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

Printed in Great Britain by Lowe & Brydone Printers Limited Thetford, Norfolk.



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” .

ponder. observe. was “ essentially so lita ry ” . w ritten in the early 1930s and un publish ed in his lifetim e.3 For.)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. spun m uch o f his ow n sensibility out o f his phantasm a go rica l.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. n otably. cruise.” 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. personified b y that superbly self-aw are m elan ch olic B au d elaire. T h e street. in the projected book on n in eteen th -cen tu ry Paris. shrew d. in school and on w alks w ith his m other. it is still untranslated. a m agazine published in V ien n a and edited by H u go von H ofm annsthal. 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. the solitary. he describes P rou st’s “ loneliness w h ich pulls the w orld d ow n into its v o rte x ” . Proust. the a rcad e. contain B e n ja m in ’s most exp licit self-portrait. H e even found the S atu rn in e elem ent in G o e th e . subtle relation to cities. cites R o b ert W a lser’s “ horror o f success in life” . 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. K a rl K ra u s. as w ell as in his travel pieces and rem iniscences. T w o short books o f rem iniscences o f his B erlin ch ild h o od and student years. “ solitude appeared to me as the only fit state o f m a n . (R o b ert W alser. K a fk a . exp lains how K a fk a . the busyness o f the idle stroller. free to d ayd ream .) O n e c a n n o t use the life to in terp ret the w ork. (T hus. is a w riter to w hom one p a rticu la rly wishes B enjam in had -d evoted a lon ger essay. . fo r w hom w a lk in g was the centre o f his reclusive life and m arvellous books. like K le e . the lab y rin th are recurren t them es in his literary essays and. B ut one can use the w ork to interpret the life. the passage.” 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. 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. T o the nascent m elan ch olic. 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.

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

from not n oticin g on e’s lack o f p ra ctica l sense. m ore dexterous. A n d stubbornness.) H e is also suggesting a notion a b ou t the forbidden. 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 lab yrin th is a place w here one gets lost. . N o. from n oticin g too m an y possibilities.Introduction 11 and erectin g a stan dard o f d ifficu lty and com plexity. 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. indecisive. a ga ze that appears to see not a third o f w h at it takes in . 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. 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. But she returned to R ig a and later . 5 A sja Lacis and Benjam in m et in C a p ri in the sum m er o f 1924. B lu n d erin g is another. the w hore w ho leads this son o f rich parents for the first tim e across “ the threshold o f class. “ ab ove all.spent ten years in a Soviet cam p. slow ” . 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. m ore stupid than I am .” he w rites in Berlin Chronicle. and how to gain access to it: through an act o f the m ind that is the same as a ph ysical act.” 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. assistant to Brecht and to Piscator. he writes in The Origin o f German Trauerspiel * Slowness is one ch aracteristic o f the m elan ch olic tem peram ent. 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. 5. had its origin in such w alks. w ho “ cut it through the a u th o r” ) . Jo h n O sborne. 1977. 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. w h ich begins by in vok in g an A riad n e.” A n d from this stubbornness com es. T h e influence o f S atu rn m akes people “ apath etic. B enjam in hoped to m arry her w hen he and his wife w ere finally divorced in 1930. Lo n d o n /N L B . trans. “ W h ole netw orks o f streets w ere open ed up u n der the auspices o f p rostitu tion . She was a L a tv ia n com m unist revolu tio n ary and theatre director. “ M y h a b it o f seem ing slower.5 * Der Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (1928). M arch /A p ril 1973). from the lon gin g to be su p erio r— on o n e’s ow n terms. and shrew der than I a m .” One-Way Street distills the experiences o f the w riter and lover (it is d ed icated to A sja L acis. m ore m alad ro it.

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

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

played w ith pseudonym s. this is an apt tem peram ent for intellectuals. as B enjam in notes. 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. (H ence. w h ich can never be taken for granted. B enjam in was d raw n to m ore com pact codes. H e collected em blem books. O n e is alw ays in arrears to oneself. “ T h is is perhaps the origin o f w h at others call patien ce in me. In Berlin Childhood. 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. (H ence. Som e­ times one ends by turnin g the knife against oneself. he im agined the hours a p p ro a ch in g his sickbed. often ill as a child. as B enjam in says o f K a fk a .) T h e self is a project.” 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. which he dem onstrated w ithout any ostentation w h atever and under the most difficult conditions. O n ly very patient people could gain deeper con tact w ith h im . som ething to be built.” )7 But som ething like patience is needed for the m ela n ch o lic’s labours o f decipherm en t.i4 sometimes one has to cut on e’s w a y through w ith a knife.” ( O f course. others did experience it as patience. this is an apt tem peram ent for artists and m artyrs.) A n d the process o f b u ild in g a self and its works is alw ays too slow. but w hich in truth does not resem ble an y v irtu e. Proust. . as a virtue. 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” . that he m ade an indelible im pression on his fellow prisoners “ b y his infinite and stoic patience. those w ho court “ the pu rity and b ea u ty o f a failu re” . com e forw ard slow ly. 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. 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. Scholem has described him as “ the most patient hum an being I ever cam e to k n o w . liked to m ake up anagram s. T h in gs ap p ear at a distance.

or the m ost scrupulous m an ipu lation . T hese feelings o f sup eriority. 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. Scholem reports. T h is prince o f the in tellectu al life could also be a courtier. “ Som e R ecollection s o f W alter B en jam in ” . o f not being able to get w h a t one wants. sixty years later. the earliest letters (Nos. intransigen t. often veiled relations w ith others. B enjam in speaks o f his fantasy o f h avin g a secret n am e. published in S w itzerlan d in 1936.8 N or is one surprised to learn that this fastidious. as Scholem has pointed out. J a n u a ry 1975. . 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. as he did his com rades from the Y o u th M o vem en t.) D issim ulation. 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 . Belm ore. But one is not surprised to learn. 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. o f baffled feeling. Deutsche Menschen. 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. “ A n gelu s N o vu s” — is. 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. B enjam in an alysed both parts in The Origin o f German Trauerspiel b y the theory o f m elan ch oly. fiercely serious m an could also flatter people he p ro b a b ly did not think his equals. or even nam e it p rop erly (or consis­ tently) to o n eself— these can be. U sin g a w ord th at was also ap p lied to K a fk a by those w ho knew him . though “ later on he tend ed to conceal this gift” . it is felt they ou ght to be. secretiveness ap p ear a necessity to the m elan ­ cholic. m asked by friendliness. o f in a d eq u acy . that B enjam in could also drop friends b ru tally. W . H e was an “ u n ca n n y ” graphologist. in German Life and Letters. (B enjam in discusses h a n d w ritin g in “ O n the M im e tic F a c u lty ” . H e has com p lex. an an a gram o f T h e A n g e l Satan (Der Angelus Satanas). “ A gesilaus S a n ta n d e r” . H erbert Belm ore was a G ym n asiu m classm ate o f B enjam in. w hen they no longer inter­ ested h im . N o. V o lu m e X X V I I I . 2.Introduction 15 a p p e ar in his lifetim e. by one o f these friends. o f the m an w ho could ju stify P rou st’s “ invectives against friend­ sh ip ” . In the a m a zin g text recen tly published b y Scholem .

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

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

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

but books o f this sort w ere com m on in the 1920s. he claim ed for his w ritings. eviden t in One-Way Street. 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 ’./ 1E ach book is a ta ctic/. n oth in g is straightforw ard . he w rote. 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. and it was in a specifically Surrealist m ontage style that . he w rote in One-Way Street.Introduction allegories o f historical pessim ism ) . or a refugee.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. o f course. “ It was the sm all things that a ttracted him m ost” . Sch olem reports. M arxist letter. and his never realized a m bition . 1926. 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). E very th in g is— at the lea st— difficult. For m oderns as m uch as for cabalists. 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” . B enjam in. was to get a hun dred lines on a sheet o f paper. 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.” Scholem argues th at B en jam in ’s love for the m iniature underlies his taste for b rie f litera ry utterances. ‘inn ocen t’ eye has becom e a lie ” . forty-nin e levels o f m eanin g. only p artly facetiously. postage stam ps. Th a letter to a friend. was both a / ig A 10 Scholem tells the story in “ W alter B en jam in ” . picture post­ cards.) 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). com bin ed w ith his in d efatig ab le com m an d over theoretical perspectives. as it were. 156 in the Briefe) o f M a y 29. T h a t should perhaps speed you r visit to Paris. (T h e am bition was realized by R o b ert W alser. in a truly m icroscopic script. “ A m b ig u ity displaces au th en ticity in all thin gs” . Perhaps. 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. w ho used to tran scribe the m anuscripts o f his stories and novels as m icro­ gram s. His ow n h a n d w ritin g was alm ost m icroscopic. H e loved old toys. w rites Sch olem .

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

as one never understands a lan dscape from an airplane but o n ly by w a lk in g throu gh it. the w orld is red u ced to a collectible thing. 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 e book for him was another space in w hich to stroll. 1970. T h is is w h at m akes it possible to find m eaning in o n e’s ow n life. In Berlin Chronicle. T h e book is a m iniatu rizatio n o f the w orld. For the ch ara cter b o m under the sign o f Saturn.Introduction 21 p lan n in g an essay a b ou t m in iatu rizatio n as a device o f fantasy. B enjam in w rites in the book on the Trauerspiel. 11 Cf. 1940. you d w elt. 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. L ik e the box in G o e th e ’s tale. 326 in the Brie/e) to G retel A dorn o. O n ly because the past is dead is one able to read 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 ” . B en jam in ’s letter (No. an object. In G o e th e ’s tale. he says in One-Way Street. look in a corner. one can low er on e’s head to o n e’s notebook. the obsession o f the ad ult. a b id ed b etw een their lines. w h ich includes the essays on K a fk a and Proust. 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 ) . O n ly because history is fetishized in ph ysical objects can one understand it. 12 In Illuminations. was ev en tu a lly ad d ed w riting. an earlier selection o f B en jam in ’s writings. 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. O r put o n e’s head b ehin d the w a ll o f a book. edited b y H an n ah A ren d t. a book is not on ly a fragm en t o f the w orld but itself a little w orld. B enjam in rem arks in “ U n p a ck in g M y L ib r a r y ” . w h ich the reader inhabits. O n ly because the book is a w orld can one enter it. Lo ndon . tem p o rarily gra n ted norm al size. the delirium o f the child.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. B etter. the true im pulse w h en one is b ein g looked at is to cast dow n o n e’s eyes.” T o readin g. in the m ost literal sense. . in “ the dead occurrences o f the past w h ich are eu p h em istically know n as ex p erien ce” . B enjam in evokes his ch ild h o od rap tu re: “ Y o u did not read books th rou gh .

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

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

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. p.4 C h aracteristically. h ow ever. The Destructive Character and On the Mimetic Faculty.B enjam in did not attem p t any syncretism o f the tw o sources o f his beliefs either. Walter Benjamin— Die Geschichte einer Freundschaft. F ran k fu rt 1975. the Theologico-Political Fragment expressly invokes Der Geist der Utopie. 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. 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 . B loch fused religious and p o litica l them es into a single m illen arian cosm ology. T h e b alan ce. and its results w ere m ore cryptic. 260. m ystical and m aterialist motifs w ere distilled into separate w ritings. com posed in 1922. His d evelop m en t reveals an u n m istak ab le evolution tow ards a m ore coheren t m aterialism . 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. B en ja m in ’s en cou n ter w ith M arxism occurred later. was to shift q u a lita tiv e ly betw een the two in the trajecto ry o f his w ork. H is th o u gh t retained w h at Sch olem has a p tly called a “ tw o -tra ck ” cast. In the post-w ar epoch. p. all three m en discovered M arxism . 156. See G erh ard Sch olem . 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. A fter the W a r. 4 " Zweigleisigkeit” : see Geschichte einer Freundschaft. to his secular and religious adm irers alike. A rcan e in style and 3 Sch olem testifies that in discussions o f On the Mimetic Faculty in 1938.pendants respectively to Fate and Character and On Language as Such and the Language o f M a n . But there was no in w a rd ru p tu re w ith his earlier m ysticism . often exa sp era tin g ly so. inclu d ed in this collection.the essay on K a r l K ra u s an d the Theses .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. w ith very few exceptions .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 ). L u kacs ab a n d o n ed the universe o f religion altogether. w hose precise in ter-relation sh ip rem ained en igm atic.

