passes through the dangerous span o f this existence and re-em erges saved. invitin g them to the un holy m arriage w ith the masks in w hich they do not recogn ize them selves. som ething w orthy o f it. the ligh tn in g flashes o f the advertisem ents and the thunder o f the M etro cleave the Paris o f the om nibuses and the gas flames. Such a creature is T im o n . nevertheless.

and the hom ogeneous mass o f false friends created . but by exten d in g its boundaries further and fu rther it fin ally enfeebles itself. he is rea d y for a good m any. as in a crater lake am id the most m onstrous crags an d cinders. For in each o f his roles the actor assim ilates b o d ily a h u m an being. d em an d in g them o f existence like an actor w ho never forgives a partner for d en yin g him his cue. the w orld is p e acefu lly and con ten ted ly m irrored. irrupts the deep com p licity w ith his listeners and m odels that K ra u s has never allow ed to enter his w ords. that sets the tone o f these perform ances. T h e n is felt the torm enting. A lw a y s he is the m odel.Karl Kraus 281 th ron gin g abou t him should be seen as o rigin atin g in Shakespeare. w h en T im o n plays the rich m an. But as soon as he turns his b ack on it. K rau s confronts a w orld o f enemies. T h e po w er o f the dem on ends in this realm . the recited o f couplets from N estroy. follow ing S h akesp eare’s exam p le. H am let the m a d m a n — it is as i f his lips d rip p ed blood. a m onster. w h eth er K rau s speaks w ith W ein in g er a b ou t m an or w ith A lte n b e rg abou t w om en. dissolving into a m erely anim al vo ice: a h u m m in g that is to the w ord w h at his smile is to the jo k e is the h oly o f holies o f this perfo rm er’s art. in its stereotypes.” It is the in h u m an q u a lity o f the actor that he pre-em pts in these w o r d s: the can n ib al q u ality . w ith W ed ekin d a b o u t the stage or w ith Loos a b ou t food. the hero as an actor. T h is is w h y he insists on them . w rote h im self parts that let him taste blood. K rau s hinted at this in the words “ In me a ca p a city for psych ology is united w ith the greater cap acity to ign ore the p sych o lo g ica l. are bereft o f all m usical m eans. His service to the w orld perm its no com prom ise. T h e w ord n ever gives w ay to the in strum en t. In this sm ile. His experiences are in their en tirety nothing but this: cues.or sub-hum an traits are con q u ered b y a truly in h u m an being. its cues. in exh au stible ch arm o f these recitals: that o f seeing the distinction b etw een like and unlike m inds ann ulled. seeks to coerce them to love and yet coerces . So K ra u s. w ith Else L ask er-S ch u ler a b o u t the J ew s or w ith T h e o d o r H a eck er abou t the C hristians. this h u m m in g in w hich. His dem i. and in S h akesp eare’s b aroq u e tirad es— w hen the can n ib al is unm asked as the better m an. T h e O ffe n b a c h readings. T h e en d u ran ce o f his convictions is persistence in a role.

he calls the w orld a “ w rong. the object o f w orship. in 1929. It is the m edium neither o f clairvoyan ce nor o f dom ination. an exact correlation exists betw een the factors that give K rau s access to the two poles o f linguistic expression— the en­ feebled pole o f h um m in g and the arm ed pole o f path os— and those w hich forbid his sanctification o f the w ord to take on the forms o f the G eorgean cult o f language. His defencelessness before the latter has a precise connection to the subversive dilettantism that is p articu la rly predom in an t in the O ffen b ach perform ances. as does V iertel w hen. T o this K rau s alludes here. he confronts G eorge. K rau s entered the lists against the great partner whose w ork had arisen at the same tim e as his ow n. circuitous w ay back . has done a w ay w ith all hieratic m om ents. A n d he w ho found the goal before the w ay did not com e from the source. “ Y o u cam e from the source— the source is the go a l” is received by the “ D y in g M a n ” as G o d ’s com fort and prom ise. therefore. cam ped abou t the place. “ A fter T h irty Y e a r s ” . w ho in the tem ple dwells from w hich he never had to drive the traders and the lenders. beneath the threshold o f the cen tury. G eo rg e’s first published book and the first volu m e o f Die Fackel are dated 1899. T h ere. w ith a decisiveness that must have m atured in years o f silence. d eviatin g. nor yet the pharisees and scribes who. by contrast. lan gu age is on ly the J a c o b ’s lad d er w ith its ten thousand w ordrungs. in the same w ay as K raus.282 them to n othin g but hypocrisy. A n d only retrospectively. as the zealot. Profanum vulgus praises this renouncer w ho never told it w hat it ought to hate. T o the cosm ic rising and fallin g that for G eorge “ deifies the b od y and em bodies the d ivin e” . o f course. obscure the antithesis betw een the linguistic gestures o f both m en. T h is cannot. did K ra u s issue the challenge. describe it. It is the theatre o f a sanctification o f the n a m e— w ith the Jew ish certain ty it sets itself against the theurgy o f the “ w o rd -b o d y ” . V e r y late. H ere K rau s confines m usic to limits n arro w er than were ever dream ed o f in the m anifestoes o f the G eorge school. R ath er. K r a u s ’s lan guage.

there co u p lin g words like a procurer. R h y m e — tw o putti b earin g the dem on to its grave.” So fin a lly the hedonistic m om ent o f the w ork finds its purest expression in this m elan ch oly and fantastic relationship to existence in w h ich K rau s. p u b lic ity — a false trail b ack to la n g u a g e .Karl Kraus 283 to p a ra d ise” . “ I attem pt to interpret the d ev elo p ­ m ent o f this rem ark ab le talen t: in tellectu ality as a deviation . . Heurtant parfois des vers depuis longtemps reves. lead in g b ack to im m ed ia c y . This m ust be borne in m ind i f one is to understand the u rgen cy w ith w hich he opposed the d an cin g pose affected by N ie tzsc h e — not to m ention the w rath w ith w hich the m onster w as b ou n d to greet the S u p erm an . sa tire— a d etou r to p o etry . Flairant dans tous les coins les hasards de la rime.” he continues in this most im portan t passage o f his essay on K ra u s. “ here chasing a m etap hor that has ju st turned the corner. T h is is a poetic. . T h e theatre o f this ph ilosophical recogn ition scene in K r a u s ’s w ork is poetry. S tu m b lin g on w ords as on uneven pavem ents. alw ays on the look-out for a d ven ­ ture. pervertin g phrases. in the V ienn ese tradition o f R a im u n d and G ira rd i.” T his “ sou rce” — the pheno­ m en on ’s seal o f a u th e n tic ity — is the subject o f a discovery that has a curious elem ent o f rediscovery.) Also a licentious angel. has its at the end o f the line. Its sword and sh ield — concept and g u ilt— have fallen from its hands to becom e em blem s beneath the feet o f the angel that killed it. to be sure. m artial angel w ith a foil in his hand. im p a tien t and hesitant to consum m ate in jo y and to rm en t. arrives at a concep tion o f happiness that is as resigned as it is sensual. bliss­ fully abusin g chiastic em braces. in fatu ated w ith sim ilarities. Trebuchant sur les mots comme sur les paves. ju st as blessedness has its source at the end o f tim e. “ A n d so. T h e child recognizes by rh ym e that it has reached the sum m it o f . as on ly B au d elaire knew him : “ practisin g alone fantastic sw ords­ m a n sh ip ” . Jostlin g now and then lon g-d ream ed-o f lines. and its lan gu ag e rh ym e: “ A w ord that never lies at source” and that. It died at its source because it cam e into the w orld as a h ybrid o f m ind and sexuality. (Scenting rh ym e’s h azards in every corner.

A n d if on the last d ay not on ly the graves but the school anthologies open. “ T h e G erm an B o y ’s T a b le G r a c e ” . h anging dead and dried up over the shoulders o f his horse. p o etically re­ created by the atten tive pupil w ho learned them . “ Siegfried’s S w o rd ” . a pu p pet o f cloth or yellow ish ivory. as the antagonist o f ed u cation w ho is educated by this antagonism . from w hich it can hear at their source the rushing o f all springs. never m ore intim ately bound to Eros. H e himself. Hussars a w a y ” . “ T h e G rav e in the B usento” . to the tune o f “ H ow the trum pets blow . this un paralleled fashioner o f verses w ill go careening off. “ N ot the cane was to be abolished. it has found its tongue in the child. U p there creaturely existence is at hom e. in an im age from his own youth. not by the educator. So the “ Steeds o f G ra v elo tte” becam e the poem “ T o E ternal P ea ce” . than by K rau s in the observation “ T h e more closely you look at a w ord the m ore distantly it looks b a c k . after so m uch dum bness in the anim al and so m uch lyin g in the w hore. a shrivelled m um m y. satisfied this requirem ent to the extent that he never envisaged the child as the object o f education but. “ K aiser K a rl Inspects a S ch o o l” — these w ere his m odels. “ I am only one o f the late follow ers” — K rau s is a late follow er o f the school anthologies. and bloom s o f style bestrew the ground. w hich he first felt in the same class at school to w hich he owes his best poem s. the glow o f w hich p ervad ed the anthologies o f our school days. “ A good brain must be cap ab le o f im aginin g each fibre o f childhood w ith all its phenom ena so intensely that tem perature is raised” — in statem ents such as this K rau s aims further than it appears. w ill belab ou r the green woods. at any rate.” K rau s wants to be n othin g except the teacher w ho uses it better. but the tw o-edged sabre in his hand. his pity. polished as his rhym es and incisive as on the First D a y . is m arked by the cane. and even the most incandescent o f his hate poems w ere ignited by H o lty ’s “ Forest F ire” . T h e lim it o f his p h ilan th ro p y.” T his is a P laton ic love o f lan gu age. .284 lan guage. but the teacher w ho uses it b a d ly . the true Pegasus o f the little folk w ill burst from them and. L an gu a ge has never been m ore perfectly distinguished from mind.

som eone sends w ord hom e o f how in the early m orning. i f this voice approaches not to punish but to save.. W ith head turned back. but possesses and holds it in nam e. before A rras. lan gu age rises up from the creatu rely w orld . His love is not possession. as nam e. “ T h e F orsaken ” are forsaken by each other.. O n ly the d ed ication now reaches them . can w e discern K r a u s ’s basic polem ical proced u re: q u otation . H o w the b eloved grows distant and lustrous. T h a n k in g and d e d ic a tin g — for to than k is to put feelings under a nam e. jo y “ in u n h ea rd -o f fashion ” takes her eternal lea ve . also w ith each other. So the prim al erotic relationship b etw een closeness and distance is given voice in his la n gu a g e: as rh ym e and nam e. w hich is n oth in g other than avow a l o f P laton ic love. O n the threshold betw een d yin g and rebirth they pause. T o quote a w ord is to call it by its nam e. as it does on the Shakespearean w ings o f the lines in w hich. turned from her the soul “ in u n w an ted fashion ” silently sets foot in an alien w orld.Karl Kraus 285 T h e o n ly closeness from w h ich the w ord can n o t escape. how ever. but also lan gu age and Eros. T h is self-obsessed m an know s no other self-renunciation than g iv in g thanks.” F rom w ith in the linguistic com pass o f the m an. is rh ym e. but gratitu d e. T h u s forsaken w ith each oth er are jo y and soul. how her m inuteness and her glo w w ith d raw into nam e. In “ T h e F orsaken ” the most ard en t in terp en etration o f lan gu a g e and Eros. therefore. on . and the em p ty phrase is sudden ly forced to recognize that even in the deepest dregs o f the jo u rn a ls it is not safe from the voice that swoops on the w ings o f the w ord to d rag it from its darkness. w hich does not satisfy its desire in w hat it loves. As rhym e. T o “ T h e F orsaken ” the fifth volu m e o f Words in Verse is d ed icated . how h a rd . H e transports it to his ow n sphere. So K r a u s ’s a ch ievem en t exhausts itself at its highest level by m akin g even the n ew spaper q u otab le. and only from w ithin it. that is the on ly experience o f love know n to Words in Verse. “ T o live w ithou t w om en. H ow w on d erful. expresses itself w ith an innocent gran d eu r that recalls the perfect G reek epigram s and vase pictures. B u t— this is their great so la ce. as K rau s experienced them . it draw s all creation up to it. A n d . how e a sy — to have lived w ith o u t w om en. also rhym e and nam e.

a lark began to sing. So it becam e the last historical refuge o f personality.]. T h e gu ilt that bow ed it and the purity it p ro cla im ed — * Granat means “ po m egran ate” . only where they in terp en etrate— in q u o ta tio n — is lan gu ag e con­ sum m ated. It is decisive for K rau s that he locates origin at ex a ctly this van ishing point. It appears. As rhym e it gathers the sim ilar into its a u ra . a d m itted ly unnam ed. Granate. a single ita lic iz a tio n : “ It was a n ightin gale and not a lark w hich sat there on the p o m egranate tree and san g. It was precisely the attem p t to do ju stice to this situation not by actions but by B eing that led Expressionism to its clenched ensteepm ents. But he is nonetheless the last bourgeois to claim his ju stification from Being. and w hich was finally fixed by Stifter. have becom e mottoes in the book o f C reatio n .” * In the q uotation that both saves and chastises. noble w ith that w hich they a re” — this classical distich ch ara c­ terizes. In quotation the two realm s— o f origin and d estruction — ju stify them selves before lan gu age. is enough to enable K rau s to descend. into this inferno. but precisely thereby calls it b ack to its origin. It is his program m e to reverse the d evelopm ent o f bourgeoiscapitalist affairs to a condition that was never theirs. stands beside Shakespeare: “ T h ere is also a m oral nobility. as nam e it stands alone and expressionless. startled from the id yllic context o f m eaning. . In it is m irrored the angelic tongue in w hich all w ords. as saviour. M ean natures pay/W ith that w hich they do. the utopian vanishing point w here W eim ar hum anism was at home. w renches it destructively from its context. A single line. and Expressionism was portentous for him because in it this attitude had for the first tim e to prove its w orth in face o f a revo lu ­ tion ary situation.286 the last blasted tree before the fortifications. now w ith rh ym e and reason. congruously in the structure o f a new text. and not even one o f his. Schiller. in the convergence o f m anorial noblesse and cosm opolitan rectitude. It sum m ons the w ord by its nam e. A n d conversely. lan gu age proves the m atrix o f ju stice. “ gren ad e” or “ shell” [Trans. From its tw o p o les— classical and m aterialist h u m an ism — the w hole w orld o f this m an ’s culture is em braced by q u otation . sonorously.

P olitical revolution dissolves bourgeois life into its com p o n en t parts w ith ou t revo lu tion izin g or criticizin g these com ponents them selves. and found it tossing helplessly on the w aves o f jo u rn a listic caprice. w ork. O n ly w hen the really in d iv id u a l m an takes b ack into him self the abstract citizen and. necessarily appears as the n atural m an. . how ever. . . T h e real m an is ack n ow led ged only in the form o f the egoistical in d iv id u a l. that the d evelop in g m an a ctu a lly takes form not w ithin the n atu ral sphere but in that o f m ankind . “ M a n as m em ber o f bourgeois so ciety ” . and the d evelop in g hum an b ein g raises his face against the idols o f ideal m a n — the rom an tic child o f n ature as m uch as the du tifu l citizen. / T h e ir lyrical case was not C lau d iu s / but H e in e . F or the sake o f such d evelop m en t K rau s revised the school an th ology. writes M a rx .” T h e fact. in his in d iv id u a l w ork. p rivate interests. in his in d iv id u a l circu m stan ­ ces a species-being . . to tear from context. and that he is recogn ized by the posture that the fight w ith exp loitation and p o verty stam p upon him. . .Karl Kraus 287 both are part o f the ph an tom o f the u n p olitical or “ n a tu ra l” m an w h o em erges at the end o f that regression and was unm asked by M a rx. . O n ly in despair did he discover in q u otation the pow er not to preserve but to purify. as an in d ivid u a l m an. has becom e in his em p irical life. to destroy. . to the w orld o f needs. . . . in the sam e relation as to the fou n d atio n o f its existence . only then is hum an em an cipation co m p le te . investigated G erm an ed ucation. and that at the origin o f creation stands not pu rity bu t p u rifica tio n — all this did not leave its trace on K r a u s ’s m aterialist hum anism until very late. It stands to bourgeois society. that there is no idealistic but only a m aterialistic d elivera n ce from m yth. the on ly pow er in w hich hope still resides that . “ the u n p o litical m an.” The m aterialist hum anism w hich M a rx here opposes to its classical cou n terp art m anifests itself for K rau s in the child . . an d therefore no lon ger separates social pow er from h im self in the form o f political pow er. / they strayed from being to seem ing. the true m an on ly in the form o f the abstract citoyen. in the struggle for liberation . and therefore to its n atural basis. p riva te right. . H en ce the “ L yric o f the G erm an s” : “ H e w ho can is their m an and not he w ho must.

but incom prehensible on ly in the fact that it has not been preserved in D ie Fackel’s largest type. . this gu ard ian o f G oeth ean linguistic values a polem icist. T h a t our strident death be silenced. because they do not understand G erm an and from m y ‘contrad ictions’ are in ca p a b le o f d ed u cin g m y true intention . melt in you r ow n heat. since he thought fit to begin ch an gin g the w orld w ith his ow n class.288 som ething m ight survive this a g e — because it was w renched from it. and all their followers. or w h y this irrep ro ach a b ly h on our­ able m an w en t beserk. a d eran ged rem edy w ith a purer ideal purp o se— the devil take its practice. in V ien n a. though in antithesis to Stifter’s p a triarch al cod e. ad m itted ly by the grace o f a purer ideal origin. it is a confession that is in every respect astonishing. I tell you. he placed the m atter back in the hands o f n a tu re— this tim e destructive. — w hat I m ean is: C om m u nism as a reality is on ly the obverse o f their own life-violatin g ideology. only in the melee did they take on their com bative aspect. how ever. let y o u r ligh t boom thunder. M ake you rself a gun against the cosm ic fo e ! Shoot firebrands in his face! H a d I b ut Josh u a’s pow er. A n d w hen. was bound to happen. This. be co n su m m ate! M ak e great the e n d ! A n n ou nce e te rn ity ! Rise up w ith m enace. in his own hom e. H ere we find confirm ation that all the m artial energies o f this m an are inn ate civic v irtu es. no one can grasp the necessity that com pelled this great bourgeois character to becom e a com edian. G ib eon w ould be a g a in ! O n this unfettered nature K r a u s ’s later political credo is founded. he abru p tly broke it off. . But alread y no one recognizes them any m ore. recogn izin g the fu tility o f his enterprise. Y o u golden bell. not creative n a tu r e : L e t tim e stand still! Sun. and that this most pow erful o f post-w ar bourgeois prose must be sought in a vanished edition o f the issue o f N ovem ber 1920: “ W h a t I m ean is— and now for once I shall speak p lain ly to this d ehum anized brood o f owners o f property and blood. but G od preserve it as a constant threat over the heads o f those w ho have p rop erty and .

W o rk as a supervised ta sk — its m odel: p o litical and techn ical w o rk — is atten d ed by dirt and detritus. who believe it is lovin g subordinate h u m an ity enough i f they give it syphilis. heard the stellar E speranto o f S ch eerb a rt’s creations. intrudes d estru ctively into m atter. T h e average E u ro p ea n has not succeeded in un iting his life w ith techn ology. and the w ritings o f K rau s . H e feels solid arity not w ith the slender pine but w ith the plane that devours it. is abrasive to w h at is a lrea d y achieved . m ay at least go to bed w ith a n ig h tm a re! So that at least they m ay lose their appetite for p rea ch in g m orality to their victim s. and d estru ctively K rau s did ju stice to his ow n w ork: “ A ll m y errors stay behind to le a d . d rivin g them . H e is the con q u eror o f the em pty phrase. to understand a h u m a n ity that proves itself b y destruction. J ustice. His w ork is innocent and pure. w ho preferred to free m en by taking from them . or seen K le e ’s New Angel. n oble la n g u a g e — p a rticu la rly in the light o f a n otew o rth y d eclaration by Loos: “ I f hu m an w ork consists only o f destruction. and so that the society o f those exclusively en titled to enjoym ent. O n e m ust have follow ed Loos in his struggle w ith the d ragon “ orn am en t” . rather than m ake them h a p p y by givin g to them . A n d therefore the m onster stands am ong us as the m essenger o f a m ore real hum anism . it is tru ly hum an. therefore. n atural.Karl Kraus 289 w ould like to com pel all others to preserve it. n atu ral.” T h is is a sober lan gu age that bases its dom inan ce on perm anence. critical tow ard its conditions. so that this rab ble w ho are beside them selves w ith brazenness do not grow m ore b razen still. to the fronts o f hunger and patriotic honour.” For far too long the accen t was placed on creativity. not w ith the precious ore but w ith the blast furnace that purifies it. noble w o rk . w ith the consolation that w o rld ly goods are not the highest. and is in all this opposite to that o f the dilettan te lu x u ria tin g in creation. G od preserve it. because he has clun g to the fetish o f creative existence. consum ing and pu rifyin g masterliness. take less d elight in rid icu lin g th e m !” A h um an. People are on ly creative to the extent that they avoid tasks and supervision. is destructive in opposing the constructive am biguities o f law .

cease and pass into nothingness. a new angel. are at each m om ent created anew in countless throngs. '9 3 0 31 . Perhaps one o f those who. So his m odesty a p p ears— bolder dissolved in dem on ic self-reflection. L am en tin g. once they have raised their voices before G od . so that he m ight furnish them w ith an epigraph from now L ich ten b erg.290 have a lread y begun to last. w hich profound works to “ Y o u r M ajesty Forgetfulness” . a monster. than w ho d edicated one o f his most his form er self-assertion. or rejoicin g? No m a tter— on this evanescent voice the ephem eral w ork o f K ra u s is m odelled. A n g e lu s— that is the m essenger in the old engravings. but w here origin and destruction com e together. and who. acco rd in g to the T a lm u d . L ike a creatu re sprung from the child and the can n ib al his conqueror stands before him : not a new m an . N either pu rity nor sacrifice m astered the dem on . his rule is over. chastising.

V .


I like to im agine that it has altered less than others in the W est E nd and could now accom m od ate a scene rising irresistibly from the m ist: the saving o f the life o f “ little b ro th er” : T h e w ay to the T ierg a rten led over the H erkules B ridge. w ho. in his solitary gam es. w ith b larin g m ilitary bands and “ S can d al A v e n u e ” (as the adherents o f art nouveau d u b bed this p ro m en a d e)— or. E m pire-style plinths. he needs and seeks guides to its w ider expanses. m y eyes sought the plinths. since the events takin g place on them .A Berlin Chronicle For my dear Stefan N ow let me call b ack those w ho introd u ced me to the city. w ere closer in space. For a lth ou gh the child. But that a particu la r significance attaches to this 293 . em a n a tin g forlornness b etw een the shopfronts and even danger at the crossings. rising sheer from the flow er beds on their illustrated. was Schillstrasse. began the lab yrin th . to the T ierg a rten . how ever. I believe the first “ street” that I discovered in this w ay that no longer had a n yth in g h ab itab le or hospitable abou t it. and the first o f these— for a son o f w ealth y m iddle-class parents like m e — are sure to h ave been nursem aids. R a th e r than the figures. A t the end o f Bendlerstrasse. the g e n tly sloping em b an k m en t o f w hich m ust h ave been the first hillside the child en co u n tere d — accen tu ated by the fine stone flanks o f the lion rising above. W ith them I w ent to the Z o o — a lth ou gh I recall it on ly from m uch later. not w ith o u t its A riad n e: the m aze surrounding F red erick W illia m II I and Q u een Louise. if less clear in their ram ifications. seem ed as if petrified by the signs that a little rivulet inscribed in the sand. if not to the Zoo. grow s up at closest quarters to the city.

extend in g from the w hole o f m y later childhood to m y entrance to the university: a period o f im potence before the city. m ore m aladroit. and if you agree. you w ill also see that this im potence com es not at the begin n in g o f or before the struggle w ith the subject. But to this resistance in turn is due w ho know s how m uch that underlies m y present intercourse w ith the c ity ’s streets. how nothing was more intolerable to m y m other than the p ed an tic care w ith w h ich . I alw ays kept h a lf a step behind her. and if an yth in g was cap ab le o f increasing m y d isinclination to perceive this fact. A t that tim e. I rem em ber. a cold shadow d rivin g a w ay w h at I loved. on these walks. and . rarely frequented by me. too. b an al appearan ce o f the forecourt on T ierga rten strasse. or not far aw ay. T his h ad two sources. w here nothing suggests that you stand but a few yards from the strangest place in the city. but in the heart o f it. o f the city centre. it is true. I was far from a p p re­ ciatin g the extent o f m y in ep titu d e. First was a very poor sense o f d irection. and before I had acq uired the art o f readin g a street m ap. it must have corresponded m ore than closely to w hat was w aitin g behind it. W h ich brings m e to the m iddle period o f m y life in Berlin. M y h abit o f seem ing slower. m ore dexterous. A b o v e all. were the haunts o f that A riad n e in whose proxim ity I learned for the first tim e (and was never en tirely to forget) som ething that was to m ake instantly com prehensible a word that at scarcely three I can not have know n: love. but if it was thirty years before the distinc­ tion betw een left and right had b ecom e visceral to me. it was the insistence w ith w hich m y m other thrust it under m y nose.294 H o h en zollem lab yrin th I find confirm ed even now by the u tterly un concerned. H ere the nursem aid supervenes. m ore stupid than I am . and has the great a tten d an t danger o f m akin g me think m yself q u icker. O n her I lay the b lam e for m y in ab ility even tod ay to m ake a cup o f c o ffe e . for here. a gaze that appears to see not a third o f w h a t it takes in. It is likely that no one ever masters an yth in g in w h ich he has not know n im poten ce. had its origin in such w alks. to her propensity for turning the m ost insignificant item s o f con d u ct into tests o f m y aptitude for p ra ctica l life I owe the d ream y recalcitrance w ith w hich I accom p an ied her as w e w alk ed throu gh the streets.

295 I h ave long. the assem bly halls o f various collectives. it w ou ld be “ c a u tio n ” . R e la te d possibilities— do they rea lly exist? T h e y w ou ld certain ly perm it no d allian ce. from the “ d eb atin g ch am b ers” o f the Y o u th M o vem en t to the ga th e rin g places o f the C om m u n ist you th . w ith a gu aran tee o f p erm an ­ en ce— be don e. I f I had to pu t in one w ord w hat I ow e to Paris for these reflections. the two forms in w h ich alone this can le g itim a te ly — that is. I still have the en cou ragem en t provided b y an illustrious precursor. played w ith the idea o f setting out the sphere o flife — b io s— gra p h ica lly on a m ap. but now I w ou ld incline to a general sta ffs m ap o f a city centre. Paris itself is the fourth in the series o f vo lu n tary or in v o lu n tary guides that b egan w ith m y nursem aids. the sites o f prestigious cafes whose lon g-forgotten nam es d aily crossed our lips. if such a th in g existed. I have evolved a system o f signs. “ L iv ed B erlin ” does not sound so good but is as real. T h e first form was created in the w ork o f M a rce l Proust. and the renu n ciation o f any d allian ce w ith related possibilities could scarcely be m ore b in d in g ly em bodied than in the translation o f it that I have prod uced . strictly circum scribed. the ways to differen t schools and the graves that I saw filled. because o f ign oran ce o f the theatre o f future wars. had not Paris set before me. and the halls em b lazoned w ith gold and stucco that the terrors o f d an cin g classes m ade alm ost the equal o f gym nasium s. I should scarcely be able to ab an d o n m yself to the shifting currents o f these m em ories o f m y earliest city life. indeed for years. and had I not forsworn the attem p t to equal the first as firm ly as I hope one d a y to realize the second. the F renchm an L eon D au det. First I envisaged an o rd in ary m ap. exem ­ p la ry at least in the title o f his w ork.A Berlin Chronicle shrew der than I am . the tennis courts where em p ty apartm ent blocks stand today. W h a t Proust began so p la yfu lly . the decisive benches in the T ierg a rten . A n d it is not ju st this title that concerns me here. D oubtless it does not. and on the grey back grou n d o f such maps they w ould m ake a colourful show if I clearly m arked in the houses o f m y friends and girl friends. the hotel and brothel room s that I knew for one night. w hich ex a ctly encom passes the best th a t I m ight ach ieve here: Paris vecu. A n d even w ith out this m ap.

But here. not to m ention the d ifficulty o f his style. am ong the shrieking children . that taste. that im age. readin g her novel and keeping the child in check w h ile hard ly raising an eyelid until. T h ere w ere serpentine paths near the lake and. in w hich he will h ard ly find m ore successors than he needed com panions. solitary m en found their w ay here. w atch in g the boats glid ing in the dark w ater. w hile that w hich it encounters in these microcosm s grows ever m ightier. for he has seen that it can be unfolded. It cam e from R ousseau Island and drove the skaters loop ing and w hirlin g on N ew L ake. or on chains held by lions’ m ouths. and still m ore b y virtue o f its life throu gh the seasons: for w h at did sum m er m ake o f the rest? T en nis courts. her lab ou r done. Even if the girl I loved. p a y in g due honour. stem and studious. T h ro u gh its position this ice rink was com ­ p arab le to no other. w ho is h old in g the b ab y betw een her knees and knitting. there she sits. w here toddlers dig or stand sunk in thought until b um ped by a playm ate or roused by the voice o f a nursem aid from the bench o f co m m a n d . from the smallest to the infinitesim al. that tou ch for whose sake all this has been u nfurled and dissected. no im age satisfies him . above all. stretched a lake connected to lab yrin th in e w aterw ays. and now rem em brance advances from sm all to sm allest details. O ld . after tarrying lon g on the paths o f this garden. had left at last. to the serious side o f life : the new spaper. Such is the d ea d ly gam e that Proust began so d illettantishly. and only in its folds does the truth reside. I was am ong them long before I had any conception o f the source o f the islan d ’s nam e. H ow totally unlike this (the m usic at the Zoo) was some other park music that had begun to reach m y ears at an earlier tim e. under the overh an gin g branches o f the trees along the bank.296 becam e aw esom ely serious. there was now here I liked staying to think o f her . benches for “ adults o n ly ” at the edge o f the sand pit w ith its ditches. and now one skated under the little arched bridges w here in sum m er one had leaned on balustrades. H e w ho has once begun to open the fan o f m em ory never comes to the end o f its segm ents. she changes places w ith the nurse at the other end o f the bench. am id these scatterbrain ed w om enfolk. the tender retreats o f lon ely old men.