Frankfurt 1966. how ever.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. E ven tu ally pu blish ed in 1928 as The Origin o f German Tragic Drama.7. T h ere were two others. p.192 4: Briefe. this was. W itte ’s excellent study is indispensable for an un derstan din g o f B enjam in’s early developm ent. it was greeted w ith silence and incom prehension in G erm an y. in effect. this w ould afford him a secure acad em ic career. B enjam in w ithd rew the text. in the com pan y o f B loch. one o f the most rem arkable w om en I have ever m et” . “ a Russian revo lu tio n a ry from R ig a . its ultim ate fam e was to be en tirely post­ hum ous. 100-105. p ro b ab ly B e n ja m in ’s ow n expectation. His second was m ore am bitiou s. 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. F orew arn ed o f rejection. 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. a blank. T h e final work was. too com plex and esoteric for the professors to w hom it was subm itted. 351. how ever. pp. it fitted no con ven tion al c a teg o ry o f literary criticism .3^ m etaphysical in register.6 H e now d eterm in ed 5 See Bernd W itte. S tu ttg a rt 1976. 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. at least. Walter Benjamin— Der Intellektuelle als Kritiker. contem poraneous or subsequent. In the closing stages o f his w ork on the G erm an Trauerspiel. 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 . 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 t the tim e o f its a p p earan ce. B enjam in had stayed for some m onths in C a p ri in late 1924. I f accepted. . T h e re he m et and fell in love w ith Asja Lacis. His first attem p t to establish h im self as a critic drew . 6 Letter o f 7. In fact.

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. he visited A sja L acis in R ig a. m etap h ysical for m ore top ical terrains. o f w hich Bloch had ju st w ritten a review . 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. forsaking his review er. represents the staccato ann ou n cem ent o f these changes. “ leaflets. One-Way Street. a w e ll-o ff art d ealer in B erlin.7 T h is sh arp p o litical turn. B enjam in had to look for altern ative w ays o f earning his livin g. E lsew here (“ A ttested A u d ito r o f Books” ) it d eclares: “ P rin ting. H e becam e a prolific bookradio-scriptw riter. 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. from herm eticism to pu blicism .Publisher’ s Note 33 to stud y L u k a c s’s History and Class Consciousness. after the failure o f his thesis at F ra n k fu rt. w ith a tten d an t tensions betw een the two. h a v in g found in the book a refuge in w hich to lea d an autonom ous existence. m ean w h ile. In the afterm ath o f its failure. F rom 1926 onw ards. lea d in g him to suggest that B enjam in take up em p lo y­ m ent in a bank. T h e onset o f the great inflation o f 1923 struck at his fath er’s fortune. 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 ” . in favou r o f forms a lte rn a tin g betw een action and w riting. articles and p la ca rd s” . B en jam in had hitherto been fin a n cia lly supported by his father. T h is is the hard schooling o f its new form . for the m ost part w ritten b etw een A u gu st 1925 and S ep tem b er 1926.” 7 S ch olem . 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. 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. and the political p ra ctice o f contem porary com m unism . . H e was now. T h e solution he ad o p te d w as to be jo u rn a lism . p. In the autum n o f 1925. Geschichte einer Freundschaft. travel-rep orter and m ore esoteric diction for an often d isconcertin gly concrete lan ­ gu ag e. 156. a ctiv e ly consid erin g w h eth er to jo in the K P D or n o t. brochures. Scholem reports.

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. 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. 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. 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. T h e origin al kernel o f the w ork was. 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” . the section subtitled “ A T o u r o f G erm an In fla tio n ” . 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. it condensed B en ja­ m in ’s reactions to the econom ic m isery o f the tim e. recurring again and again in his book review s o f the later twenties. 8 Geschichte einer Freundschaft. T h e ch an ge can stand as the m otto o f his political rad icaliza tio n . and the degrad ation o f social and personal exp erience that a cco m p an ied it. . but the rising path o f re v o lt” . I V . p.9 he now reversed the terms o f the sam e passage. 2.34 Com posed o f a m osaic o f aphoristic p aragraphs. 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. in fact. 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. 931. cap tion ed by placards o f urban scenery. Bd. First sketched in 1923. 168. but the rising path o f p r a y e r ” . T h e political conclusions he d rew from it w ere now intransigen tly rad ical. Sim ultaneously. p. 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.

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.3. 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. 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 ” .1928: Briefe. One-Way Street. 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. the w ork w ith w hich I am at present circu m sp ectly. entitled ‘ Parisian A r c a d e s ’ ” .1929: Briefe. and represents m y first attem p t at confron ta­ tion w ith it.2. “ the im age o f history even in its m ost incon spicuous fixtures o f existence. an alysin g his d evelopm ent in a letter to S ch o lem : “ O n ce I h ave finished . 11 L e tte r o f 8.8. aesthetic and p o litical options in the m id -tw en ties. . is not due on ly to its com p act register o f the sudden m u ta tio n in his critical. buildings. p. 49 1. T o H o fm an n sth al.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. i f not a troph y. 455. w arnings. H e was lu cid ly conscious o f this tu rn in g-p o in t at the tim e.12 T h e p red ictio n w as to hold good. as he was later to w rite. its rejects” . 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. 684-685. See also his letter o f 15. signs w as designed to th ro w sudden light on the m o d em epoch.1.” 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.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.1928: Briefe. .10 T h e kaleid osco p e o f urban objects. 12 L e tte r o f 30 . 459. . p.1935: Briefe. in other words. p. pp. 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. h o w ever. 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.

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. First excerpted in L ’ Humanite. 13 It m ay be significant that Benjam in later displayed frequent adm iration for the w ork o f Trotsky. p.13 (His u n pu b lish ed d ia ry o f this period. 229. 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 . 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. w hom he visited in the Soviet cap ital from D ecem b er 1926 to F eb ru a ry 1927. both in his articles and lectures (see. 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. 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. “ S u rrealism ” below . N L B 1977). w ell after the official denunciations o f the latter. w ritten in late 1928. p. p. E arlier. It was not published until A u g u st 1925. 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. 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 . 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. reflecting B enjam in ’s affinity to Surrealism and exp erim en ta tio n w ith induced hallucination s. p. and “ T h e A u th or as P rodu cer” in Understanding Brecht. 161. 161. for exam ple. 238.) 14 T h e tw o texts on M arseilles. whose leaders had been d ep rived o f their posts in the p arty a few weeks before he a rriv e d .. soon to a p p ear in the Gesammelte Schriften. and in his private corres­ pondence. . expressing particu lar enthusiasm for M y Life and the History o f the Russian Revolution: see Gesckichte einer Freundschaft.36 historical illum inations o f B en jam in ’s w ork. 14 Geschichte einer Freundschaft. he had been very struck by Where Is Britain Going?: ibid. are o f a very d ifferen t ch ara cter.

F rankfu rt 1970. the friend w ho was the real-life m odel for The Destructive Character. 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. through whose torm ented figu re the positive forces o f history could sweep. C h a llen g e d by M a x R y ch n e r. and the Literarische Welt. a lth ou gh n ever ex a ctly established. the liberal d a ily w ith the most respected feuilleton section in G erm an y . th at B enjam in was know n in G e rm a n y d u rin g his life-tim e. T h e essay on K rau s is d istin ct in form and inten tion from either o f these two. in Uber Walter Benjamin. 16 T h e o d o r A d orn o. p. was one o f the first serious treatm ents o f it as a m ed iu m outside the professional m ilieu itself. the house w hich had published The Origin o f German Tragic Drama and One-Way Street. 9. As A d o rn o was to note in his ob itu a ry o f B enjam in. By this tim e B enjam in was an exp er­ ien ced . it was designed to show K rau s as a n egative hero o f destruction. the editor o f the Neuer Schweizer Rundschau. 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. the cu ltu ral w ee k ly created by R o w o h lt V e rla g . . “ the last b ou rgeo is” . “ Z u Benjam ins G ed ach tn is” (1940). 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 . whose inn ovations had been eagerly seized upon by the Surrealists. each o f w h ich en joyed a w id e circu latio n . pp. 1 4 1 -1 4 4 .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. T h e text on P h o to g ra p h y. L o n g p rem editated and h igh ly w ro u gh t. it w as for his critical articles as a pu b licist in these tw o organs. con trib u tor to the Frankfurter J^eitung. 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.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 essay on Surrealism . see W itte. D ed icated to G u sta v G lu ck . in its d elicate blend o f sym p a th y and severity. a paper u ltim ately controlled by h eavy industry.

w anton love poetry w ith the inquisitions into pregn an cy o f the em ergent police state. how ever tense and p rob lem atic. 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. .” 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 ” . operatic apotheoses with the ju rid ic a l structure o f sovereign ty” (Gesammelte Schriften. 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. receivin g from B enjam in a copy o f this letter. 523. III. . B enjam in replied in a lon g letter o f 19 31 that. p. w hich is alw ays no m ore than apologetic .19 3 1: Briefe. 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.19 3 1: Briefe.3& o f religion and m etaphysics” . 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. 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. 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. d ram atic unity o f time and action w ith the dark offices o f Absolutism . 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 Origin o f German Tragic Drama . p.” 18 Sch olem . . there exists none w h a tev er. seen in retrospect. 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. “ although d ialectical. W ith the saturation o f bourgeois science. 523.3 . p. 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 .3 . on the oth er hand. 193). 18 Letter o f 7.

w h o was d ivorced from his wife D ora P oliak 19 Ibid. see the ju d ic io u s editorial account in Gesammelte Schriften. p. . the em b ellish m en t o f the w h ite terror against the V ienn ese workers. 23 L e tte r o f 27. 524. the a d m iratio n for the rhetoric o f S ta rh e m b e rg ” in Die Fackel. K ra u s’ com m ents were published in Die Fackelin M ay 1931. 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 ” .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 .3.19 3 1: Briefe. he noted “ the cap itu latio n to Austro-fascism . p.4 .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. 22 F o r this episode. T h ree years later. its in tellectu al purpose was lost even on those readers to w hom it was m ost addressed. II.. p. pp. A literary tour de force. 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 ” . 21 L e tte r o f 17. 526.19 31: Briefe.9. p. Bd. 3. w hen K rau s rallied to the clerical fascism o f Dollfuss. 20 L e tte r o f 3 0 .Publisher’ s Note j g essay” . 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 ” . K ra u s him self took characteristic u m b rage at it. 620. “ m an ” and “ m onster” refer to the categories o f his essay on K rau s. 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 ” . 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). 1078—1130.23 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. 532. “ D em o n ” .1934: Briefe. the “ author seems to know m uch abou t me that was hitherto unknow n to myself. In rep lyin g. am b ig u ity and a cro b a tic s” .” 21 B enjam in kept a dignified silence at this a ttack . he criticized his frien d ’s recent productions for the im pression they ga v e o f “ adven turism .

In A p ril 1932 he sailed to Ib iza. In J u ly . he m oved to N ice. the Institute had m oved.40 in 1930. shortly after A sja Lacis retu rned p erm a n en tly to Russia. T his crisis suddenly past. 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. T h e Berlin Chronicle is throughout far m ore d irectly personal than the Berlin Childhood. . 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. His p u b licistic period was now effectively over. he spent the rest o f the sum m er in Italy. 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. A p p ro a ch in g the age o f 40. 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. A fter the N azi v icto ry in G erm an y. i f in form ally. F rankfu rt 1970. first to G en eva. but at the same time it was also one w ith a coherent p olitical c o m p lex io n — essentially. prod u ced by the Institute for Social R esearch directed by M a x H o rk h eim er. p. and then to N ew Y o rk . T h e m ain outlet for his w ritin g was henceforw ard the Zeitschriftfur Sozialforschung. p ervad ed by B en ja m in ’s socialist convictions. 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 . w here he spent the n ext three months in isolation. The tension betw een these two dim ensions o f the Zeitschrift fu r Sozial­ forschung. It is also m uch m ore sharp ly political. where he w rote his w ill and decid ed to take his life. T h e later text utilizes only a b ou t two-fifths o f the m aterials in the earlier. T h e N azi seizure o f pow er a few m onths later ga v e the quietus to this project. 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. 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. and these in rad ically a ltered form . 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 . M arxist. 127.

Som e time in 1934. His contributions to the ^eitschrift. w ho knew and liked Fuchs. am ong them B enjam in. then a fellow -exile in his late sixties in Paris. 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. 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. T h e form o f his w ritin g consequently ch an ged in these years. he resum ed serious study for it in late 1936. p. 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. was relu ctan t to un dertake the w ork. 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. . L eo L o w en th a l. Eduard Fuchs. B enjam in found in the later thirties an arena o f collegial pu b lication that by and large un derstood . respond ed en th usiastically to the essay. representative o f an o ld er gen eration o f G erm an M arxism . 3. 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. E v e n tu a lly . II. Its origin lay in H orkh eim e r’s ad m iration for the figure o f Fuchs. Bd. w h ich was published in the jo u r n a l in O cto b er 1937. 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.Publisher’s Note 41 jo u r n a l to its contributors. 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. 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. p artly because o f the am ount o f rea d in g it in volved . ap p reciated and supported his w ork. B enjam in. But there can be no d o u b t that for the first tim e in his life. 1355. partook. 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 . for his part. alth o u g h on occasion m uted by the tactical apprehensions o f his editors in N ew Y o rk .25 H orkheim er. C om m itm en t to the project was follow ed by postponem ent and tergiversation. 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. speaking for the editorial board o f the Zjeitschrift. see Gesammelte Schriften.

Fuchs. 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. not p u b lica tio n . but in a m ore com prehensive and discursive space. Collector and Historian. A p a r t from A Small History o f Photography and Eduard. translated by K in gsley Sh orter. N LB .42 cal m a terialism — to be read together w ith the Theses on the Philosophy o f History. 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).

I .


and o f such facts as have scarcely ever becom e the basis o f convictions. one rem ains under the sw ay o f the dream . it m ust nurture the inconspicuous forms that better fit its influence in active com ­ m unities than does the pretentious. universal gesture o f the book — in leaflets. 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. O n ly this prom pt lan gu a g e shows itself a ctiv ely equal to the m om ent. and placards. rather.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. 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. w h ile in 45 . one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know . thou gh aw ake.One. brochures. 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 . 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. the h a b itu al expression ofits sterility. In this state. articles.

m ay dream be recalled w ith im p u n ity. w hom I had not seen for decades and had scarcely ever rem em bered in that tim e. is u n w illin g to eat and disdains his b re ak ­ fast. But w hen it is u nder assault and en em y bombs are a lread y taking their toll. if not in p rayer. the grey penum b ra o f dream persists and. W h a t things w ere interred and sacrificed am id m agic incantation s. Cellar . For only from the far bank.— W e have long forgotten the ritual by w h ich the house of our life was erected.46 the d eeper strata. 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. from broad d a ylig h t. and in lay in g clum sy hands on his dream visions he surrenders himself. w h ere the deepest shafts are reserved for w hat is m ost com m on place. No. even d u rin g the m ornin g ablu tion . w h a t hor­ rible cab in et o f curiosities lies there below . 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. 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. in the solitude o f the first w a kin g hour. indeed. 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 . tem pestuously ren ew in g our frien d ­ ship and brotherhood. T h e fasting m an tells his dream as if he w ere talkin g in his sleep. 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. w hat en ervated . H e w ho shuns con tact w ith the d ay. But w hen I aw oke it b ecam e clear that . bu t otherwise a source o f confusion betw een vital rhythm s. perverse antiquities do they not lay bare in the foundations. T h e n arration o f dream s brings cala m ity. Expressed in m ore m od em te rm s: he betrays himself. H e has outgrow n the protection o f d ream in g n aivete. w hether for fear o f his fellow men or for the sake o f inw ard com posure. consolidates itself. By w ay o f the stom ach.

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 . It bore no resem b lan ce to the one in W eim ar. Vestibule. O n rea ch in g it. in extrem e old age. A n im m ense heat filled the room . it was very sm all and had on ly one w in d o w . I cannot recall h avin g seen rooms in the dream . I was standing to one side w h en he broke o ff to give m e a sm all vase. A b o v e all. as a present. It seem ed prep ared . for m any m ore th an their n um ber. T w o eld erly English la d y visitors and a cu ra to r are the d re a m ’s extras. — In a dream I saw m yself in G o e th e ’s study. how ever. Sta n d a r d C lo ck T o great w riters.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. I find as I turn the pages m y nam e a lrea d y en tered in big. 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. D ou btless there w ere places for m y ancestors. 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 . I b ega n to w eep w ith em otion. too. For only the . on the right. — A visit to G o e th e ’s house. 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. Sittin g and w ritin g at it was the poet. A t the end. childish characters. w here a table was set for m y relatives. and by gestu rin g I sought leave to support him . I sat dow n beside G oeth e. an urn from a n tiq u ity . It was a perspective o f w hitew ashed corri­ dors like those in a school. I turned it betw een m y hands. 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 o u c h in g his elbow . W h e n the m eal was over. u n ru ly . he rose w ith difficulty. Dining H a ll . 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.

“ G enius is a p p lic a tio n . only existed after 1900. the crystal o f life’s happiness forms. fall like gentle sleep itselfin to his w orkshop lab ou r. as w ell as D ostoevsky’s characters. and the suite o f rooms prescribes the fleeing v ic tim ’s path. and analysis. For on ly that w hich we knew or practised at fifteen w ill one d ay constitute our a ttraction . F rom forty-eigh t hours’ exposure in those years. T h e bourgeois interior o f the 1860s to the 1890s. w ith its gigan tic sideboards distended w ith carvin gs. feeling them selves th ereb y given b ack to life. sooner or later. 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. A b o u t it he draw s a charm ed circle o f fragm ents. and the h ea vy blows o f fate. as in a caustic solution. F or the genius each caesura. the m om entous lot shall fall. can never be m ade g o o d : h avin g n eglected to run a w a y from hom e.48 more feeble and distracted take an inim itab le pleasure in con ­ clusions. 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. 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. 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 . the b alco n y em b attled . each boy spins for him self the w heel o f fortune from w h ich . therefore. A n d one thing. ju st as the Paris streets o f B au d ela ire’s poems. 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. the sunless corners where palm s stand.” 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.

K . G aston L ero u x has b ro u g h t the gen re to its apotheosis. T h is ch ara cter o f the b ou r­ geois a p a rtm e n t. fittin g ly houses o n ly the corpse. A fter she m oved . 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. A t the b egin n in g o f the lon g dow n hill lane that leads to the house o f -------. one fine afternoon. trem ulou sly aw aitin g the nam eless m urderer like a lascivio u s old lad y her gallan t. and the lon g corridors w ith their singing gas flam es.” 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. the indolent pasha in the caravan serai o f otiose en chan tm en t. A ll the decisive blow s are stru ck left-h an ded . until that d a gger in its silver sling a b o v e the d ivan puts an end. the h an g in g lam p and the genuin e C a u c a sia n d agger. 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 . G r e e n . to his siesta and him self. w h om I visited each evening. 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. gathered K h ilim tapestries the m aster o f the house has orgies w ith his share certificates. B ehind the h eavy. S tren gth lies in im provisation.Way Street behind its b alu strad e. 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. 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” . has been penetrated b y a n u m b er o f authors w ho. A c h ild in his n ightsh irt can n o t be p revailed upon to greet an . “ O n this sofa the au n t can n o t b ut be m u rd e re d . is a gate. feels h im self the E astern m erch an t. one o f the great novels about the n in eteen th century.One. and w ith The Phantom o f the Opera.

T h e airp lan e passenger sees only how the road pushes th rou gh the lan d scap e. and o f how . clearings. 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. and the transcript a key to C h in a ’s enigm as. how it unfolds accord in g to the same law s as the terrain surrounding it. E ven w hen the feeling is m astered. O n ly the copied text thus com m ands the soul o f him w ho is occu pied w ith it.5° arrivin g visitor. w hereas the copier subm its it to com m an d . from the very scenery that for the flier is only the unfurled plain. before the visitor. T h ose present. now stark naked. In the sam e w ay. adm onish him in vain to overcom e his pru d ery. it calls forth distances. 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. A ll dis­ gust is o rig in ally disgust at tou ching. belvederes. the pow er o f a text is d ifferent w hen it is read from w hen it is copied out. eaten. O n ly in this w ay is the para- . it is on ly by a d rastic gesture that overleaps its m a r k : the nauseous is vio len tly en gulfed. 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. in vok in g a higher m oral stan d­ point. A few m inutes later he reappears. w h ile the zone o f finest ep id erm al con tact rem ains taboo. In the m ean tim e he has w ashed. 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. prospects at each o f its turns like a com m an d er d ep lo yin g soldiers at a front. 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. O n ly he w ho w alks the road on foot learns o f the po w er it com m ands.

One-Way Street dox o f the m oral d em and to be m et. . a gild ed B u d d h a. and all the m ore en ig­ m a tica lly en ta n g led . 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 . even to thin it out. 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. 57 M e x ic a n E m bassy J e ne passe jamais devant un fetiche de bois. its monks co n tin u in g the w ork o f conversion am ong the natives. un Bouddha doreune idole mexicaine sans me dire: c’ est peut-etre le vrai dieu. a priest raised a M e x ic a n fetish. the in v o ca tio n o f w hich revolts h im : he must m ake him self its m aster. Mass w as celeb ra ted a cco rd in g to the most an cien t rites.) Charles Baudelaire I d ream ed I was a m em ber o f an explorin g p a rty in M exico. A fter crossing a high . In an im m en se cen tral gro tto w ith a G o th ica lly pointed roof. as we live. sh ad ow y. p rim eval ju n g le . and from a distance it is indeed open to v ie w . does not occur to us. 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. W e stride on. 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. H e m a y not deny his bestial relationship w ith anim als. A t this the divin e head turned thrice in denial from rig h t to left. a M exican idol w ith o ut reflect­ in g : perh aps it is the true G od . (I never pass by a w oo d en fetish. leave it b ehind . b u t indistin ct. rem ain b eh in d us like foliage obstructing our view ? T o uproot this foliage.

W rinkles in the face. flutters like a flock o f birds in the w o m a n ’s radiance. moles. T h is has long been know n. then w e are. Since the E nlighten m en t this has been one o f the m ustiest speculations o f the pedagogues. feelings escape into the shaded w rinkles. or b ook s— that are supposed to be suitable for ch ild ren is folly. and a lopsided w alk bind him m ore lastingly and relentlessly than any b ea u ty . in looking at our b eloved . on that o f the profane. A n d as birds seek refuge in the leafy recesses o f a tree. d azzled . In waste products they recogn ize . in w hat is defective and censurable. the a w k w a rd m ovem ents and inconspicuous blem ishes o f the b od y w e love. A n d w h y ? I f the theory is correct that feeling is not located in the head. th at the fleeting darts o f adoration nestle. that w e sentiently exp erien ce a w indow . 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. T h e y are irresistibly draw n by the detritus generated b y bu ild in g. A n d the m ost specific. outside ourselves. O n the tree o f the sacred text both are only the etern ally rustling leaves. w here they can lie low in safety. A n d no passer-by w ou ld guess that it is ju st here. a cloud. 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. sh ab b y clothes. rath er. a tree not in our brains but. toys. O u r feeling. 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. H e w ho loves is attach ed not only to the “ fau lts” o f the beloved. the seasonally fallin g fruits. too.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. in the place w here we see it. house­ work. or carpentry. tailoring. But in a torm ent o f tension and ravish ­ ment. gard en in g.

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 . T h u s are distinguished the types o f the an arch o-so cialist and the conservative politician. 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. 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 . F la g . In usin g these things they do not so m uch im itate the works o f adults as b rin g together. 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. through its requisites and instrum ents. It is as if these law s. . find its ow n w a y to them . rath er than let o n e’s ad u lt a ctiv ity . 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. in the artefact produced in play. 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. 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. . 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. T h e m an. on the oth er hand. secretly a p p ro v in g his ow n b eh aviou r. 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. m aterials o f w id ely d ifferin g kinds in a new. intu itive relationship .One-Way Street 53 the face th at the w orld o f things turns d irectly and solely to them . w ith ou t the slightest qualm s. 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. . n ow here yet realized .

54 . scarcely to be ex­ p ected — a case in w hich surrender. he feels com pelled to regard any state that dispossesses him as unstable. and even before the w ar there w ere strata for w h om stab ilized conditions am ou nted to stabilized w retchedness. verg in g on the m a r­ vellous and incom prehensible. perhaps u n con d ition al. . and perceive the ph enom ena o f decline as stab ility itself and rescue alone as extraord in ary. I m p e r ia l P a n o r a m a A Tour o f German Inflation i. T o declin e is no less stable. 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. 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. 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. a t H a l f -M ast I f a person very close to us is d yin g. But stable conditions need by no m eans be pleasant conditions. B ecause the rela ­ tive stab ilization o f the p rew a r years benefited him . invisible . by hum an reasoning. no more surprising. 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. . But the silent. 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. should be most seriously considered. 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. W e greet him at the last in a lan gu age that he no lon ger understands. than to rise.