A Berlin Chronicle 29J better than on a backless bench in one o f those playgrounds. the palm s. I do not m ean his book On Foot in Berlin . com plaisan t. before resolving to u n bu ck le them . w indow s. on w h ich w e com posed a sm all. A ll these pictures I have preserved. T h e cen trepiece o f this Celebra­ tion. But none w ould b rin g b ack N ew L ak e and a few hours o f m y child h ood so viv id ly as to hear once m ore the bars o f m usic to w hich m y feet. the Surrealists had u n w ittin g ly in au gu rated their reactio n ary career. and neither W ed d in g nor R e in ick e n d o rf . better than on d rafty stairw ays. It prospered. and niches from w hich the “ T ierg a rten m y th o lo g y ” was evo lvin g as the first ch ap ter o f a science o f this city. a few years earlier in Paris. and I never sw ept the sand from w here I was going to sit dow n. T ru e . the je tty still rising and falling as on w aves under the feet o f strolling seam en. bu t the Celebration th at our w alks together in Paris received in our n ative city. as if we w ere return in g to harbour. was the “ G reen M e a d o w ” — a bed that still stands high above the couches spreading all arou n d . I f you then slow ly rested one c a lf on the other knee and unscrew ed the skate. orien tally p allid epilogue to those great. for we had been astute enough to gather to us girls from the most latin ate q u arter and in gen eral to observe the P arisian custom o f residing in the quartier. From beneath low ered lids our gaze often met. b ut they w ere few. h ow ever. sleeping feasts w ith w hich. it was as if in its place you had sud d en ly grow n w ings. h eavy w ith their skates after a lone excursion across the bustling ice. and past the m ore splendid one w ith a hen lay in g can d y-filled eggs. through the d o o rw a y behind w hich glow ed the a n th racite stove. A n d then m y fifth gu id e : F ran z Hessel. carytids. the quartier in Berlin is u n fortu nately an affair o f the w ell-to-do. to the bench w here you now savoured for a w hile the w eigh t o f the iron rails on y ou r feet. w hich was w ritten later. w hich did not yet reach the grou n d . tou ched the fam iliar planks and stum bled past the chocolate-dispen sing slot m achines. and you w ent out w ith steps that nod d ed to the frozen groun d. thus fulfillin g the text that the L ord giveth unto his ow n in sleep. O n this m eadow we spread out such w om en as still am used us at hom e.

passers-by. a m o d em factory. in this age w hen railw ays are begin n in g to be out o f date. . A girl p h otograp h er was w ith us.* N ot to find on e’s w ay in a city m ay w ell be uninteresting and banal. even the snapshot. are no longer. It requires ign o ra n ce— n oth in g m ore. A u teu il. w hich. like the sudden stillness o f a clearin g w ith a lily stan din g erect at its centre. it fulfilled a dream that had shown its first traces in the labyrinths on the b lottin g pages o f m y school exercise books. T h e fourth g u id e. the M in o ta u r’s cham b er. w ere m arau d in g S u nd ayafternoon excursions on w hich w e discovered an arcad e in the M o ab it q u arter. fluid. or bars must speak to the w an d erer like a crack in g tw ig under his feet in the forest. the narrow er draw s the circle o f w h at can be p h otog rap h ed . gen erally speaking. or N eu illy. A n d it seems to me. signboards and street names. [ n lb ] . O n ly film com m ands op tical approaches to the essence o f the city. in w hich. Paris taught me this art o f strayin g. such as con d u ctin g the motorist into the new centre. and the sam e is true o f ph otograp h y. like the startlin g call o f a bittern in the distance. for exam ple. A station gives the order.298 nor T eg el bears com parison on this accou n t w ith M en ilm on tan t. the Stettin tunnel. sum m oning m y last * Benjam in is referring to Paris. but it is an ou tdated m anoeuvre that confronts us w ith the arch aic. it has been rightly observed that p h otog rap h y records p ra ctica lly n othin g o f the essence of. or liberty in front o f the W alln er T h ea tre. A ll the m ore gratifyin g. fun ctional existence. But to lose oneself in a c ity — as one loses on eself in a forest— that calls for quite a different schooling. roofs. N or is it to be denied that I penetrated to its innerm ost place. as it were. for a surprise attack. kiosks. as I think o f Berlin. therefore. that on ly the side o f the city that w e explored at that tim e is truly receptive to ph otograp h y. w ith the on ly difference b ein g that this m ythological m onster had three h e a d s: those o f the occu pan ts o f the small brothel on rue de la H arpe. the true “ ga tew ay s” th rou gh w hich the city unrolls its outskirts as it does along the approach roads for motorists. Such pictures can perhaps be com pared to railw ay stations. T h en . F or the closer we com e to its present-day.

w h ich I w itnessed at the side o f a nursem aid. or even the partin g from w h a t had been. b ut that w hich still continued. T h e destination o f such rides w ou ld usually h ave been the A n h a lt S ta tio n — w here you took the train to Sud erod e or H ahn en klee. persisted. for a w eek at least. I set m y foot. is— it m ust have been a b o u t 1900— a com pletely deserted stretch o f road upon w hich ponderous torrents o f w ater continuou sly thundered dow n. w hich had ju st neared its end. asserting itself even in this first stage o f the jou rn ey. betw een the colum ns o f w ater. In any case. to Bad S alzsch lirf o r — in the later y ea rs— to Freuden stadt. But now and again it was . the w eekly even in g gath erin g in the d ra w in g room or the livin g room o f m y parents’ ap artm en t. w ith ou t recallin g m y endless flAneries. I can not rem em ber. R id es to the station in the rattlin g taxi. this situation left behind an alarm signal. A n d so it was not w h at im pen d ed that w eigh ed so terrifyin gly upon me. but in other w ays. But if Paris thus answ ered m y most uneasy ex p ecta ­ tions. I can not think o f the un derw orld o f the M e tro and the N orth -S ou th line opening their hundreds o f shafts all over the city. too. in a prim eval forest I should not have been m ore aban d o n ed than here on K urfurstenstrasse. h o w e ver— m ore so even than the arrival o f the bears. possibly w e had been sent hom e from school. H o w I reached the bron ze lions’ m ouths on our front door w ith their rings that w ere now life belts. m y strength must have been failing. skirting the L an d w eh r C a n a l w hile. T h e most rem ark ab le o f all the street im ages from m y early child hood . T h e city. was revived w ith stricken violence. the id ea o f ex tra o rd in ary events is inseparab le from that d a y . or it m ay have been m y F ren ch governess— m ore rem arkab le th an the racecourse that passed Schillstrasse or ended there. I had been ca u g h t up in a local flood disaster.A Berlin Chronicle 299 reserves o f strength (and not en tirely w ith ou t an A ria d n e ’s th read ). as it disclosed itself to me in the footsteps o f a herm etic trad itio n that I can trace b ack at least as far as R ilk e and whose g u ard ia n at that tim e was F ran z Hessel. was a m aze not on ly o f paths but also o f tunnels. am ong the d irty cushions. from another side it surpassed m y gra p h ic fantasies. and in the m idst o f the asphalt streets o f the city I felt exposed to the pow ers o f n a tu r e .

A n d in it he now cuts another sec­ tion through the sequence o f his experiences. I believe it is since that tim e that the dunes o f the B altic landscape have appeared to me like a fata morgana here on C hau sseestrasse. in the im age o f the tram p w ho is a ctu ally a rich m an. Perhaps the same sabotage o f real social existence is to be found even later in m y m anner. and then you w ent by the Stettin Station. his early child h ood . w ith ou t his k n ow in g either nam e or origin. H e detects in them a new and d isturbin g articulation. T h e ch ild ’s first excursion into the exotic w orld o f abject poverty ch aracteristically took w ritten form (only b y ch an ce. one o f his first excursions to do so). T h e poor? For rich children o f his gen eration they lived at the back o f beyond. he was confined to this affluent q u arter w ith ou t know ing o f an y other. so that the w retched m a n — thus the story en d ed — secretly jettisoned his entire consignm ent. or H eiligen d am m . First. perhaps. a lrea d y . But this vista w ould indeed be delusive if it did not m ake visible the m edium in w hich alone such im ages take form . sandy colours o f the station b uild in g and the boundless horizon op en in g in m y im agin ation behind its w alls. assum ing a transparency in w hich.300 A rendsee. how ever m istily. too. alread y an n ou n cin g the flight into sabotage and anarchism that later m akes it so difficult for the intellectual to see things clearly. supported only by the yellow . C erta in ly a w h olly unfruitful solution to the problem . the contours o f w h at is to com e are delineated like m ountain peaks. it was. w here the class that had pron oun ced him one o f its n um ber resided in a posture com pou nd ed o f self-satisfaction and resentm ent that turned it into som ething like a ghetto held on lease. In any case. being the d ep iction o f a sandw ich m an and his h u m iliation at the hands o f the pu b lic. enclosing him in the district w here he liv e d — the old or the new W est End. T h e present in w hich the w riter lives is this m edium . though w ithout m oney. A n d if at this early age he could picture the poor. since he stands— far rem oved from the process o f X production and the exploitation not yet abstracted from i t — in the same con tem plative relation to his destitution as the rich m an to his w ealth. w ho did not trouble even to take the leaflets he held out to them .

S teg litzer Strasse cou ld henceforth. this was a crossing o f frontiers not on ly social but top ograp h ical. B ut is it rea lly a crossing. each w ith its outskirts like a city : the Silesian. at any rate. in the stubborn refusal under a n y circum stances to form a united front. one m in u te’s w a lk from the house in w hich I was b orn : A u n t L eh m an n . it is one o f the streets least tou ched by the changes o f the last thirty years. W h ere it joins G en th in er Strasse. for children . lab ou red w ith pickaxes. O n accoun t o f this au n t and her mine. So on these erring paths the stations becam e m y especial habitat. fairy tales in w hich a w itch or even a fairy holds a w h ole forest in thrall. an obstinate and volu ptu ou s hoverin g on the brink. rather. is it not. and the w hores in the d oorw ays o f tenem ent blocks and on the less sonorous asphalt o f railw ay platform s are like the household goddesses o f this cult o f nothingness. A t the b egin nin g. in the sense that w hole netw orks o f streets w ere opened up under the auspices o f prostitution. G orlitz stations.A Berlin Chronicle 301 d escribed. Stettin. . it was d ark on them . n ever be nam ed after S teglitz. o f w alk in g in the city. and shone lanterns into the shafts in w hich buckets w ere w in ch ed p erp etu ally up and dow n. even th ou gh she was alw ays enthroned in her bay w in d o w . A goldfin ch [Stieglitz] in its cage bore greater resem blan ce to this street h arb ou rin g the aunt at her w in d o w than the Berlin suburb that m eant n othin g to me. T h e stairs rose steeply to her room from ju st behind the hall door. a hesitation that has its most cogent m otive in the circum stance that b eyond this frontier lies nothingness? But the places are countless in the great cities w here one stands on the edge o f the void. that a feeling o f crossing the threshold o f on e’s class for the first tim e had a part in the alm ost u n equalled fascination o f p u b licly accosting a w hore in the street. as a child I knew a street that was ruled and occu pied entirely by a w om an. and Friedrichstrasse. in w h ich little men pushed w heelbarrow s. T h ere is no d ou b t. for me. how ever. be it even w ith m y ow n m other. until the door opened and the b rittle voice bid us a thin “ go o d -m o rn in g” and directed us to place before us on the table the glass rhom bus con tain in g the m ine. Just as there are.

to rich A m erican s. was in its architecture and situation am ong the most desolate. these room s lend themselves to dream like representation . and their daughters their skirts. no one could ever determ ine on w hich stories the im poverished opened their d raw in g rooms. solitude appeared to me as the only fit state o f m an. a plaster statue o f the E m p eror F rederick. and again. d u rin g the inflation period. o u tw a rd ly in good repair. are am ong the horrors that have em bed d ed them selves most inerad icab ly in me. T h e school. as on those w alks in the city w ith m y m other. and the classrooms that fin ally cam e into view . U n d o u b ted ly. w ho. T h e b ack d rop was often the fear o f h avin g to take the Abitur again (under m ore un favourab le conditions). C lim b in g the stairs in this fashion. B enjam in is talking about his school experiences. pu n y and * T h e beginning o f this passage is missing in the m anuscript.302 In the b ack rooms and attics. [ n l b ] . in m y dream s. It m atch ed its em blem . w hich had been deposited in a rem ote corner o f the playgrou n d (ad m itted ly one favoured by hordes engaged in m artial gam es). num erous prostitutes h ave established them selves here. as gu ardian s o f the past. T h e corridors. like every assem bly o f that class. the cold torpor that overcam e me at each crossing o f the classroom thresholds.* w ith nothing before me but boots and calves. brought the district the reputation o f b eing a theatre o f the most squalid diversions. a position in w hich I had been placed by m y own recklessness and folly. I was often seized — I seem to rem em b er— by revulsion at being hem m ed in by this m ultitude. and betrays its bourgeois origin in representing. for such a m ob o f school children is am ong the most formless and ignoble o f all masses. that is to say. V e r y u n derstan d ably. Needless to say. and these have taken revenge on the m onotony. there is som ething n ig h t­ marish even in the sober recollection o f the dam p odour o f sweat secreted by the stone steps that I had to hasten up five tim es or more each day. and the scrapin g o f hundreds o f feet in m y ears. by turnin g them selves into the arena o f the most e x tra va ga n t events. the most ru dim en tary organ ization al form that its in d ivid ual m em bers can give their recip rocal relationships. .

one o f these occasions is perhaps n otew o rth y for the effect it had on me for years afterw ard . for the low er panes o f the classroom w indow s w ere o f frosted glass. too. was never w ashed. A crude. it was most cerem oniously un ited w ith art nouveau. little a b ou t the actu al classroom s has rem ained in m y m em ory except these ex a ct em blem s o f im prison m ent: the frosted w indow s and the infam ous carved w ooden battlem ents over the doors. as in several other places. w ere crow ned w ith such adornm ents. in cid en tally. if I am not m istaken. verses that. It w ou ld not surprise me to hear that the cupboards. It was the leave-tak in g cerem on y for those w ho had grad u ated . Just as a certain kind o f significant dream survives a w ak en ­ ing in the form o f w ords w h en all the rest o f the dream content has van ished. w hile the ear was helplessly a b an d o n ed to the clatter o f id iotic harangues. I find in m y m em ory rig id ly fixed words.A Berlin Chronicle 303 pitiful against a fire w all. and qu ite unaw ares they cut throu gh the invisible bars o f our tim etable cage. But soot descends upon it d a ily from the passing m u n icipal railw ay. In the great hall. H ere. It is far from im possible that m y uncom m on aversion to this railw ay dates from this tim e. expressions. It still stands today in its appo in ted place. a d on ation. R eferen ­ ces to objects w ere no m ore to be found in it than references to his­ tory. H erald ic and chivalrou s obtuseness shone forth w h erever possible. like a m alleab le mass that has later cooled and hardened. since all the people sitting at their w indow s seem ed en viable to me. not to m ention the pictures o f the K aiser on the w alls. how ever. preserve in m e the im print o f the collision betw een a larger collective and m yself. n ow here did it offer the eye the slightest refuge. A m o n g them is one in w h ich for me the . A ll the sam e. unlike the class­ room s. “ V a g a b o n d clouds. d u rin g the breaks. e x tra va ga n t ornam en t stretched w ith stiff grey-green lim bs across the pan ellin g o f the walls. M o reover. T h e y could only be seen. T h is m onum ent. A cco rd in g to a school legend it was. here isolated w ords have rem ained in place as m arks o f catastrop h ic encounters. T h e y could afford to ign ore the school clock that held sw ay above our heads. and had acq u ired in the course o f years an a d m irab le coat o f dirt and soot. sailors o f the skies” had for us the absolute precision that the verse holds for prisoners.

N ow this . I was sent for my first m orning. the m elody o f this song seem ed to surround the departure from this hell w ith infinite m elancholy. This com m on piece o f sch oolboy parlan ce was en tirely u n ­ fam iliar to me. A n abyss opened before me. perhaps because I thou ght them true. M ore rem ark ab le are some other verses that I heard once in the gym n asiu m dressing room after the lesson. was so utterly approp riate. W h y ? Perhaps because “ S ch u lze” — as the im pruden t boy w h o knew the lines was c a lle d — was rather pretty. but most prob ab ly because the situation in w hich they were spoken. it is thanks large ly to tw enty years’ observance o f one little rule: never use the w ord “ I ” except in letters. T h e exceptions to this precept that I have perm itted m yself could be counted. and never forgot. I heard it w hen. m ilitary h yp er-activity. w hen I spent m y first day in alien and th reaten ing circum stances in H au b in d a and was asked by a tall.304 w hole atm osphere o f the school is condensed. w hich I sought to b ridge w ith a lacon ic protest. H ere in the great hall it was the verses w ith w hich the school choir began the farew ell song to the leavers — “ Brother now m ay we / your com panions be / in the w orld so w id e” — follow ed by som ething con tain in g the words “ lo y ally by your side” . on a trial basis. N oth in g else is left o f this earliest school experience. It was re-enacted in sim ilar form . at any rate these w ere the verses that en abled m e year by year to take the m easure o f m y ow n weakness. to w h at was later to becom e the K aiser F ried rich School. For no m atter how p a lp a b ly the abom in able goings-on at school w ere d aily before m y eyes. But by the time it was addressed to me and m y class it must have m ade little impression. hostile-seem ing lout w ho played a prom inent part in the class w heth er m y “ old m a n ” had a lread y left. fat.” I f I w rite better G erm an than most w riters o f m y generation . but at that time was still situated on Passauerstrasse. some six years later. h ow ever. un becom in g figure o f a boy is the follow ing: ringleader. one o f frenetic. “ L oiterin g at the rear / you never need fear / n eu rasth en ia. for I rem em ber n othin g o f it. havin g hitherto received only p rivate tutoring. This w ord that still adheres in m y m ind to a p h legm atic.

and I had no in k lin g o f the m agical aspect o f the city that this sam e Joel. there are parts o f the city in w hich it was destined to h ave eq u ally deep and h arrow in g exp eri­ ences. a ch ief target o f m y attacks. and in any case. it relied on ruse. T o be sure. w hich is entitled not to be sold cheap. Ernst Joel. in a b ack w in g o f one o f the houses stan din g nearest the m u n icipal railw ay via d u ct. T h ere. for the student “ G ro u p for Social W o r k ” led by Joel was. So his im age . T h e distribution o f the rooms betw een the tw o gro u p s— w hether o f a spatial or a tem poral c h a ra cte r— was ve ry sharply defined. this is not on ly the m ysterious w ork o f rem em b ra n ce— w hich is really the cap acity for endless interpolations into w h at has b e e n — but also. at the same tim e. but in none o f them was the place itself so m uch a part o f the event. so successfully that I b elieved a retrospective glance at w h at Berlin had becom e for me in the course o f years w ould be an a p p rop riate “ p refa ce” to such glosses. accustom ed for years to w a itin g in the wings. and it w as precisely as leader o f this grou p that Joel had signed the lease. a series o f glosses on ev eryth in g that seemed n otew o rth y in B erlin — and w hen I agreed — it becam e suddenly clear that this subject. was the “ M eetin g H o u se” . But far from protesting. M y co-signatory. for me at that time on ly the d eb atin g group m attered . For w hen one d ay it was’ suggested that I should w rite. fifteen years later. w ou ld not so easily be sum m oned to the lim elight. from d ay to d ay in a loosely subjective form .A Berlin Chronicle 505 has had a curious consequence that is in tim ately connected to these notes. It was a sm all a p artm en t that I had rented jo in tly w ith the student Ernst Joel. was to reveal to me. H ow w e had agreed on this I no lon ger rem em ber. w hile m y contribution secured the rights o f the “ d eb atin g ch am ­ b e r” to the M eetin g House. it can h a rd ly have been sim ple. T h e district I am talkin g o f is the T ierga rten q u arter. the precau tion o f the subject represented by the “ I ” . N ow there is one district o f Berlin w ith w h ich this subject is m ore closely connected than any other that it has consciously experienced. and I w ere on less than cordial terms. I f the preface has now far exceeded the space o rigin ally allotted to the glosses. durin g the term in w hich I was president o f the Berlin Free Students’ U n io n .

in a fourth-floor room on K lopstockstrasse. it nevertheless seems to me tod ay m ore legitim ate to attem pt to delineate the ou tw ard space the dead m an inh ab ited . For this im age is alread y now that o f a dead m an. L ater. or how indis­ tin ctly I can now give an accou n t o f the rooms in the M eetin g House. than the inn er space in w hich he created. But perhaps that is on ly because. in this last and most crucial y ear o f his life. B ut even today I rem em ber the smile that lifted the w hole w eig h t o f these weeks o f separation. after the . indeed the room w here he was “ a n n o u n ce d ” . in a m ed itation on the nature o f the lyric. that I tried to sum m on up. and o f all those w ho once had it I alone rem ain. I should never have thought that I should seek him by this top og rap h ical route. aroun d w hom all the happenings in the M eetin g House arran ge them selves and w ith w hom they vanish. But if I call to m ind the first trial run I m ade in this direction. and the only one o f them all w h om I m et not “ in real life” but in his w ork. m ore than ten years ago now. and the im m ed iacy o f the experience that gave rise to m y lecture asserted itself irresistibly in the incom prehen sion and sn obbery o f the audience. w h o cam e to hear it at the house o f M a ria n n e W eb er. It was in H eidelberg. that turned a p ro b a b ly insignificant phrase into a m agic form ula that healed the w ound. the earlier and m ore m odest essay has the better o f the com parison. d u rin g w hat was u n d o u b ted ly self-forgetful w ork. and could be know n in no other w ay. w ith m em ories o f even the most external and superficial things? T o the oth er threshold he had no access. H e died at nineteen. and w ho know s how he m ight have been able to help me cross this threshold. H e in le’s Berlin was the B erlin o f the M eetin g H ouse. F ritz H einle was a poet. N o m atter how m uch m em ory has subsequen tly paled. It was after a long separation resulting from a serious dissension betw een us. this first attem p t to evoke the sphere o f his life through that o f po etry was unsuccessful. the figure o f m y friend F ritz H einle.306 appears in me at this stage on ly as an answ er to the question w hether forty is not too youn g an age at w hich to evoke the most im portant m em ories o f on e’s life. I once visited him there. he traversed the space in w hich I was born. H e lived at this period in closest p roxim ity to it. A ll the sam e.

w hen I recall its old-fashioned a p artm en t houses. there is no d oub t th at the city o f Berlin was never again to im pinge so force­ fully on m y existence as it did in that epoch w hen w e believed w e could leave it un touched. and the u n speak ab ly cruel hu n tin g groups flan king its a p p roach at the star-shaped intersection o f road s— today this point in space w here we ch an ced then to open our M eetin g H ouse is for me the strictest pictorial expression o f the point in history occupied by this last true elite o f bourgeois Berlin. the sluggish w ater o f the L a n d w eh r C a n a l that m arked the district o ff from the p roletarian quarters o f M o ab it. T o d a y . even if on the basis o f en tirely differen t reasoning. the sparse streetcars spaced at great intervals. on ly m akin g a place in it for the w ords o f H o ld erlin or G eorge.aw oke me w ith the words “ Y o u w ill find us lyin g in the M e etin g H ou se” — w h en H einle and his girl friend w ere d e a d — this district rem ained for a period the central m eetin g place o f the livin g. cast b y the in com p re­ . how ever. even i f the shadow o f dow nfall. its m any trees dust-covered in sum m er. and the houses w ere the last o f their line ju st as the occupan ts o f those apartm ents w ere the last w h o could appease the clam orous shades o f the dispossessed w ith p h ilanth ropic cerem onies. A n d tod ay. the cum bersom e iron-and-stone constructions o f the m u n icipal railw ay cu ttin g th rou gh it. the splendid but w h olly un freq u en ted cluster o f trees in the Schlosspark B ellevue. It was as close to the abyss o f the G reat W a r as the M eetin g H ouse was to the steep slope d ow n to the L a n d w e h r C a n a l. I un derstan d that the “ lan gu a g e o f y o u th ” had to stand at the centre o f our associations. heroic a ttem p t to chan ge the attitudes o f people w ith o u t chan gin g their circum stances. N or do I know tod ay o f a n y truer expression o f our im potence than the struggle that seem ed the pinnacle o f our strength and our exu b eran ce. but there was h ard ly one o f us whose resolve such know ledge could have altered. on ly im p rovin g its schools.A Berlin Chronicle j o y m orn in g w hen an express lettep. W e did not know that it was b ou nd to fail. only b reak in g the in h u m an ity o f their inm ates’ parents. In sp ite— or perhaps b ecau se— o f this. it was as sh arp ly divid ed from p roletarian youth as the houses o f this rentiers’ q u arter w ere from those o f M o ab it. It was a final. as clearly as at that tim e.

308 hension o f the audience, was seldom m ore p a lp a b le than on that evening. I think here o f an altercation betw een H einle and m yself on an even ing at the Aktion* O rig in a lly only a speech by me entitled “ Y o u th ” had been on the agen d a. I took it for granted that its text should be know n to our closest circle before it was delivered. S carcely had this happened, how ever, w hen H einle raised ob jec­ tions. W h eth er he w an ted to speak him self, or to im pose alterations on me that I refused— the upshot was an u g ly q u arrel into w hich, as alw ays happens on such occasions, the w hole existence o f each p articip an t was d ra w n — H e in le’s side b eing taken b y the youngest o f the three sis terst around w hom the most im portan t events used to gravitate, as if the fact that a Jew ish w id ow was livin g w ith her three daughters represented, for a group seriously intent upon the abolition o f the fam ily, an a p p rop riate base from w h ich to launch an attack. In short, the girl reinforced her frien d ’s dem ands. But I was not prep ared to yield, either. So it happ ened that on that evening at the Aktion, before an astonished but less-th an -captivated audience, tw o speeches w ith the same title and alm ost exactly identical texts w ere delivered, and in truth the latitu d e w ith in w hich the “ Y o u th M o vem e n t” had to m anoeuvre was no larger than the area bound ed by the nuances o f those speeches. T h in k in g abou t the tw o speeches today, I should like to com pare them to the clashing islands in the legend o f the A rgonau ts, the S ym plegades, betw een w hich no ship can pass in safety and w here, at that tim e, a sea o f love and hatred tossed. Assem blies o f bourgeois intellectuals w ere then far com m oner than n ow ad ays, since they had not yet recognized their limits. W e m ay say, how ever, that w e felt those limits, even if m uch time was to pass before the realization m atured that no one can im prove his school or his p aren tal hom e w ith out first sm ashing the state th at needs bad ones. W e felt these limits w hen we held our discussions, at w hich the you n ger am ong us spoke o f the brutalities they had to endure at hom e, in d raw in g

* Die Aktion , a political jo u rn al o f revolu tion ary tendency, founded in 1 9 1 1 by Franz Pfemfert, d edicated to the revolution in literature and the visual arts, t T rau te, C a rla , and R ik a Seligson. [ n l b ] .

A Berlin Chronicle j o g rooms k in d ly m ade a va ila b le by parents w ho at bottom thought no d ifferen tly from those w e w ished to oppose. W e felt them w hen we old er m em bers held our literary evenings in room s at beerhouses that w ere never for a m om ent safe from the serving w aiters; w e felt them w hen we w ere ob liged to receive our lad y friends in furnished rooms w ith doors w e w ere not at lib e rty to lock; w e felt them in our dealings w ith ow ners o f pu blic room s and w ith porters, w ith relations and gu ard ian s. A n d w hen, fin ally, after A u gu st 8, 19 14, the days cam e w h en those am ong us w ho w ere closest to the dead couple did not w a n t to part from them until they w ere b uried, w e felt the limits in the sham e o f b eing able to find refuge only in a seedy railw a y hotel on S tu ttgart Square. E ven the gra vey a rd dem onstrated the boundaries set by the city to all that filled our h e a rts: it was im possible to procure for the pair w ho had died together graves in one and the sam e cem etery. But those w ere days th at ripened a realization that was to com e later, and that plan ted in me the con viction that the city o f B erlin w ould also not be spared the scars o f the struggle for a better order. I f I chan ce tod ay to pass through the streets o f the q u arter, I set foot in them w ith the sam e uneasiness that one feels w hen entering an attic unvisited for years. V a lu a b le things m ay be lyin g around, but n ob o d y rem em bers w here. A n d in truth this dead q u arter w ith its tall ap a rtm en t houses is to d a y the ju n k room o f the W est E nd bourgeoisie. T h a t was the time w h en the Berlin cafes p layed a part in our lives. I still rem em ber the first that I took in consciously. T h is was m uch earlier, im m ed iately after m y grad u atio n . T h e V ik to ria C afe, w here our first com m u n al ja u n t ended at three in the m orn­ ing, no longer exists. Its p la c e — on the corner o f Friedrichstrasse and U n ter den L in d e n — has been taken by one o f the noisiest lu xu ry cafes o f new Berlin, against w hich the earlier one, how ever luxurious it m ay have been in its d ay, stands out w ith all the m agic o f the age o f chandeliers, m irrored walls and plush com fort. T h is old V ik to ria C afe was on th at occasion our last port o f call, and w e doubtless reached it a dep leted group. It must h ave been more than

h a lf em p ty — at any rate I can discern, through the veils that mask the im age today, no one apart from a few whores, w ho seem ed to have the spacious cafe to them selves. W e did not stay long, and I do not know w hether I paid the V ik to ria C afe, w hich must have disappeared soon after, a second visit. T h e tim e had not yet arrived w hen the frequenting o f cafes was a daily need, and it can hard ly have been Berlin that fostered this vice in me, how ever w ell the vice later ad ap ted itself to the establishm ents o f that city, w hich leads far too strenuous and conscious a life o f pleasure to know real coffeehouses. O u r first cafe, a ccord in gly, was m ore a strategic q u arter than a place o f siesta. A n d I have thus unm is­ tak ab ly revealed its nam e: as is w ell know n, the h ead qu arters o f bohem ians until the first w ar years was the old W est E nd C afe. It was in this cafe that we sat together in those very first A u g u st days, choosing am on g the barracks that w ere being storm ed b y the onrush o f volunteers. W e decided on the cav alry on B elle-A llian ce Strasse, w here I d u ly appeared on one o f the follow ing days, no spark o f m artial fervour in m y breast; yet how ever reserved I m ay have been in m y thoughts, w hich w ere concerned on ly w ith securing a place am ong friends in the in evitab le conscription, one o f the bodies ja m m e d in front o f the barracks gates was m ine. A d m itted ly only for two days: on A u gu st 8 cam e the event that was to banish for long after both the city and the w ar from m y m ind. I often saw H einle in the W est E nd C afe. W e usually m et there late, abou t tw elve. I cannot say that we had close relations to the literary B ohem ia whose days, or nights, w ere spent there; we w ere a self-contained group, the w orld o f our “ m ovem en t” was different from that o f the em an cipated people around us, and contacts w ith them w ere only fleeting. A m ed iator betw een the two sides for a period was F ran z Pfem fert, editor o f Die Aktion ; our relations w ith him w ere p u rely M a ch iav ellian . Else L ask er-S ch iiler once drew me to her tab le; W ielan d H erzfeld e, then a y o u n g student, was to be seen there, and Sim on G u ttm an n , to w hom I shall return; but the list here reaches the boundaries o f our n arrow er w orld. I believe we w ere alien to the cafe; the feverish con cen tra­ tion in d uced by concern w ith so m an y rival actions, the o rg a n iza ­