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. even in dire peril. this is the very b arrier before . rea lly call forth a m iracle. N oth in g. p ie rcin g c la r ity in w hich th ey are scarcely able to survive. 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. 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. foreth ou ght. this society. C on versely. 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. 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.One-Way Street 55 pow er th at C e n tra l E urop e feels opposin g it does not negotiate. on nothin g excep t the ex tra o rd in a ry even t in w hich alone salvation now lies. B ut this necessary state o f intense and u n com p lain in g atten tion could. A ll close relationships are lit up by an alm ost intolerable. as a blind mass. and im poten ce. each o f whose m em bers cares only for his ow n abject w ell-bein g. a w a y o f escape th at still seems invisible. T his is the condition o f the en tire G e rm a n bourgeoisie. falls victim . as d an ­ ger a p p roach es. m on ey stands ru in ou sly at the centre o f every vital interest. A n d m ore than ever mass instincts h ave becom e con­ fused and estran ged from life. in d eed d ecay o f the intellect. because w e are in m ysterious co n tact w ith the pow ers besieging us. 2. to even the most ob viou s d an ger. For on the one h an d . therefore. 3. 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. b u t on the other. w ith a n im a l insensibility b u t w ith ou t the insensate in tu ition o f anim als. 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. 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. indeed perversion o f vital instincts.

and health are d isappearing. m ore and m ore. so he m ay tolerate m uch as long as he is alone. the work o f invisible hands. 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 . neither shall he e a t. but feels ju stifiable sham e w hen his w ife sees him bear it or suffers it herself. 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. does ind eed dis­ grace.” W h en there was w ork that fed a m an. A n d ju st as a m an can en dure m u ch in isolation. But o f this there is no hope so lon g as each blackest. 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 the rising path o f revolt.” W ell and good. T h e case is no differen t w ith the brutal. and everyth in g as long as he conceals it. But they dis­ grace the poor m an. But this d ep rivation . set forth in all its illusory causes and effects. u nreflecting trust. helps no one un cover the dark powers th at h old his life in thrall. and then console him w ith the little adage. d a ily and even hourly discussed by the press. N ot w ithou t reason is it custom ary to speak o f “ n a k ed ” w ant. so. T h e y do it. 5. 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. “ I f a m an does not w ork. W h a t is most d am ag in g in the display o f it. in the n atural as in the m oral sphere. if it arose from deform ity or other m isfortune. most terrible stroke o f fate. F ilth and m isery grow up around them like w alls. but his sham e. “ P overty disgraces no m a n . 4. It is one o f those that m ay once have held good but have long since d egenerated. . It is im possible to rem ain in a large G erm an city. there was also p o verty th at did not disgrace him .5^ w hich alm ost all relationships h a lt. into w h ich m illions are b o m and hundreds o f thousands are dragged by im poverishm ent. 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. calm .

this is now rep la ced by in q u iry into the price o f his shoes or his u m b rella. his a ctiv ity and in vo lvem en t in this chaos. as the lives o f savages alone are su b jected to tribal laws. A w itty F re n ch m a n has said : “ A G erm a n seldom understands himself. 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.” T his com fortless dis­ tance w as increased b y the w ar. T h e most E u rop ean o f all accom ­ plishm ents. is the vio len ce. I f it was earlier a m a tter o f course in conversation to take interest in on e’s p artner. w illin gly or u n w illingly. I f he says so. w h at com pletes the isolation o f G erm an y in the eyes o f oth er E urop ean s. he w ill not say so. its in h ab ita n ts seem no less b izarre than an exotic race. 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. 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. the sub ject o f o n e’s th o u gh t and speech. as the o v erall pictu re. had to m ake them a ga in and again. 7. I f he has on ce understood him self. o f m oney. As there 57 . R a th e r. has com pletely deserted the G erm an s. 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).One-Way Street 6. w ith w h ich circum stan ces. he w ill not m ake h im self u n d erstood . squalor. 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 . in w h ich they m igh t be able to help one another. 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. 8. 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. incom prehensible to ou t­ siders and w h o lly im p e rcep tib le to those im prisoned by it. and stu p id ity here subjugate people en tirely to collective forces. 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. T h e freedom o f conversation is being lost.

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

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. 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. w hether it springs from an in­ tellectu al or even a n atu ral im pulse. w ith the view o f the horizon .One. 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. highw ays. 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 . w hich existed in certain forms even in the M id d le A ges: freedom o f dom icile. J u st as all things. so is the city. A n y h u m an m ovem en t. against all laws. 13. they are now ch ain ed together in u n n atu ral com ­ m u n ity. E ach stam ps its ow ner. is im peded in its unfoldin g b y the boundless resistance o f the outside w orld. 12. the abortion s o f u rb a n architecton ics. becom e in these regions percep tib le. are losing their intrinsic ch ara cter w hile am ­ b ig u ity displaces a u th en ticity . lea vin g him o n ly the choice o f a p p earin g a starvelin g or a . 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. 1 1 . A n d if m ed ieval coercion bound m en to n atu ral associations. N o t by the lan dscape. 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 . night sky th a t the veil o f v ib ra n t redness no lon ger conceals. 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. 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. 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 . a lo n g w ith isolated m onstrosities from the open country.

I too scraped a b o u t in the sand. the earth w ill be im poverished and the land yield bad harvests. it is perhaps this im ­ m em orial practice that has survived. in the p ro­ hibition on gath erin g forgotten ears o f co m or fallen grapes. that it snatches the fruit unripe from the trees in order to sell it most p rofitab ly.6o racketeer. It is therefore fittin g to show respect in taking. and is com pelled to em p ty each dish in its determ in ation to h ave enough. Indeed. A n A th en ian custom forbade the picking up o f crum bs at the table. T h is respect is expressed in the ancient custom o f the libation . w itz [joke] = M exica n ch u rch [!]. these revertin g to the soil or to the ancestral dispensers o f blessings. 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 . (A n a =&v< 5c. I thought to m yself: a M exica n shrine from the tim e o f pre-anim ism . I aw oke lau gh in g. D elighted . For w hile even true lu x u ry can be perm eated b y intellect and con viviality and so forgotten. T h en the tip o f a church steeple cam e to light. U n d e r g r o u n d W orks I saw in a dream barren terrain. vi = vie. 14. 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. E xcavation s w ere in progress. I f society has so degenerated through necessity and greed that it can now receive the gifts o f nature only rap aciou sly. from the A n a q u ivitzli. For w e are a b le to m ake M o th er E arth no gift o f our own. by retu rn in g a part o f all w e receive before lay in g hands on our share. since they belon ged to the heroes. 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. It was the m a rk et-p lace at W eim ar.

had through L u th e r ’s tran slation b ecom e the p e o p le’s property. F or w h eth er by coincid en ce or not. 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. M a lla r m e . 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. th ey w ou ld prefer. th at hour held sacred o f old but in this c o u n try d ed icated to the executioner. 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” . 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 . and w ere therefore far less en d u rin g th an M a lla r m e ’s. an a rch itecto n ic one w hen it is built. the book o f books. the question o f cap ital p u n ish m en t w o u ld be resolved. 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. it contrasts in p a rticu la r to the situation in w hich the art o f printin g w as d iscovered . not from con stru ctive principles bu t from the precise n ervous reactions o f these literati. 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. and a textile one w h en it is w o v en . should the occasion arise. 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. B y first ligh t.One-Way Street e x p la n a tio n and d etain ed for tw en ty-fou r hours. B u t they show up for this very reason the top icality . 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. it is true. w hich grew out o f the inner nature o f his style. N ow ev ery ­ thin g in d icates th at the book in this trad itional form is nearing its end.

w h ich alread y eclipse the sun o f w h at is taken for intellect for city dw ellers. as the present m ode o f scholarly production dem onstrates. m on ad ically. conflicting letters that the chances o f his penetratin g the arch a ic stillness o f the book are slight. had dis­ covered through a pre-established harm on y w ith all the derisive events o f our times in econom ics. T h e card index m arks the conquest o f three-dim en sion al w riting. poets.) 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 . T h e n ew spaper is read more in the vertical than in the horizon tal plane. w ill grow thicker w ith each succeeding year. a d va n cin g ever m ore d eeply into the grap h ic regions o f its new eccen tric figurativeness. 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. 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. 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. O th e r dem ands o f business life lead further. is pitilessly d ragged out onto the street by advertisem ents and subjected to the b ru tal heteronom ies ol econom ic chaos. w ill be able to .62 o f w hat M a llarm e. Printing. techn ology. w ho w ill now as in earliest times be first and forem ost experts in w riting. 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. rather. w ill take sudden possession o f an ad eq u a te fa ctu al content. II centuries ago it began gra d u a lly to lie dow n. T his is the h ard schooling o f its new form . L ocu st swarm s o f print. colourful. his eyes have been exposed to such a b lizza rd o f chan gin g. and p u b lic life. in his herm etic room . an ou tdated m ed iation betw een tw o different filing systems. w h ile film and advertisem ent force the printed w ord en tirely into the d ictatorial p erp en dicu lar. h avin g found in the book a refuge in w h ich to lead an autonom ous existence. In this picture w ritin g. A n d before a child o f our tim e finds his w ay clear to open in g a book. (And tod ay the book is alread y. it now begins just as slow ly to rise again from the ground.

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 . 63 T e a c h i n g A id Principles o f the Weighty Tome. or How to Write Fat Books. V . F or concep ts treated o n ly in their general significance. I I I . 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 . 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. 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. In stead o f being represented in a gen e a lo g ica l tree. V I I . 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.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 . I. T erm s are to be in clu d ed for conceptions that. all the d ifferen t kinds o f m achines should be enum erated. 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. 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. 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. excep t in this d efin ition . an excellen t piece o f w ritin g w ou ld result. V I . if. for exam ple. IV . 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. 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 . all fam ily relationships are to be en u m erated an d described. for exam p le. a p p e ar n ow here in the w hole book. 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 . exam ples should be g iv e n .One. II. m achines are m en­ tioned.

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

O n the left. but w ritin g j ^ com m an d s it^/ V I I . T h e id ea kills inspiration. T h e m ore circu m spectly you d elay w ritin g d ow n an id ea. inks is beneficial. V I . N ev er stop w ritin g because you have run out o f ideas. a c h ild ’s d raw in g. 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. X I I . K e e p y ou r pen a lo o f from inspiration. w hich it w ill then attract w ith m agn etic pow er. D o not w rite the conclusion o f a w ork in your fam iliar study. a m eeting) or at the end o f the w ork. IV . (Snob in the p rivate office o f art criticism . L et no th o u gh t pass incognito. and keep you r notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register o f aliens. I f the latter sharpens the inner ear. pens. A v o id h a p h a za rd w ritin g m aterials. X I . 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. is d egrading. w ritin g pays o ff style. bu t an a b u n d a n ce o f these utensils is indispensable. X .One. Y o u w ou ld not find the necessary cou rage there. the m ore m atu rely developed it w ill 65 be on su rren d erin g itsejrff S p eech conquers thought. In tu itio n w ill aw aken in the process. V . on the right a fetish. IX . Nulla dies sine linea — b u t there m ay w ell be weeks. X I I I . S n o b : “ D oesn ’t this m ake Picasso seem such a waste o f tim e ? ” ) .Way $treet Sem i-rela x atio n . 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 . 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 . V I I I . Thirteen Theses Against Snobs. 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. T h e w ork is the d eath m ask o f its concep tion . 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. to a b ack gro u n d o fin sipid sounds. style fetters the idea. O n the oth er hand . S tages o f com p o sition : id e a — sty le— w riting. N o luxury. A p ed an tic adherence to certain papers.

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

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

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

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

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. 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. 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. before going to the w om an to declare it. not one am on g the tens o f thousands w ho pause can read the inscription. w here every a lle yw a y shows its colour and every w ord has a passw ord for its echo. In such m anner does all fam e redeem its pledges.— F ew things are m ore characteristic o f the N ord ic man than that. 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. declarations and com m ands are firm ly lodged. enjoy his feeling in solitude. Pocket diary. For the im m ortal stands like this obelisk: regu la tin g the spiritual traffic that surges thunderously abou t him .— “ 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. List o f wishes. Paper-weight.7o vous are at m y finger-tips. p a rty slogans. w hen in love. he must above all and at all costs be alone w ith himself. 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. and no oracle can m atch its guile. and the inscription he bears helps no one. must first contem plate. .— Place de la C o n co rd e: the O b elisk. in her political concepts.

densely and un ceasin gly as snow flakes. In the low er classes they are sim ply handed out. you see coveted books pass into oth er hands. 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. and one hand is alw ays on the page. R e a d in g . that surround ed you as secretly. T h e peacefulness o f the book that enticed you further and further! Its contents did not m u ch m atter. W h en a va lu ed . he covers his ears. A t last desire was granted. feeling h im self aband oned . I should be in the A rcad ia o f m y w ritin g . 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 . cultured and elegant friend sent me his new book and I was abou t to open it. Gifts m ust affect the receiver to the point o f shock.One-Way Street S om eon e w ho. For a w eek you w ere w h olly given up to the soft drift o f the text. 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. Y o u entered it w ith lim itless trust. in envy. 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. For y o u w ere readin g at the tim e w hen you still m ade up stories in bed. O n ly now and again do you dare to express a wish. O ften.— Y o u are given a book from the school library. I cau gh t m yself in the act o f straigh ten in g m y tie. takes up a book. finds w ith a p an g that the p a g e he is abou t to turn is alread y cut. 7/ E nlargem ents Child reading. and th at even here he is not needed.

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

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

As its engineer the ch ild disenchants the glo om y paren tal ap a rtm en t and looks for E aster eggs. It becom es im m ensely distinct. cacti that are totem -poles and copper pennies that are shields. bricks that are coffins. T h a t is w h y he does not tire o f the struggle w ith the dem on. W h en he pulls faces. the clock need on ly strike and he w ill rem ain so.74 he drags hom e his booty. M a g ic discovery becom es science. w arlike visitor. 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. a ghost. tinfoil that is hoarded silver. 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. w ith ou t w a it­ ing for the m om ent o f discovery. 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. w hile in his ow n dom ain he is still a sporadic. 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. the child becom es him ­ self som ething floating and w hite. their fixed m ouths. His draw ers must becom e arsenal and zoo. H ere he is enclosed in the w orld o f m atter. A t no cost must he be found. his fath er’s bookshelves. “ T o tidy u p ” w ou ld be to dem olish an edifice full o f prickly chestnuts that are spiky clubs. w eave him forever as a ghost into the curtain. His heart pounds. speechlessly obtrusive. he is told. A n yo n e w ho discovers him can petrify him as an idol under the table. Child hiding. . 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. Stan d in g behind the d oo rw a y curtain . secure it. crim e m useum and crypt. to p u rify it. in m ysterious places. In this struggle the a p artm en t is the arsenal o f his masks. T h e elem ent o f truth in this he finds out in his hiding place. in their em p ty eye-sockets. cast out its spell. Y e t once each year. presents lie. A n d so. he holds his breath. banish him for life into the h eavy door. he grabs the hunter w ith a shout o f self-deliverance.— 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.

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

separated from her. W h ich reader has not once lifted to it a fleeting. th rough the spacious rooms o f a m useum whose cu rator he was. W atchm aker and J ew eller H e w ho. L ike a clock o f life on w h ich the seconds race. A lon e. shallow . bereft o f com fort and shadow .— O n e is w ith the w om an one loves. aw ake and dressed. perhaps w hile hiking. W h ile he talks in an ad join in g room w ith an em p loyee. and one realizes that it was she alone. weeks or months later. preserves all d ay before others the serenity o f one in ­ visibly crow n ed . taw d ry. 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. I go up to a glass showcase. 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 over the low er teeth je w e lle ry . so that the th o u gh t was alive in all its folds and crevices like a relief. besides other lesser objects. T h en . w e see it lie flat. witnesses the sunrise.76 Relief . T h e m outh o f this golden head is open. the pagen um ber hangs over the characters in a novel.— 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. d ully shining. alm ost life-size bust o f a w om an. w ho shaded and sheltered it before us. speaks w ith her. bendin g low over it w ith love. A n d now the m o tif seems banal. 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. one thinks again o f w h at was talked o f then. In it. p a rtly . Torso. 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. not dissim ilar to L e o n a rd o ’s F lora in the B erlin M useum . stands a m etallic or enam elled. as now .

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

in the landscape so in co m p arab le and irretrievab le is the rigorous connection betw een foreground and distance. that earliest pictu re can never be restored. As soon as we begin to find our b ear­ ings.78 L o s t -P r o p e r t y O f f i c e Articles lost. . fallen asleep. 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. . . . “ L ’ ln tra n . I saw before me how b leak the corners w ere. It has not yet gained prep ond erance through a constant exp loration that has becom e habit.” I dream t in these words and at once w oke w ith a start. . for a few seconds. P ra ctica lly everyone drinks only spoiled a n im a l-w a ter. Articles found. . I saw in a dream “ a house o f ill rep u te” . Paris-Soir . a n ew spaper vend or called inces­ santly in an u n va ryin g tone behind me.— W h a t makes the very first glim pse o f a village. and had at once. a town. 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 . . 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 . It is w hat gives stage sets their in com p arab le atm osphere. H ab it has not yet done its work. 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. “ L ’ ln tra n . is the painted distance o f a b ackdrop. L a L ib e rte ” . “ A hotel in w h ich an anim al is spoiled.— T h e blue distance that never gives w a y to fore­ ground or dissolves at our ap p roach . ParisSoir . O n ce we begin to find our w a y abou t. 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. .

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. W h e n his lips part. but they all leave us b ew ild ered like messages from the beyond. yg M onum ent to a W a r r io r Karl AraMi. brand ishin g d raw n swords in each hand . 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 . B lind like the manes lan gu a g e calls him to ven g ea n ce. and none ever was m ore hopelessly lost. “ m erely one o f the epigones that live in the old house o f la n g u a g e ” . H e. In ancien t arm our.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. and from w hose hands the rock w hich is to bury his enem ies rolls like that o f Sisyphus. has becom e the sealer o f its tom b. w ho care not w hat h avoc they w reak in the realm o f the livin g. a C hinese idol. 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. A n d none w ho w alks the paths o f life w ould . T h e ir com m ands are infallible.One. 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. N o post was ever m ore lo y ally held. nothing m ore god-forsaken than his adversaries. 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. 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.N oth in g m ore d esolatin g than his acolytes. 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 rath ­ fully grin n in g. . But he can not err. E very sound is in co m p a ra b ly genuine. N o nam e that w ou ld be m ore fittin gly honoured b y silence. the colourless flam e o f w it darts forth. 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.

O n an arch a ic field o f honour. 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. the ligh ted fuse must be cut. the church verges like G od H im se lf on the sea. 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. For w hether the bourgeoisie wins or loses the fight. and the last that are bestow ed. cu rved baroque staircase lead in g to the church. T o think in this w a y is to rom an ticize and obscure the facts. Before the spark reaches the d ynam ite.8o com e upon him . I f you turn around. 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. 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). he rages before a deserted sepulchre.— T h e gently rising. all is lost. but betw een . and tem pi o f politicians are te ch n ica l— not chivalrous. 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 railing behind the church. T h e honours at his death w ill be im m easurable. a gigan tic b a ttle­ ground o f b lo od y labour. 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 inter­ ventions. F ir e A l a r m T h e notion o f the class w ar can be m isleading. T r a v e l S ou venir s - Atrani. E ach m ornin g the C hristian E ra crum bles the rock. w ho be d efeated ?” . dangers. T h e true p o litician reckons on ly in dates. It does not refer to a trial o f strength to decide the question “ W h o shall w in. or to a struggle the outcom e o f w hich is good for the victor and bad for the van qu ished .

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

as a child holds . T h e facade gives an ind ication o f the w a itin g rooms w ithin . E xtracts from the railw ay traffic regulation s in the form o f pastoral letters h an g on the w alls. Boscotrecase. repre­ sented. H er expression o f pain before a C hrist whose ch ild h o od rem ains only suggested. and cabinets w here the lon g-distance traveller can discreetly wash are kept in readiness as confessionals.— 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 here passengers o f the first to fourth classes (though before G od they are all eq u al). w edged am on g their spiritual possessions as betw een cases. But w hen all was com plete. in 1893. T h is is the M arseilles religion station. the bleak b u ild in g stands betw een q u a y and w arehouse. look very m uch like internation al tim etables. Freiburg Minster . w ith their con ­ cordances and cross references.— A rc h a ic statues offer in their smiles the consciousness o f their bodies to the onlooker.82 p roletarian district to the north. place and tim e had con­ spired victoriou sly in this m on um en t against its architects and sponsors. St Basil’ s . Museo Nazionale . — 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. N ea rly forty years w ere spent on it. As a reload in g point for in tan gib le. tariffs for the discount on special trips in S a ta n ’s lu x u ry train are consulted. Moscow. un fath om able goods. Sleeping cars to eternity d ep art from here at M ass times. Naples. sit readin g hym nbooks that. is m ore intense than any she could display w ith a realistic im age o f a boy. 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.

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

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

“ L ’ hospitalite” . O n it lie three fruit. and cou ld also im agine Sleep ing B eauty aw ak en ed w ith a shot. “ Les rues de Paris” . H e places his neck a u to m a tica lly under the b lad e and is d ecapitated . 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. O n e thinks o f the fairy-tale o f the b ra ve little tailor. Y e t an oth er constellation: a fiddler w ith his d a n cin g bear. In front o f the closed gate a gu illotine.) Below .One. a ju d g e in a b lack robe and a priest h o ld in g a crucifix. the door opens. 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. 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” . T w o convicts are seen m a n h a n d lin g a b ig w heel. I f he hits the b u ll’ s-eye the p erform ance starts. O th e r stands present th eatricals directed b y the spectator w ith his rifle.Way Street fan they spread in their hands. In the same w a y : “ Les delices du manage” . in front o f the table on w h ich the 85 . W h en you shoot successfully the bow moves. 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. W hen the target is hit he pulls a b ell-cord. T h e bear beats a drum w ith his p a w and lifts one leg. “ L ’ Enfer” — w hen its gates part a devil is seen torm en ting a w retch ed soul. 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. H e holds in front o f him a golden bow l. 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 y seem to have to turn it. “ Le bagne” [“ clin k ” ] — a door w ith a gaoler in front o f it. 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. O n another booth : “ Execution capitale” . (T h e third did not open. M o v in g pipes revolve slow ly in the furth er regions o f the clay-p igeon booths. A penurious interior opens. T h e bell rings. T h e first opens and a tiny person stands inside it and bows. In the second tw o e q u a lly d im in u tive puppets revolve in a dance.

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

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

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

the gen u in e advertisem ent hurtles things at us w ith the tem po o f a good film . / 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 .Way Street 89 the dream o f an anaesthetized patien t w ith the surgical inter­ vention. “ in n o cen t” eye has becom e a lie. A n d ju st as the film does not present fu rn itu re and facades in com pleted forms for critical inspection. T h e re b y “ m atter-of-factness” is finally d ispatched . their insistent. /f i <' ^ ^ / . W h a t. 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. C riticism is a m a tter o f correct distancing. A n d the paid critic. it is m on ey that affects him in this w ay. 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 . his assistant. and in face o f the hu ge im ages across the w alls o f houses. T o d a y the m ost real. brings him into perceived co n tact w ith things. w h ere toothpaste and cosm etics lie h a n d y for giants. F or the m an in the street. N ow things press too closely on h u m an society. sen tim en tality is restored to h ealth and liberated in A m erican style. careens at us out o f a film screen. T h e w arm th o f the subject is com m u n icated to him . T h e “ u n clo u d ed ” . je r k y nearness alone b ein g sensa­ tional. 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. perhaps the w hole n aive m ode o f expression sheer in com p eten ce. in cash. inserts a foreign term as a silver rib. displaces interned accents. m an ip u la tin g paintings in the d ea ler’s exh ib ition room . and he pays the w a iter. For its d ay is lon g past. W ith the cautious lineam ents o f h a n d w ritin g the operator m akes incisions. gro w in g to gigan tic proportions. h o w ­ ever. 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. the m ercan tile g a ze ^ into the heart o f things is the advertisem ent. A t last the w h ole is fin ely stitched together with p u n ctu ation .One. in the end. stirs sentient springs. cauterizes proliferations o f w ords.

and slow ly start to retreat from y ou r position. It interrupts you at the m ost im portant point and gives your op pon en t tim e to contrive an answer. and then new . T h is treatm ent. A telephone on the desk shrills at every m om ent. T h e other. t O f f i c e Equipm en t c\ _ rp „ T h e boss’s room bristles w ith w eapons. and hear w ith a fright that you r interlocu tor is leavin g tom orrow for B razil.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. Sum m oned or un­ sum m oned the secretary enters. 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). H e starts to tire. the n ew com er w ill glan ce over at her more than on ce. reads this o ff the d a zzlin g ly illu m in ated face w ith satisfaction. w ith the light behind him . 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. too. un- . 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. and as I passed fam iliar places on m y w ay. is follow ed sooner or later by a liqu id ation . 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. T h e arm ch air too does its w ork. Y o u think this to yourself. T h e a p p aren t com fort that disarm s those entering is in reality a hidden arsenal. Y o u begin to w on d er w ho it is they are talkin g abou t. 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. you sit in it tilted as far b ack as at the den tist’s. She is very pretty. and so finally accep t this dis­ com fiting procedure as the legitim ate state o f affairs. and she knows how to turn this to a d va n ta ge w ith her boss.

on the oth er hand.One-Way Street fam iliar ones or others that I rem em bered only va g u ely. ' 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. T h e splitting up and giv in g are all-im p o rta n t. “ 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. N o m atter by w h om : form erly a b eggar at the tab le en riched each b an qu et. binds to­ gether. i f for o n ly this reason. is that w ith ou t food c o n v ivia lity grows p recarious. O n ly then did I w ake. rivalries and conflict ensue. a fru gal diet. Som etim es you com e across them on postcards and are unsure w hether you should d etach . food m ust be d ivid ed and d istributed if it is to be w ell received. 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. H erm its have obser­ ved. 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. P la y in g host levels differences. T h e C o u n t o f S ain t-G erm ain fasted before loaded tables. For it is only in co m p a n y that ea tin g is done ju stic e . W h a t is sur­ prising. and b y this alone d om in ated conversation. how ever. 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. T a k in g food alone tends to m ake one h ard and coarse. the city b ecam e a book in m y hands. W hen all abstain. T hose accustom ed to it must lead a S p a rtan life i f they are not to go dow n hill.