A Berlin Chronicle


tion o f the Free S tuden ts’ U n io n and the d evelopm ent o f the d eb atin g cham bers, the elabo ration o f our speeches in large assem blies o f pupils, help for com rades in need, care for those im p erilled by en tanglem en ts either o f friendship or o f lo v e — all this set us a p a rt from the sated, self-assured bohem ians abou t us. H ein le was m ore closely a cq u ain ted w ith one or another o f them , such as the painter M eid n er, w ho drew h im ; bu t this connection rem ain ed unfruitful for us. T h en , one d ay in S w itzerlan d , I read that the W est E nd C afe had been closed. I had never been m uch at hom e in it. A t that tim e I did not yet possess that passion for w a itin g w ith ou t w h ich one can not th o rou gh ly appreciate the charm o f a cafe. A n d if I see m y self w aitin g one night am id tob acco smoke on the sofa that en circled one o f the centred colum ns, it was no d ou b t in feverish exp ectation o f the outcom e o f some negotiation at the d eb atin g cham ber, or o f one o f the m ediators w ho w ere b rou gh t into p la y w hen tensions had once again reached an u n b earab le pitch. I cam e to be on m uch m ore intim ate terms w ith the n eigh b ou rin g cafe, w h ich had its b egin n in g du rin g the period I now refer to. This was the Princess Cafe. In an attem p t to create a “ P hysiology o f C offeeh ou ses” , o n e’s first and most superficial classification w ould be into professional and recreation al estab­ lishm ents. If, how ever, one leaves aside the m ost b razen en tertain ­ m ent places run along industrial lines, it becom es very n oticeable that in the d evelopm ent o f most hostelries the two functions coincid e. A p a rticu la rly tellin g exam ple is the history o f the R o m an isch e C afe from ex a ctly the m om ent w hen the proprietor o f the W est E nd C afe evicted his clientele. V e r y soon the R om an ische C afe a ccom m od ated the bohem ians, w ho, in the years im m ed iately after the w ar, w ere able to feel them selves m asters o f the house. The legen d ary, n ow -departed w aiter R ic h a rd , distributor o f n ew spapers— a h u n ch b ack w ho on accou n t o f his bad repu tation en joyed high esteem in these circles— was the sym bol o f their dom inan ce. W hen the G erm an econom y began to recover, the b oh em ian contingent visib ly lost the th reaten ing nim bus that had surrounded them in the era o f the Expressionist revo lu tion ary m anifestoes. T h e bourgeois revised his relationship to the inm ates

o f the C afe M e ga lo m an ia (as the R o m an isch e C afe soon cam e to be called) and found that everyth in g w as b ack to norm al. A t this m om ent the ph ysiogn om y o f the R o m an isch e C afe began to chan ge. T h e “ artists” w ith d rew into the b ack grou n d , to becom e m ore and m ore a part o f the furniture, w hile the bourgeois, represented by stock-exchange speculators, m anagers, film and theatre agents, literary-m in d ed clerks, began to o ccu p y the p la c e — as a p lace o f relaxation. For one o f the most elem en tary and indispensable diversions o f the citizen o f a great m etropolis, w edged, d a y in, d ay out, in the structure o f his office and fam ily am id an infin itely variegated social environm ent, is to plun ge into another w orld, the more exotic the better. H ence the bars haunted b y artists and crim inals. T h e distinction betw een the two, from this point o f view , is slight. T h e history o f the Berlin coffeehouses is largely th at o f different strata o f the public, those w ho first conqu ered the floor b eing obliged to m ake w ay for others gra d u a lly pressing forw ard , and thus to ascend the stage. Such a stage, for H einle and me, was the Princess C afe, w h ich w e w ere in the h abit o f p atron izin g as occupants o f private boxes. T h e latter should be taken alm ost literally, for this cafe, designed by L u cia n B ernhard, an interior decorator and poster artist m uch in dem and at that tim e, offered its visitors an ab u n d an ce o f snug recesses, stan din g historically m id w a y betw een the chambres separees and the coffee parlours. T h e profession p rim arily served b y this establishm ent is therefore clear. A n d w hen w e visited it, indeed m ade it for a tim e our regu lar m eeting place, it was certain ly on account o f the cocottes. H einle w rote “ Princess C a fe ” at that tim e. “ Doors d raw coolness over th rou gh the son g.” W e had no intention o f m akin g acqu ain tances in this cafe. O n the c o n tra ry — w hat attracted us here was being enclosed in an en viron m ent that isolated us. E very distinction betw een us and the literary coteries o f the city was w elco m e to us. T h is one, to be sure, m ore so than all others. A n d that certain ly had to do w ith the cocottes. But this leads into a subterran ean stratum o f the Y o u th M o vem en t, reached by w ay o f an a rtist’s studio in H alensee, to w hich we shall return. It is quite possible that S. G u ttm a n n , its occu pant, m et us here,

A Berlin Chronicle 3 1 3 too, from tim e to time. I have no recollection o f it, ju st as in general, here m ore than elsew here, the hum an figures recede before the place itself, and none o f them is as viv id ly present to me as a forlorn, a p p ro x im ately circu lar ch am b er in the u pp er story, hung w ith violet d ra p ery and illu m in ated w ith a violet glow , in w hich m an y seats w ere alw ays em pty, w h ile on others couples took up as little space as possible. I called this am ph ith eatre the “ an atom y school” . L ater, w hen this epoch was long since closed, I sat long evenings there, close to a ja z z band, discreetly consulting sheets and slips o f paper, w ritin g m y Origin of German Tragic Drama. W h en one d ay a new “ ren o va tio n ” set in, tu rn in g the Princess C afe into C afe Sten w yk, I gave up. T o d a y it has sunk to the level o f a beerhouse. N ever again has m usic possessed so d eh u m an ized and shameless a q u a lity as that o f the tw o brass bands that tem pered the flood o f people surging torpid ly a lo n g “ Scan dal A v e n u e ” betw een the cafe restaurants o f the Zoo. T o d a y I perceive w h a t gave this flow its elem ental force. For the city dw eller there was no higher school o f flirtation than this, surrounded by the sandy precincts o f gnus and zebras, the bare trees and clefts w here vultures and condors nested, the stinking enclosures o f w olves, and the hatcheries o f pelicans and herons. T h e calls and screeches o f these anim als m in gled w ith the noise o f drum s and percussion. T his was the air in w h ich the glance o f a boy fell for the first tim e on a passing girl, w hile he talked all the m ore zealously to his friend. A n d such w ere his efforts to b etray h im self neither by his eyes nor his voice that he saw n othin g o f her. A t that tim e the Z o o lo gical G a rd en still had an entrance by the L ichtenstein B ridge. O f the three gates it was the least fre­ quented , and gave access to the p a rk ’s most deserted q u arter: an aven u e that, w ith the m ilk-w hite orbs o f its can d elab ras, resem bled some deserted prom en ade at W iesbaden or P yrm o n t; and before the econ om ic crisis had so d ep op u lated these resorts that they seem ed m ore antiq ue than R o m a n spas, this dead corner o f the Z o o lo g ical G a rd en was an im age o f w h at was to com e, a prophesy-

ing place. It m ust be considered certain that there are such p la c e s; indeed, ju st as there are plants that prim itive peoples claim confer / the pow er o f clairvoyan ce, so there are places endow ed w ith such pow er: they m ay be deserted prom enades, or treetops, p a rticu la rly in towns, seen against walls, railw a y level-crossings, and above all the thresholds that m ysteriously d ivid e the districts o f a tow n. T h e L ichtenstein gate was rea lly such a threshold, betw een the tw o W est E nd parks. It was as if in both, at the point w here they w ere nearest, life paused. A n d this d a ily desertion was the m ore keenly felt b y one w h o rem em bered the d azzlin g a p p ro a ch to be seen on festal nights for a n um ber o f years from a d oo rw a y o f the A d ler ballroom s, w hich has fallen now into ju st such disuse as has this long-closed gate. v L an gu a ge shows clearly that m em ory is not an instrum ent for explorin g the past but its theatre. It is the m edium o f past exp eri­ ence, as the ground is the m edium in w h ich dead cities lie interred. H e w ho seeks to approach his ow n buried past m ust cond u ct him self like a m an digging. Th is confers the tone and b earin g o f genuine rem iniscences. He must not be afraid to return again and , again to the same m atter; to scatter it as one scatters earth, to turn it over as one turns over soil. For the m atter itself is on ly a deposit, a stratum , w hich yields only to the most m eticulous exam ination w h a t constitutes the real treasure hidden w ithin the e a r th : the im ages, severed from all earlier associations, that stan d — like precious fragm ents or torsos in a collecto r’s g a lle r y — in the prosaic rooms o f our later un derstan ding. T ru e, for successful excavations a plan is needed. Y e t no less indispensable is the cautious prob ing o f the spade in the dark loam , and it is to cheat oneself o f the richest prize to preserve as a record m erely the inven tory o f o n e’s discoveries, and not this dark jo y o f the place o f the finding itself. Fruitless search in g is as m uch a part o f this as I succeeding, and consequently rem em b rance must not proceed in the m anner o f a n arrative or still less that o f a report, b u t must, in the strictest epic and rhapsodic m ann er, assay its spade in evernew places, and in the old ones d elve to ever-deeper layers.

blessedness is to il’s r e w a rd . T ru e. once I had closed the door b ehin d me. For did I as a child really frequ ent the re m o te -1 corn er w here it stands. M y gaze has brushed them too often since. T h e y glim m ered or shone from panes in w hich a w om an w ith n ut-brow n eyebrow s floated aloft w ith a go b let from a niche. M a tth e w ’s C h u rch on St. M a tth e w ’s S q u a re — are perhaps on ly j ap p a ren tly so.” O utsid e it m a y h ave been raining. M y soles w o u ld doubtless be the first to send me w ord. th ey have m uch k n ow ­ led ge o f our child hood . A n d the few exceptions to this r u le — above all St. .A Berlin Chronicle 3 /5 It is true that countless facades o f the city stand exactly as they stood in m y childhood. that on this w orn staircase they trod in ancient tracks. B leak verses filled the intervals betw een our heartbeats. did I even know it? I can n o t tell. w h ich has conserved in seclusion the pow er to recogn ize m e that the fa§ade lost long ago. w hen w e paused exhausted on the landings betw een floors. It is an old-fashioned church. and for this w e love them . or the facad e o f the house. “ In dustry adorns the bu rgher. and w hile the straps o f m y satchel cut into m y shoulders I was forced to read. O n e o f the coloured w indow s was open. Y e t I do not en counter m y childhood in their contem plation . For w ith its colum ned w indow s it has stayed the same. A front door in the old W est End. and the y ellow -an d -och re brick o f w h ich it is built. m y eyes no lon ger see it. M o tto : O b row n -baked colum n o f victo ry W ith ch ild ren ’s sugar from the w in ter days. and i f I no longer cross the threshold o f that house it is for fear o f an en counter w ith this stairw ay interior. o f w hich the sam e is true as o f m an y an old-fashioned b u ild in g: although they w ere not you n g w ith us and perhaps did not even know us w hen w e w ere children. even i f w ith in the livin g quarters all is chan ged. But I should con ­ front m y self at that age in q u ite a different w a y had I the cou rage to enter a certain front door that I have passed thousands u pon thousands o f times. W h a t it says to me tod ay it owes solely to the edifice itself: the church w ith the tw o pointed. too often they have been the decor and theatre o f m y walks and concerns. gab led roofs over its tw o side aisles. and to the b eat o f raindrops the u p w ard m arch resum ed.

I alw ays found quarters. and the obscure aw areness o f these m om ents. even for the B erlin years that I am exclu sively concerned w ith here. rather than less. has none abou t life. N oisy. and it was not the cleanest o f hands that freed me. sniff at thresholds like a genius loci. H ow far a child has access to the past is d ifficult to tell. even though som etim es tard y and also unknow n ones that I did not revisit and w here I was not alone. w ith sequence and w h a t m akes up the continuous flow o f life. m atter-offact Berlin. do not alw ays am ou nt to an autob iograph y. o f those ' places and m om ents when it bears witness to the dead. It is as \ d early attach ed (though w ith ju st as strong reservations) to the realm o f the dead. Rem iniscences. m y legs had becom e entangled in the ribbons o f the streets. but betw een the tw o I found m yself a shelter. For childhood. H ere. nevertheless has m ore. these places. appear w raith lik e at w indow s. A n d this is shown not so m uch by the role that m y ow n life plays here. and even if they fill w hole quarters w ith their names. it is in the form they have at the m om ent o f recollection. For even. the city o f w ork and the m etropolis o f business. it is as a dead m an ’s fills his gravestone. For au to b io gra p h y has to do w ith tim e. w here it ju ts into that o f the livin g. T h e atm osphere o f the city that is here evoked allots them on ly a brief. to vanish again. O n ly those for w hom poverty or vice turns the city into a lan dscape in w h ich they stray from dark till sunrise know it in a w ay denied to me. confers on ch ild hood mem ories a q u a lity that makes them at once as evanescent and as allurin gly torm en ting as half-forgotten dream s. perhaps m ore than a n y th in g else. I saw sunset and d aw n . as by that o f the people closest to me in B erlin — w hoever and w h en ever they m ay have been. A n d these quite certain ly do not.316 I never slept on the street in Berlin. know ing no p recon ceived opinions. if m onths and years ap p ear here. as to life itself. T his strange form — it m ay be called fleeting or etern a l— is in neither case the stu ff that life is m ade of. shadow y existence. o f m om ents and discontinuities. T h e y steal along its w alls like beggars. than some others. and . shows itself full o f d ead . even extensive ones. I f I paused thus late in a d oorw ay. I am talkin g o f a space.

and m am m als. h ow ever. priestesses o f V e n a l Ceres. m ushroom s. in visibly coh ab itin g w ith those w ho a b a n ­ doned them selves as they la n g u id ly and m u tely eyed the unsteady . and o f all ed ib le birds. and was this not the truly fertile groun d ? D id not a god o f the m arket him self cast the gods into their laps: berries. constan tly d etach them selves from things and determ ine our percep tion o f them . slippery w ith fish w ater or swill. acco rd in g to the teach in g o f E picurus. on w hich you could so easily slip on carrots or lettu ce leaves. the second h a lf o f the nineteenth cen tu ry certain ly lies w ithin it. so b y the h abit o f this w alk all the im ages it offered w ere w orn a w ay . T h a t sets a lim it to the c h ild ’s m em o ry — and it is this lim it. environm ent. rather than child hood experience itself. and ju st as these w ords w ere eroded b y the h abit o f speech until none retained its origin al “ sense” . so that none o f them conform s to the origin al concep t o f b u yin g and selling. w ith its dangerous. not in the m anner o f general representations. heavy sw ing doors on their w hiplash springs. and w e had now set foot on the flagstones. T h e lim itation o f m y ow n feeling for the Berlin that is not circum scribed by a few facts abou t the S tratau Fair and F red erick in 1848*—that is. procuresses. w ere ensconced the ponderous ladies. First o f all. B ehind us lay the forecourt. N o: it was pronounced “ M ark-Talle ” . each b earin g a num ber. un tou ch ab le woolclad colossi exch an gin g vib ra n t signs from booth to booth w ith a flash o f their large m other-of-pearl buttons or a slap on their boom in g b lack aprons or their m oney-filled pouches. W h erever this bou n d ary m ay h ave been draw n. but o f im ages that. crustaceans. that is m anifest in w h at follows. B ehind w ire partitions. D id it not b u b b le and seethe below the hems o f their skirts. purveyors o f all the fruits o f field and tree.A Berlin Chronicle 3/7 depends on m any th in gs— tim e. fishes. and to it b elon g the follow ing im ages. its nature and ed ucation. let no one think w e w ere talkin g o f a Markt-Halle [covered m arket]. for the top og rap h ical tradition representing the conn ection w ith the dead o f this g ro u n d — results en tirely from the circu m stance that n either o f m y parents’ fam ilies w ere natives o f Berlin. chunks o f m eat and cab b age.

But if in w in ter the gas lam ps w en t on in the early evening. the collections and the rubbish. S ud d en ly.3 lS procession o f housewives w ho. teach a lan guage so singular that our relations to people attain . and the answers w ere inscribed. w here I was w a itin g — I forget for w hom . the places to pause. becom ing aw are. and w h y the veil it has covertly w oven out o f our lives shows the im ages o f people less than those o f the sites o f our encounters w ith others or ourselves. m y passions and love affairs. w here the w alls and quays. N ow on the afternoon in question I was sitting inside the C afe des D eu x M agots at St. in the \ solitude encom passing us in our im m ersion in that w orld o f things. I wish to w rite o f this afternoon because it • m ade so apparen t w h at kind o f regim en cities keep over im a g in a ­ tion. on a sheet o f paper that I had w ith me. as if o f their ow n accord . the less fortuitous it seems to me how slight a role is p layed in them by people: I think o f an afternoon in Paris to w hich I ow e insights into m y life that cam e in a flash. W ith a very sim ple question I interrogated m y past life. and w ith com p ellin g force. and w hy the city. w ere revealed to me in their most vivid and hidden intertwinings. It was on this very afternoon that m y b io grap h ical relationships to people. you had at once a feeling o f sinking. I was struck by the idea o f d ra w in g a d iagram o f m y life. m y friendships and com radeships. T h e m ore frequently I return to these m em ories. I tell m yself it had to be in Paris. the arcades and the kiosks. laden w ith baskets and bags. laboriously drove their brood before them along these slippery alleyw ays o f ill repute. w here people m ake the m ost ruthless dem ands on one another. w here appointm ents and telephone calls. o f the depths o f sea b elow the surface that heaved o p aq u e and sluggish in the glassy waters. in this gentle gliding. A . j the depths o f a sleep in w hich the dream im age w aits to show the / people their true faces. flirtations and the struggle for existence grant the in d iv id u a l not a single m om ent o f contem plation . and knew at the same m om ent ex a ctly how it was to be done. sessions and visits. w ith the force o f an illu m in ation. the railings and the squares.-G erm ain-des-Pres. indem nifies itself in m em ory.

I should. not through other people. or other su c h — hard ly n u m ero u s— situations. W h eth er cross-connections are fin ally established betw een these systems also depends on the intertw inem ents o f our path through life. relations to new people. reconstructing its outlin e in thought w ith ou t d irectly rep rod u cin g it. But since most o f th e m — at least those that rem ain in our m e m o ry — for their part open up new acq uain tances. after some tim e they branch o ff these corridors (the m ale m ay be d raw n to the right. how ever. are the astonishing insights that a study o f this plan provides into the differences am ong in d iv id u a l lives. fem ale to the left). the people w ho had surrounded me closed together to form a figure.” W h eth er or not this is true on a large scale. I am not concern ed here w ith w h at is installed in the cham b er at its en igm atic centre. fam ily relationships. . speak o f a lab yrin th . w hen I lost this sheet. resem bling a series o f fam ily trees. each o f them is a gra p h ic sym bol o f m y a cq u ain ta n ce w ith a person w hom I met. in the most diverse periods o f life. I was inconsolable. says N ietzsche. that in Berlin. rather. the b etrayer. how ever. T hese entrances I call prim al acq u ain ta n ces. com panionship on travels. I have never since been able to restore it as it arose before me then. A gain st the back grou n d o f the city.A Berlin Chronicle 3 1 g year or two later. W h a t part is played in the p rim al acquain tancesh ip s o f d ifferent p eo p le’s lives by profession and school. m istaken id en tity. M ore im portant. the pupil. the beloved . so m any entrances to the m aze. N ow . but all the m ore w ith the m any entrances lead in g into the interior. on a sm all one there are perhaps paths that lead us again and again to people w ho have one and the same function for us: passagew ays that alw ays. I believe at the begin nin g o f the w ar. ego or fate. fam ily and travel? A n d above all: is the form ation o f the m an y offshoots go vern ed in in d ivid u al existence by hidden law s? W h ich ones start early and w hich late in life? W h ich are continued to the end o f life and w hich peter ou t? “ I f a m an has c h a ra cte r” . school com radeship. or the m aster. but through n eighbou rhood . T his is w hat the sketch o f m y life revealed to me as it took shape before me on that Paris afternoon. So m any prim al relationships. gu id e us to the friend. It was m any years earlier. “ he w ill have the sam e experience over and over a g a in .

E rnst S [ch oen ]. asked to see rings— G reek and R enaissance cam eos. This takes me to one o f the old Berlin houses on the K u p ferg ra b en . W ith their plain. Y o u only entered its secret by takin g it * Alfred Cohn. and me. by the last two rings. a selection o f prehistoric brooches and clasps. genteel facades and their w ide hallw ays they m ay have stem m ed from the Schin kel period. but only as a very tem porary ow ner.320 against the back grou n d o f the people then closest to me. H ow m y friend A . usually w ork carved in sem i-precious stone. In one o f them lived at that tim e a prom inent an tiq u e dealer. w hich I had recen tly studied. O n e. But I rem em ber distinctly the engrossm ent w ith w hich. T h e proustite m ou n ting was not the original. Y o u had to go into his a p artm en t to adm ire. [n lb ]. the ring seem ed m erely the most perfect o f signet rings. a bright-yellow sm oky topaz. m y then fiancee. It was a w ork o f the R o m a n im perial period.or sixteenth -cen tury Italian had carved a profile in it w hicji L ed erer claim ed to be that o f Pom pey. O n e was intended for me. L o m b a rd earrings.. solid garnet. if I am not m istaken. E xcep t for one that I have lost sight of. T h e w ork ­ m anship was G recian and d ep icted in a tiny space L ed a receivin g the swan betw een her parted thighs. and m any sim ilar valuables. his fiancee at that time or F rau D oroth ea J . through me. selected for our m utual friend: a fifteenth. T h e re w ere. W orn on the finger. H e had no display w indow . It was an em blem o f four rings. It was the most fascin ating ring I have ever seen. C . C u t in a dark. E ach o f the four that he finally purchased is im printed u n forgettab ly on m y mind. C . it p o rtrayed a M e d u sa ’s head. It was most graceful. the w orld o f things contracted to a sym bol sim ilarly profound. m edieval coins. late R o m a n neck chains. in a n um ber o f showcases. they are still today w ith those for w hom they w ere intended that m orning. under the im pression o f A lois R ie g l’s Late Roman Art Industry. was chosen by D orothea J. . three o f u s : m y friend. I contem ­ plated the breastplates m ade from sheet gold and garnet-ad orned bracelets. I was quite d ifferen tly affected. how ever. G rete R [a d t]. I was less able to ad m ire the am ethyst that the donor.* had tracked him dow n I do not know . rings from the im perial period. it was really destined to reach .

on the d ay I am speaking of. M a n y years w ere needed before w h a t at that time was in part b egin nin g to unfold in its seed. and the thinnest so tran sparen t that it glow ed w ith rose hues. seem the most subject to vegetal la w s — con cen trically abou t her. and in part still d orm an t. I broke o ff m y relationship w ith its new ow ner. [ n l b ] . though years w ere to elapse before w e realized it. Shortly after givin g it a w a y . It cannot have been m a n y days later that I sent after the lapis lazuli w ith the lute w reath ed in foliage en graved in it — after the fourth ring and to its w e a re r — this sonnet: T o you r finger constan tly e n circle d ! * J u la C o hn m arried Fritz R a d t.A Berlin Chronicle 32 1 o ff and con tem p latin g the head against the light. w h ich the giver had reserved for his sister. becam e the wife o f A lfred C o h n . the som bre bodies o f the snakes seemed to rise above the two deep. G rete R a d t. o f fates. w ho received from me the ring w ith the M e d u sa ’s head. whose sister. T h e sonnet is likely to have been by Benjam in but has not been preserved. For apart from her b e a u ty — itself not d a zzlin g. was to form a liaison w ith her b ro th er’s tw o closest friends— w ith the recipient o f the ring w ith the head o f P om pey and w ith m e— to find her husband finally in the broth er o f the w om an w ho m arried her ow n brother as her second h u sb a n d * — and she it was. and the con tin uation is no doubt missing. A n d certain ly this girl was the true centre o f the circle’s fate. glo w in g eyes. w hich looked out from a face that. As the different strata o f the garnet w ere u n eq u a lly translucent. [ n l b ] . . w ho stood in a relation to her brother that by its tenderness filled to the very edge the limits o f sisterly love. o f all hum an things. em erged in its ram ifications to the light o f d a y : the fate by virtu e o f w hich she. L a te r I tried more than once to seal w ith this stone. receded once m ore into the night. in the strictest sense. t T h e sentence breaks o ff w ithout pu n ctu ation at the end o f a page. A n d in fact she never was the centre o f people but. M y heart had a lread y gone w ith the last o f the four rings. as if her plantlike passivity and inertia had arran ged the la tte r — w hich. in the pu rp le-b lack portions o f the cheeks. but it proved easy to crack and in need o f the utm ost care. but inconspicuous and w ithou t lu stre— she had nothin g that seem ed to destine her for the centre o f the stage.

I know o f such a wish that was fulfilled for me. repulsive clockface. W h en the tem p eratu re— the n ightly w arm th from m y bed and the m orning w arm th from the fire — had m ade me d ou b ly drow sy. was fear o f being late. when. too. [n lb ]. Its inseparable atten d an t. W hereas the latter period still * See H auflfs fairy tale. in the bourgeois sense o f the w ord. stepping into Carm erstrasse. and even later. It was not long ago that I rediscovered it. “ T h e Cold H e a rt” . how ever. M y parents b eing w ealthy. n otw ithstan d ing other occasional sum m er trips. w here I lived. T h e wish that anim ated me on such w inter days. the dread w ith w hich. I read m y ju d g em e n t in the spellbound space betw een the ten and the tw elve on the . w hen I pass the S av ign yp latz. am id reddish reflections. But only S u n d a y ’s children rem em ber the wish they m ade. before I w ent to school and perhaps later. I can still feel today. had been fulfilled. I rose from the couch in the afternoon because o f a gym nastics class. T his wish accom p an ied me throu gh ou t the w hole o f m y school days.322 T h e treasure-dispensing gian t* in the green pine forest or the fairy w ho grants one w ish — they a p p ear to each o f us at least once in a lifetim e. and w ould not claim it to be wiser than those o f children in fairy tales. and arose in me in connection w ith the lam p that on dark w inter m ornings at h a lf past six was carried through m y d oorw ay and cast the shadow o f our nursem aid on the ceiling. we m oved every year. in an extrem ity o f fatigue. it was time to get up. the gratin g was m arked out on the bare floor. has preserved the un fath om able m ystery that certain words from the lan gu age of adults possess for children. thanks to the decades in w hich it neither passed m y lips nor reached m y ears. T h ere is one other sound that. O n ly I did not alw ays recogn ize this fufilm ent w hen yet another o f m y attem pts to find a place o f w ork. and indeed a n um ber o f indivisible finds o f this n ature have played a large part in m y decision to w rite dow n these m em ories. had come to grief. and so it is only a few w ho recognize its fulfilm ent in their ow n lives. First it was Potsdam . T h e fire was lit in the stove and soon. later N eu b ab elsb erg. T h en I had no other wish than to finish m y sleep. into sum m er residences not far from hom e. . It goes b ack to m y early childhood.

it is true. their colour. T h e w ord is B rau hau sberg. too. T h ere are. but also for m y m other. at any rate. T h e purveyors w h o met the d aily household needs no m ore belon ged to that secret circle than did the Berlin firm s o f lon g-stand in g repute that m y m other visited w hen she took me and the y o u n ger children “ to to w n ” . A n d it is certain that such a state o f affairs was the rule in a Jew ish fam ily. no lon ger contains a trace o f a b rew ery [Brauhaus]. airy. the eldest child. because I could not find the p eacock feathers in the grass as I h ad been prom ised— b y contrast. M o re curious is the fact that consum ption. and their m u ltip licity. as they w ere c a lle d — alw ays took p lace w ith the solem nity befittin g an initiation . the sum m er m onths in Potsdam h ave w h olly vanished. T o approach w h at it enfolds is alm ost im possible. w hich the conflict betw een the poetic and the profane w ord has as it w ere consum ed and m ade evanescent. was w rap p ed in some o f the m ystery that so d eeply shrouded incom e and fortune. P ro b a b ly not only for me. o f ch ild ren and o f adults. forfeiting their form . T h e econom ic basis on w h ich the finances o f m y parents rested was surrounded. the hours I stood fishing beside m y father on the b an k o f L ak e G rie b n itz. are preserved in their scent. These w ords that exist on the frontier b etw een two lingu istic regions. and is at the most a hill sw athed in blue that rose up each sum m er to give lod gin g to me and m y parents. by deepest secrecy. distinctions to be d raw n . long past m y childhood and adolescence. O n such o c c a ­ . unless I m ay situate the asparagus c u ttin g — m y first and on ly a g ricu ltu ral passion— as far b ack as the gard en on the B rauhausberg. hundreds o f sum m er days. o f w hich I m ay perhaps have m ore to te ll— the n ight o f the great b u rg la ry w hen m y parents locked them selves in m y room . and no d ou b t in very m an y C h ristian ones as well. I rem em ber. the visit to P eacock Island that b rou gh t the first great d isappoin tm en t o f m y life. Likew ise the w ord B rau hau sberg has lost all heaviness. are co m p a ra b le to those o f M a lla rm e ’s poem s. A n d I have thus d ivu lg ed the w ord in w h ich .A Berlin Chronicle 323 survives in a n um ber o f im ages. that the m ention o f certain sup pliers— “ sources” . like countless rose petals in a drop o f R ose M alm aison.

therefore. how ever. L ater. W h a t is certain is that the suppliers he henceforth searched out w ere his investm ents. the prestige o f w hich derived as m uch from the au th oritarian resonance that these nam es carried at the fam ily table as from the fact that these firms. this gavel alw ays lay on his desk. These shoppin g places w ere strictly preordain ed by tra d itio n — quite unlike the conn ec­ tions w ith traders. and suitcases at M a d le r’ s. w ith the exception perhaps o f his carpet buying. i f his soles were suitably thin. he concerned h im self increasingly w ith speculative investm ents o f his cap ital. S h ortly before his death he told me that he could distin­ guish the qualities o f a pile w ith the ball o f his foot. and it w ou ld not surprise me if the interest he took in household transactions was far keener from this tim e on. in d irectly con n ected my w ith from m oth er’ s shopping excursions. unlike the others. In m y childhood. was the L epke auction room itself. the en trepren eurial nature o f a b ig businessm an. Even if I never heard the rap o f this gavel. along w ith a n um ber o f inhibitions stem m ing not only from his d ecen cy but also from a certain civic w orthiness. U n fav o u ra b le influences brough t abou t his very prem ature retirem ent from an enterprise that was prob ab ly by no means ill-suited to his capacities. W h en he had relinquished his share in the firm. a trad itional and as it w ere official im age o f the Berlin com m ercial w orld em erged. from tim e to tim e. . the L epke art auction. w hen he had w ith d raw n from L ep k e’ s. w hat im pressed me most was to im agine the gavel blows w ith w h ich m y father accom p an ied the auction. he also brough t hom e a purchase. in w hich he was a partner. I d ou b t that this com m erce was an altogether h a p p y one. shoes at S tiller’s. the hints and instructions o f m y father gave rise to an un kn ow n and slightly sinister one. rather. A t their head. as that at the end o f these com missions our hot chocolate w ith w h ipp ed cream w ould be ordered at H illb r ic h ’s. there is another sound that becam e indissoluble from the im age o f m y fath er’s po w er and g ra n d e u r— or. w ere never seen by me. If. w hich w ere m y fa th er’s responsibility. w ith w hich m y father not only had connections but from w hich. M y father possessed at base.3*4 sions it was as certain that our suits w ould be b ou gh t at A rn o ld M u lle r’s. so to speak.

W h eth er the ch oice was affected here. h old in g w ith one h and an oar that could be taken out. H ere the in term ed iate p a rty was perhaps a certain com p an y o f bu ild in g contractors. w h o stood on a gon d ola red u ced to one-thirtieth o f its size. the real token o f m y fa th er’s profession in our a p artm en t was a M oor. L e a v in g aside m ealtim e conversations. So m uch for L e p k e ’s art au ction . how ever. Such was certain ly the case. In . the go n d o la and oar glo w in g in m an y colours beneath the varnish. to rem ove the b u tter still ad h erin g to it. w ith our su p p ly o f m outh w ash. was the state o f affairs rega rd in g the S ta b ern ack firm. the sound o f the bell that announced the start o f a p erform ­ ance at the theatre. Less transparent. and lifting on the oth er a golden bow l. it was on ly the telephone that intim ated to us the occult w orld o f business and traders. and one o f the most inglorious. T h ere w as. in later years.A Berlin Chronicle 32 5 from those o f a m an in his profession. This w ork o f art was m ade o f w ood . too. it was the firm o f G lad en b eck. o f m y class. was so u rgen tly oriented tow ard its com ­ pan ion piece that I can n o t tell today w h eth er a second M o o r. and whose nam e has stayed in m y m em ory because his son was a m em ber. the noise m ade by the knife that m y m oth er used to spread the rolls that m y father took to his w ork in the m orning. possessed perhaps on ly on the telephone the b earin g and decisiveness corresponding to his som etim es great w ealth . w hen it was scraped for the last tim e. the M o or b lack. w hich for years held an uncontested m on op o ly o f installations in our apartm en t. T his signal prelu d in g the lab ou r o f m y fath er’s d a y was no less exciting to me than. against the crisp surface o f the cut roll. w hose ou tw a rd m anner seems to h ave been alm ost alw ays courteous an d p liable. w hom I im agin e w ith it. I do not know . im plau sible as it m a y seem. a futher p u rveyor o f art-w orks— at least as far as bronzes w ere con cern ed . b y m ore intim ate com m ercial ties. alm ost life-size. H e. o f w h ich m y father was a director. besides. T h e w hole. H err A ltg elt. how ever. hyd rogen peroxid e obtained in huge bottles from the “ M e d ic in a l Stores” . A p a rt from this. It is. rea lly stood there o rigin ally or is a creatu re o f m y im agin ation . filled the role o f p artn er in countless telephone conversations w ith m y father. M y father telephoned a great deal. one o f w hose directors. on the other hand.

T h e telephone first cam e into use durin g m y childhood. p rin cip a lly in the vicin ity o f H am b u rg. N ow one evening. w hence. a consortium erected the b u ild in g that now houses the Scala as an “ Ice P a la ce ” . operations w ere perform ed by R in n e. m y father. I was m ost lastingly affected by a reckless attem pt that m y father em b arked upon one evening to b rin g even the fa m ily ’s am usem ents into the h arm on y w ith his business enterprises that he had been able to establish for all its other needs. I do not know w h eth er it * Professor R . on the other hand. w ho w ere trying out new m ethods o f calcu latio n in the w ine business. F in a lly these names becam e entw ined. W ine. It becam e a truly infernal m achin e w hen m y school friends phoned in the prohib ited period betw een two and four. was catered for by a Berlin firm . and in autu m n w ith teal. at least as long as he lived in the same b u ild in g . But not all m y father’s m ysterious transactions w ere carried out by telephone. d an cin g instruction was entrusted to Q u aritsch . w ith others in w hich the traditions o f the m iddle-class Berlin o f that time con verged from both sides: for n otarial attestation O b ern eck was consulted. w hich frequently called him a w ay on business. found in the altercations w ith the telephone operators its true sym bol. it augm ented the terrors o f that Berlin apartm ent w ith the endless passage lead in g from the half-lit d in in g room to the b ack bedroom s.* Joseph G oldschm idt was our banker. T h e house was regu larly plied from this source w ith H olstein butter. whose share certificates w ere also in m y fa th er’s possession: this was the C en tral W in e D istributors. shrilling from the darkness. w hich was em bodied tangibly in m y fath er’s activity. From earliest times he had h a d — like m an y husbands w ho do not alw ays find life easy in m a rria g e— a tenden cy to address him self ind epen d en tly to certain branches o f the dom estic econ om y.32 6 conversations w ith m ediating agencies this energy not in freq u en tly grew vociferous. in the parental discussions. was am ong their num ber. I have therefore know n it nailed in some corner o f the corridor. T hu s he had connections in the provinces. and the “ serious side o f life” . w ith a sizable stake. B ut as for me. R envers lived at 24 N ettelbeckstrasse. [n l b ]. . the fam ily doctor was Renvers. a b ou t 1910. For w hen. on Lutherstrasse in the W est End.

A d am . Bud and L ach m a n n . a d ecid ed ly enterprising lad y. T h e Ice P alace. on w hich occasions it first becam e apparen t how m y fa th er’s m oney could cut a path for us betw een the shop counters and assistants and m irrors. I f it is doubtful w h at the C hristm as h o lid a ys— w hich cannot be th o u gh t o f w ithou t the B erlin o f m y c h ild h o o d — m eant for the first o f these passions. So it happ en ed that m y atten tion was held far less by the con volu ­ tions in the arena than by the apparitions at the bar. how ever. w ith ou t m y h a vin g been able to exch an ge a w ord w ith her. A n d because the lon gin g w e feel for a . it is certain that none o f m y boys’ adven ture books kindled m y love o f travel as did the postcards w ith w hich she supplied me in abu n d an ce from her far-flung travels. i f I were able to le a f through it again today. w hich I was able to survey at m y ease from a box in the circle. w ho. was not only the first artificial ice rink to be seen in Berlin. our hands peep in g from the sleeves like dirty price tags. no. others in horoscopes. from w hom I believe I have inh erited tw o th in g s: m y d elight in giv in g presents and m y love o f travel. In those early years I got to know the “ to w n ” only as the theatre o f purchases. E m m a Bette. For m y part. and it was only in the con fection er’s that our spirits rose w ith the feeling o f h avin g escaped the false w orship that hum iliated our m oth er before idols b earin g the names o f M an n h eim er. T h e re are people w ho think they find the key to their destinies in hered ity. others again in education. A m o n g these was a prostitute in a very tigh t-fittin g w hite sailor’s suit.A Berlin Chronicle 32 j was the open in g date or later. determ ined m y erotic fantasies for years to com e. In the ign om in y o f a “ new su it” we stood there. Gerson. A n im p en etrab le chain o f m ountains. I believe that I should gain num erous insights into m y later life from m y collection o f picture postcards. but also a thrivin g n igh tclu b. whose m u ff lay on the counter. Esders and M ad ler. m y father conceived the idea o f takin g me there. and the appraising eyes o f our m other. T h e m ain con trib u tor to this collec­ tion was m y m aternal grand m oth er. caverns o f com m od ities— that was “ the to w n ” . H erzo g and Israel.

at the w ooded slopes o f T a b a rz covered w ith glo w in g red berries. the cupolas o f M a d o n n a di C am p iglio printed bluish on blue. and the bows o f the “ W esterla n d ” slicing high through the w aves. She was a w id ow . three o f her daughters w ere a lread y m arried w hen I was small. at ease. rem ain ing forever eq u a lly near to and far from its ending. w hen I gazed . P overty could have no place in these rooms w here even . V isitin g the old lad y in her carpeted w in d o w alcove. entrusting their future to the d u rab ility o f their m aterial alone. in the m ain so w h olly convinced o f itself and its perm anence that it took no account o f w ear. I can tell nothing about the fourth. Brindisi. H ere reigned a species o f things that was. T h e in ven tory that filled these m an y room s— tw elve or fou rteen — could tod ay be accom m od ated w ith ou t in con gru ity in the shabbiest o f secondhand furniture shops. I shall say som ething abou t these postcards. or m oves. but a good deal abou t the room that she occupied in her m o th er’s apartm ent. no m atter how com plian tly it bow ed to the m inor whim s o f fashion. w h ich seemed the en d ing o f all things. A n d if these ephem eral forms were so m uch m ore solid than those o f the art nouveau that superseded th e m — w hat m ade you feel at hom e.328 place determ ines it as m uch as does its ou tw ard im age. inheritance. and com forted in them was the n onchalan ce w ith w hich they attach ed them selves to the sauntering passage o f years and days. the idea o f that particu la r protectedness seems to relate most d irectly to their shortcom ings. the y ellow -an d -w h ite-d au b ed quays at Brindisi. it was hard to im agine how she had u n dertaken lon g sea voyages or even cam el rides under the direction o f S ta n g e l’s T ra v e l Bureau. But perhaps I must first say som ething about the apartm en t as a w hole. ornam en ted w ith a little balustrade and looking out onto the Blum eshof. W ith w hat words am I to circum scribe the alm ost im m em orial feeling o f / bourgeois security that em anated from these room s? P arad o xical as it m ay sound. And y e t— was w hat they aw akened in me lon ging? D id they not have far too m agn etic an attraction to leave room for a wish to travel to the places they showed? For I was th ere— in T a b a rz . W esterland. and now here to rational c a lc u la ­ tion. unable to tear m yself aw ay. com fortable. M a d o n n a di C am p iglio.

though w ith ou t barrin g m y w ay. there w ere other occasions that b ro u g h t oth er parts o f the ap a rtm en t to life: a visit by a m arried d a u gh ter unlocked a longdisused w a rd ro b e. it was least suited to the sojourn o f adults. it seem ed as though it had been aw aited all the y ear long in the front rooms. But in m y m em ory it rem ains tod ay the scene o f a h a u n tin g dream that I once had in just those h ap p y years. In this d ream the stairw ay seem ed u nder the pow er o f a ghost that aw aited me as I m ounted. or finally because it opened onto the back co u rt­ yards w ith children. O n ly feast days. T h e rooms in this a p artm en t on the B lu m esh of w ere not on ly num erous but also in some cases v ery large. It is for this reason that. how ever. was the loggia. the courtyards o f a residential q u arter as genteel as this never really bustled w ith . T o reach m y gran d m oth er at her w in d o w I had to cross the huge dinin g room and attain the farthest end o f the livin g room . b eing the least furnished. or because m uted street noises cam e in. T h e y had no space for d y in g — w hich is w hy their ow ners died in a sanitorium . D eath was not provided for in th e m — that is w h y they w ere so cozy by day. O n these last stairs it held me spellbound. w hile the furniture w ent straight to the secondhand dealer. to browse in Darling’s Diversions in an a rm c h a ir— I am m et on its threshold b y a n ightm are. M y w akin g existence has preserved no im age o f the staircase. But if. less-frequented rooms. could give an idea o f the capaciousness o f these rooms. and another part again was an im ated by the piano lessons received by the last d au gh ter to rem ain at hom e. w hen I think o f this house— it was n um ber 10 or 12 B lu m esh of— in w hich w ere spent so m any o f m y ch ild h o o d ’s happiest hours. another b ack room opened to us children w hen the grow n ups wished to take their afternoon nap at the front o f the house. and ab ove all C h ristm as D a y . to the sound o f piano etudes. and porters. M o reover. T h e most im p o rta n t o f these rem ote. h u rd y-g u rd y men. and b y night the theatre o f our m ost oppressive dream s. such as w hen I was allow ed. w hen this day cam e. Perhaps this was because. dom estic servants. m akin g its presence felt w hen I had only a few m ore stairs to clim b. But o f these it was m ore often the voices than the forms that w ere to be described from the loggia.A Berlin Chronicle 329 death had none.

But is not this. looking out onto the yard w ith the carp et rails and the other loggias w ith their bare w alls o f Pom peian red. and not a chim e o f the cargo o f bells w ith w hich the ch u rch es— the T w e lv e Apostles. slipped over its b alu strade. M a tth e w ’ s. For this reason S u n d a y was properly the d ay o f the lo g g ia — S u n d ay. the city: the strip o f light under the bedroom door on evenings w hen we w ere “ en terta in in g” .330 a ctiv ity . could hold it. w ho lived opposite her in the same street and was older and m ore severe. St. only the loggia. as later the w orld o f W illia m T e ll or Julius C aesar in vad ed the night o f an audience? T h e dream ship that cam e to fetch us on those evenings must have rocked at our bedside on the w aves o f conversation. so. A n d ju st as im agination . m y g ra n d ­ m other did not die in the B lum eshof. So the B lum eshof has becom e for me an E lysium . and the E m p eror W illiam M em orial C h u r c h — slow ly load ed it throughout the afternoon. all rem ain ed piled high till evening. w hich none o f the other rooms could ever quite contain. and in the early m ornin g it set us down on the ebb o f the carpet beatin g that cam e in at the w indow w ith the moist air on rain y days and en graved itself m ore ind elib ly in the ch ild ’s m em ory than the voice o f the beloved in that o f the m an. too. nor did the other. h avin g once cast its veil over a district. solely because the first nam e o f its ow ner. is apt to adorn its edges w ith incom prehen sible. a m onum ent to an ea rly-d ep arted grand fath er. was G eorg. capricious frills. S u n d ay seeped out o f them . and ev eryth in g seemed to a w ait the Sleeping B eau ty slum ber that descended here on Sundays. as i f they w ere d am aged . or under the spray o f clatterin g plates. m y fath er’s m other. like his. in the course o f decades and to this day it m ade o f a longestablished g ro cer’s store situated near this house but on M agd eburgerstrasse. As I have a lread y ind icated . the carpet b ea tin g that was the lan gu a g e o f the . D id not Berlin itself find its w a y into the exp ectan t ch ild hood night. to one driving past w ith ou t ever h avin g set foot inside. an indefinite realm o f the shades o f deceased but im m ortal gra n d ­ mothers. som ething o f the com posure o f the rich people whose w ork was b eing done there seem ed to have perm eated this w ork itself.

never to let me see or enter them . as i f the servants w ere pursued by phantom s. R e tu rn in g hom e. T h e cou rtyard was one o f the places w here the city opened itself to the ch ild . A m o n g the postcards in m y album there are a num ber o f w hich the w ritten side has lasted better in m y m em ory than the picture. legible signature “ H elene P u fah l” . from staircases bristling w ith filth. N o distance was m ore rem ote than the place w here the rails con verged in the mist. others. For the lam ps still b urned in us that had shone in isolation from cou rtyard w indow s often w ith ou t curtains. m y eyes . A ll b ear the handsom e. in the sense o f the w ord that I was to becom e acq u ain ted w ith only tw o decades later. the fram e o f a fata morgana. on ly to close upon them once m ore. These w ere the b ack yards that the city showed me as I returned from H ah n en klee or Sylt. w ere railw ay stations. But those five last fearful m inutes o f the jo u rn ey before everyone got out have been converted into the g a z e o f m y eyes. O n d ep artu re. as far as I know . from cellar w indow s hung w ith rags. L o n g before I knew o f classes at school.A Berlin Chronicle jji nether w orld. a lan gu age that som etim es took its tim e. lan gu id and m uted under the grey sky. L ater. She was m y first teacher. their openings w ere a pan oram a. all was different. T h a t was. rather. b reak in g at others into an in ex p lica b le gallop. Y e t this is h ard ly the reason w h y their nam e has rem ained u n dim m ed in m y m ind until to d a y . But their nam e had an im m ense a ttraction for me a n d — I h ave grounds to suppose— for m y parents. it is the circum stance that this was the first nam e on w hich I consciously heard fall the accen t o f death. W h a t order o f n ob ility these L an d au s belonged to I do not know . ad m ittin g him or lettin g him go. the real grow nups. A n d that it was high on the social scale I can infer from the nam es o f the two girls from the little circle that rem ain in m y m em ory: Use U llstein and Luise von L a n d a u . not long after I had grow n out o f the little p rivate circle. o f servant girls. h ow ever. in w h ich at early even ing a lam p stands. I was b rou gh t by her into close relationship to the children o f m y “ class” . and there are those perhaps w ho look into them as into cou rtyard w indow s in d am aged w alls. each tim e I passed the L u tzo w U fer.

I w rote m y first philosophical essay./w h ere a m a n ’s w orth m ore than dust and clay/and the h eart’s still w eigh ed in the b a la n c e . I perform ed on occasion m agical rites directed against his person. tow ard the end o f m y school days. As lights on a foggy night h ave aroun d them gig an tic rings. H err K n o ch e was a zealous exponent o f the cane. but today. A t that tim e I knew to w h a t I m ight attribu te this. trusty friends. H err K n o ch e im pressed me in the classroom lessons I had w ith him later. o f course. w ho said poin ted ly. and I still rem em ber the feeling o f om nipotence that cam e over me one day on the H erkules B ridge on receiving the news that H err K n o ch e had can celled the next d a y ’s class. I am tod ay inside the gate that H err K n o ch e showed m e . O u r discom fiture seem ed most agreeab le to H err K n o ch e. N o one. could give an answer.33 * sought her house. real life lay open. the allu rin g nam e o f m y first schoolm ate stood unuttered. “ T o horse. m y earliest theatrical im pressions em erge from the mist o f m y childhood w ith great aureoles. At the very begin n in g is a “ m onkey th e atre” that played perhaps on U n ter den L in d en . M o re than in his private appearances. beside that o f P in dar w ith w hich I started. and w hen. behind w hich. w hen I had started school. T h e y w ere enlivened by frequent interm ezzi for thrashing. W e w ere practising the cuirassier’s song from Wallen­ stein’s Camp. w hom I had to confront qu ite alone. It was one o f those artful questions that m ake child ren obtuse. H e was also entrusted w ith our singing instruction. w e w ere assured. the w a y to later. sadly. but it is still firm ly shut. “ Y o u ’ ll understand that w hen you are grow n u p . I was not to m ake m y entrance through that portal. His instruction does not appear to have en tirely agreed w ith me. Fraiilein P ufahl was succeeded by H err K n och e. I have forgotten the m agic form ula.” H err K n o ch e w an ted the class to tell him w h at these last w ords a ctu a lly m eant. A t any rate. H e was the pre-school teacher from the school for w hich m y parents later intended me. to horse and aw ay/to the field o f freedom and valian ce.” N ow I am grow n u p . w ith the title “ R eflections on the N o b ility ” . A n d it was in a singing lesson th at he showed me one o f the shut gates that w e all know from our ch ild ­ hood.

A Berlin Chronicle 333 and at w hich I a p p eared . as I know today and a n ticip a ted then. w ith M atkow sky. She threatened that unless I did her b id d in g I should be left at hom e in the evening. Som ething was to be done that I did not like. and thus m y silent in d ign ation at so crude and brutal a proced u re. w hile n othin g rem ains in m y m em ory o f the same ev en in g’s perform ance. th at I saw at the Schauspielhaus or the Carmen. nor o f the Fiesco. at the O p e ra . w ith D estinn. T ru e. But his guest perform ances in Berlin w ere d u rin g . was deep and p e rm a n e n t— this feeling o f m isused and vio la ted trust has ou tlived in me all that succeeded it that d ay. As a boy I longed for nothing m ore than to see K a in z. w hich pu t at stake som ething totally d isproportionate to the e n d — for the end was m om en tary whereas the stake. m y m ind goes b ack to the William Tell. and faces has o b literated the pranks o f the poor little m onkeys on the stage. But the feeling w ith w h ich I did so. m y m other had recourse to coercion. w ith w h ich . I m easured the two opposed forces and instan taneously perceived how enorm ous was the prep on d eran ce o f the oth er side. or rather. A n d yet m ore fon d ly than to them . nor o f the William Tell that. It must h ave been in the afternoon that a difference o f opinion arose b etw een m yself and m y m other. lights. h ea v ily escorted. T h e latter tw o perform ances m y gran d m oth er had taken under her w in g . I obeyed. as I rem em ber. M a n y years afterw ards it was proved a second tim e how m uch m ore significant and en d u rin g the an ticip a tio n o f an event can be than w h at a ctu a lly ensues. I can no lon ger discern in so m uch lum inous haze. because o f the event that preceded it. I can say nothing m ore o f th e m — neither o f the Ladies’ Man I saw at the Spa T h e a tre at S u d erod e. the actu al h ap p en in g on the stage. A pinkish-grey cloud o f seats. the gratitu d e for the even in g that m y m other was a b ou t to give me. the threat h a rd ly uttered. as neither parents nor gran d m oth er was prep ared to forgo w itnessing the effect on me o f m y first theatrical perform ance. in itiated m e to the Berlin stage. hence not on ly the d a zzlin g program m e but also the im posing circle seats. as is custom ary. the h igh ly herm etic nature o f w hich is still un dim m ed. F inally. A n d w h ile I can recount the sequence o f th eatrical events in the follow ing six or seven years. the source o f the light.

O n e d a y — w h eth er because the ad van ce bookings w ere on a S u n d ay or for another reason — I was able after all to be one o f the first at the ticket office. the full m oon was in the sky. but all the m ore silent was the jo u rn e y there. A t this point m em ory pauses. and in the end I can no longer even distinguish dream from reality. I really saw this opera. unknow n Berlin spreading abou t me in the gaslight. w ith the im age o f his actin g. a “ so far and no fu rther” ? T ru e. w hether his ap p earan ce was cancelled or w hether the disappointm ent o f finding him less great than I had believed him annulled. their contrasting w hite disrupted the picture. at any rate. the depiction o f the H alle G ate in pale blue on a d arker blue background. From the m oon and the w indow s in the facades. T h is is true o f a dark w inter evening w hen I w ent w ith m y m other to a production o f The Merry Wives o f Windsor. cheerful evening. the w hole evening. It was a noisy. It stood in the same relation to the city I knew as that most jea lo u sly gu ard ed o f m y postcards. the top layer o f card had been rem oved . but not b u yin g m y ticket. before the perform ance o f Richard II. b y the light o f w indows and a lunar surface p a rad in g in exactly the same illum in ation. did n othin g to advance its fulfilm ent. how ever. w ith ou t m y know in g w hether it is really from this perform ance or from another. W h a t is it that imposes once again on m em ory. I see before me a scene from the d ram a. but entirely cut off. and only picks up its thread again w hen I am m oun ting the stairs to the circle in the evening. m y wish was denied for years. and one had to hold it against a lam p or a can dle to see. I see f m yself stan din g at the box office a n d — as if m em ory w an ted to prelude the ap p ro a ch in g m ain th em e— w a itin g there. through a snow -covered. w hich was a lrea d y that o f the theatre at the N ollen d orfp latz. So I confront u n certain ty w herever I follow m y earliest theatrical m em ories. any m ore than I know w hether I saw K a in z or not. As the ad van ce bookings in the m orning offered the only possibility o f procurin g seats at prices com m ensurate w ith m y pocket m oney. sure enough. M y parents. T h e B elle-A llia n cep latz was to be seen w ith the houses that fram e it. Perhaps . at the door o f the a u d i­ torium . the w hole scene regain its com posure.334 school time. in a kind o f p eop le’s theatre.

A t an y rate. I should h ave had no objection to a less intim ate. E ven m ore than to the experiences I had w ithin . or. spinsterish prim ness. it is p ro b ab ly to this exterior that I should attribu te the fact that I have not retained a single cheerful m em ory o f it. w hich the ja n ito r was allow ed to open on ly ten m inutes before school started. the b u ild in g exudes a sad. w hen another o f the teachers passed. at the very b egin n in g. it is constructed in red brick-w ork and displays a preference o f motifs com m on ly found at Sten dal or T a n g erm iinde. and in some w ay m ilitary d isp lay o f respect. or there was no lon ger sufficient tim e — and the n ightm arish things to com e did not w eigh too h e a v ily — to allow me to b u y at the ad join in g station er’s another piece o f plasticine. under the arch o f the m u n icipal railw ay . But if the portal had been reached ju st in tim e. it seems to me. a protractor. w ho w ere perm itted to enter. But to greet a teacher as one w ould a relation . at any tim e they pleased. the precincts o f the m u n icip al railw ay. gives a n arrow -chested. O n ly today. the m em ory o f w h ich had displaced w h a t previously stood in for reality. was still clo sed — how m elan ch oly and oppressed m ust this w ait at the door h ave been. wafers and the little ribbons used to attach b lo ttin g sheets to exercise-book co vers— if finally the w rought-iron door. o f course. if n othin g o f it com es b ack to me besides the com pulsion incessantly to rem ove m y cap. T h e arch itect o f the K a iser F ried rich School must have had som ething on the order o f B ran d en b u rg brick G oth ic in m ind. but perhaps it was only a dream th at I had later o f this w alk. N or. since leavin g. T h e necessity o f ad m ittin g them by this gesture into the sphere o f m y private existence seem ed presum ptuous. w hich crossed K nesebeckstrasse at this point. am I able to ap p reciate how m uch hatefulness and h u m iliatio n lay in the o b ligation to raise m y cap to teachers. R isin g close by h ig h ­ shouldered im pression.A Berlin Chronicle 5 55 that even in g the op era w e w ere a p p ro a ch in g was the source o f light that m ade the city su d d en ly gleam so d ifferen tly. how ever. The w hole. O f the w alk to school I have a lrea d y spoken. h ave I ever had the idea o f go in g back. to p a y atten tion to m yself.

N eedless to say. barracks bordered the p la yin g field. A n d if I experienced the antiquated forms o f school d iscip lin e— can ing. as if they had w an ted to hold school in m y hom e. gam es. or sought a resting place in the shade. w hich seldom m et w ith success. exchange w ith m y school fellows du rin g the hom ew ard jo u rn ey observations on the course o f the gam e. rather. N ervously I aligh ted at the L ehrter station. but also in sm aller but m ore telling details. and found m yself at last. From now on bew ilderm ent was u n in terru pted : w hether I had to look for m y own school party. As a rule. A n d on those days the feeling never left me that if for only a m om ent I relaxed m y vigilan ce. But in the m ob ilization o f the w hole school that took place on such occasions. A b o v e all in the u n fath om able shock or. was involved. T h e m atches w ere n orm ally played in M a y or Ju ne.33$ or a friend seem ed in o rd in ately unfitting. w hether I had to reach a stall w ith ou t crossing the field in order to buy fruit for breakfast. too. around one o f the gentlem en w ho m ade know n the d a y ’s results. bew ilderm ent into w hich I was p lu n ged by interruptions in the continuity o f te a c h in g — such as excursions to the country. T h e broad. the w eather was b lazin g hot. on some field or drill ground in the vicin ity o f the L eh rter station. and above all the great annual com petition betw een the schools o f G reater Berlin to decide the best team at prisoner’s base. perm itted m yself only the briefest w ell­ . w ith m ixed feelings o f relief and repugnan ce. or finally. I never belonged to the school team . or congregate. or d eten tio n — only in the low er forms. u n certainly I set o ff in the direction I v a g u ely rem em bered. nevertheless the terror and the pall they placed me under in those years never lifted from me. I. I find this not only in the im portance a ttach ed to prom otion to the next form and to the four reports b rou ght hom e each year. am id some alien troop o f schoolboys. From this alone it can be seen how little school was ever able to w in me over. un­ frequented avenues lead in g to it w ere flanked by barracks. change o f seats. w hile avoid ing any a p p e ar­ ance o f indifference. althou gh I had not understood these results. Y e t w hat m ade these sporting occasions most hated and most repellent o f all was not their m ultitudinous attendance but their site. the field was a parade ground.

cou ld at last seriously begin. A n d because. A t the S a v ig n yp la tz station you can look dow n into its p la y gro u n d . O n ly this n arro w m ould in g. F or ev eryth in g else that cam e w ithin m y visual field sooner or later b ecam e o f use to me. O n the classroom cu p b oard I en cou ntered it again. W h a t he was to do w ith the recollection was an oth er question. T h e first fragm en t to reap p ear is w h at was certain ly. crow n ed w ith crenellations. sim ilar to one o f those M exica n tem ples that w ere ex ca v a ted m uch too early and in expertly. A n d there I now com e across it. O v e r the doors lead in g to the arts-and-crafts rooms it b ecam e the em blem o f a certain gu ild -like solidity. a m o u ld in g representing a row o f battlem ents. is not em pty space b u t the same w ood. throughout m y w hole tim e at school. T h e K a iser F ried rich School stands close by the m u n icipal railw ay y ard at the S av ign yplatz. as I h ave said. their frescoes h a v in g been lon g effaced by rain by the time the excavation o f the cere­ m on ial im plem ents and p a p yri. once liberated from it. isolated pieces o f in terio r that have broken a w a y and yet contain the w hole w ith in them . ab ove the classroom s. stan din g out there before me. T h e intention was certain ly to rem ind the onlooker o f a castle. So I h ave to m ake do w ith w hat is resurrected only today. w hile the w hole. b ecam e associated w ith a thou ght or a notion that sw ept it along into the sea o f oblivion . A n d perhaps that is not so difficult to explain. It is. only b evelled and notched. b u t how m uch m ore em phasis it had on the id en tica lly shaped cu pboard s stan din g . W h a t is visible b etw een them . this m ou ld in g reinforced the the dense mass d ivided in the m orning behind the closed doors: the class at lessons.A Berlin Chronicle 33 7 b ein g in the shade o f a tree or before a sausage ve n d o r’s stand. it now stands before me qu ite uselessly. therefore. w hich m ight have throw n some light on these im ages. has lost its details w ith ou t trace. cast out in n u m erab le times by the healthy b eat o f ev eryd a y w aves until it was left stranded like a shell on the shore o f m y d ayd ream in g. I pick it up and question it like H a m let addressing the skull. I freq u en tly took the op p ortu n ity to do this. the idlest o f m y percep tion s: the m ould in g. I should fall in ten years’ tim e irred eem ab ly into the pow er o f this p la ce : I should have to becom e a soldier. In a n y event.

arriving breathless in the classroom . Betw een two peals o f the bell lay the break. Y e t never m ore than a shadow o f m eaning and reason passed across it in such places. In the w inter the lam ps w ere often still on w hen it rang. could com pare w ith the m oulding. once you had plucked up courage to open it. and third forms. second. surged up the n arrow stairw ay from floor to floor. . arrivin g late. its im pact was lost. but it was bereft o f cosiness. But w oe i f the door was a lrea d y sh u t— how ever w ide open those next to it m ight still be. N othin g. unless it w ere the bell that shrilly m arked the beginning and end o f lessons and breaks. In the first. w ith the u nspeakable grey-green ornam ents adorning the w all o f the hall. the second p recip itatin g the shuffling. I f that happ en ed before the teach er’s hand was on the door handle.33 8 along the faculty-room w all. streaking through only two doors. I hastened up them qu ite alone to the very top. T h e tim bre and d uration o f this signal never varied. in the vicin ity o f the m any little coats and caps on their racks. offerin g as little shelter as the light the dentist shines into the m outh on w hich he is about to operate. even though he m ight be quite near. you got in unseen. and even if above or below some time passed before the ban g or a shutting door ann oun ced the start o f a lesson. but in the upper classes it acquired an allusion to the Abitur that was soon to crow n the labours o f their m em bers. how ever. hated no less w hen. the refuge o f all m y m inutes o f terror and m y nightm ares. a forest o f calves and feet before me. chatterin g u proar w ith w hich the mass o f pupils. and w ith the absurd bosses and scrolls o f the cast-iron balustrades. passing deserted corridors. and no m atter how harm lessly the eye o f a strange teacher ap p ro a ch in g along the corridor brushed y o u — the ju d g m e n t was in elu ctab le w ithin. defenselessly exposed to the bad odours em an atin g from all the bodies pressing so closely against m ine. A n d yet how different it sounded at the begin n in g o f the first and at the end o f the last p e rio d — to circum scribe this difference w ould be to lift the veil that seven years o f school cast ever more tigh tly over each o f the days that com posed them. and it rem ained. T hese staircases I have alw ays hated: hated w hen forced to clim b them in the m idst o f the herd.