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

T h e y are u n alterin g. T hese are perhaps fa te’s true lo ttery tickets. In a tigh tly-w o ven sp id er’s w eb they bear on ly a num ber. T h e y n u m ­ ber am on g the postal parvenus. S crip t on T u rkish piastre-stam ps is like the slanted. 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. too gleam in g breast-pin in the tie o f a sly.One.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. 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. kings on ly the hirelings o f num bers that steep them in their colours at w ill. 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. O ld Groschen-stam ps show ing only one or two large figures in an oval. T h u m and T a x is too has the big figures on its stam ps. one evening. o f anim als and allegories and states are record ed in them . w ith ou t in d ication o f cu rren cy or country. altogether too dand yish. the large. the num bers o f m onarchs and palaces. in blacklacq u ered fram es. But then there are sm all stam ps w ith o u t perforations. relations w e never knew look dow n on us: figure-shaped great-aunts or forefathers. there they are like the b ew itch ed num bers o f taxim eters. as over phantom s. E xtra-p ostage stam ps are the spirits am ong stam ps. b ad ly perforated. w hich deck them ­ selves out like ban kn otes. only h a lf-E u ro p ean ized m erch an t from C on stantin ople. 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. T h e y look like those first photos from w hich. O n e w ou ld not be surprised. to see the light o f a can d le shining throu gh them from behind.

L ike G u lliv er the child travels am ong the lands and peoples o f his postage stamps. T h ere is. Stam ps are the visiting-cards that the great states leave in a c h ild ’s room . A travel brochure for the C a p e o f G ood H ope. ju st as the stamps show it. 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. It w ill not survive the tw entieth. T h e g e o g ra p h y and history o f the L illi­ putians. T h e y seemed to w a n t to discuss .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. w atches the lau n ch in g o f their little ships and celebrates w ith their crow n ed heads. attends their pu rple assemblies. a lread y the a u tu m n al asters and dahlias o f this flora? S tep han. ju bilees. even on the blue. enthroned behind hedges. w ith their full colours. green and brow n issues. a G erm an and not b y chance a con tem porary o f J ean P aul. it is alw ays. it is know n. planted this seed in the sum m ery m iddle o f the nineteenth cen tu ry. W hen he sees the swan on A u stralian stam ps. Si P a r l a I t a l ia n o I sat at night in violent pain on a bench. H e takes part in their transactions. is instilled in him in sleep. 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. 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. O pp osite me on another tw o girls sat dow n. the w hole science o f the little nation w ith all its figures and nam es. 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.

th at a cool dressing was b ein g applied to the painfu l place. it is not even a bad ph oto­ graph.One. 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. T h e n the sweet odalisque rises w ith a start. facin g the lens o f w ritin g w hile w e crouch under the black cloth. to keep still and look am iable. C o m m itted to w ritin g in such a case. from her self-im m ersion. and the state His .Way Street g j som ething in confidence and b egan to w hisper. m ankind is G od. alm ost u n recogn iz­ able. 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 . rattled . But now I could not resist the feeling. T h e provid er for all dep uty. in face o f this u n m otivated w hisp erin g in a lan gu age inaccessible to me. m usic or cries for help. our cranium . T ru th w ants to be startled a b ru p tly . 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. snatches w h a tev er first comes to hand in the melee o f her b oudoir. how h ea lth ily built. A n d the truth refuses (like a child or a w om an w ho does not love us). to oth er people. and yet victoriou s. 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 h ether b y uproar. at one stroke. con ­ torted. w raps it aroun d her and flees us. But how w ell-constituted she m ust be. to step in such m anner am ong them . T h e killin g o f a crim inal can be m o ra l— but never its leg iti­ m ation. cap tivatin g.

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

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

C ow a rd ice and a p a th y counsel the form er. hours. and precise aw areness o f the present m om ent m ore decisive than foreknow ledge o f the most distant events. we scarcely know how. the m essage is deciphered. T h e re b y he attains rebirth. was there not. lu cid ity and freedom the latter. is severed — not solved. the indistinct reproach : did you really not know o f this? D id not the dead person’s nam e. T h e two are irrecon cilable. T h e w om an cuts it. 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. H e is im pelled by inertia. T o interpret them or to use them . O m en s. the po w er to strike at our centre and force us. presenti­ ments. rather than curiosity.9# in it alone. But it is now too late. days before. and only then. in a lan gu ag e you only now understand? A n d if an object dear to you has been lost. signals pass d ay and n ight through our organism like w ave im pulses. sound differen tly in you r m outh? D o you not see in the flam es a sign from yesterd ay evening. For presence o f m ind is an extract o f the future. 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. the last tim e you uttered it. H ence. to act accord in gly. an aura o f m ockery or . W e read it. I f w e neglect to do so. 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. and as his beloved frees him from the m o th er’s spell. 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. that is the question. the m an is free to die. w hen you are taken unaw ares b y an outbreak o f fire or the news o f a death. T h is secret is com p a ra b le to the fetter that binds him to life. because his life has lost its secret.

Ad plures ire was the L atin s’ expression for dying. and returned to us disfigured. the w atch w ord o f v icto ry . on w akin g. spirits. P rim itive epochs. . stum b ling as he set foot on C arth a gin ian soil. chastity. 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. in com ­ p a ra b ly tig h tly w oven tissue o f pure prediction fits us perfectly. spread ing his arm s w ide as he fell. and S cipio. 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. E ven the ancients knew o f this true practice. w ith the most reliable instrum ent o f d ivin ation . this in co m p arab ly fine. His fe e lin g — even against all reason — makes him a m essenger from the realm o f the dead. E ach m ornin g the d ay lies like a fresh shirt on our b ed . cried out. and vigil h ave for all tim e celeb ra ted their greatest victories. 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. that un lived life is h an d ed over to cards. T h e y w ere sitting on a bench d iag o n ally opposite m ine. 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. T h e happiness o f the next tw en ty-fou r hours depends on our ability. in the naked body. But it is not w ith im p u n ity that these intentions are exchanged . “ Teneo te. p rovid ed him . T o turn the th rea ten in g future into a fulfilled now. to be in an instant squan­ dered. is a w ork o f b o d ily presence o f m ind. In ju st such m astery the ancient ascetic exercises o f fasting.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. stars. m isused. m aking him ­ self the factotu m o f his b od y. to pick it up. w h en such d em ean ou r was part o f m a n ’s d aily hus­ b an d ry. 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. the on ly desirable tele­ path ic m iracle.

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

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

bu t a cradle. T h e seam an is sated w ith close-ups. on the M arseilles C an nebiere. 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. English shaving-soap and D u tch tob acco. foreign lands are enshrouded. W e deplore the beggars in the South. H e lives on the open sea in a city w here. b an al and regen era­ ting as the givin g o f alms. or the stoker. forgettin g that their persistence in front o f our noses is as justified as a sch olar’s before . and only the m ost exact nuances speak to him . and then G erm an beer. service on board . oil-paintings. consistency and principles are m iserably in ad eq u ate. T h e y know nothin g o f the h a zy distances in w hich. Im b u ed to the m arrow w ith the in tern ation al norm o f industry. th ey are not the dupes o f palm s and icebergs. 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 . For officers their n ative tow n still holds pride o f place. No V agran ts! A ll religions have honoured the beggar. A n d their real h ab itat is exa ctly the same. in tellect and m orality. knives and little m arble figures. H e can distinguish countries better b y the prep aration o f their fish than by their building-styles or landscapes. a Port Said bar stands d iagon ally opposite a H a m ­ burg brothel.102 postcards. for the bourgeois. 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. For he proves th at in a m atter at the same time as prosaic and holy. 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. the inter­ laced harbours are no longer even a hom eland. A n d listening to them one realizes w hat m en d acity resides in tourism . But for the o rd in ary sailor. W h a t first asserts itself in every city is. first. T h e city sights are not seen bu t b ou gh t.

T h e ancien ts’ in tercourse w ith the cosmos had been d ifferen t: the ecstatic trance. K ep ler. highfreq u en cy currents coursed throu gh the lan dscape. as did H illel that o f the Jew s. and n ever o f one w ith o u t the other.One-Way Street a d ifficult text. 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.” 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. T h is means. c o n tain ed a p o rten t o f w h at was to com e. H u m a n m ultitudes. electrica l forces w ere hu rled into the open country. the exclu sive em phasis on an op tical co n n ectio n to the universe. and then neither nations nor generation s can escape it. its hour strikes again and again . to w h ich astronom y very q u ick ly led. gases. is o f the sam e order. 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. 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 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. 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. N o shad ow o f hesitation. as was m ade terrib ly clear by the last w ar. m akes know n to us our p reviou sly unsuspected in clin ation to board his vehicle. new con- . b y accostin g us. and T y c h o B rahe w ere c ertain ly not driven by scientific im ­ pulses alon e. that m an can be in ecstatic con tact w ith the cosmos only com m u n ­ ally. 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. It is n ot. A ll the sam e. no slightest w ish or d elib era tio n in our faces escapes their notice. how ever. 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. T h e telep ath y o f the co a ch m a n w ho. 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.

T h e m astery o f nature. but m ankind as a species is ju st begin n in g his. if w e are to use this term . 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. 19 2 5 -2 6 . 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. 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. 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. T h e “ L u n a p a rk s” are a prefiguration o f sanatoria.stellations rose in the sky. 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. in the spirit o f techn ology. I f it is not gripp ed to the very m arrow b y the discipline o f this pow er. and everyw h ere sacrificial shafts were d ug in M o th er E arth. 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. is the purpose o f all technology. But because the lust for profit o f the ruling class sought satisfaction throu gh it. techn ology betrayed m an and turned the bridal bed into a bloodbath. 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. that is. 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. aerial space and ocean depths thundered w ith propellers. 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 ” . so the im perialists teach. no pacifist polem ics w ill save it. T h e pow er o f the proletariat is the m easure o f its convalescence. 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.

II .


for it is in the nature o f all to com m u n icate their m en tal m eanings. T h e existence J o f la n g u a g e. how ever. art. T o sum u p: all com m unica-" tion o f m en tal m eanings is lan gu age. 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. 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. 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. 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. everyw h ere raises new questions. 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 . b u t w ith absolu tely everyth ing. 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. and this understanding. or w h a tev er u n d e rly in g it or founded on it. 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.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. ju stice. or relig io n — tow ard the c o m m u n ica tio n o f m en tal m eanings. 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. A n existence entirely IOJ . p o etry. 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.

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. at the centre o f linguistic theory. 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. is c ertain ly to be understood only as language. as a solution.io8 w ithout relationship to lan gu age is an id ea . the tem ptation to place at the outset a hypothesis th at constitutes an abyss for all philosophizing? . is the great abyss into w h ich all lin gu istic theory threatens to fall. 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. is to be classed as lan gu age. T h is “ itse lf” is a m ental entity. if p laced at the b egin n in g. a lan gu a g e. A ll that is asserted here is that all expression. L an guages therefore have no speaker. T h a t is to s a y : the G erm an lan g u a g e. N evertheless. not through. on the other hand. rather. this p a rad o x has a place. if this m eans som eone w ho com m unicates through these lan gu ages. 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. rather. for exam ple. insofar as it is a com m unication o f m ental m eaning. w h ich m eans: it is not • « • * O r is it. A n d expression. 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. 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. and this distinction seems so u n qu es­ tionable that it is. taken as a hypothesis. M e n ta l b ein g com m u nicates itself in. the expression o f w hich is found in the a m b ig u ity o f the w ord logos. by its w hole innerm ost nature. b u t rem ains a parad ox. 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 . 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. but is the direct expression o f that w hich com m unicates itself in it.* and to survive suspended precisely over this abyss is its task. and insoluble. is by no means the expression o f everyth in g that w e could — th eo retically — express through it.

W h a t is com m u n icable in a m en tal entity is its linguistic entity. the lam p in co m m u n ica tio n . insofar as it is cap ab le o f b eing co m m u n ica ted . 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. T h is is conditional on its im m ed iacy. 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. W h a t is co m m u n ica b le o f a m en tal entity.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. M ed ia tio n . b ut their m en tal b ein g only insofar as this is d irectly in clu d ed in their linguistic being. for exam ple. how ever. and if one chooses to call this im ­ m ed ia cy m agic. is the fu n dam en tal p ro b lem o f linguistic th eory. is lan gu age itself. T h is proposition is u n tau to lo gica l. does not com m u n icate the lam p (for the m en tal b ein g o f the lam p . L a n g u a g e com m unicates the linguistic b eing o f things. 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 . O r more p re­ cisely: all lan gu a g e com m u nicates itself in itself. 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. For in lan gu age the situ ation is this: the linguistic being o f all things is their language. insofar as it is communicable. For ju s t because n othin g is com m u n icated through lan gu age. 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. but this capacity for com m u n ication is lan gu a g e 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. it is in the purest sense the “ m ed iu m ” o f the com m u nication. A t the sam e tim e. W h ic h signifies: all lan gu a g e com m unicates itself.” T h e lan guage o f this lam p . b u t: the lan gu age-lam p . in this it com m unicates itself. then the p rim a ry problem o f lan gu a g e is its m agic. 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. 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. O n this “ is” (eq u iva len t to “ is im m e d ia te ly ” ) everyth in g depends. the notion o f the m agic o f lan gu age points to som eth in g else: its infiniteness. the lam p in expression. as was ju st said by w ay o f transition. is by no m eans the lam p itself). T h e clearest m anifestation o f this being.