w hereas m y fa th er’s u p b rin g in g in clin ed him m ore to the orth od o x rite. P ro b a b ly it was a service at the reform ed synagogue. m an y years earlier. o f the benefits o f lettin g things take w h at course they w ou ld . and em barrassm ent w ere doubtless chiefly d u e to m y dislike o f the im p en d in g service. on the one hand. un der the oddest circum stances. W e had our “ sum m er residences” first at Potsdam . T h e y w ere outside. we w ere ensconced w ith in it. but from that o f the sum m er. I was suddenly and sim ultaneously overcom e. and these two stream s o f consciousness con verged irresistibly in an im m ense pleasure that filled me w ith blasphem ous indifference tow ard the service. forgetfulness. on grounds o f a fa m ily tradition. But w heth er b ecause I had forgotten his address or because I was u n fam iliar w ith the district. h um id glim m er.A Berlin Chronicle 3 j g In one o f the streets I passed along on m y endless w an d erin gs I was surprised. b y a sense o f the insignificance o f all this. T o m ake m y w ay in d ep en d en tly to the synagogu e was out o f the question. F or this visit to the synagogu e I had been entrusted to a relative w hom I had to fetch on m y w ay. like moss that one plucks at ran d om in the dark from the walls o f a cave. T h is b ew ild erm en t. inside. from its sultry. w h ich m y m other. and I m ust disengage m y m em ories o f it. H o w ever. W h ile I was w an d erin g thus. from the point o f view o f the c ity . and m y parents had m ade arran gem en ts for m e to atten d some d ivin e celeb ration . but ex a lted the street in w h ich I stood as if it had a lrea d y in tim ated to m e the services o f p rocu rem en t it was later to render to m y a w ak en ed drive. it grew later and later w ith ou t m y d ra w in g nearer to m y goal. he had to give w a y. y o u ’ll never get th ere” — and. a lth ou gh not them selves affected. held in some sym p ath y. T h ere are m em ories that are esp ecially w ell preserved because. It was on the Jew ish N ew Y e a r ’s D a y . T h e y have not been w orn a w a y b y con tact w ith their successors and rem ain d eta ch ed . then at B abelsberg. b y the th ought “ T o o late. . tim e was up long ago. in its fam ilial no less th an its divin e aspect. they are isolated b y a shock from all that follow ed. on the other. since I had no idea w here it was. by the first stirring o f m y sexual urge.

in exact truth. had been sundered. really exist. Perhaps I have sated m yself w ith m y favourite gam e. napkins. n am ely the corner o f m y parents’ b ed ch am b er that was separated from the rest o f the cham ber by an arch hung w ith a h eavy. one coverin g another. but had nevertheless a very strong resem blance to one know n. is alread y closed to me. and pillowcases. w ith ou t seeing them eat or drink. w hich had once been lod ged in the spinning w heel. just as in legends people w ho discover a spirits’ b an q u et know that these d ead things are feasting. house dresses. w hich. and yet I knew it stole them . w hich opens onto I know not w hat tree-lined w alk. T h e big garden. tablecloths. T h e darkness behind the curtain was im pene­ trable. These were the hell and paradise into w h ich the ancient m agic o f hearth and home. It had been an eerie one. fell b ack w ard out o f the painted foliage to w hich they w ere attach ed by strings. faded-violet cu rtain . and this corner was the sinister. w here I have been roam in g in overgrow n b order regions. . T h e site o f its operations did not. A sweet laven der scent cam e from the b rig h tly coloured silk sachets h anging on the inside o f the cu pb oard doors. nocturnal cou n terp art o f that bright. piled up on the shelves. at the w ooden birds. struck by a bolt. N ow m y dream had risen from the evil w orld : a ghost busyin g itself at a trestle d raped w ith a profusion o f silken fabrics. tan talizin g. O n e o f our m aidservants stands a long w hile at the w rou ght-iron gate. edged w ith w hite trim m in g and b earin g a blu e-em broid ered text from S ch iller’s “ T h e B ell” .34 ° self-sufficient. and in w hich m y m o th er’s dressing gow ns. T h e w hole d a y I had been keeping a secret to m yself: the dream o f the previous night. T hese silks the ghost was stealing. it did n othin g w ith or to them that was actu ally visible and distinguishable. beatific realm that opened occasion ally w ith m y m oth er’s linen cupboard . in w h ich . shooting w ith the ru bb er bolts o f m y “ E u rek a ” pistol. lay the sheets. and shawls w ere suspended. It was this dream that I had kept secret. It did not snatch them up or carry them aw ay. A ghost had appeared to me. It is tim e to go to bed. som ew here in the bushes by the w ire fence. T h e first such m em ory appears w hen I speak o f these sum m er days: it is an even in g in m y seventh or eighth year. and inaccessible to me.

was a deaf-m ute. they w ere enshrined in ch ap ter headings and open in g letters. at hand. m y m oth er and father com ing q u ietly into m y room at an unusual hour. W h a t m ade me even prouder. It m ade m e proud that I was questioned a b o u t the events o f the previous ev e n in g — for a com p licity was suspected b etw een the housebreakers and the m aid servan t w ho had stood at the gate. b lazed from it. w hich I now . earlier they w ere solely and en tirely in it. h a lf asleep. to be d ivid ed . w h o. But. A num erous b an d o f burglars had descended on the house in the night. had w a n ted to confront them .A Berlin Chronicle 341 A n d in the n ight that follow ed it I noticed. arm ed only w ith a pocketkn ife. Y o u did not read books th rou gh . T h e w orld that revealed itself in the book and the book itself w ere never. T h e dangerous visit had lasted alm ost until m orning. It is certain th at all I know o f them tod ay rests on the readiness w ith w hich I then opened m yself to books. too. was the question w h y I had kept silent abou t m y dream . and it em erged th at their organizer. T h e y burn ed w ith in it. being no m ore external or in d epen d en t o f it than are tod ay the n um ber o f its pages or its paper. eq u a lly . F o rtu n a te ly the noise they m ade gave an in d ication o f their num ber. p a ragrap h s and colum ns. T h e house had b een stripped o f e v e ry ­ thing. In va in m y parents had stood at the w in d o w in the first light. its w orld. signallin g to the outside w o rld : the ban d had d ep arted at their leisure w ith the baskets. y o u . b u t w hereas now content. a m urderer and crim in al w ith m an y previous convictions. so that m y m oth er had succeeded in in restrain ing m y father. at a n y price. located not m erely in its b in d in g or its pictures. A t m id d ay m y gra n d m o th er arrived from Berlin w ith the bare necessities. was p a lp a b ly there. M u c h later they w ere cau gh t. and subject m atter are extraneous to the book. how ever. o f course. So w ith each book its content. them e. W h a t m y first books w ere to m e— to rem em ber this I should first h ave to forget all oth er know ledge o f books. this conten t an d w orld transfigured every part o f the book. I did not see them lock them selves in . w hen I got up next m ornin g there was n othin g for breakfast. n arra ted at len gth as a prop h ecy.

A n d w hat did it m atter if the arom as that rose from the tunnels high into the air. A n yon e can observe that the d u ration for w hich w e are exposed to impressions has no b earin g on their fate in m em ory. interru p ted m an y tim es to reappear as con tin u a­ tions. H e is all the m ore im patien t to be allow ed to w ith d raw . or if a Christm as carol w ove its halo aroun d the head o f Stephenson glim psed betw een two pages like an ancestral portrait through a door crack. rather. extended through the w hole like subterran ean passages. . w hich was adorned w ith coats o f arms. For in reality the longer stories. A n d so each y ear scarcely had I found the latest volum e o f the New Companion o f German Youth w hen I retreated com pletely behind the ram parts o f its cover.342 dw elt. I seemed to be w a lk in g on a sm all platform that led dow n to it from m y fairy castle. and sounds that cam e from its different cham bers and corridors. and forgettin g others in w hich w e passed months. surprised you rself at the spot where you had halted. or if the sm ell o f the gin gerb read join ed w ith that o f a S icilian sulphu r m ine that suddenly burst upon us in a fu ll-p age illustration as in a fresco. reopening them after an interval. T h ere was n othin g finer than to sn iff out. scents. m ingled w ith the smell o f the gin gerb read . the various drafts. ab id ed betw een their lines. and. and felt m y w a y into the spy or h u n tin g story in w hich I was to spend the first night. N oth in g prevents our keeping rooms in w h ich w e have spent tw enty-four hours m ore or less clearly in our m em ory. w as that o f the guest in vited for a few weeks to a m ansion and h a rd ly d arin g to d art a glan ce of ad m iration at the long suites o f state room s through w h ich he must pass to reach his quarters. brightnesses. B ut if I had sat for a w hile im m ersed in m y book and then w ent b ack to the table b earin g the presents. scarcely ven tu rin g a fleeting glan ce betw een its pages. w here w e saw globes or w aterw heels glisten. due to insufficient exposure-tim e if no im age appears on the plate o f rem em brance. therefore. T h e rapture w ith w hich you received a new book. it no longer stood alm ost im periously over me as it had w h en I first entered the Christm as ro o m . It is not. on this first ten tative expedition into the lab yrin th o f stories.

are the cases w hen the half-light o f h abit denies the plate the necessary ligh t for years. perhaps. But in the w ay in w hich m y father told me. T h e first great d isappoin tm ent o f m y life reach ed me one after­ noon on P eacock Island. It was not th at the spark took a rou n d ab o u t path by w ay o f the im age o f the p e a ­ cock.A Berlin Chronicle 343 M o re frequent. until one d ay from an alien source it flashes as if from b u rn ing m agnesium pow der. It was not. too. against the soil o f the island itself. So the room in w h ich I slept at the age o f six w ou ld h ave been forgotten had not m y father com e in one n ig h t— I w as a lrea d y in b e d — w ith the news o f a death. an oth er is fused: th at o f possession in m em ory. A n d so m y rep roach fu l d ism ay as I scoured the tu rf so va in ly was not directed against the peacocks that I saw stru ttin g up and dow n. T o d a y I can no longer distinguish th em : it is as if it w ere only a part o f the gift o f the m om ent I am now relatin g. received the gift o f never again b eing w h o lly lost to m e — even if decades have passed b etw een the seconds in w hich I think o f it. w h ich was a peacock island yet bore no peacock earth. h a b itu al. ev eryd a y self is in volved a ctiv e ly or passively in w hat is h app en in g. there lay [text breaks off] W ith the jo y o f rem em berin g. that it. a close connection m ust have been form ed in me b etw een the nam e o f these islands and the peacock feathers. b u t rather. the news itself that so affected m e : the deceased was a distant cousin. I had been told on the w ay there th at I should find peacock feathers in the grass. and now a snapshot transfixes the ro o m ’s im age on the plate. T h is had no part in the process. H ad I found the feather I craved in the grass. really. how ever. I . w ith the speed o f a spark leapin g b etw een two ch arged systems. since such m om ents o f sudden illu m in atio n are at the sam e time m om ents w hen w e are beside ourselves. S ca rce ly had I h eard this w hen. our d eeper self rests in an oth er place and is touched by the shock. It is to this im m olation o f our deepest self in shock that our m em ory owes its most in d elib le im ages. as is the little heap o f m agn esium pow d er by the flam e o f the m atch . N o r is this very m ysterious. and w hile our w akin g.

rather. E ven Christm as was fu n da­ m en tally a festival o f the courtyards. to define the p a rticu la r sport as sharply as possible and isolate it from all others. after m uch toil. gam es. T h ere it began w ith the barrel . their airy seats p ro b ab ly occupied b y artistes rehearsing a num ber. Th is disappointm ent w ould not have been so great had it not been M o th er E arth herself w ho had inflicted it on me. were constructions w ith front w heels ten times larger than their small rear wheels. have the snobbish ch aracter o f the later ice palaces or indoor tennis co u rts. com pletin g in an instant in fantasy the w ork o f countless walks. unlike our present track suits. the narrow . still had abou t it all the eccentricities o f its beginnings. ju st as those halls cut it o ff from nature and other exercises. It was the era o f “ sporting costum es” that. as it was practised in those halls. S im ilarly. I have talked o f the courtyards. the shady ways through the foliage leading dow n to L ake G riebn itz at the places w here there w ere je ttie s— all this I annexed to m y dom ain. T h e orch ard at G leinicke. N ow the island seemed to have broken a prom ise. at last learned to ride a b icycle w ould have been less sweet had not M o th er E arth h erself let me feel her praise. kneeling in m y nuptials w ith the ground as a dynast conquers endless territories by m eans o f a single felicitous union. the bliss at havin g. concealed pathw ays o f our sum m er garden. and children. concealed from all others. and bespoke a m en tality for w hich sport and open air w ere not inseparable as they are today.344 should have felt as if I were exp ected and w elcom e at this spot. they resem bled skating rinks or gym nasium s. m oving under the supervision o f trainers am ong the ord inary tricycles for gentlem en. O n the asphalted floor. the b road . W ere they not there for everyb od y to see? A n d I was to have had som ething intended on ly for me. rather. to be found in the grass only by me. T h e sport. did not yet seek to a d ap t the b od y to im m ediate needs. but. cerem onious p rom en ad e o f Schloss B abelsberg. ladies. and outings. O n e learned to ride in those d a y s— it was the h eyd ay o f bicycle ra c in g — in large halls specially established for the purpose. C e rta in ly the peacocks could not console me. These halls did not how ever.

bereft o f feet. w h o left them in our keeping. I was perhaps five years old. the shock w ith w h ich m om ents enter consciousness as if a lrea d y lived usually strikes us in the form o f a sound. in answer to m y . But m y father gave the news w ith details. T h e deceased was a cousin. a sound that seems to have been heard som ew here in the darkness o f past life. and all at once. before the eyes o f the bourgeois child. N o. indoors. that he told me the news o f a re la tiv e ’s death. p rob ab ly to say good night. w hich. O n e o u gh t to speak o f events that reach us like an echo aw aken ed by a call. tapp in g. It was h a lf against his w ill. But Christm as cam e. if we are not m istaken. B ut has the cou nter­ part o f this tem poral rem oval ever been investigated . but also as old and as h o n o u rab le: C hristm as cam e and divided the children into those w ho shuffled past the booths on Potsdam S qu are and those w ho. unknow n w orld o f w ares. in w h ich the exploited and their rulers lie irreco n cila b ly opposed. offered their dolls and farm anim als for sale to child ren o f their age. C hristm as cam e and w ith it a w hole. [breaks o ff] T h e deja vu effect has often been described. from the vault o f w hich the present seems to return only as an echo. or a rustling that is endow ed w ith the m agic pow er to transport us into the cool tom b o f long ago. w hich stretched the w eek before the festival w ith chorales. alone. These w ere not the genuine ones. It is a w ord. the shock w ith w h ich w e com e across a gesture or a w ord as w e suddenly find in our house a forgotten glove or reticu le? A n d ju s t as they cause us to surmise a stranger w ho has been there.A Berlin Chronicle 34. and w hether the m etaphor a p p rop riate to the process w ou ld not be far better taken from the realm o f acoustics. a grow n m an w ho scarcely concern ed me. A cco rd in gly .5 organs. leaned in the snow or glistened in the rain. it d ivid ed his city into tw o m igh ty cam ps. it was a cam p posed and arran ged alm ost as artificially as the cribs com posed as paper or w ooden figures. B ut I w onder w hether the term is a ctu a lly w ell chosen. and there it ended w ith the C hristm as trees. there are words or gestures from w hich we infer that invisible stranger. O n e ev e n in g — I was a lread y in b e d — m y father app eared . took the o p p ortu n ity to exp lain. I thought. the future.

1932 . M a n y years afterw ard I discovered w hat I had “ forgo tten ” . w h at a heart attack was.34 $ question. and was com m u n icative. a part o f the news that m y father had broken to me in that room : that the illness was called syphilis. I did not take in m uch o f the exp lanation . as one observes e x a ctly a place w here one feels d im ly that one w ill later have to search for som e­ thing one has forgotten there. But that evening I m ust have m em orized m y room and m y bed.

VI .


M e h rin g passed through n ationalism and the school o f L assalle.” 1 M e h rin g cam e into con tact w ith M arxism later. Its teachers. Collector and Historian T h e life’s w ork o f E d u a rd Fuchs belongs to the m ost recent past. there is still no history o f this theory. as both researchers w ere aw are. Fuchs on the other hand cam e upon M e h rin g qu ite early. pp 103-104. Stuttgart 1904. M a rx and Engels. F or by contrast w ith M arxist econom ics. C oh eren t M arxist th o u gh t was non-existent. and w hen he first entered the Social D em o cratic P arty. assim i­ lated the lessons o f the m asters on ly in d irectly or at any rate belated ly. I. did no m ore than in d icate a b ro a d field for the m aterialist d ialectic in it. its th eoretical outlook w a s— accord in g to K a u ts k y — d om inated b y a “ m ore or less vu lg a r Lassalleanism . in Die .Eduard Fuchs. in the final years o f E n gels’s life. 349 . the history o f literature. B ut M e h rin g ’s field. W h ile the first w ho b roach ed it. Xeue £eit. a P lekh an ov. apart from a few isolated personalities. In the relationship betw een the two a trad ition o f cu ltu ra l investigation for the first tim e em erged w ithin historical m aterialism . T h e tradition that leads from M a rx through W ilh elm L ie b k n ech t to Bebel d evelop ed the p o litical far m ore than the scientific side o f M arxism . X X I I . “ F ranz M eh rin g ” . had few points o f con tact w ith th at o f Fuchs. w hich does not ease m atters. a M ehrin g. A retrospect o f this w ork involves all the difficulties posed by an a ttem p t to render an acco u n t o f the im m ed iate p a st— in this case the im m ed iate past o f the M a rxist theory o f art. T h e d ifference in their dispositions was 1 K a rl K a u tsky.

M o re im portant. T his was the situation o f historical m aterialism itself. though. V o l II.” 2 E ngels’s objection is tw ofold: first. o f systems o f law . T h ere are m an y kinds o f collector. Since the bourgeois illusion o f the etern ality and finality o f cap italist prod u ction has been added as w ell. It finds expression in a letter F ried rich Engels sent to M e h rin g at a time w hen Fuchs. Friedrich Engels und der Au/stieg der Arheiterbewegung in Europa. Selected Correspondence. T h a t is. even the overcom in g o f the m ercantilists b y the physiocrats and A d a m Sm ith is a ccou n ted a sheer victo ry o f thought. I f L u th er and C a lv in ‘overco m e’ the official C ath o lic religion. Berlin. Cited in G ustav M ayer. not as the reflection in thought o f ch an ged econom ic facts. and the p o rtrayal o f m anners. he is protesting against the habit in the history o f ideas o f representing a new d ogm a as the development o f an earlier one. R ousseau w ith his repub lican Social C o n tra ct in d irectly ‘overcom es’ the constitu­ tional M on tesquieu. M e h rin g w as b y tem peram ent a scholar. bu t o f the finally achieved correct u n derstan d ing o f actu al conditions substituting alw ays and everyw h ere. represents a stage in the history o f these p a rticu la r spheres o f thought an d never passes b eyon d the sphere o f thought. Friedrich Engels. in a socialist ed itorial office.350 even m ore im portant. or H egel ‘overcom es’ F ich te and K a n t. as a pioneer o f the m aterialist view o f art. am ong other things: “ It is above all this sem blance o f an indepen den t history o f state constitutions. Fuchs a collector. T h e letter is dated 14 J u ly 1893 and says. is another and indeed com p lem en tary c irc u m sta n c e : it was as a pioneer that Fuchs becam e a collector. erotic art. and in any one there is a host o f impulses at w ork. pp 450-451. Fuchs as a collector is above all a pioneer: the founder o f a u n iq u e arch ive on the history o f caricature. was w in n in g his first victories as a publicist. a new school o f poetry as a reaction to a 2 M arx-E ngels. philosophy or po litical science. . M oscow 1964. that dazzles most people. pp 5 4 1-54 2 . o f ideological conceptions in every separate dom ain. this is a process w h ich rem ains w ithin theology. B ut w h a t m ade this m aterialist a collector was his m ore or less clear feeling for w h at he saw as his historical situation.

. b y G ottfried K eller. I. w h ich Engels carried w ith him for h a lf a cen tu ry . But the explosive pow er o f these thoughts. o f religion or art. p 301. and how this effect derives from our encounter not ju st w ith the w ork. too. Collector and Historian 3 5 1 preced in g one. His a rg u ­ m ent destroys the claim o f the hum anities to be the history o f con ­ stitutions or n atu ral sciences. Marx-Engels Arckiv . it is clear that he also im p licitly objects to the custom o f represent­ ing such new entities in isolation from their effect on people and their in tellectu al and econ om ic processes o f production . . these w orks in corpo rate both their p re­ history and their a fter-h istory— an after-history in virtue o f w hich their pre-history. D a vid R ya za n o v. T h e y teach him how their fu n ction can outlast their creator.Eduard Fuchs. T h is is w h a t G oeth e intim ated to C h an cello r von M u ller in a conversation a b ou t S hakespeare: “ N o th in g that has had a great im p act can really be ju d g e d any lo n g er. Frankfurt am M ain 1928. the clearer it becom es that the price o f any d ialectica l accou n t o f history is aband onm en t 3 T h e y appear in the earliest studies on F euerbach. It calls in question the herm etic self­ sufficiency o f the various disciplines and their su b jects— in the case o f art. w here M arx writes: “ T h ere is no history o f politics. can leave his intentions b eh in d . o f art. can be seen to u n dergo constant change. indicates the exact spot w here historical m aterialism breaks through the historicist view o f the past.” T h ere cou ld be no apter evocatio n o f the disquiet that m arks the b egin nin g o f any critiq u e o f history w o rth y to be called d ialectical. T h e m ore one reflects on E n gels’s rem arks. “ T ru th w ill not run a w a y from us” — this d ictum . how its reception b y the artist’s con­ tem poraries forms part o f the effect that the w ork o f art has on us ourselves today. co n tem p la tive attitu d e tow ards its subject to becom e aw are o f the critical constellation in w hich precisely this fragm en t o f the past is found w ith precisely this present. o f religion ” . the w orks w h ich the con cep t o f art purports to encom pass. F or a d ialectical historian. o f law. second. .3 goes deeper. o f science . For it is an irrecoverab le p icture o f the past that threatens to vanish w ith every present instant that does not see itself prefigured in it. ed. b ut w ith the history that has brou gh t the w ork dow n to us. a new style as the overcoming o f an older one. w hich m ust renounce a calm .

“ T h a t w hich is origin al is never revealed in the naked and m anifest existence o f the factu al. whose pulse can still be felt in the present. in the life’s w ork the ep och . In it those pow erful forces that lie bound in the “ o n ce-u p on -a-d m e” o f historicism are set free. T h e past for him becom es the subject o f a construction whose locus is not em p ty tim e. but by no m eans an undisputed one. bu t the p a rticu la r epoch. It forms an exact an a logy to R a n k e ’s “ w h at it was actu ally lik e” . how ever. It has recourse to a consciousness o f the present th at shatters the continu u m o f history. its rh ythm is apparent only to a d u al insight. But the result o f his construction is that in the w ork the life’s work. T h e sub­ stitution o f the act o f construction for the epic dim ension proves to be the condition o f this en gagem en t. T h e form er consists essentially in the assertion that w h at should coun t for most in ou r reception o f a w ork is the w a y it was received at the hands o f the a rtist’s contem poraries. and the life from the epoch. p 70.” W alter Benjam in. . 4 It is the dialectical construction w h ich distinguishes that w hich is our original concern w ith historical engagem ent from the patchw ork findings o f actu ality.35 * o f the con tem p lative approach ch aracteristic o f historicism . the p articu lar life. H istorical m aterialism conceives historical u n derstan ding as an after-life o f that w h ich is understood. H e breaks the epoch a w a y from its reified his­ torical continuity. w hich is “ after all the o n ly thin g that m atters” . and the w ork from the life’s w ork. d ogm atic and naive notion o f “ recep tio n ” coexists in him w ith the new and m ore critical one. w e find a d ialectical insight into the significance o f a history o f recep tio n — an insight th at opens the w idest horizons. historical m aterialism a specific and u n iqu e en gagem en t w ith it. T h is un derstan d ing has its place in F u ch s’s schem e. A n old.5 C heek by jo w l w ith this.4 Historicism presents an etern al im age o f the past. T h e task o f historical m aterialism is to set to w ork an en ga ge­ ment w ith history origin al to every new present. is related to its history and subsequent d evelopm en t. The Origin o f German Tragic Drama . the p articu lar w ork. and in the epoch the course o f history are suspended and p reserved . T h e historical m aterialist m ust sacrifice the epic dim ension o f history. . L ondon N L B . 5 Erotische Kunst> I. 1977. pp 45-46. . I t .

T h is fact does not. for the d u ration o f his success. so. ju stify the suppression o f a n o th e r : th at such a solution is still w antin g. So it was w ith his achievem ents as a collector. and no less so for the opposite. F u ch s’ position as an ap p ren tice b rou gh t him together w ith p o litica lly concerned proletarian s. the starting point o f whose analyses in his Lessing-Legende was the reception accorded to the poet. w ith his a ctiv ity as a politician . how ever. H e was not predisposed to a life o f sch olar­ ship. “ T h is om ission is a failure in ou r overall ap p reciation o f art.” 6 T h is w as also the view taken b y M eh rin g. S tah r or D an zel or.Eduard Fuchs. A ll attem pts to court a w ork o f art m ust rem ain futile unless its sober historical content is illu m in ed by the shafts o f d ialectical insight. p 13. he never b ecam e the typical scholar. 2 Fuchs was born in 1870. Its solution affords a criterion for the stan­ dards o f historical m aterialism . A n d n otw ith stan d in g the great eru d ition to w h ich he attain ed in later life. It w as not for n othin g that J u lian H irsch ’s “ O n the G enesis o f F a m e ” . His w ork con­ stan tly overshot the bounds o f the research er’s field o f vision. is one o f the most im portan t problem s o f a r t. It is better to concede w ith o u t reservations that only in isolated cases has it been possible to ap p reh en d the historical im port o f a w ork o f art in such a w a y as to m ake it m ore transparent for us as a work o f art. Fuchs had the sam e question in m ind. A n d yet it seems to m e that u n co v erin g the real reasons for the greater or lesser success o f an artist. and he was soon in volved in w h a t tod ay seems the 6 Gavarni. ap p eared not long afterw ards. H is collections are the p ra ctica l m a n ’s answer to the paradoxes o f theory. a v a lu a b le study in terms o f its contents if not its m ethods. T h a t is on ly the first o f the truths b y w h ich the w ork o f f d u a r d Fuchs the co llector was guided. finally. . Fuchs started to earn his livin g in the mid-1880s. w hether by H ein e or G ervin us. E rich S ch m idt. Collector and Historian 353 Fuchs com plains that the question is ign ored in art history. too. It was the tim e o f B ism arck ’s law against socialists.

T h e id ea was p lain ly an auspicious one. T h e publishers o f the Miinchener Post also b rou gh t out a m agazin e o f socialist lam poons. A few years later. solicited the services o f the youn g book-keeper Fuchs from a S tu ttga rt p rin ter’s. H is contributions. failed to m aterialize. It h app en ed one d ay that Fuchs. T h is a p p ren ­ ticeship ended in 1887. w h ich still appeared on the title p age . Sixty thousand copies w ere sold. to w ork there w ith R ic h a rd C a lv e r. a p p roach ed Fuchs w ith the news that he was a lread y w orkin g on a history o f c a ric a tu re . and filled som e gaps w ith contribu tion s o f his own. together w ith his d a y-to -d a y w ork. A ten-m onth spell in prison. W ilh elm Blos’s p o p u la r books on the revolution. B y contrast w ith history books illustrated b y livin g artists (e. it b elieved it had found in him the m an w ho cou ld clear up the p a p e r’s adm in is­ trative difficulties. was the origin o f the illustrated studies on the year 1848 in carica tu re and on the L o la M o n tez affair. stood him in go od stead in his studies for this w ork. rem ark in g that it w as o n ly an excerpt from the com ­ prehensive w ork he plann ed on carica tu re am ong the E u rop ean peoples. had to assum e responsibility for m akin g up an issue o f the Postilion. h ow ever. com pared w ith an an n u al average o f 2. these w ere the first historical w orks w ith d o cu m en tary illustration. T h u s Fuchs b ecam e editor o f a m agazin e devoted to political satire. to help out. T h e nam e o f the presum ptive co-author. he proposed to con trib u te his ow n studies to a jo in t w ork. T h en . and before long it w as clear that Fuchs w ou ld h ave to shoulder the entire considerable w ork-load b y him self. the Miinchener Post. this. after a con viction for lesemajeste in the press. A t the sam e tim e he turned to the history o f his field . A t H a rd e n ’s in­ vitation. T h is issue was u n usually successful. w ith pictures b y von Jen tsch ). w h o had som e exp erience in the prod u ction o f illustra­ ted alm an acs. Fuchs w en t to M u n ich . the B avarian organ o f the Social D em ocrats. A certain H ans K raem er. the Suddeutsche Postilion. the sam e year. colou rfu lly illu stra ted — coloured n ew spaper illustration w as ju st then gettin g sta rted — and put together by Fuchs. appeared the M a y issue o f this p ap er.354 id yllic struggle o f the illegal m ilitan ts o f that tim e.g.500. Fuchs h im self ann ou n ced the second o f these w orks in D ie Zukunft.

w ou ld h ave becom e the soil in w h ich the seed sown b y the present could h a ve sprouted. D ie Karikatur der europaischen Volker. . T h e y in clu d e: Illustrierte Sittengeschichte vom M ittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. D er M aler Daum ier. V o l I I : D ie galante V o l I I I : D as biirgerliche £eitalter. and o f the W orld W ar.8 T h is m eant new tasks in the p a r ty ’s ed u cation al w ork.Eduard Fuchs. V o l I : Vom Altertum bis zum Jahre 184. Tang-Plastik. Collector and Historian 355 o f the first edition o f the w ork on caricatu re. X I I I / I . 9 N ietzsche w rote as early as 1874: “ T h e fin a l. V ols II I V : Lithographien (here cited as Daumier ) . under w h ich 7 T h ese h ave been published b y A lb e rt Lan gen o f M u n ich as Hauptwerke. . Part T w o (here cited as Erotische K unst ) . p 168. A n d no solution could be ap p roach ed so lon g as the ob ject o f this ed u cation al w ork w as th ought o f as the public rath er than as a class. Jahrhunderts . Geschichte der erotischen Kunst. D ie grossen Meister der Erotik. Chinesische Grab-Keramik des 7. “ the trunk o f the Social D em o cratic P arty was exp an d in g in rin g after rin g o f organic g ro w th ” . V o l I I: Vom Jahre 184 8 bis zum Vorabend des Weltkrieges (here cited as Karikatur ) . Friedrich N ietzsche.10.9 I f the ed u cation al w ork o f the p arty had b een d irected at the class. It was not solved. “ Z u r Frage der O rgan isatio n des Proletariats der In telligen z. p lou gh ed over b y M a rxist dialectics. V o l I: Renaissance. Jahrhunderts. V o l I: D as zeitgeschichtliche Problem. . . was dropped in the second.8. T h is raised the w hole problem o f the popularization o f knowledge.. V o l I I I : D as individuelle Problem. Honore Daumier: Holzschnitte und Lithographien. . It also had to start in clu d in g historical m aterial in its lecture courses and in the feature supplem ents o f the p a rty press. S tu ttgart 1895. 8 A . as D ie Neue J^eit once put it. V o l I : Holzschnitte. . also S upplem entary Vols I—I II (here cited as Sittengeschichte)'. p 645. it w ou ld not h a ve lost its feel for the scientific tasks o f historical m aterialism . I. V o l I I : D a s individuelle Problem . T h e long series o f his m ajor w orks was la u n c h e d . A p a rt from these works. to use a tailor-like G erm an [sic] for a tailor-like a ctiv ity ” . T h e slogan “ W o rk and E d u c a tio n ” . T h a t did not happen.” Die Neue £ eit. B ut Fuchs had given the first co n vin cin g p ro o f o f his stam ina and o f his m astery o f his m aterial. the less could it conten t itself w ith their m ere political and scientific en lightenm ent.7 F uchs em erged at a tim e w hen. T h e historical m aterial. o f science. o f Jew s. Fuchs devoted special studies to the caricatu re of w om en. w ith p o p u la rizin g the theories o f surplus valu e and o f evolution. T h e m ore the w orkin g masses flocked to the p arty. Unzeitgemassige Betrachtungen. th at is the notorious cu tting o f the coat o f science to the figure o f the ‘ m ixed p u b lic ’. Gavarni. Part O n e. M ax . result is the generally approved ‘ p o p u lariza tion ’ .1 8 . “ V o m N utzen und N ach teil der H istorie fur das L e b e n ” . L eip zig 1893. Dachreiter und verwandte chinesische Keramik des 1 5 .

In reality. . k n ow led ge w ith no outlet in praxis.35^ the patriotic associations o f S ch u ltze-D elitzsch had cond u cted w or­ kers’ education. to arouse interest. This was especially true o f kn ow ledge relatin g to the h u m a n i­ ties. that d aily and hourly dem onstrates its right throu gh . was countered b y Social D em o cracy w ith the / slogan “ K n o w le d g e is p o w er” . It sought only to stimulate. For M a r x and Engels the show piece o f L assalle’s ed u cation al ideal. a heritage o f w hich the w orkin g class took possession. the result was cultural history. It was the hopes. . “ T h e y did not derive the social priority o f the w orkin g class from an inh eritan ce. . . It dealt w ith the notion o f heritage. . B ut M a rx and Engels held a d ifferent view. . on the part o f a p arven u class. in its p articip atio n in it. B u t the p a rty failed to p erceive its double m eaning. like the m odern p roletariat. its w ork that is constan tly reprod ucin g the entire apparatu s o f cu ltu re? . bu t rath er from its decisive position in the prod u ction process itself. is thus no tabern acle .10 Few recogn ized at the tim e how m uch in reality dep en ded on the w ork o f m aterialist education. a con cep t w h ich has again becom e im portant today. was no d anger to its oppres­ sors. From the begin nin g Fuchs had m ade a point o f tailorin g his w ork for the readin g m asses. Forew ord. to offer variety. K o rn argu ed . know ledge th at could teach the p roletariat n othin g a b ou t its situation as a class. rem ain ing u n tou ched by the revolution in econom ic theory. It thought the sam e know ledge that secured the rule o f the bourgeoisie over the p roletariat w ould en able the proletariat to free itself from that rule. o f those few that found expression in a d ebate reflected in Meue %eit. its pro b lem a tic dim ension. and both felt m ore and m ore 10 “ A cu ltu ral historian who takes his task seriously must alw ays w rite for the masses. Besides. T h e most im p o rta n t contribu tion was an essay by K o rn entitled “ T h e P roletariat and the C lassics” . H istory was shaken up. even cu ltu ral possessions.) . w h at need is there to talk o f possessions. sp ecu lative philosophy.” (Erotische Kunst. and even m ore the m isgivings. It lagged far behind econom ics. to relieve the m onotony. II. T h is is w here F u ch s’s w ork cam e into its o w n : in its reaction to this state o f affairs lay its g rea t­ ness. Lassalle saw in G erm an idealism .

H is m ajor w ork. It overlooked the fact that capitalism has decisively con d ition ed that d evelopm ent. In actu al fact history represents for consciousness the catego ry o f possession.” 11 T h is critiq ue o f historicism has some w eight.Eduard Fuchs. w h ich shows th at w e do indeed recogn ize “ things in them selves” . . T h is is the point w here positivism breaks dow n. Stu ttgart 1891. . the reference to n atural scien ce— “ know ledge pure and sim ple” — for the first tim e perm its a clear view o f the dangerous prob lem atic o f the ed u ca tio n a l question. Women and Socialism. ju st as for the ru lin g and possessing class ev eryth in g that is historical com poses the given form o f its ideology. In d eed for a class whose essence is its function. pp 17 7 -17 9 and PP 333 ~ 33 ® > on the changes in housew ork effected by technology. not the retrogression o f society. Collector and Historian 5 5 7 stron gly d raw n to n atu ral science. ex a ctly as ca p ita l represents for econom ics the con ­ trol o f past la b o u r. Die Neue £eit. . T h e questions w h ich m ankind asks o f nature are d eterm in ed am on g other things by its level o f production. w hen he tries to refute K a n t ’s ph en o m en o logy by pointin g to the trium ph o f tech ­ n ology. It also escaped the positivists am ong the theoreticians o f S ocial D em o cracy that the d evelopm ent o f 11 C . does so a b o v e all as the fou n d ation o f technology. X X V I / I I . and pp 200-201 on w om an as inventor. pp 4 1 4 -4 15 . In the d evelopm ent o f tech n o lo g y it saw only the progress o f science. T h e prestige o f the n atu ral sciences had d om in ated d ebate since Bebel. 12 See A u gu st Bebel. K o rn . w h ich in K o rn appears as know ­ ledge tout court. n atu ral science m ay as w ell be called k n ow ­ ledge pure and sim ple. b ut above all on its p ra ctica l a p p lic a b ility . “ Proletariat und K lassik ” .000 copies in the th irty years betw een its a p p e ar­ ance and that o f K o r n ’s w ork. Stuttgart 1908. It is also an historical one. H ow ever. . A s such. . B eb el’s ap p reciation o f n atu ral science does not rest on the m a th em atical exactness o f its results alone.12 L ate r it occupies a sim ilar position in E n gels’s thou ght. it forces us to investigate the positivist and u n d ialectical separation betw een n atu ral science and the hum anities. . . sold 200. N atu ra l science. Die Frau und der Soziatismus. But tech n ology is ob viou sly not a pu rely scientific phenom enon.

and it w as not forthcom ing. It m ay be said o f this d evelopm ent. T h a t exp erience was really reserved for the follow ing cen tury. it also prom ised the certain ty o f a rich harvest. “Joh n R u skin ” .” 13 T h is rom antic view o f techn ology is straight out o f Die Gartenlaube. T his was p a rticu la rly true o f Social D em o ­ cracy at the turn o f the century. and o f the m eans used to p rep are public opinion for w ar. w h ich was th o rough ly class-determ ined. b y and large it rem ain ed under their sw ay. like the cap acity to d u p licate both the spoken and the w ritten w ord . A prognosis was needed. Die Neue £eit. It is d iscoverin g that traffic speeds. th at it occurred beh ind the b ack o f the last c e n tu ry — w h ich was not yet aw are o f the destructive energies o f techn ology. if the future held w ork in store. and a L u d w ig P au b rou ght up the rear: “ It is quite unnecessary to becom e an a n g e l” . . It saw the past as h a vin g been b rou gh t once and for all into the granaries o f the present. X V I I I / I . 13 P 728. then cam e the realism o f a D u C a m p .35-9 technology m ade it m ore and m ore d ifficult for the p ro letariat to take possession o f i t — an act that w as seen to be m ore and m ore urgen tly necessary. Bach. Stu ttgart 1900. T h e y failed to p erceive the destructive side o f techn ology because they w ere alien ated from the d estructive side o f the dialectic. “ since the locom otive is w orth m ore than the finest pair o f w in g s. It m ay fairly be w on dered w hether the Gemutlichkeit in w h ich the c en tu ry ’s bourgeoisie rejoiced m ay not stem from a vag u e satis­ faction at n ever h a vin g to experience at first hand the d evelopm en t o f the forces o f production . have outstripped hum an needs. It consisted in a series o f vigorous and repeated attem pts to get round the fact that techn ology serves this society solely for the p rod u ction o f com m odities. T h e energies that tech n ology develops beyond their threshold are destructive. w ho saw the locom otive as the saint o f the fu tu re. T h is set the seal on a trend th at was ch aracteristic o f the last cen tu ry : the defective reception o f technology. he w rote. Cited in D. T h e y serve p rim arily to foster the tech n ology o f w arfare. I f it sought to pu n ctu re the illu ­ sions o f positivism in certain specific areas. T h e disciples o f S ain t-Sim on started the ball ro llin g w ith their industrial p o etry.

his w ork partakes o f the p ro b lem a tic that is inseparable from cu ltu ra l history. T w en ty -five years after this was said. In d eed . o f law or religion) w ith a new and even m ore p rob lem atical one. N o history o f 14 T h is illusion found ch aracteristic expression in A lfred W e b e r’s w elcom ing address to the G erm an Socio lo gical C onven tion o f 1912 : “ C u ltu re only emerges w hen life has becom e a form w h ich rises above its necessities and utilities. and some essential features o f his w ork are d erived from it. T h e historical m aterialist understands th at the abstract m ode in w h ich cu ltu ral history presents its m aterial is an illusion. . 1 : 1.” In short. M u st that not be its real m ea n in g? M u st not the study o f in d ivid u al disciplines. b u t also in greater or lesser d egree to the anonym ous d ru d g ery o f their contem poraries.” A lfred W eber. now stripped o f their a p p aren t a u ta rk y.” T h is concept o f cultu re contains seeds o f barbarism w hich h ave since germ inated. Collector and Historian 359 3 T h is was the age in w h ich E d u a rd Fuchs grew up. m ay be dissolving and destructive. but whose existence we feel to be higher than everyth in g h ealthy and livin g w hich it destroys. It owes its existence not ju st to the efforts o f the great geniuses w ho fashioned it. H e w ould be ju stified in this reserve by the m ere inspection o f the actu al p a s t: w h a tev er he surveys in art and science has a descent that can not be con tem plated w ith o u t horror.Eduard Fuchs. “ D er soziologische K u ltu rb e g riff” . T u b in gen 1913. T o put it sim ply. the passage m ay be seen as the locus classicus that defines historical m aterialism as the history o f culture. estab ­ lished by false consciousness. T h is p ro b lem a tic goes b ack to the Engels text qu oted above. pp 11 12. Verhandlungen des zweiten deulschen Soziologentages: Schriften der deutschen Gesellschaft fu r Soziologie . such works o f art. even to be. be subsum ed in the study o f cultural history as th at o f the in ven tory m ankind has to date preserved? In rea lity anyon e asking questions o f this sort w o u ld on ly be rep la cin g the m an y and p rob lem atical unities em b ra ced b y in tellectu al history (as the history o f literatu re and art. culture exists after the fashion o f a w ork o f art “ w hich perhaps disarrays entire modes o f livin g and life principles. T h ere is no cu ltu ral docu m en t that is not at the sam e tim e a record o f barbarism . “ cultured S tates” have m ade it a point o f pride to resem ble. C u l­ ture appears as som ething “ w h ich is superfluous for the continued existence o f life but w h ich w e feel to be the very reason for w hich life is th ere.14 H e approaches this abstraction w ith reserve.

H istorical m aterialism does not regard the w ork o f the past as over and don e w ith. But the absu rd ity o f a d ialectical history o f culture as such lies deeper. is now here scattered over a w ider area than in that part p eop le call culture. cu ltu ral history on ly seems to represent a d eepen ing o f insight. or can w ell hope to do so. to w h ich the critics o f M ew %eit m ore than once addressed them selves. N ev er­ theless. since the continuum o f history. “ Akadem isches” . i f not o f the p rod u ction process in w hich they arose. . F or it lacks the destru ctive elem ent that gu aran tees the a u th en ticity o f d ialectical th o u gh t and o f the d ia le ctic ia n ’s ex15 F ranz M eh rin g. experienced. it does not present even the ap p earan ce o f progress in dialectics. C u ltu re appears reified. Die Neue £eit. Y e t this is not the crux o f the m atter. PP 1 95 . the disintegration o f culture into com m odities to be possessed by m ankind is un­ thin kable for it. In short.36o culture has yet done ju stice to this fu n dam en tal fact. . T h e con cep t o f culture as the em bod im en t o f entities that are considered in d epen d en tly. “ O f the bourgeois historians” . A n y con cep t o f historical m ethod vanishes . as fallin g w ith con ven ien t q u id d ity into the lap o f any eporfi. w rites M e h rin g. O n e m ust recogn ize that no h istoriography un dertaken on the basis o f cu ltu ral history has ever m anaged to escape this p rob lem atic. Stu ttgart 1898. I f the concep t o f culture is a p rob lem atical one for historical m aterialism . that is p o litica lly . then o f that in w h ich they continue to survive. “ L am p rech t stopped h a lfw a y . w hen L a m p re c h t tries to a p p ly a p articu lar m ethod to his accou n t o f econ om ic and cu ltu ral developm ents. It is m anifest in the am bitious German History o f L am p rech t. for obvious reasons. . or any part o f it. is fetishistic.[ 9 6 - . . It does not see that w ork. “ L am p rech t is know n as the one w ho has com e closest to historical m a terialism ” .” 15 T o represent cu ltu ra l history on the basis o f p ra g ­ m atic story-telling certain ly m akes no sense. I. yet com piles the political developm ents o f the same period from other historians. b lo w n ap art by d ialectics. Its history is then n othin g but the residue o f m em orable things and events that never broke the surface o f hum an consciousness because they w ere never truly. X V I .

po in tin g to the w ork o f R o d in and Slevo gt. A n d here it is Fuchs the co llector w h o tau gh t the theoretician m any things to w hich his tim e b arred access. . H ence it is not surprising th at his m anner o f addressing works o f art is often m ore that o f an artist th an o f a historian. w hich m ade cu ltu ra l history its lodestar. p o rn o g ra p h y — w here the m odels o f con ven tion al art history sooner or later com e to grief. In the first place it should be noted that Fuchs broke right across the b oard w ith the classicist concep tion o f art. I. not unity in diversity. It was the collector w ho found his w a y into grey a re a s— caricatu re. W h ere it has lastin g va lu e. 4 F u ch s’ w ork takes on sharper historical definition against this b a ck ­ groun d. B ut it does not give m ankind the strength to shake them off. In 1908. p 125. T h e ideas em ployed by the b ourgeoisie in d evelop in g this conception o f art no longer operate in F uch s: not b eau ty o f a p p earan ce. it was w rested from an in ­ tellectu al constellation th at has rarely been m ore u n favou rab le. not harm on y. His in com parab le know ledge o f older caricatu re allow s Fuchs an early recognition o f the works o f a T o ulouse-L au trec. His studies in ceram ics give him the auth ority to sponsor an Em il Pottner.Eduard Fuchs. so as to get its hands on them . whose conception o f D o n Q u ix o te he deems alone able to hold its own beside D au m ier. Collector and Historian 36 1 perience. a H eartfield and a G eorge Grosz. A n d the same robust self-assertiveness o f the collector w hich estranged the w riter from the classicist theories sometimes sets its face. too. A ll his life Fuchs enjoyed friendly relations w ith creative artists. com es to him partially through the great creations o f the past. against classical an tiq u ity itself. whose traces can still be recogn ized even in M a rx. It m ay w ell increase the burden o f the treasures that are piled up on h u m a n ity ’s back. T h e same applies to the ed u cation al w ork o f socialism aroun d the turn o f the cen tury. For w here the latter was on ly the highest an im al form . H is passion for D au m ier leads him to the w ork o f Slevogt. “ w hich in its end result prom ises to be infin itely greater than the an cien t w orld . It. A constant reference to con tem porary art is am ong the most im p ortan t im pulses o f Fuchs the collector.16 16 Erotische Kunst. he prophesied a new b ea u ty . the n ew b ea u ty w ill be im bued w ith a grandiose in tellectu al and sp iritu al con ten t” . in the bluntest term s.

T h a t cannot be the case before the disiecta membra. R ath er. w h ich idealism keeps h an d y in the form o f historical representation and appreciation. C on sideration o f mass art leads to a revision o f the concep t o f genius. ex p licatio n o f ico n o grap h y not only . in ­ conspicuously picks up again. it is a rem inder not to overlook the invoice w hich alone allows the inspiration in volved in the genesis o f a w ork o f art to becom e fruitful. It w ould o f course be a m istake to conclude that the d ialectical critique o f art was itself revo lu tion ized . and in the study o f the techn ology of reproduction. b u t constitutes the precise d ia­ lectical prob lem th at the present is called upon to resolve. (It w ould be a m istake to equ ate this w eft w ith the m ere nexus o f causation. it th ereb y allow s the correction . the values that had d ictated the aesthetic views of W in ck elm an n or G oeth e lose all influence in the w ork o f Fuchs. F in ally. but consists rath er o f the n u m bered grou p o f threads th at represent the w eft o f the past as it feeds into the w a rp o f the present. it is thorou gh ly d ialectica l.) T h e subject m atter o f history. O n the other hand. and threads m ay have been lost for centuries that the present course o f history erratically. once released from pure facticity. T h e three topics m entioned h a ve one thing in com m on : they lead to insights that can not p rove other than d estructive to the trad itional view o f art. T h a t is indeed F u ch s’ purpose. o f the process o f reification un dergon e by the w ork o f art. it also shows that m uch the auth or intended rem ain ed inchoate. w ithin limits. I f in n oth in g else. have becom e one and as such have been superseded. the decisive im portance o f receptio n . his intention w ou ld be felt in the sententiousness that often m akes his text sound m ore like a lecture. needs no appreciation. as does scarcely any other line o f in q u iry. F or it offers not vague analogies to the present.3 62 In brief. A tten tion to the techn ology o f reprod u ction reveals. W h a t is b asically new in the inten­ tion finds coheren t expression p rin cip a lly w here the subject meets A it h a lfw a y . T h e y are essential elem ents o f any future m aterialist critique o f w orks o f art. These parts o f F u ch s’s w ork are pioneering. in the consideration o f mass art. T h is happens in the in terpretation o f ico n o grap h y. T h a t task is reserved for a science of history whose subject m atter is not a tangle o f p u rely factu al details.

and so does not overlap with F uchs’ studies. points to a d evelopm en t o f the artistic vision w hich is essentially in d epen d en t o f a p a rticu la r m en tality or a p a rticu la r ideal o f b e a u ty .Eduard Fuchs.17 Fuchs had to concern h im self w ith form alism . presented them w ith patterns o f dw ellin g and never tired o f u n ­ folding before them perspectives o f the villa. above all it guards against the excesses to w hich an y form alism soon b ecko n s. It can scarcely im agin e an existence w hich is not arch itectu rally fram ed and founded” . and w h a t role R enaissance p a in tin g p layed as a prospectus for the new arch itectu re and as an illustration o f the m anners m ade possible b y it. although m uch m ore sparin g in the representation o f actual interiors. Die klassiscke Kunst . for the resonance o f a beautiful room. . for it is precisely the historical m aterialist w ho is interested in tracin g the change in artistic vision not so m uch to a chan ged ideal o f b ea u ty as to m ore elem en tary processes— processes brou gh t ab ou t b y econom ic and tech n ical transform ations in production. T h is prin ciple reads: “ T h e Q u a ttro cen to and C in q u ecen to as stylistic concepts can thus not be ch ara cterized b y a m ere accou n t o f their subject m atter.” 18 T h is form u lation is certain ly offen ­ sive to the historical m aterialist.19 A d m itted ly W olfflin on ly touches on this question in passing. T h a t is w h at m ade U cce llo ’s invention o f perspective so overpow ering to his contem poraries and to himself. B ut it does contain som ething useful. W olfflin. p 227. “ T h e C inq u ecento has a particu larly strong feeling for the relation between m an and building. . a fruitful line o f in q u iry w ou ld be to ask w h at eco n o m ically d eterm in ed changes in residential b u ild in g w ere in trod u ced by the R en aissan ce. T h e ph enom enon . M u n ich 1899. 19 O ld e r panel painting gran ted no m ore than the outline o f a house to men for their quarters. In this p a rticu la r case. T h e painters o f the early Renaissance w ere the first to depict interior space in w h ich the figures represented have room to m ove. con tin ued to build on this foundation. Collector and Historian 363 proves indispensable for the study o f reception and mass art. From then on pain terly creations. His research is confined to the sculpture o f French cathedrals from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. . dedicated more than before to inhabitants rather to suppliants. In his Problem o f the Individual he refers to a p rin cip le from W o lfflin ’s Classical Art. p 275. But w hen Fuchs retorts that “ It is precisely these form al points that can be acco u n ­ 17 T h e m aster o f icon ograph ic in terpretation is p ro b a b ly Em ile M ale. T h e H igh R enaissance. 18 H ein rich W olfflin. W o lfflin ’s teach ­ ings w ere in the ascen d an t at the tim e Fuchs was lay in g the foundations o f his w ork.

It showed w h a t a host o f political. energies w ere m ustered in the g rea t classics. Stu ttgart 1898. he points straight to the dubiousness o f the categories o f cu ltu ral history discussed above. Part T w o : Von Lassalles offenem Antwortschreiben bis zum Erfurter Programm (Geschichte des Sozialismus in Einzeldarstellungen. reason) over b ro a d vistas o f history he shared. II. 2). It can be seen from m ore than one passage that Fuchs the w riter was not interested in argum en t. H e thus m ade good his distaste for the bellettristic p lo d d in g o f his contem poraries. or even discussion. N ex t to him one m igh t pu t G eo rg Brandes. It had a lread y lost some o f its tension in M eh rin g. is not to be found in F u ch s’s arsenal. p. for it no longer dared to take on the cen tu ry sin gle-handed. H e cam e to the noble insight that art cou ld hope to be reborn only in the econom ic and political v icto ry o f the p roletariat. 21 F ranz M eh rin g. from the sheer n u m ber o f skirmishes fought. . 546. T h e y are to be m et w ith no less in Fuchs. E ven so. T ra its w ere thus form ed in his ch aracter that can be called in the best sense bourgeois. In that study he earned the solidity an d the rigou r that m ade him in­ vu ln erab le to revisionism . com bative as he m ay appear.” 21 T h e subsequent d evelopm ent o f art b ore him out. and also to the incontestable conclusion: “ A r t has no pow er to interven e d eeply in the struggle for the em an cipation o f the p ro le ta ria t.3^4 ted for only in terms o f a ch an ge in the m ood o f the tim es . science. T h e eristic dialectic. M e h rin g s insights sent him w ith redoubled con viction to the study o f science. his Lessing-Legende is a considerable achievem en t. one can easily im agine his portrait in a gallery o f scholars. Be that as it m ay. O n 20 Erotische Kunst. whose rationalist fervour and passion to shed the ligh t o f the ideal (pro­ gress. Geschichte der deutscken Sozialdemokratie. b u t also scientific and theoretical. I II . yet are far from gu aran teein g the d ialectician . p 20. w h ich accord in g to H e g e l’s definition “ enters into the strength o f the oppon en t so as to destroy him from w ith in . A n d they are perhaps the m ore conspicuous in his case for being em bodied in a m ore exp an sive and sensual disposition. In those w ho pursued the in q u iry initiated by M a rx and Engels the destructive pow er o f thought subsided.

. H e goes fu rther: carica tu re is for him “ to some extent the form from w h ich all ob jective art arises. . he says som ew here. . a n ature turned tow ards the positive. w hen ever there w as a question to be clarified. w hether su b stan tive23 or form al. appears all the m ore origin al. p 28. O n e look at the m useum s o f eth n ograp h y w ill v in d ica te this p rop osition . so far as Fuchs is con ­ cerned the facts allow o f no d ou b t. Fuchs is rem iniscent o f him ab ove all in his insatiable hunger for m aterial. 5 For the psychologist it m ust be a significant question how an enthusiast. as pow erful m onum ents to the enslavem ent o f m aternal w om an in the nineteenth cen tu ry. . I. So too Fuchs alw ays o b eyed the im pulse that drove him on to the quest for new evid ence. the au th ority.” 22 W h en Fuchs brings prehistoric peoples and ch ild ren ’s draw ings into the area o f caricatu re. the ethnologist. From the start his interest in art differs from w h at m ight be called joy in the beautiful. T h ere is o f course no question th at the d rivin g force 22 Karikatur. . o f carica tu re. F uch s never tires o f em p hasizin g the source va lu e. From the start.Eduard Fuchs. truth enters the gam e. B astian was leg en d a ry for his readiness to pack his grip and set o ff on expeditions th at kept him a w a y from hom e for m onths. can arrive at the passion for caricatu re.” Der Mater Daumier. the con cep t m a y becom e p ro b lem a tic. yet the vehem ent interest he brings to bear on the g ra p h ic content o f the w ork o f art. A n sw er it as he w ill. E ven in the late T ’ ang Sculpture w e rea d : “ T h e grotesque is the ne plus u ltra o f the visu al im agin ation . T h is interest runs throu gh the w hole broad range o f his w ork. T h e works o f both w ill rem ain an inexh au stible m ine o f inform ation for research. Precisely because these pictures represent som ething a ltogether different from ‘sentim ental motifs’ they will live forever . . . Collector and Historian 365 his oth er side one m ight im agin e A d o lf B astian. 23 See his fine com m ent on D a u m ie r’s figures o f proletarian w om en: “ W hoever views such subjects m erely as sentim ental motifs proves that the ultim ate im pulses necessary to create pow erful art are a sealed book to him. “ T ru th lies in extrem es” . In this sense grotesque forms are at the same tim e an expression o f the exu b eran t health o f an age . pp 4 -5 .

w hen things are lookin g u p “ the expression o f overflow ing pleasure and exub eran t stren gth” . Th is often occurs on a gran d scale. som etim es those o f health and sickness. 25 See his thesis on the erotic effects o f w orks o f a rt: “ T h e m ore intense the effect.” Erotische Kunst. tend to prod u ce grotesque forms. H e steers clear o f b ord erlin e cases. artists from w hom the a u th or keeps his distance seem reduced in their m asculin ity. p 39. p 23. In such cases the grotesque is a sh ocking reflection o f the fact that for the times and in d ivid u als concern ed . . H ere his cult o f the creative gets the better o f his aversion to the classics.” 24 T h e passage is instructive. H e prefers to stick to the “ truly g rea t” . the great age is still the R en a is­ sance. . So in the representation o f the grotesque. T y p ic a l o f such quasi-biological views is his ju d g m en t o f G reco. W h ile genius is credited w ith attributes th at at times border on the priapic. the greater the artistic q u a lity .3 66 behind the grotesque m ay also be the exact opposite. whose prerogative is to give free rein to “ rap tu re in the sim plest thin gs” . E ven for him . the problem s o f the w orld and existence ap p ear insoluble . D ecad e n t times and sick brains. p 44. 28 D ie grossen Meister der Erotik. T h e concep t o f the creative in F u ch s’s w ork has a strongly b iological slant. M u rillo and R ib e ra : “ A ll three are classic representatives o f the B aroque in that each in his w a y was a p o rn ograp h er manque” .28 O n e m ust not 24 Tang-Plastik. I. too. I. In times o f decline it is “ sm ut” and “ risque . p 115. . so too in erotic caricature.27 T ran sitio n al periods like the B aroq u e he has little tim e for. that m igh t reveal the prob lem atic ch ara cter o f such term s.26 Som etim es Fuchs brings in the va lu e con­ cepts o f h ey-d ay and decaden ce. 27 Dachreiter. 26 Karikatur. It was the gift o f im m e­ d iately com b in in g his basic concepts w ith valu e ju d gm en ts. W h ic h o f these tw o tendencies is the creative force behind a grotesque fantasy can be recogn ized at a gla n ce.25 T h e ju d gm en ts are alw ays extrem e. It shows p a rticu la rly cle arly w h a t it was that m ade F u ch s’s w ork so popular. As such they p o larize the con cep t w ith w hich they are a m a lg a m a ­ ted. p 68.

w h ich in this view gives artistic crea ­ tion its special ch aracter. H e tries to com pensate for it in the most various w ays. p 186. H e was u n ­ d o u b ted ly aw are o f this lack. is no less im portan t for Fuchs as a criterion for a p p ro a ch in g w orks o f art. T h e eru ptive im m ed iacy. For instance. II. he was the first to ap p ly them fru itfu lly to aesthetics.Eduard Fuchs. and likes n othin g better th an to talk abou t the m ysteries he tracks dow n in the p sychology o f creation. w h en Fuchs reports his critical reservations a b o u t the artistic form alism o f the M in g period. It was related trends that later led Fuchs to conceptions akin to p sych o a n a ly sis. So for him it is often no m ore than a single leap from percep tion to ju d gm en t. fin ally 29 Dachreiter. he clinches his arg u m en t b y saying that the works “ in the final analysis . but as an actu al catego ry o f contem plation . But the urge to the most im m ed iate m astery o f the facts. in the History o f Erotic A r t : “ F rom the correct intu ition to the correct and com prehensive d ecip h erin g o f the energies op eratin g in a w ork o f art is alw ays but a single step . contributed from other sources to the w idespread con ­ viction that creativ ity was above all a m anifestation o f super­ a b u n d an t strength. m ake no m ore. and very often not even as m uch im pression as. p 48. or the riddles o f history that find their solution in m aterialism . say. the T ’ an g period did w ith its bold lines” . not to say rustic. T o in d icate the price in a w ord : Fuchs the w riter had not the gift o f surprise. furnished at the sam e tim e w ith a w ealth o f illustrative m aterial b y B u rk h a rd t’s influ ential Culture o f the Renaissance.29 T his is how Fuchs the w riter comes to the p a rticu la r and apod ictic.” 30 T his style is not w ithin reach o f ev eryo n e. . 30 Erotische Kunst. w hich is a lrea d y decisive for his concep tion o f creation and o f reception too. In d eed . . T h e con cep t o f genius. Collector and Historian 36 7 lose sight o f the fact that F uchs d eveloped his basic concepts in an age th at regarded pathography as the u ltim ate standard o f the psych ology o f art. and L om broso and M obiu s as authorities. style expressed in m asterly fashion in his d ictum . . Fuchs regards the impression the observer gets from a w ork o f art not only as an im m ed iate and self-evident experience. Fuchs had to p a y a price for it.