W e only know o f no naming lan gu a g e oth er than that o f m a n . 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. that is. not its verbal m eanings. applied 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. 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. for this does not happen through the nam es o f things. as applied to m an. W h ich signifies: m an com m unicates his ow n m ental b eing in his lan guage. A n d. 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. Its linguistic being.1 10 m easured. W h y nam e them ? T o w hom does m an com m u n icate him self? But is this question. he com m unicates h im self by n am in g them. and therefore all lan gu a g e contains its ow n in co m ­ m ensurable. 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. this proposition. through the w ords by w hich he denotes a thing. 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. F u rth erm ore. 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. It is therefore the linguistic being o f man to name things. m ea n s: the linguistic b eing o f m an is his lan gu a g e. the ad vo cate o f such a . H ow ever. T h is is not anthropom orphism . T h e truth o f this answ er is shown in know ledge and perhaps also in art. T h e linguistic b eing o f things is their la n g u a g e . 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. u n iq u ely constituted infin ity. how should he be able to nam e them ? A n d he nam es them . for this is untrue. 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. eq u ally. a choice presented. the lan gu age o f m an speaks in w ords.

com m u n icable w ith ou t residue. for that does happ en through the w ord by w h ich he denotes a thing. only there is the nam e. 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. he can n o t com m u n icate h im self by it but only in it. alone a m o n g all m en tal entities. and on ly the n am e is there. H en ce he is the lord o f n ature and can give nam es to things. m an is the speaker o f lan gu age. and so finally in m an . T h is view is the bourgeois conception o f la n g u a g e. B ut because the m en tal b eing o f m an is la n g u a g e itself. and no addressee o f com m unication. insofar as it com m u n icates itself. 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. 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 . com m u nicates itself in lan gu age. and for this very reason its o n ly speaker. N a m in g . In n am in g the m en tal en tity th at com m unicates itself is language. M a n is the nam er. in the realm o f lan gu a g e. T h e other conception o f lan gu ag e. 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. 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. because he speaks in n am e. from w hom in nam e la n g u a g e alon e speaks.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. and in w h ich lan gu ag e itself com m unicates itself a b so lu tely. its addressee a hu m a n being. how ever. b y this we recognize th at th rou gh him pure lan gu a g e speaks. It m ean s: in naming the mental being o f man communicates itself to God. no ob ject. In term in g m an the speaker (w hich. . its object factu al. 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. know s no m eans. G o d ’s creation is com pleted w h en things receive their nam es from m an. an d on ly for this reason is the m ental b eing o f m an. A ll nature. in contrast. N a m in g is that by w hich n othin g beyond it is c o m m u n ica ted . 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. It holds that the means o f co m m u n ica tio n is the w ord . 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.

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

For this latter thesis runs: the deeper. 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. In this. such as w as a lre a d y fam iliar to scholasticism w ith regard to m en tal being... h ow ever. 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. 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. T h is is the con cep t o f revelation . E x a c tly this. 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. most fixed) is lin gu istically the m ost rounded and d efin itive. 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. b oth m en tal and lingu istic. the m ore it is inexpressible and unexpressed. the most expressed is at the same tim e the p u re ly m en tal. w h ich know s only grad u al differences. For it is addressed in nam e and expresses itself as revelation . T h is grad u ation.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. are n atu ra lly constan tly interrelated. rests solely . in the p ersp ective o f the inexpressible. is m eant by the concep t o f revela tio n . 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.e. as it appears in religion. i. 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. as i f o f its ow n accord . how ever. T h ese tw o spheres. 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.e. H o w ever. the m ore existent and real the m ind. at the same tim e the last m en tal entity. by degrees o f existence or 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. w h ich takes p la ce w ith in m en tal b eing itself. in a w ord. O n considering this conflict one sees. notice is given that o n ly the highest m en tal being. produces a g ra d u a tio n o f all m en tal b eing in degrees. so that the expression that is lin gu istically m ost existent (i.

but on lan guage-m in d confined to things. 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. w ho is not created from the w ord. T h e Bible. also reports that m an was m ade from earth. . its a lp h a and o m ega ” . T h e second version o f the story o f the C reatio n . 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. L a n gu a ge itself is not perfectly expressed in things them selves. w hereas all art. 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 . 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. the mother o f reason and revelation. does not rest on the ultim ate essence o f lan gu age-m in d . w hich is doubtless otherwise thou ght o f as creation w ith ou t m ediation. w hich tells o f the b reathin g o f G o d ’s breath into m an. not ex clu d in g poetry. in the w hole story o f the C re atio n . says H am an n . T h is com m u n ity is im m ed iate and infinite. nor subjection o f the B ible to objective consid era­ tion as revealed truth. in­ exp licab le and m ystical. T h in gs are denied the pure form al principle o f la n g u a g e — sound. is now invested w ith the gift o f lan gu ag e and is elevated above nature. even if in consu m m ate beauty. 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. and the sym bol o f this is sound. 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. must necessarily evolve the fu n dam en tal linguistic facts. This is. perceptible only in its m anifestation. 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. like every linguistic com m u n ica tion . it is m a gical (for there is also a m agic o f m atter). and they are dum b. in regard in g itself as a reve la ­ tion.ii4 on m an and on the lan gu age in him . 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. 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. “ Language.

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. In G o d nam e is creative. how ever. free. because it is in w a rd ly iden tical w ith the c re ativ e w ord . and at the end lan gu ag e as it w ere assim ilates the created . w h ich had served Him as m edium o f creation. names them a cc o rd in g to k n ow ledge. and in an en tirely d ifferent context it vouches. b ecause it is w ord . 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. 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’]. 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. W ith the creative om nipotence o f la n g u a g e it begins. w ith the sam e certain ty . the pure m ed iu m o f know ledge. that is: H e had cogn ized it through n am e. but in m an G od set lan gu age. w here it concerns m an. 1 : 1 1 ) on ly the w ords “ L et there b e” occur. 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. G od did not create m an from the w ord . Th is creativity. T h e absolute relation o f nam e to kn ow ledge exists only in G o d . and G o d ’s w ord is co gn izan t because it is nam e. therefore. it is w ord and nam e. In in d ivid u al acts o f creatio n ( 1 :3 .On Language as Such and on the Language o f Man 1 15 T h is curious revolution in the act o f creation. 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. M an . “ A n d he saw that it was g o o d ” . is no less c le arly recorded. how ever. in the first story o f the C re a tio n . L a n g u a g e is therefore both creative and the" finished creation. 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. T h a t m ean s: G od m ad e things k n ow ab le in their nam es. for a special relationship betw een m an and la n g u a g e resulting from the act o f creation. and he did not nam e him . the deep and clear relation o f the creative act to la n g u a g e appears each tim e. In it. o n ly there is nam e. 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 . G od rested w h en he had left his creative pow er to itself in m an. nam es it.

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

from w h ich in turn. how ever. the w ord o f G o d shines forth. soundlessly. rather. 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. even i f receptive to lan g u a g e. 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 . not abstract areas o f id en tity and sim ilarity. lan gu age has its ow n w ord . It is the translation o f the la n g u a g e o f things into that o f m an. T h u s fertilized. It is necessary to found the co n cep t o f tran slation at the deepest level o f linguistic theory.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. It is therefore the translation o f an im p erfect lan gu ag e into a m ore perfect one. F o r a cco rd in g to m ystical theory the w ord is sim ply the essence o f the thing. By the relation. 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. as has happ en ed occasion ally. 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. m entioned earlier. In nam e the w ord o f G o d has not rem ained cre a tiv e. H o w ever. is not spontaneous creation. it aim s to give birth to the lan gu age o f things them selves. and cannot b u t 1 . T h a t is incorrect. F o r con cep tion and sp ontan eity together. T h is know ledge o f the thing. it has becom e in one part receptive. L a n g u a g e n ever gives mere signs. 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 . 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. that it is a sign for things (or know ledge o f them ) agreed b y some convention. o f lan gu a g es as b etw een m ed ia o f v a ryin g densities. T ran slatio n passes through continu a o f trans­ form ation . the translata b ility o f lan guages into one another is established. and this w ord applies also to that concep tion w hich is en acted by the nameless in nam es. because the thin g in itself has no w ord . 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. w hich are found in this u n iq u e union only in the lingu istic realm . the rejection o f bour­ geois b y m ystical linguistic th eory eq u ally rests on a m isunder­ stan din g. it is also the tran slation o f the nam eless into nam e. in the m ute m a gic o f n ature.

. finally nam ed each thin g after it was created . For G o d created things. in g a zin g grow m ore perfect. 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. there is reason for the m u ltip licity o f hum an lan guages. w hereup on they step before m an to be nam ed.u8 add som ething to it. in the im a g e : G o d gives each beast in turn a sign. and in m an the lan gu a g e o f know ledge and nam e in blissful m ind. 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 . 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. and felt w ith his hands was the livin g 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 . H am an n says: “ E v ery th in g that m an heard in the begin nin g. 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.” F ried rich M uller. m an perform s this task. In the same chap ter o f the poem . ju st as G od. as close. w hich in things becam e the com m u n ication o f m atter in m agic com m union. W ith this w ord in his m outh and in his heart. saw w ith his eyes. and as the latter in turn must fall short o f the creative w ord o f G od . 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. T h e o b jectivity o f this translation is. the creative w ord in them is the germ o f the co gn izin g nam e. and as easy as a c h ild ’s gam e. 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 .” 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. 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. . gu aran teed by G od . too. n am ely know ledge. w hich receives them in nam e. In receivin g the unspoken nameless lan gu a g e o f things and con vertin g it by nam e into sounds. in his poem “ A d a m ’s A w a k en in g and First Blissful N ig h ts” . the origin o f lan gu a g e was as n atural. by com m u n icatin g itself in the m anifold lan guages o f an i­ mals. for G o d was the w ord. . m ore perfect throu gh the w o rd . how ever. even i f m utely.

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

in exch an ge for the im m ed iacy o f nam e d am aged by it.120 hum an beings from paradise. is the linguistic root) o f the com m u n icab ility o f abstraction resides in ju d gm en t. in the F all. 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. as a facu lty o f lan gu age-m in d . laid the foundation for its m ultiplicity. in m akin g lan gu age m ediate. a new im m ed iacy arises. and fell into the abyss o f the m ediateness o f all com m u nication. Since m en had injured the pu rity o f nam e. For good and evil. offers only the grou n d in w hich its concrete elem ents are rooted. o f the em p ty w ord. T h e third m eanin g that can perhaps be ten tatively ven tu red is that the origin o f abstraction. w hich no longer rests blissfully in itself. N am e. 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. it could be on ly a step to lingu istic confusion. but as an em blem o f ju d g m e n t over the questioner. T h e im m ed iacy (w hich. 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. the tu rn in g . in one part at any rate. w hich. T h e second m eaning is that from the Fall. o f the w ord i as means. stand outside the lan gu ag e o f names. w ith regard to existing lan gu age. In the F all. a know ledge in ap p ro p riate to him ). is to be sought in the Fall. the deepest guilt. b eing u n n am ab le. nameless. how ever. too. a mere sign. A fter the F all. w hich m an leaves behind precisely in the abyss opened by this question. into the abyss o f prattle. This im m ense iro n y marks the m yth ical origin o f law . 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). w hen. m an makes lan gu a g e a m eans (that is. the sterner p u rity o f the ju d g in g w ord arose. the m agic o f ju d g m e n t. nam e. and this later results in the p lu rality o f languages. 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. since the eternal pu rity o f nam es was vio lated . 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. In stepping outside the purer lan gu age o f nam e. how ever. m an a b a n d o n ed im m ed iacy in the com m u nication o f the concrete. and therefore also.

” A fter the F all. seco n d ly: she w ou ld lam ent. is m ute. h ow ever. T h e life o f m an in pu re lan gu age-m in d was blissful. as is supposed. T h is proposition m eans. itself becam e bliss. the plan for the tow er o f B abel cam e into being. w hen G o d ’s w ord curses the gro u n d . first: she w ou ld lam ent lan gu age itself. 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 . It m eans. the a p p e ara n ce o f n ature is d eeply ch an ged . it contains scarcely m ore than the sensuous b reath . 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). Y e t the inversion o f this proposition leads even fu rth er into the essence o f n atu re. and linguistic confusion w ith it. In this tu rn in g a w a y from things. N atu re. “ 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 .) T his proposition has a d o u b le m eanin g. how ever. B ut how m uch m ore m elan ch oly to be nam ed not from . and even w here there is on ly a rustlin g o f plants. the sadness o f nature m akes her m ute. im p oten t expression o f la n g u a g e. on ly o f lo w er degree. N ow begins its oth er m uteness. w h ich w e m ean by the deep sadness o f nature. h ow ever. Because she is m ute. T ru e. nam ed by m an. w h ich was enslavem ent. n atu re m ourns. 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.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. In all m ou rn in g there is the deepest inclination to speechlessness. it can be clearly felt in the second ch ap ter o f G enesis how this m uteness. is the m ost u n d ifferen tia ted . (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 ” . 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. in it there is alw ays a lam ent. L am en t. 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 a t w hich m ourns feels itself thorou ghly k n ow n b y the un kn ow able. w h ich is in fin itely m ore than in a b ility or disincli­ n ation to com m u n icate. Signs m ust b ecom e confused w here things are entangled.