” G . W hile the whole b earin g o f the anim als o f the H an period is heavy and cum bersom e. then this must ultim ately be exp lained on econom ic grounds. in clu d in g art. “ aw oke from its long sleep in C h in a in those centuries . stands in no direct relation to the process o f production. styles in art as organic. T h e m aterialist in terpretation o f history . . pp 30 -31. Stu ttgart 1911. . as it were trans­ missions. for exam ple. between the social relations founded on ‘la b o u r’ and art. A favourite idea o f the author. in terpolated between the m aterial relationships o f production and the rem oter realm s o f the superstructure. those o f the T ’ ang period vivaciou sly stir in every lim b” . PP 543 5 44 . “ E ven the enorm ous elep hant ears seem lo g ic a l. This im m ediate.3 68 prevails in his analysis as w ell. F uchs’ attem pts to elu cid ate the reception o f A n tiq u ity in the R enaissance rem ains eq ually trapped in an alo gy. . This am bition took its toll o f Fuchs as well. L a ter practice becam e m ore lax and was often content w ith analogies. . O n e gets the im pression that these term s occu r less frequently as his analysis proceeds. even the most d isconcertin g art forms as logical. But he can still describe the fabulous creatures o f the T ’ an g period w ith w ings o f flam e and horns as absolutely logical. O b viou sly. M a r x ’s classic historical d ialectic takes the existence o f causal dependencies as given. T h e course o f art history is seen as necessary. . “ In both epochs the econom ic basis was the same. organic. Th is kind o f treatm ent rests on mere a n a lo g y — m ovem ent in trade as in sculpture: one m ight almost call it nom inalistic. the u n doubted causal connection b etw een being and consciousness. . Possibly this was linked to the am bition to replace bourgeois histories o f literature and art b y m aterialist works planned on an eq ually grand scale— a h allm ark o f the epoch th at was part o f the W ilh elm in e ethos. as the explanation o f m an y characteristics o f the Em pire. pp 41-42 . W e know w h at a 31 Tang-Plastik.So m uch is clear. Th is is the first ch ara c­ teristic it displays. is ap p licab le here as well. how ­ ever. So life and m ove­ ment come to the forefront in the art o f the T ’ ang period. It is well known that M a rx now here really d ivu lged how the relationship between super­ structure and infrastructure should be con ceived in in d ivid u al cases. So also Plek h an ov: “ W hen art. X X I V . . . “ T im e ” .” 31 T his was a series o f ideas that h ad the closest possible connection w ith the S ocial-D em ocratic doctrines o f the age. Tang-Plastik. Starting from an analysis o f Chinese horticulture. but in v a ria b ly an idea clo th ed in livin g. These are no m ere con ­ structs. in tuitive approach becom es prob­ lem atic w hen it attem pts to fulfill the dem ands o f a m aterialist analysis. the posture. prescribed epochs o f realism for tradin g states— for H ollan d o f the seventeenth cen tury as m uch as for C h in a o f the eighth and ninth centuries. b reath in g form . expressed in various ways. Die Neue £eit. . T h e re are some in term ediate stations between th em . . Plekhanov. too. h o w ev e r. Fuchs then turns to the new sculpture w hich em erged under T ’ ang rule. Fuchs goes on. for com m erce alw ays quickens life and m ovem ent. only in the . T h e m onum ental rigidity o f the H an style was relaxed : the anonym ous masters w ho created the new pottery responded to the m ovem ents o f m en and anim als. A ll that can be said w ith confidence is that he envisaged a series o f m ediations. “ Das franzosische M alerei im n eunzehnten Jahrhu n d ert vom Stan d pu n kt der m aterialistischen G eschichtsauffassung” . logical. are in this case not so easy to establish. w hich is created by the higher classes.

p 42. no such connection exists. T h a t is how trade has to approach the w orld and things if it w ants to master them econ om ically. Fuchs saw Renaissance this basis was at a h igh er stage o f developm ent.32 Y e t m any found satisfaction in theses that sorted historical processes into “ p h ysio lo g ical” and “ p a th o lo g ic a l” . But one w ould h ave to say that any connec­ tion w h ich claim s equal v alid ity for the art o f A n cien t C h in a and o f early m odern H ollan d appears questionable in principle. Both were founded on com m erce in com m odities. “ D ogm a und K la ssen k am p f” .Eduard Fuchs.” Tang-Plastik. F in ally trade itself appears as the subject o f the exercise o f art. T h e zenith .” Erotische Kunst. X I I I/ I . In those days a m an like Ferri could derive not ju st the principles b u t even the tactics o f Social D em o cra cy from n atu ra l laws. his political instincts as w ell as his co m b a tiv e n ature in clin ed him to the left. pp 70 9-710. this effect helped to keep the p a r ty ’s self-confidence intact and its figh tin g spirit unbroken. V en ice flourished because o f its trade. Fuchs w rites: “ T ra d e must calculate with given quantities and it can only take in to accoun t concrete and verifiable quantities. T h e aspect o f life we encounter in it is rather festive and sym bolic. In the tim e o f the persecution by Bism arck. A n arch ist deviations he blam ed on insufficient k n ow led ge o f geology and biology. T h e y can be felt th rou gh ou t his w ork. Collector and Historian j 6 g profound effect D arw in ism h ad on the d evelopm en t o f the socialist con cep tion o f history. in d irect prop ortion to the p a r ty ’s gro w in g relu ctan ce to risk w h at had been ach ieved in the struggle against capitalism . O n the other hand. “ D arw inism us und M arxism us” . com m ercial life in all stages o f its d evelop­ m ent dem ands a considerable sense o f reality. B ut as a theoretician he w as powerless to escape these influences. o f T itia n or o f V eronese could scarcely be called “ realistic in every respect” . I. p 574. T h e notion o f self-activity has sunk to a sad state here. Y e t the art o f Palm a V ec ch io . O n e m ay disregard the fact that a “ realistic” representation “ in every respect” cannot be found in art. T h e m aterialist cannot deduce any m anifestations o f style from this. L au fen berg. 32 K a r l K a u tsky. C onsequen tly its aesthetic outlook is in every respect realistic.33 S im ilarly. or claim ed that scientific m aterialism in the hands o f the p roletariat had “ a u to m a tica lly ” been prom oted to historical m aterialism . the trium ph o f the p arty was “ in­ e v ita b le ” . Die Neue £eit. in the epoch o f revisionism . X X V I I / I . 33 H . L ate r. S tu tt­ gart 1909. Die Neue & i t . as a glance at the R ep u b lic o f V en ice suffices to show. In effect. H istory began to look d eterm in istic. Fuchs alw ays held a lo o f from revisionism . the evo lu tio n ary view o f history laid increasing em phasis on develop­ ment. It is true that leaders like K a u tsk y took issue w ith such deviations. p 42. S tu tt­ gart 1895.

w ere invisible to lesser lights arou n d the turn o f the cen tu ry. and w hich are tod ay fam iliar even to the m ost m ediocre politician . In the p roletariat it could breed illusions. he m aintains.370 the progress o f hum an society as a process w hich “ can no m ore be held b ack than a glacier can be stopped in its in exorab le ad ­ v a n ce” . W h en C on d o rcet spread the doctrin e o f progress. I. It celebrated its trium ph in K a n t in the form o f “ spontaneity” . F u ch s’s con cep tion o f history is that celebrated by H u go in William Shakespeare: “ Progress is G o d ’s very footstep. no class can engage in p o litical action w ith a n y success. w ith o u t self-confidence. m ore questionable kind o f optim ism . p 3. T hese illusions in fact still form the b ack grou n d w hich F u ch s’s accou n t of the history o f art now and then reveals: “ T h e art o f our tim e” . and in technology in the form o f autom atic m achines. T h e echo o f the echo are those books in w h ich H u g o as orator speaks to posterity. But it m akes a difference w hether the optim ism is felt for the active strength o f the class. Social D em o cra cy in ­ clined tow ards the second. the bourgeoisie was on the brin k o f p o w er. Its echo was the orator V ic to r H ugo. T h e prospects o f incipient barbarism . “ has enriched us in a hu n d red w ays that in the most various directions go far b eyon d the achievem ents o f R enaissance art. . I.” U n iversal suffrage is the cosm ic clock b y w hich the pace o f that o f the idea is to be found in the eighteenth cen tury as m arkets started to be equalized. Y e t in the long run. and on M a rx in his predictions o f the course o f cap italist d evelopm ent. or for the circum stances in w hich it operates.” 35 6 T h e pathos that runs through F u ch s’s conception o f history is the d em ocratic pathos o f 1830. p 312. and the art o f the future w ill u n qu estion ab ly take us to still greater h eigh ts. 35 Erotische Kunst. 34 Karikatur. the p roletariat a hun dred years later was in a different position. w hich had daw n ed on Engels in his Condition o f the Working Class in England.34 T h e determ inist view is thus coupled w ith a robust optim ism .

But one looks in va in for the collector. raising the stan dard o f d em ocratic optim ism . O n e m igh t think that n othin g could h ave offered the rom an tic story-tellers a m ore tem p tin g subject. X I/ I. In this w a y he w as led. .Eduard Fuchs. O n e o f them was the illusion that “ all in tellectu al workers. II. T h is was the im age o f F ran ce that lived in M a r x and Engels. F uch s stands sq u arely in the d em ocratic trad ition in his special atta ch m en t to F ra n ce : the scene o f three great revolutions. 36 A . the earth in w h ich the C om m u n ard s lie buried. in clu d in g m aterially and socially prom i­ nent persons. Collector and Historian 3 7 1 step is m easured. Parts o f the speech by the la w yer for the defence h ave becom e as topical today as th ey w ere in 1893: he said “ he had to point out that the allegedly revolution ary passages in question are offset b y others w h ich are soothing and appeasing in ch aracter. p 652. w rote V ic to r H ugo. w h ich im proves on closer acq u ain ta n ce. “ E n tw e d e r-O d e r” . am ong the characters o f H o ffm an n . S tu ttgart 1893. this was how M e h rin g cam e to see it. the hom e o f exiles. M ax .37 was the co u n try as it appeared to Fuchs. and this. has not often been given its due. too. m oved b y dangerous if dom esticated passions. T h e figure o f the collector. espe­ cially in the case o f G e rh a rd t H a u p tm a n n . from the p u ffed -u p p rivy cou n cillor in his gold-frogged uniform dow n to the exhausted w age earner . . T h e poet in no w ay stands on the side o f the revolt. For it was “ an u n d en iab le fact that all w h o offer their services for m oney. p 238. should be considered proletarian s” . he rather perm its the v icto ry o f order through the in terven tion o f a handful o f soldiers” . Besides. the w ellspring o f u topian socialism . like M e h rin g.” 36 T h e ban ner raised b y V ic to r H u g o still w aves over the w ork o f Fuchs. as “ the v a n gu a rd o f culture and freed om ” . Q u in ce y or N erva l. “ Q u i vote regn e” . Die Neue £«/. the fatherlan d o f the tyran t-haters Q u in et and M ich elet. . 38 M eh rin g com m ented on the trial occasioned by “ T h e W eavers” in Die Neue Zeit.38 F ra n ce is also a hom e for Fuchs the collector. F ranz M eh rin g. he com pares H ein e w ith those w h o stayed at hom e. p 780. he contrasts G erm an natu ralism w ith F rench satirical novels. “ Z u r Frage der O rgan isatio n des Proletariats der Intelligen z” . H e com pares the w in g ed irony o f the F ren ch w ith heavy-footed G erm an rid icu le. are defenceless victim s o f cap i­ ta lism . 37 Karikatur. to m ake sound predictions. T h is optim ism long con ­ tinued to b eget strange fantasies.

Indeed. T h e most significan t thing is this: no m atter how m uch we learn a b ou t the objects in the collection for w h ich Pons lives. . B alzac raised a m on u ­ m ent to him w h ich is in no w a y rom an tic. they heed neither the w om en nor the shop w indow s. o f the fldneur.— T h ese people are m illionaires. the w a y any collector can be seen.” 39 B a lza c ’s picture o f the co llector com es closer to Fuchs. Paris 1925. T h ere is no passage in Le Cousin Pons to com pare w ith the pages from the d iary o f the G on co u rt B rothers w here they describe the breath -takin g excitem ent o f a rare find. to the passionate intensity o f his interests. p o in tin g to the very q uick o f the m an. then. p 162. w h ich from the n ew svendor to the literary lion allow ed no other figu re o f the Paris w axw orks u nder Louis P h ilip p e to escape them . their pockets are em pty. an Elie M agu s. . w ho are very poorly dressed . H e had alw ays been a stranger to rom an ce. T h e y are collectors. w ho are very poorly dressed. . than one could h ave expected from a rom an tic. T h e y w a lk along as i f in a dream . H e talks abou t Paris. A ll the m ore significant. and he uses millionaire as a synonym for collector. Y o u w ill seek him in vain in the “ P hysiologies” . his Elie M agu s. T h e feverish exaltation that fills his Pons. the gam b ler. the m ost passionate people that w alk the e a rth . T h e collector is not a m o n g their num ber. the virtuoso. w e are told v irtu a lly n othin g a b ou t how they w ere acq u ired. . he was a B alzacian figure w ho ou tgrew the a u th o r’s conception . he says. T h ere are few passages in his w ork w here the anti-rom an tic position is given its d u e as a m azin gly as in the sketch o f Cousin Pons. . “ T h e r e ” . is the place occupied by the collector in B alzac. B a lza c puts the w hole em phasis on the possessor. one m ay say th at Fuchs as a co llector w as truly B a lza cia n .37 * T h e traveller is a rom an tic figure. and you w on d er to w hat class o f Parisians they a ctu a lly b e lo n g . Le Cousin Pons. . B alza c does not p o rtray the hunter out in the bush track in g dow n his q u arry. W h a t could be m ore in keeping w ith th at conception than a collector 39 H on ors de B alzac. T h e y look as if they cared for n othin g and bothered a b ou t n oth in g. their ga ze is blan k. T h e y look as if they gu ard w ith tireless vigilan ce. “ you can often m eet a Pons.

w hich is n oticeab le even in the lu x u ria n t red u n d a n cy o f his texts. in each o f his w orks. he w ou ld put them on sale in the form o f reproduction s. L ater.500 o f them . D ela cro ix throw s epics onto the can vas. it was also the exhibition ism o f the great collector that prom pted Fuchs.000 years o f h u m an history. “ A lm ost all leaders o f the school o f 1830” . Les Heros et les Pitres. he had p rovided a livin g for 8. D u m as published an ap p eal to the workers o f Paris. he said. to publish exclu sively un publish ed pictures. in order to pick out some 1. d raw n alm ost exclu sively from his ow n collections. w ere such that m erely in order to b rin g his collections before the p u b lic eye. .000 items.160 p eople: proofreaders and typesetters. T h e y all have backs for w hich no b u rd en is too h e a v y . he had prod uced 400 novels and 35 p lays. Collector and Historian 373 whose pride. the sam e fertility. and the sam e pen ch an t for the grandiose. a n d — a no less B alzacian tw ist— in this w a y becam e a rich m an ? It was not ju st the conscientious­ ness o f a m an w ho know s h im self to be a custodian o f treasures. 40 E d o u ard D rum ont. m ach in e operators and cloakroom a tten d a n ts. In tw enty years. T h e vo lu m e o f his d ocu m en tation and the b read th o f his grasp belon g together.” Fuchs is an exam ple o f the ramasseur typ e. T h e feeling w ith w h ich the w orld historian Fuchs laid the econ om ic foundations o f his m agn ificen t collections is perhaps not altogeth er unlike this amour propre o f D um as. B alzac portrays an entire society. pp 107-108. “ had the sam e extra o rd in ary constitution.Eduard Fuchs. D u m a s’s novels range over 4. as ch aracterized b y D rum on t. he takes a R a b elaisia n jo y in q u an tity. these foundations w ere to give him alm ost as free a hand in the Paris m arket as in his ow n p riva te preserves. Paris.” 40 W hen the revo lu ­ tion cam e in 1848. he even spares a th ou ght for the claq u e. For the first vo lu m e o f Caricature o f the European Peoples alone he brou gh t together no few er than 68. H e never h ad an y item rep rod u ced in m ore than one single place. T h e ch airm an o f the Paris art dealers used to say o f him aroun d the turn o f the cen tu ry : “ C ’ est le M onsieur qui m ange tout P aris. whose expansiveness. in w hich he presented h im self as their like. B oth show him to be a true descendant o f the race o f bourgeois giants aroun d 1830. w rites D ru m o n t.

A t the tim e he was w ritin g his book. like history but unlike fiction. im petu ou s side o f their natures get­ ting the better o f the m ore con tem p lative. receptive side. those whose ow n inn er life was the m easure o f their outer experience. does not instruct even the most ligh t-h earted and optim istic in a superficial joie de vivre. w ith the aid o f G ervin us him self. G ervinus argued . b ut surely to a stern view o f the w orld and serious principles a b ou t life . “ W h a t Schlosser could and w ould h a ve retorted to such rep roach es” . T h e m oral austerity w h ich is typical o f Fuchs the historiographer gives him the T e u to n ic stam p — just as it did G ervin u s. G . Friedrich Christoph Schlosser: Ein JVekrolog. C . L eip zig 1861. on the G erm an side that o f the historian. a D an te. It is characteristic o f G ervin u s. whose History o f National Poetic Literature could be called one o f the first attem pts at a history o f G erm an thought.374 7 Fuchs’ pedigree on the French side is th at o f the collector. m asculine. he argued for the p o litical energies o f art in an epoch w hen they w ere d w in d ­ ling daily. as far as the eighteenth century. “ w ould be this: that in general life. the im pression prod uced at least on a Shakespeare. its art abou n d ed in political energies. B ut his criteria w ere still the same as those o f G ervin us. Fuchs w rote in the age o f im perialism . and later o f Fuchs too. In d eed . fem inine. whose com m em orative address on F. the bourgeoisie was in the a sce n d a n t. Schlosser gave resoun ding expression to the un­ bendin g rectitud e o f the bourgeoisie in the age o f revolution. to a disdainful mis­ anth rop y. A d m itted ly this was easier for G ervin u s. o f course. that they represent the great creative m inds so to say in m artial gu ise— the active. G ervinus. that the con tem plation o f life and history is con d u cive not. a M a ch iav e lli— has alw ays been con d u cive to ju st such seriousness and sternness. they can be traced b ack further. PP 3 ° “ 3 i- .” 41 T h a t is the origin o f F u ch s’s m oralism : a G erm an 41 G. Schlosser had been reproach ed w ith a “ dour p u ritan ism ” . that the im pression prod u ced b y existence on the greatest o f all those w ho h ave ju d g e d the w orld and m en.

H is m oralism was n atu rally d epicted w ith particu lar em phasis in an expert testim onial subm itted in the course o f one o f his trials. C onscience is concern ed w ith altruism . T h is deeply serious outlook on life. this bourgeois m oralism contains ele­ ments th at conflict w ith F u ch s’s m aterialism . that the bourgeois revo lu tion s— as celeb rated b y the bourgeoisie itse lf— w ere the d irect ancestors o f a p roletarian revolu tion. I f the latter go along w ith this ad vice. T h e b eh a vio u r o f the bourgeoisie. It advises the prop erty-ow n er to act in a cco rd an ce w ith concepts whose ap p licatio n is ind irectly a d v a n ­ tageous to his fellow property-ow ners. Les Moderes. 1936. Collector and Historian 3 75 J aco b in ism .43 F or a decisive counter to this.Eduard Fuchs. is alone enough to protect him against the suspicion o f any profiteering speculation. 43 T h is revision has been in au gu rated by M ax H orkheim er in his essay “ Egoism us und F reih eitsb ew egu n g” . the usefulness o f their beh aviou r to the property-ow ners is 42 T h is elem ent in F u chs’s w ork proved useful w hen the im perial prosecutors started to accuse him o f “ d istribu ting obscene w ritin gs” . T h is w as an illusion. w h eth er o f R o b esp ierre’s citoyen. Its golden threads w ere spun by m orality.Y cole adm irative de la terreur” . A n yon e w h o knows the m an and his en ligh tened idealism must sm ile at the very id ea ” . its most im portan t passage reads as follow s: “ Fuchs seriously considers h im self a preach er o f m orals and an educator. I f Fuchs had realized this. It was based on the w idespread view . p 161 ff. all o f w h ich w itho ut exception ended in his acqu ittal. . and it cheerfully advises n on-p rop erty-ow ners to do likew ise. V . one m ust look to the spiritualism that runs through these revolutions. T h e d ocu ­ ments assem bled by H orkh eim er find confirm ation in a series o f interesting m aterials on w hich the U ltra A b e l B onnard bases his charges against those b ou r­ geois historians o f the F rench R evolu tio n w hom C h a tea u b rian d calls '' I . See A b e l B onnard. or o f K a n t ’s citizen o f the w orld. W ritten by F edor von Z ob eltitz. this inner conviction th at his w ork in the service o f the history o f hum an ity must be inform ed by the highest m orality. whose m em orial is Schlosser’s w orld history. Its touchstone is the in­ d ivid u a l conscience. w hich Fuchs cam e to know in his y ou th . Paris. pp 179 ff. T h e m orality o f the bou rgeo isie— the reign o f terror is a lrea d y sy m p to m atic— is inn er-d irected. w hich tended to ad van ce its ow n interests bu t was d ep en dent on co m p le­ m en tary action by the p roletariat that did not correspond to its interests. m uch in need o f revision. he m ight perhaps h ave succeeded in m u tin g the clash.42 As is h a rd ly surprising. p roclaim ed conscience the arbiter o f m orality. Zeitschrift fu r Sozialforschung. B ut he w as con vin ced that his m oralistic view o f history was in perfect a ccord w ith historical m aterialism .

F u chs misses this point. p n . H en ce this beh aviou r bears the price tag o f virtue. T h is is obvious in Fuchs w hen he says: “ A rt is in all essentials the id ealized mask o f a p a rticu la r social order. II/I. . . T h is is how class m orality gets its w ay. but also becau se he w ill not fail to notice that it sustains the bond betw een m oral disorder and econom ic an arch y. N ot only because he perceives this con cep t to be a carrier o f bou r­ geois class m orality. T h e re b y he feels he can rise ab ove the need to inqu ire into the real state o f affairs. . p 30. Its id eology seems to him a tissue o f lies. M ore recent M arxists have at least hin ted at the truth o f the m atter. 45 N orbert G u term an and Henri L efebvre. w ho m ade excessive use o f bona fides: “ Bourgeois . or at best their obtuseness.” 44 It does not occu r to Fuchs to in d ict the very notion o f bona fides (good conscience). . Paris 1936. P I5 I 46 Erotische Kunst. lead to an over­ estim ation o f the role o f conscious elem ents in the form ation o f ideology. For it is an eternal law . T h e b ourgeoisie was not so grea tly in need o f consciousness in order to erect this class m orality as is the pro­ letariat in order to overturn it.” 46 H ere w e approach the essential m isunderstanding. . Y e t that w ou ld be the n atural reaction o f a historical m aterialist. La Conscience mystijiee. B ut it does so unconsciously. It consists in the idea that the m ain reason w h y exp lo itatio n gives rise to a false con ­ 44 Der Maler Daumier. “ th at is talked abou t the subjective honesty o f the ju d ges even in the m ost shameless class ju d gm en ts m erely dem onstrates the lack o f ch ara cter o f those w ho say or w rite such things.” 45 T reatm en ts w h ich focus on the conscious interests o f individuals. . T h u s it has been rem arked o f the politics o f L am artin e. is professionally upright.376 the more im m ed iately visible the m ore questionable it is for those so b eh avin g and for their class. T h e d e m o c r a t. that every ru lin g p o litical or social order strives to idealize itself. needs this value. rath er than on the often unconscious reactions o f their class to its position in the p rod u ction process. . “ T h e sanctim onious d riv e l” . in order m orally to ju stify its existen ce. since he believes it his d u ty to direct his attacks against the conscience o f the bourgeoisie. . d em ocracy . . he says.

8 P sychoanalysis. too. . is that a true consciousness w ould be m orally burdensom e to them . their sense o f d u ty is n othin g but the unconscious expression o f this deform ity. w hen the class struggle has p o w erfully invested the entire bourgeois w ay o f life. H e does a llow in principle th at one can speak “ o f m orality and im m orality on ly in relative term s” . Collector and Historian 377 sciousness. I. “ T h e frightful book o f the M arqu is de Sade. p 188. at least on the p a rt o f the exploiters. w ho are alw ays cap ab le o f developm ent. pp 201-202). p 43. C h aracteristic o f this view is w h at Fuchs regard ed as the historically in evitab le victo ry o f “ the masses. lay open in all shop w in dow s. . B etw een the ru lin g powers o f econom ic life and the exp loited there arises an a rray o f ju d icia l and a d ­ m inistrative b ureaucracies.” Barras expressed “ the desolate fantasy o f the shameless lib ertin e.e. But in the very next breath he decrees an excep tion for the “ absolute im m o rality ” exem p lified by “ offences against the social instincts o f society. 48 Karikatur. For reification not on ly obscures relations am on g people. I. it also befogs the real subjects o f such relations. . His verd ict on sexu ality: “ A ll forms o f sensual b eh a vio u r that m anifest the creative prin ciple inh eren t in this law o f life are justified. But the “ bad conscien ce” o f the p rivileged is certain ly not selfevid en t as regards the earlier forms o f exp loitation. its plates as b ad as they were infam ous. it can be said o f Fuchs that 47 Ibid. over degen erate in d iv id u a lity ” . T his thesis m ay have some lim ited v a lid ity in the present d ay. His m oral-historical im age o f the D irecto ry has traits rem iniscent o f a p op u lar ballad.Eduard Fuchs. failed to shake the m oralism that left its m ark on F u ch s’s historical m aterialism . w hich debase this highest o f in­ stincts to a m ere instrum ent o f sophisticated pleasure-seeking. I.48 In short. T hose forms are to be cond em ned on the oth er hand. . i. whose m em bers no longer function as fully responsible m oral subjects.” 47 T his m oralism bears an o b viou sly bourgeois stam p. A proper m is­ trust for the bourgeois proscription o f pure sexual pleasure and the m ore or less fantastic w ays it is created rem ain ed outside F u ch s’s exp erience.” (Karikatur. offences that are so to speak against n atu re” .

T h e anim al turns aw ay from the lushest fodder and the clearest stream w hen its hunger and thirst are assuaged.37 8 he “ does not ch allen ge the leg itim acy o f con d em n in g a lleged ly corrupt instincts. . For the repressions it induces in the masses generate sado-m asochistic com plexes to w hich the ru lin g powers deliver u p those objects best suited to their purposes. H u m an beings are en tirely different. “ Egoismus und F reih eitsbew egun g” . . A ll the more significant. It is a b rillian t ap ologia for the orgy. . o f erect posture? W ith its appearan ce. p 166. . . . the partners can for the first tim e in natural history look into each oth er’s eyes d urin g orgasm . Fuchs n eglected to u n dertak e their social critiq u e.50 T h e force o f F uchs’s psycho-sexual observations lies in the ideas he uses to criticize con ven tion al standards. T h erew ith the orgy becom es possible. For them there is sim ply no such th in g as en ou gh ” . . N ot through an increase in visual attractions. w hich Fuchs sees in the orgy. W ou ld it be too rash to link the threshold between h um an and anim al. II. it m ust be understood that the orgy is one o f the signs that distinguish us from anim als. and its sexual d rive is m ostly restricted to b rie f and clearly defined periods o f the year. 50 Erotische Kunst . anim als do not h ave orgies. p 283. esp ecially creative hu m an beings. By con ­ trast w ith m an. directly to th at o ther threshold. T h is is w here the taboo on m ore or less w ide areas o f sexual pleasure com es in. in clu d in g erotic fantasy. 4. w hich he rig h tly sees as “ a revolu tion o f n arro w ­ m indedness” . w an t fantasy. in an aside on n atural history.49 E lu cid atio n o f the psycho-sexual problem is th ereby ham pered — a problem w h ich has assum ed p a rticu la r im portance since the bourgeoisie assum ed pow er. It is these ideas th at en able him to dispel certain petty-bourgeois illusions— the fa lla cy o f nudism for instance.9 M a x H orkheim er. bu t rather the usual view o f their history and their exten t” . A coeval o f Fuchs. W ed ekin d . but rather because the expression o f satiety and even im potence can now becom e an erotic stim ulan t itself. to p la y a role in dress. looked into these con n ec­ tions. H ere Fuchs is on the track o f an im portant pheno­ menon. then. . A c c o rd in g to Fuchs “ orgiastic pleasure is am on g the most valu able tendencies o f culture . is the passage w here he m akes good this omission. “ M a n is h ap p ily no lon ger a beast o f the field and we .

J u st as fashion articu lates the nuances o f status.52 In cid e n ta lly. pp 53-54. announces “ how people m ean to carry on the business o f p u b lic m o ra lity ” . 52 Ibid. there is scarcely any subject that lends itself better to the a u th o r’s threefold in terest— the historical.” Ibid. o f in vestigatin g fashion m erely from the aesthetic and erotic stan d ­ points. Fashion. than the sight o f nakedness in the photograph itself. . I II . I f there is an yth in g sexually arousing here. T h is can be seen in his very definition o f it. . H e now w rites: “ T h e fact th at thousands o f people becom e sexually excited at the sight o f a fem ale or m ale nude ph otograph . w hich seeks to increase its sales potential throu gh repeated changes o f fashion . p 269. . proves th at the eye is no longer ca p ab le o f perceivin g the harm onious w hole but only the piqu an t d eta il. T h is is probab ly the effect in tended by most o f these photographs. it is m ore the idea o f the naked b od y d isplayed before the cam era. and the ero tic— than does fashion.53 T h e cult o f creativity. the second is “ the priva te capitalist m ode o f p ro d u ctio n ” .Eduard Fuchs. though a d m itted ly w ith o u t correctin g it. Erganzungsband. com ­ m on am on g interpreters o f m anners (think o f M a x von B oehn). . In the third vo lu m e o f his history o f m anners Fuchs d evoted a long essay to fashion. w h ich is cou ched in terms rem iniscent o f K a rl K rau s. A few pages later this confident ju d g m en t dis­ a p p ears— p ro o f o f the force w ith w h ich it had to be wrested aw ay from convention. p 234. T h e y en riched his o rigin ally b io logically-d eterm in ed conception . Fuchs did not fall into the error. But his con cep tion o f the erotic rem ained close to a rigorous. 53 Ibid. H e did not fail to note its role as an instrum ent o f d om in a­ tion. d rew fresh n ourishm ent from his psych oan alytic studies. In d eed . III. p 189. in third place w e m ust not forget “ the e ro tica lly stim ulatin g purposes o f fashion” .” 51 F u ch s’s psychological and historical outlook proved very fruitful for the history o f clothing. so is its m ain fun ction to supervise the grosser class differences. whose argu m en t the su p plem en tary volu m e sum m arized in a list o f its key elem ents. I II . the social. b io­ 51 Sittengeschichte. says Fuchs in his history o f m anners. Collector and Historian jy g W h a t w e do not w an t is a social organ ization o f hu m anity t h a t . w h ich runs through the w hole o f F u ch s’s w ork. Fuchs enthusiastically espoused the theory o f the erotic origin o f the creative im pulse. . T h e first such elem ent is “ the interests o f class d istin ctio n ” . depraves all this.

” Erotische Kunst. Indeed it is sensuousness in its most potent form. w h ich traces its historical equivalents. . for the parad e grou n d allow s o f no ‘ Stand easy’ . A rt is sensuousness becom e form. it had to m atch the content o f the pictu res. T h e colou r had to be harsh . T h e w hole body is tense. p 390. p 223.” 56 F u ch s’s deepest insights into the realm o fsym z bols w ere prom pted by D au m ier. A rt is sensuousness. brassy effect . Just as historical m aterialism . .rik. in his m asterly description o f the gra p h ic art o f the revo lu tion ary p eriod : “ E very th in g is taut. “ T h e cult o f the clothed foot and leg m irrors the d om inion o f w om an over m an .” 55 M o re exp licit is a revealin g observation on fetishism . H e steered clear as far as possible o f the theory o f repression and the com plexes. His com m ent on the trees in D a u m ie r’s paintings is one o f the happiest finds o f his w hole w ork. W h en that happens. 56 Erotische Kunst. As w ith line. T h e pictures produce a cold . - . . . I. so w ith colour. the w orship o f the breast m irrors the role o f w om an as the object o f m an ’s p leasu re. I. m etallic.3#° lo gically determ ined view o f sensuality. 55 Ka. so he saw the creative im pulse as lyin g closer to conscious sensuous intention than to the unconscious im ag in a ­ tion . . “ T h e essence o f art is: sensousness. p 6 i. w h ich m ight perhaps have m odified his m oralistic view o f social and sexual rela­ tions. his w ritin g is filled w ith it. as revealed by F reud in The Interpretation o f Dreams. Fuchs ackn ow ledges only w here he feels a strong sense o f personal iden tification . even w hen any reference to it is avoided. rigid. w hereas the grow in g in ci­ dence o f breast fetishism points to a reverse trend. People do not lie. T h u s. E ven w hen they sit. m ilitary. . . as id eology is im m ediate expression o f interests. It turns out that “ the increasing incid en ce o f shoe and foot fetishism ” appears to point to “ the substitution o f the cult o f the vu lv a for the cu lt o f the p h allu s” . becom e visible. II.atur. in F u ch s’s un derstan ding. by contrast w ith those o f the r o c o c o . at the sam e tim e the highest and noblest sensuousness. like an arrow on the bow string. traced the origin o f things to the conscious econom ic interest o f the in d ivid u al rath er than to the interests o f the class unconsciously at w ork w ithin him .54 T h e sym bolic significance o f erotic im agery. 54 For Fuchs art is im m ediate sensuousness. it is as if they w ere abou t to spring up.

and the still life. T h e y thus form an im p en etrab le ro o f that keeps from harm all w ho have sought their p ro te ctio n .” 57 T h is lovely im age leads Fuchs on to the d om inan ce o f the m atern al in D a u m ie r’s w ork. as Fuchs observes. pu gnaciou s side o f D au m ier. w hich ex­ presses D a u m ie r’s sense o f social responsibility and his conviction that it is society’s d uty to protect the in d iv id u a l . H is concep tion . the an im al painting. I f he perceived the m atern al in D a u m ie r’s art and v iv id ly conveyed it to his readers. O r w o u ld it be too d arin g to seek the source o f D a u m ie r’s great caricatu res in a q u estio n : how . H e rig h tly pointed out that D a u m ie r’s w ork is lack in g in the id y llic. . . is closely akin to the scu lp to r’s. H is highest enthusiasm is aroused b y the a th letic tension o f the w h ole b od y. D au m ie r depicts trees w ith outspread branches. T h is is in no w a y con trad icted b y the fact that perhaps n obod y has d ep icted the utter en ervation o f the b od y m ore arrestingly than D au m ier. its m u scu lar excitem ents. . W h a t rea lly im pressed Fuchs a b ou t D au m ie r was the elem ent o f classical conflict in him . A n d so he w a yla y s the types offered him by his tim e and 57 Der Maler Daumier. H e certain ly grasped the b read th and livin g con trad iction o f the m a n ’s character. T h e figure o f D au m ie r accom p an ied him throu gh his w o rk in g life. 9 N o one becam e m ore alive for Fuchs than D au m ier.Eduard Fuchs. the m asculine. w ou ld the bourgeois o f m y tim e look i f one w ere to conceive their struggle for existence so to speak in terms o f a palaestra? D a u m ie r translated the p u b lic and private life o f the Parisians into the lan gu a g e o f the agon. one cou ld alm ost say that it was th rou gh him that Fuchs becam e a d ialecti­ cian. especially w hen som eone is stan din g or resting beneath. T y p ic a lly . not on ly the lan d scap e. . th ey seem to reach out for the infinite. . D au m ier seems to ask. T h e branches o f such trees extend like a g ia n t’s arm s. but also the erotic m o tif and the self-portrait. the agonistic elem ent. he w as no less aw are o f the other pole. . p 30. Collector and Historian j 8i H e sees them as “ a q u ite u n iq u e sym bolic form .

” 59 58 C o m pare the follow ing reflection: “ M y observations have led me to conclude that the d om in ant elements in each artist’s palette can be seen w ith particu lar clarity in his erotically pointed paintings. so fam iliar was it to him — as can only occu r w ith a painting one has had in m ind for years. Perhaps it offers a solution to the rid d le that had a lrea d y teased B au d elaire: how was it th at the m aster’s caricatures. and all his energies com e alive. “ en gaged in the most co n cen trated looking. T h e fam ous “ A rt E x p ert” . how ever sm all. T h e elegaic hu m ou r w ith w h ich D au m ier likes to approach the G reek pan theon points m ore d irectly to this inspira­ tion. must be num bered am ong the figures in question. or look no less inten tly into their ow n inn er selves. or con tem p late p a rticu la r things. rem ained unnoticed. H ere . for all their force and penetration. the least evident discolorations o f shadow . they acqu ire their highest lum inosity.382 puts them on show in a convulsed travesty o f O ly m p ic cham pions. A sketch. every painter sets abou t the execu tion o f his pictures at the very spot w here he in stin ctively feels m ost in v o lv e d .” Die grossen Meister der Erotik. he says. so fleeting that to call it unfinished w ou ld be a euphem ism . alerts Fuchs to the fact that here the p a in ter’s central interest is in play. N o variatio n . . O n e d ay Fuchs was shown a hitherto unknow n version o f the pain ting. O n ly so could he discern the most covert uncertainties of contour. Y e t the w ay he did so suggested th at he could w ell h ave dispensed w ith it. For. T h a t the sketch is restricted to this part. It shows on ly the u p p er h a lf o f a head. to authenticate it. that it presents only a person looking. .58 “ T h ere are in n u m er­ able figures in D a u m ie r’s p ain tin gs” . suffices to give Fuchs a deep insight into D a u m ie r’s prod uctive m ania. w h eth er they gaze into the distance. the slightest deflections o f line. as he sought to determ ine w hether each w as the product o f the m aster’s hand or that o f im potence. It is above all the studies o f ju d ges and law yers that m ay be seen in this light. 59 Der Maler Daumier. H e picked up the m ain representation o f the m otif in a good reproduction and then proceeded to a very instructive com parison. w hich enabled him to place the p a in tin g— not as a forgery but as a good old copy w hich m ight h ave been the w ork o f an a d m ire r. D oubtless this was the case for Fuchs. A g a in and again Fuchs reverted to the original. T h ere is no other subject th a t struck such sparks o f insight from his connoisseur’s intelligence. in w h ich the eyes and nose alone speak. D a u m ie r’s people look literally w ith the tip o f their nose. a w ater colour in several versions. p 14. cou ld yet be so free o f ran co u r ? Fuchs has on ly to speak o f D au m ier. p 18. . H ere the least im pulse can set him off. says Fuchs in his w ork on the artist.

Fuchs rem arks w ith justified prid e that it was not the state b u t he him self. But th at does not alter the fact that because o f it w e get on ly a very im perfect conception o f the cu ltu re o f the past. H e was no less the co lle cto r’s luckiest strike. M arolles was the first to recogn ize the im p ortan ce o f prints: his 125. the collector was in trod u ced by L a B ruyere into literatu re (and at once u n flatterin gly). T h e collector’s passion gives him a d ivin in g rod th at guides him to new sources. T h e sevenvo lu m e catalogu e o f his collections. I f p u b lic collections m ay be socially less p ro b lem a tic and scien tifically m ore useful th an private ones. says Fuchs. H e is not alone am ong the great collectors in his aversion to m useum s. A great exam ple on the threshold o f the m od em age is the hum anists. T h e G on cou rts preced ed him in this. and on ly v ery rarely in its m ostly sh ab b y w o rk a d a y clothes. 60 Dachreiter.Eduard Fuchs. . W e see it dressed up in its S u n d a y best. T h is w as true o f Fuchs. T h e y had con cen trated on so-called showpieces. they h ave not the la tter’s biggest ad va n ta ge. they un dertook the tran sfigu ration o f the interior ju st as it h ad exp ired . W ith M arolles. “ to d a y ’s m useum is lim ited to this kind o f collectin g if only for reasons o f space. th a t started the first collections o f D au m ie r (and G a va rn i) in G erm an y. But as a rule collectors have been gu id ed b y the ob ject itself. published b y C o u n t C ay lu s in the follow in g century. “ O f course” . and it w as therefore in evitab le that he should feel h im self at odds w ith the spirit that p revailed in the museum s u n der W ilh elm II. their distaste w as even m ore vehem ent. is the first great a ch ievem en t o f arch aeology. pp 5-6.000 piece collection forms the groun d floor o f the C ab in et des Estam pes. Collector and Historian 383 10 D au m ie r was the happiest subject for the scholar. T h e re are ex cep tio n s: the G oncourts w ere not after objects so m uch as the ensem ble th at was to house th em .” 60 T h e great collectors are u su ally distinguished by the origin ality o f their choice o f object. whose G reek acquisitions and travels testify to the single­ m indedness w ith w hich th ey collected. the m odel for D am o ced e. on his ow n initiative.

T h e fetish o f the art m arket is the old m aster’s nam e. from w h ich it had been so com pletely cut o ff that the place w here he cam e upon it was the art m arket. .3&4 T h e gem collection o f von Stosch w as catalogu ed by W in ck elm an n .” 61 Fuchs was one o f the first to elu cid ate the special ch aracter o f mass art. “ the fact that in no single instance do w e know the in d ivid u al creator o f such a w ork. the collection itself som etim es was. T h is happ en ed w ith the collection o f W a llr a f and Boisseree. shrunk to m ere m er­ chandise. T h e y represent the techn o­ logical poten tial o f the period concern ed and are . system atic. p 44. as far rem oved from those w ho prod u ced it as from those w ho w ere cap ab le o f u n derstan d in g it. E ven w here the scientific con ­ ception p u rp o rted ly em bodied in such collections was not destined to last. also regu larly produces a change in the techniques o f gra p h ic reproduction . it yet survived. “ E very age has its ow n qu ite specific techniques o f reproduction . Fuchs belongs in the ranks o f these great. It is therefore no cause for w on d er that every m ajor historical u p h ea va l that brings oth er classes to pow er than those w ho have ru led hitherto. T h e study o f mass art necessarily leads to the question o f the techn ical reprod uction o f works o f art. whose founders. is an im p ortan t p ro o f that w hat we confront here is never the experience o f a p a rticu la r artist. . and w ith it im pulses he had received from historical m aterialism . w here. laid the foundations o f the C ologne M useum w ith their G erm an paintings o f the M id d le Ages. says Fuchs abou t the sculp­ ture o f the T ’ an g period. on com m ission from the collector. a response to the requirem ents o f the tim e. H istorically it w ill perhaps be seen to have been Fuchs’ greatest service that he in itiated the em an cipation o f art history from the fetish o f the m aster’s nam e. “ T h e com plete a n on ym ity o f thtfse tom b furnishings” . basin g them ­ selves on the rom an tic N azaren e theory that the art o f C o lo g n e was inherited from that o f ancient R o m e. His idea was to restore the i w ork o f art to its existence in society. and un­ sw ervingly single-m inded collectors. T h is fact needs 61 Tang-Plastik. but rath er the w a y the w orld and things w ere seen in those days by society at la rg e . .

looking at the despised and a p o cry p h al was his strength. I. T h a t took a passion bord erin g on m ania. in w hat sense m ay best be seen by going through 62 Honore Daumier. p 142. T h e techn ical stan dard o f the arts is one o f the most im portan t criteria. M ass circu latio n means cheapness. 64 Karikatur. Collector and Historian 385 to be m ade p a rticu la rly c le a r . p 19. he says. P roper atten tion to it can m ake good some o f the havoc w ro u gh t in the usual view o f intellectu al history (and sometimes even in Fuchs him self) by the vague con ­ cept o f culture. apart from coins. T h e caricatu re was mass art. T h e d ay that Christ hit upon this sym bol he had a prem onition o f the art o f the book p rin ter. T ech n ica l con ­ siderations now and then lead him to lum inous aper^us that are ahead o f his tim e : as witness his exp lan ation o f the fact that there was no caricatu re in the an cien t w orld. p 13. T h ese thoughts m ay be com pared with V icto r H u g o ’s allegorical in terpretation o f the W ed d in g at C an a. “ T h e m iracle o f the loaves represents the m ultiplication o f readers. In them he pointed to subjects in whose study historical m aterialism can train itself. T h a t “ thousands o f the sim plest potters w ere cap ab le o f prod ucing. . “ W illiam Sh akespeare” . w ork that was both tech n ically and artistically d a rin g ” 63 quite rig h tly strikes Fuchs as concrete p ro o f o f the va lu e o f ancien t Chinese art. A n d he b eat his ow n path to them as a collector. N ot in F u ch s’s eyes. A n d w h at is F u ch s’ ex p la n a tio n ? C arica tu re. p 46. Paris 1934.” V ic to r H ugo. It left its m ark on F u ch s’s features. T h e excep tion proves the rule. But “ there was no cheap form o f reprod uction in the ancien t w orld.Eduard Fuchs. a path w h ich M arxism had done little m ore than broach. T h e idealistic view o f his­ tory w ou ld in evita b ly see this as corrob oratio n o f the classicist concep tion o f G r e e c e : its noble sim plicity and tran qu il greatness.” 64 T h e coin offers too sm all an area for caricatu re. cited by G eorges B atault. So there was no caricatu re in a n tiq u ity. I. so was genre painting.” 62 Fuchs was a pioneer w ith such insights. is a mass art. A m o n g these m any caricatures m ay be found. A m echanical technique o f reprodu ction served to produce terracotta figures. 63 Dachreiter. T h ere is no caricature w ith ou t the mass circu latio n o f its products. T his m ade forms a lrea d y held in low esteem b y con ven tion al art history seem even m ore contem ptible. Le pontife de la demagogic: Victor Hugo. literally o ff the cuff.

experim ents w ith chem icals in w hich the planets and elem ents com bine to form im ages o f spiritual m an. w hile satisfying the base wish for possession. even to the very build. he w rites. so did this collector. p 45.65 As a collector Fuchs is one o f their kind.” 66 W h e th er such contem plation o f u n ­ know n craftsm en and the w ork o f their hands does not contribu te more to the h u m an izin g o f m an kin d than the cult o f the leader. A n d ju st as the alchem ist. E ven in the late books one can feel the passionate interest Fuchs took in these im ages. “ that they represent an anonym ous folk art. and their eyes b laze fire. o f adm irers o f p ain tin g and connoisseurs o f sculpture. like so m uch about w h ich the past has v a in ly sought to instruct us.3 86 D a u m ie r’s lon g series o f lithographs o f art-lovers and dealers. M u n ich 1908. w ith his base wish to m ake gold. 66 Dachreiter. p 113. T h e y are tall. T h e y resem ble Fuchs. “ It is not the least glo ry o f the Chinese ridge tu rrets” . u n dertake the exploration o f an art in whose creations the prod u ctive forces and the masses com bin e to form im ages o f historical m an. that. . Honore Daumier. It has been not in a p tly rem arked that in these figures D au m ier conceived the descendants o f the gold-seekers. T h ere are no heroic epics to celebrate their creato rs. only the 1937 65 See E rich Klossow ski. gau n t figures. necrom ancers and misers to be found in the paintings o f the old masters. w hich is ap p a ren tly once m ore to be inflicted on it future can tell.

X L V I I . C o llecto r and H istorian ” : ^ eitschriflfur Sozialforschung. 1925. L X X V I I . 1932. in four instalm ents. T exts unpublished in B en ja m in ’s life-tim e first appeared post­ hum ously th u s : “ O n L a n g u a g e as Such and on the L an g u a g e o f M a n ” : Schriften. I. V o l. Berlin 1928. V . A u gu st 19. 1931. I. 1931. “ S u rrealism ” : Literarische W elt. X X I I . in three instalm ents. II. 1931. “ T h eo lo gico -P o litica l F ra g m e n t” : Schriften. “ N a p les” : Frankfurter ^eitung. 1927. “ M arseilles” : Neue Schweizer Rundschau. 1920/1921. I. “ H ashish in M arseilles” : Frankfurter ^eitung. “ C ritiq u e o f V io le n c e ” : Archiv fu r Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik. Su h rk am p V e rla g . “ F ate and C h a ra c te r” : D ie Argonauten. “ T h e D estructive C h a r a c te r ” : Frankfurter /jitu n g . F ran kfu rt I9 5 5 - . “ E d u a rd Fuchs. R o w o h lt. V o l. 1929. D ecem ­ ber 4.Bibliographical Note T h e first pu b lication o f the texts included in this volum e was as fo llo w s: “ O n e -W a y S treet” : Einbahnstrasse. “ M o sco w ” : D ie Kreatur. L X X . 1929. in four instalm ents. “ A Sm all H istory o f P h o to g ra p h y ” : Literarische Welt. V I I . N o vem b er 20. “ K a r l K r a u s ” : Frankfurter ^eitung. F ran kfu rt 1955. L X X V I . O c to b e r 1937. 1921. L X X V I .

388 “ O n the M im e tic F a c u lty ” : Schriften. I. . edited b y Gershom Scholem . “A Berlin C h ro n ic le ” : Berliner Chronik. S u hrkam p V erla g . Frankfurt 1970. Frankfurt 1955. V o l.

382 B ayard . 37 and n A lte n b e rg. 236 389 .Index A b b o t. 241. 375n Bossert. 280 Belm ore. 249 and n. 245 Breton. 27. 312 B errich on . 228 B aedeker. 226. H enri. 256 A u e rb a ch . 320 and n C ohn . 66 Bekessy.. 155 Bios. 184 B atau lt. 3 2 m C opernicus. M a x von. Berenice. 2 35 . 20. 24 and n. 150 and n Co hn . 271 B rentano. 24. 358n B aku n in . L u d w ig van . 18. A d o lf. 254 Bloy. 235 Bism arck. i5n B eraud . H onor6 de. H elm u t. 354 C alvin . 230. M artin . G u illau m e. 373 Barras. 230. K a rl. J o h a n n Sulpiz. 2 4 m Brahe. N icolaus. 276 C h a tea u b rian d . 225. 229. E ugene. K a rl. 131. Im re. de la B arca. Paul Francois de.. 242. 287 Co hen . Peter. L eon . H . 349. 379 Boisseree. 10. 246 Bebel. F erru ccio B envenuto. Georges. 235 C laudius. 226. 281 A p o llin aire. M ik h ail A . 350 C am eron. 25 and n. Francois Ren6 A u guste. 227. 364 Brecht. 354 Blossfeldt. A b e l. 357 B eethoven. 2 in A d orn o. D om in iq ue Francois. 238 A tget. 265. 232. 198 Buber. 249 B urkhardt. Pedro. 3 5 . 255. 230 C lau d el. 30. 32. 232. 256. Jako b. E m ile-A ntoine. G io rgio de. 22. J u lia M argaret. 272 A d orn o. 184 Bastian. F rank. 33. 229. 377n B artram . L u cien . 278 Boehn. O tto von. 9. B ern h ard von. 225. J u lia . 372 and n. A ndrS. 227. 103 Corbusier. 369 B loch . 268. A lfred . R ich a rd . D . 384 Bonnard. 8. W ilh elm .. P au l. 375n Ch irico. 233. 168 B ach. 250. 7. Paterne. 385n B aud elaire. 231.236 A ra g o . 100 C a lib a n . Louis. 31. T y ch o . 228. 353. 275. 244 and n. 4 8 >5 '. C h arles. G retel. N iko lai. 246 A ra g o n . 10. 26 and n. M atth ias. 280 C a lv er. G eo rg . A rn olt. 103 Brandes. T h eod or. 227. 31. 249 A b ra h a m a San ta C lara . W . 23. 232. Ernst. 234 Bronnen. B ertolt. 239 Bukharin. 240 C arrel. 30 B uchner. A u gu st. 239 Busoni. 233 B ern h ard . 18. 233. 236 B a lza c. E rich . Joh n . G eo rg. H erm an n . 367 C ald eron .

F ried rich . 49 G rosz. E duard. 14. Joh an n Peter. 9. F ritz. H ans G ab riel von. Sergei. T . 239. 3 6 5 ^ 380. Isidore. 373 Desnos. 133 D au det. A rth u r C o n an . Ernst.. Josef. 382. 297. J o h an n G ottlieb . 371 H einle. H einrich. 221. T h eod or. 15. 371 H ofm annsthal. 2 4 m . Jo h a n n W o lfg an g von. 235. 228 Engels. 282. Im m anuel. 370 C oulon. 262. Pau l. 386 D au then dey. K a rl. A lex an d er. 263 H egel. 31. Paul (Sulpice C h evalier). 310 Hessel. 103 H iller. 38511 Jentsch. 260. 375 K astn er. 256 D an te A ligh ieri. 3 51. G u stav. H ein rich. G erh art. 30. 225 Destinn. 9 and n. 3 6 4 . 358 Ducasse. M ax. G lu ck . 247 K a in z . 233 Ferri. 307 H o lty . F erd in an d V icto r Eugene. M ax. Sim on. 245. 362 Green. 149 Frankel. 3 6 m G u n dolf. 32 H old erlin . 283 G uillaum e H u go. 370. 19. D a vid O . 354 Jensen. 24n. Leon. 37 0n. G eo rg W ilh elm F riedrich . see Lautream ont D u h am el. 371 H eartfield. 36 m . 381. 3 57 . Pau l-L ou is. 276 D agu erre. 364 H eid egger. 25n K a u tsk y . Louis. 380 Fuchs. 244 D elaroche. E rich. 307. 350. 3 59 . 138. 317 Ernst. K u rt. 21. E. 264. Joh an n G eorg. 350. 306. 216 Frescata. W ilhelm . 287. G ottfried. 4 1. I52n H irsch. Friedrich C . 243. F riedrich. 281 H am an n . 307 G ervinus. 241. G eorge. F yod or. 118 H au ff. 2 4 m G u ttm an n . 4 1. G eorges. 252 Dollfuss. 246. 353. 279 Freud. Johannes. 230 H erzfelde. Paul (E ugene G rin d el). 333. Franz. 18. 240. 29. 351 . M arie J ea n Antoine N icolas. 37 ° . 3 75 n > i 78n 3 57 . 284 H orkheim er. 312 H aecker. 225. 349-386 Fuller. M artin . 48. 248 D elacroix. N orbert.. 371. 36gn K e ller. 23. 3 7 1 Epicurus. 244. E m m y. H ein rich . 242. 383 G eorge. L u d w ig. 67. M arcel. 353 D arw in . 350 France. E d ouard . 234. 38 H eine. 356. 248 H illel. 3 5 m F ichte. 37. 367n G u ttm an n . A lfred. E n gelb u rt. 310. 312 H ertz. 252. 235 D oyle. 235 C ourier. 351. W ielan d . (Jacques Anatole Francois T h ib a u lt). A n ato le. 31. 373 and n du C am p . H enri. E nrico. Fried rich . 39 Dostoevsky. 3 1 1. V icto r. 349. 230 F ab re-L u ce. 349. H u go von. A n n a K a th a rin e . 259. 333 D oblin. 295 D aum ier. 18. 252 E luard. 353 H offm ann . 114. 310. 268. 49 D rum ont. 369 Feuerbach. 177. 258 G oeth e. 322n H au p tm an n . H on ore. 305 K a fk a . 32. L u d w ig. Stefan. R ob ert. J oh n (H elm u t H erzfelde). M ax im e. 40.390 C ondorcet.. 27. 25. 353. 227 G avarn i. 334 K a n t. 308. 240. 25 G u term an n . Ju lia n . 233 Eisenstein. 47. 229. A . 67. A lfred. C h arles. 240. Franz. 220 Jo e l. 383. 374 and n G irard i. Sigm und. 350. 36m H ebei. 374 D an zel. 299 H ill.

254 M oliere (Jean Baptiste Poquelin). L eo . 249 Pau. 281. 280 K ie rk e g a a rd . 1 in . Louise von. 3 1.3 9 . 227. 103 K e rr.M i K e p ler. Boris (Boris A n d reyevich V o g a u ). L u d w ig . F ra n z. 283 3 1 9 . 270. 35 ° M ontez. O ffe n b ach . 2^0. F ried rich . H enri. 3 6 i » 3 6 4 . 245. 3 5 5 N ovalis. 276. A d albert. Johannes. W ilh elm . 245 K raem er. 356. M ich a el. I g n a c e je a n . 36. 386n K ra ca u e r. 9. 45. 40. A lphonse de. A d a m . Jo h n . 62. 167 L am artin e. 23. 289 L ouis V I I . 36on. 357 and n K lossow ski. 364 and n. 96. E d gar A lla n . 332 Piscator. 208. J acq u es. 311 M eyer. M ax. 248 O u d . 48. 349. 36gn La u tream o n t (Isidore D ucasse). 353. 332 K o rn . (Charles de Secondat). 279n. 221 Pfem pfert. A d o lf. 333 . K a rl. 240. 36811. 350. 290 L ich tw ark. 249 Paganin i.. 371 M eidner. I. A lfonso M aria de. 196. 35511. 30. 279 K le e . 367 M o h oly-N ag y.. 168 Peter the G rea t. 167 Lom broso.3 7 9 K r u ll. 370. 280. 354 K ra ft. N icolo. 310 Pilniak. 254 Lacis. 119.2 2 2 . Pierre. F ranz. 235 N ad ar (Felix T o u rn a ch o n ). K a rl. 130 M onticelli. 349 L iegler. A lfred . 268 L igu o ri. 23. T h eo d or. F ried rich 126. 3o8n. Else. N iccolo. 376n L en in . 383 M a rx . 281. G u stav. E rich. 182. L eop old . 236 3 4 9 > 3 5 ln > 3 56 . 351 M urillo. F erd in an d. Joseph N icephore.2 5 8 . 240 L ich ten b erg. 41 L u k acs. 196 M ichaelis. 3on L o w en th al. 33 L u th er. 67 M ach iav elli. 244n N ietzsche. 371 M ickiew icz. Soren. 354 M uller. Cesare. V . E rw in . K a rl. 374 M ale. 310 Lassalle. 146. 350 M alla rm e. 3 8 . K a rl T h eo d o r Kasim ir. 201. 173 M obius. A lb ert. 236 Paderew ski. 2 71. W erner. Jacob u s Johannes Pieter. 269 M ichelet. 38. 211 M ontesquieu. 371 N estroy. 189. D o ra. 24n K ra u s. J osephin . 331 L a n g e n .2 9 0 . 246 Pindar. 33. 372 L o w y . 289 K n o ch e . 39 Poe. 371 n M ehrin g. 29 . Ju les. 270. 32. 235 M ilton. Hans. 265. 2 3 4 >235 L efeb vre. K a rl. 367 Loos. 37. Siegfried. 349. 278. 356 L au fen berg. 280. 270. 355n L asker-S ch iiler. 240 N ierendorf. 281. 366 M usset. 287. G eorge Christoph. 6 1. 31.. 360 L a n d a u . G erm ain e. E m ile. Laszlo. 26. A d olph e. G erard de. 368n Poliak. A . H einrich. 281 N iepce. 358 Peladan . 227 L eon ard o. 121. Bartolom e Esteban. A lfred de. 239. 228 L o uis-P h ilippe. Joh a n n . 282 O rlik. 28. Stephane. 371 M atkow sky. L o la . 376 L am p rech t. 207. 18. 118. 252 L ieb k n ech t. L u d w ig. K a rl. 35on M eyerh old . 11 Plekhanov. Pau l. 237 N erval. 197 Pierson. 197 Petrarch. 246 N aville. G eorg. E m ile. 232.7 9 . 349. (Friedrich Leop old ). A sja. 363n M arolles. 200. 235 M o gra b y . 9. 18. 186. 25. V . A lfred. G . 260. K a rin . 23. M artin .

254 U ccello. Leon. 29 Schlossen. 331 Seligson. 37n W olfflin. 233 S aint-Sim on . W illia m . 32n. 282 V o g t. T ra u te . T h om as de. Jusepe. R ich ard . R ob ert. 30. 227 Sade. 227. 3o8n . Peter. R ob ert. 378 W eininger. 36 m Proust. F eodor von. 24 m !. 358 Sander. 288 Stone. 14. Joseph. Seligson. 150 Sou pault. 25 m . E m ile. D a vid . M au rice. 258. 361 Rousseau. A d alb ert. 35. B erthold. 280. 384 W itte. 320. A u gu st. 350 Sorel.. 17. 3 2 m R a d t. 37 S acco. 226. 226. 280 T itia n . 235. M axim ilien . E rich . 3o8n Seligson. 232. P h ilippe. 15. I43n. 252 Pufahl. 18 R anke. V sevolod Ilarionovich. F rank. 38 Schopenhauer. 246 Pottner. 286 Schlegel. M a x . Franz. 36 Stahr. 1 in T im o n . 197 W eber. 12.J 392 Pom pey. 23. 36 m T retia k ov. I45n U trillo . 36gn T o u lo u se-L au trec. . Bernd. 320. 19 and n. 225. Johannes. B artolom eo. 252. 299 R im b au d . 36gn V iertel. 326 and n R ibera. 184 198 2 95 . A d o lf W ilh elm . Leop old von. 20 R y a za n o v . (T izian o V ecelli).. 8 and n. H arou n. J on athan . 36gn V eronese. G rete. 238 T z a ra . F erd in an d. 9. 363n U llstein. 245 S cheu. E dgar. H ein rich. H elene. 278 Szonti. 375 Schm idt. O skar. 366 R iegl. P alm a. C a m ille. 133 S talin.2 96 Pudovkin. 33 and n. 351. F. 371 Q uinet. 184 Trostsky. 27 W alser. 15. 239 W agner. 198. 281. C a rla . G iovan n i Battista. Friedrich von. Friedrich von. 254 Scheerbart. 235 Southey. 67. 26. Paul. 286. Georges. 255. Sergei. 19 W alzel. 375 R odin. Sasha. R o b ert. 23. R a in er M aria . A d am . 242 V a n ze tti. 375n . C . 361 and n Sm ith. 350 R o w a lt. R ik a. 3o8n Shakespeare. Q u in cey. 265. F erdin an d Franz. 384 Z ob eltitz. Professor R . M arian n e. M arce l. 374. 281 W iertz. 374 Slevogt. B aruch. 353 Schober. O tto . 254 Stossl. 264. 363 and n W alraff. Alois. 34. 283 R an g. 276 Schiller. Paolo (Paolo C a glia ri). 146. 352 a l-R ash id . N icola. 262 Sw ift. 289 Schelling. 353 Stelzner. 256 W in ckelm an n . i4 5 n . Auguste. Ernst. 246 Stifter. F ritz. 35 m R ych en . 320 Scholem . 359n W eber. 251 " S ch w arz. A lfred. 281. 227 V ec ch io . 320 R ilk e. 286. 371 R a d t. 321 Porta. K a rl. 331 U n ger. 32 m R aim u n d . A n toin e J . Jean-Jacques. 267 R ech t. M ax. C o m te de. 218 R envers. 263. A rth u r. 31 and n. 234. 239 Robespierre. 9. 377n S aint-Pol R o u x (Paul R o u x ). 362. 14 and n. H ein rich . 280 Schoen. Friedrich W ilhelm von. 100. C h ristian Florens. 306 W edekin d.. Paolo. 36. 235 Spin oza. i3 n . 269. Gershom . 270. Ilse. 249 R em bran d t (van R ijn ). Ernst. T ristan .

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