T h in gs have no proper nam es except in G od . w hich m ay still be o f the same sphere. G o d called them into being.122 > the one blessed. o f painting. but from the hun dred languages o f m an. how ever. m elancholy and (from the point o f view o f the thing) o f all d eli­ ' berate muteness. 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. T h ere is a lan gu age o f sculpture. accord in g to G o d ’s pron oun cem ent. In the lan gu age o f m en. 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. 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. For in his creative w ord. have know ledge o f things. 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. if not solely. 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. in the relation o f h um an languages to that o f things. Just as the lan gu age o f poetry is partly. nonacoustic languages. they are over­ nam ed. M oreover. W e are concerned here w ith nam eless. paradisiac lan gu ag e o f nam es. 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 . W ith o u t the latter any linguistic philosophy rem ains entirely fragm en tary. O n the oth er hand. it is certain that the lan guage o f art can be understood only in the deepest relationship to the doctrine o f signs. 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. in w hich nam e has a lread y w ithered . I yet w hich. 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. here w e should recall the m aterial com m unity o f things in their com m u n ication . o f poetry. languages issuing from m atter. founded on the nam e lan gu age o f m an. . calling them by their proper names.

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.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. unspoken lan gu age. but extends m ore w idely. 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. 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 . A ll higher la n g u a g e is a translation o f those low er. is im bu ed w ith a nam eless. but m ost p ro b ab ly also a closely conn ected sym bolic function. These have not on ly a co m m u n ica tin g function. even though it m ay still be an im perfect one. lan gu age by no m eans necessarily coincides. at least exp licitly. at the same tim e. to nam e and ju d g m e n t. o f course. T h ese considerations therefore leave us a purified concept o f lan g u a g e. too. to w h ich . until in ultim ate cla rity the w o rd o f G o d unfolds. in certain respects. w h ich is the unity o f this m ovem ent m ade up o f lan gu a g e. T his sym bolic side o f lan gu age is con n ected to its relation to signs. the residue o f the creative w ord o f G o d . 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 . a sym bol o f the n on com m u n icable. w hich he gives to nature and (in proper names) to his ow n kind. for the w hole o f nature. M a n com m unicates him self to G od th rou gh nam 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 . 19 16 . w ith w hich . but the m ea n in g o f the passw ord is the sen try’s lan gu a g e itself. for exam p le.

T h is appears as im possible as “ to predict the fu tu re” . or m ore cautio u sly stated. ch aracter b eing the cause o f fate. accessible. how ever.Fate and Character F ate and ch aracter are com m on ly regarded as cau sally con­ nected. all the events in the areas entered by that ch aracter w ere know n. T h a t is. and if. the ch aracter o f a person. for . on the one hand. w ere know n in all its details. can be apprehend ed only through signs. too. It is. the w a y in w hich he reacts. not in itself. fate. precisely the contention o f those w ho profess to pred ict m en ’s fate from no m atter w h at signs. and therefore m od em men accep t the idea o f readin g ch aracter from. on the other. 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. the physical features o f a person. nonsensical. his fate w ou ld be known. w hereas the notion of analogously read in g a person’s fate from the lines in his hand seems un acceptab le. for under this catego ry the foretellin g o f fate is un cerem oniously subsum ed. for exam ple. 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. 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. finding know ledge o f ch ara cter as such som ehow gen erally present w ithin them selves. as can be shown. L ike character. C o n tem p o ra ry ideas do not perm it im m ediate logical access to the idea o f fate. w hile ch aracter appears as som ething existing in the present and the past and therefore as perceptible. T h e idea u n d erlyin g this is the follow ing: if.

A nexus o f m ean in g can never be foun ded causally. their spheres o f action interpen etrate. because the distinction on w hich it rests is th eoretically un ten able. 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. 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. 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. B etw een the active m an and the extern al w orld all is interaction . they do not in eith er system signify ch aracter or fate on the basis o f causal connections. and his inner . 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. their concepts are inseparable. to his inner w orld. 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 ). this or that link o f fate. though d ifferent in other respects. 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. w hereas in the trad ition al view all the ph enom ena o f extern al life.Fate and Character 125 even if this or that ch ara cter trait. but m erely w ith w h at it signifies. the connection b etw een the sign and the signified constitutes in both spheres an eq u a lly herm etic and difficult problem . to any desired degree. 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. is d irectly in view . if we disregard the ch a ra ctero lo gical significance o f those signs in­ vestigated b y the horoscope. can becom e signs o f fate. but that it is false. because despite all the superficial observation and false hypostasizing o f the signs.

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

but m ixes ind iscrim in ately. the m oral hero. as condem ned. for in trag ed y d em on ic fate is b reached . in trag ed y pagan m an becom es aw are that he is b etter than his god. 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 . W ith o u t d eclarin g itse lf it seeks secretly to ga th e r its forces. appears. 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. It is p ro b ab ly the basis o f all sublim ity.” L a w condem ns. T h e p a rad ox o f the birth o f genius in m oral speechlessness. bu t the realization robs him o f speech.Fate and Character 127 concepts o f w hich are m isfortune and gu ilt. 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. rem ain s unspoken. through confusing itself w ith the realm o f ju stice. it is m isfortune and g u ilt) — such an order can not be religious. T h ere is no question o f the “ m oral w orld o rd er” b eing restored. no m atter how the m isunderstood concept o f g u ilt appears to suggest the con trary. Fate is the gu ilt con text o f the livin g. 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. it is d em on ­ strable that all legal gu ilt is n othin g oth er than m isfortune. instead. m oral infan tility. It corresponds to the n atural cond ition . rath er than G od . it w ould be false to assum e that on ly gu ilt is present in a legal con text. A n oth er sphere must therefore be sought in w hich m isfortune and gu ilt alone c arry w eight. F ate shows itself. not to punishm ent but to gu ilt. the order o f law . has preserved itself lon g past the tim e o f the victo ry over the dem ons. 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. is the su b lim ity o f traged y. in w h ich genius. G u ilt an d aton em en t it does not m easure ju stly in the b alan ce. there­ fore. M istak en ly. at bottom . T h is b alan ce is the scale o f law . 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 . first b een condem ned and then becom e gu ilty. a b alan ce on w hich bliss and in n ocen ce are found too light and float u pw ard. 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. R a th er. in the view o f life. as havin g. still d u m b .

but is parasitically dependent on the tim e o f a high er. he was never w h olly im m ersed in it. very different in its kind and m easure from the tim e o f red em p­ tion. under its rule. It is not an autonom ous tim e. less n atu ral life. It is not therefore really m an w ho has a fate. but only invisible in his best part. 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 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). the nature o f m an. 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. It has no present. 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. on his side. 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. the subject o f fate is in d eterm in ­ able. rath er. 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. In the m anner o f fate. that illusion not yet w h olly dispelled from w hich m an is so far rem oved that. Both concern the n atural m a n — or. better. T h ere is therefore a concept o f fa te — and it is the genuine concept. 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. or o f m usic. as. or o f truth. T h e foundation o f the concept o f ch aracter w ill there- . definite things that com e to hand (things un chastely p regn an t w ith certain ty). and past and future it knows only in curious variation s.128 o f the living. for fateful m om ents exist only in b ad novels. T h e ju d g e can perceive fate w herever he pleases. w ith every ju d g m en t he must b lin d ly dictate fate. h avin g its foun dation in an en tirely different sphere. T h e concep t o f ch aracter m ust be d eveloped to a sim ilar level. this life can be coupled to cards as to planets. the m an w ho visits her gives w a y to the gu ilty life w ithin himself. T h e gu ilt context is tem poral in a totally inau th entic w ay. 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.

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 ” ). “ m aliciou s” . the subject not o f m oral con d em n ation but o f high am usem ent. It is never in them selves. “ e x tra v a g a n t” . But. as m oral ph ilosophy is ob liged to dem onstrate. such abstraction is in all cases not on ly possible but necessary in order to grasp the m eaning o f the concep t. 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. w e w ou ld call a scoundrel. that the actions o f the com ic hero a ffect his p u b lic. n ever m orally. A p p earan ces are a d m itte d ly to the co n tra ry . “ 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). h ow ever. N ot ju st “ th ievish ” . 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. O n the com ic stage. in classical exam ples. in either a positive or a negative sense. for this is how ch a ra cte r appears to su p erficial observation. and the latter is. but above all w ords like “ self-sacrificin g” .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. 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. A t its centre. N evertheless. 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. T h is abstraction m ust be such th at valu ation itself is fu lly p reserved . stands often enough a person w hom . until w h at looked like a net is tigh ten ed into cloth. “ ve n g efu l” . only actions and n ever qualities can be o f m oral im portan ce. only its m oral accen t is w ith d raw n . A lo n g w ith the broad u n d e rly in g traits. to give w a y to such co n d itio n a l evalu ation s. the train ed eye o f the connoisseur o f m en is supposed to perceive finer and closer connections. as the m ain protagon ist in a c o m ed y o f character. O n the oth er h an d . 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. “ 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 . his deeds are interesting on ly insofar as they .

O n the contrary. o f origin al guilt. genius opposes a vision o f the n atu ra l inn ocen ce o f m an. 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.130 reflect the light o f ch aracter. T h e vision o f ch aracter. 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. 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. It is the sun o f in d iv id u a lity in the colourless (anonym ous) sky o f m an. if the object o f p sych ology is the inner life o f m an understood em p irically. It has nothing to do w ith the concerns o f p sych ology if miserliness or hypochond ria. (This places C o h e n ’s profou nd d ictu m that every tragic action. one notes th at the great com ic p la y w rig h t— for exam ple. and its occasional red em p tion the cult. it is the beacon in whose beam s the freedom o f his actions becom es visible. far from m akin g them com ­ prehensible. 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. M o reo ver. o f p agan ism . w h ich allow s no other to rem ain visible in its p roxim ity. T o the d ogm a o f the n atu ral gu ilt o f hum an life. w hich casts the shadow o f the com ic action. T his vision rem ains for its part likew ise in the realm o f nature. in the b rillian ce o f its single trait. C h a ra cter is u nfolded in them like a sun. 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. 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. psych ological analysis is d en ied an y access to his w ork. C o m p licatio n becom es sim plicity. casts a . T h e ch ara cte r trait is not therefore the knot in the net. is lib era tin g in all its form s: it is linked to freedom . 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. the irred eem ab le n ature o f w h ich constitutes the doctrine. M o lie re ’s characters are o f no use to it even as m eans o f dem onstration. on the other hand . b y w ay o f its affinity to logic. in L ’ avare or Le malade imaginaire. as can not be show n here. w h ich is not its only form. fate freedom . are hypostasized as the foun dation o f all action. the com plications and bonds o f his gu ilt. how ever sublim ely it strides upon its cothurnus.

that the d octrin e o f tem peram ents tried to identify. 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. In precisely this respect the an cien t and m ed ieval physiognom ists saw things m ore clearly. m orally ev alu a tive accen t o f its concepts. 1919 .Fate and Character com ic sh ad ow . 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 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 its most ap p ro p ria te context. was a m anifestation o f the new age o f genius. like co m ed y. serve for the ancients p rim arily the ex p lo ration o f fate.) 13 1 P h ysio gn o m ic signs. as also in the strivin g for a n a lytica l com plexity. like those. for ex a m p le. T h e stu d y o f ph ysiognom y. like other m antic sym bols.

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 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 . in a given case. only w hen it bears on m oral issues. the criterion for cases o f its use. is a means to a ju st or an unjust end. how ever. T o resolve this question a m ore exact criterion is needed. For if violence is a means. For a cause. and. w ith o u t regard for the ends they serve. but. For w h at such a system. not o f ends. w hich w ou ld discrim inate w ithin the sphere o f m eans them selves. becom es violent. is not so. as a principle. 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. It perceives in the use o f violent m eans to ju st ends no 13 2 . A critiqu e o f it w ould then be im plied in a system o f ju st ends. it is clear that the most elem en tary relationship w ith in any legal system is that o f ends to means. T h e sphere o f these issues is defined by the concepts o f law and ju stice. T h is. how ever effective. It imposes itself in the question w hether violence. in the precise sense o f the w ord. W ith regard to the first o f these. rather. further. that violence can first be sought only in the realm o f m eans. assum ing it to be secure against all doubt. a criterion for criticizin g it m ight seem im m ed iately availab le. could be a m oral means even to ju st ends. T h e question w ould rem ain open w hether violence. w ou ld contain is not a criterion for violence itself as a principle.

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. w hich. i f ju stified m eans on the one hand and ju st ends on the other w ere in irrecon cilab le conflict. in a th o rou gh ly d ogm atic m anner. as it w ere a raw m aterial. 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. by the justness o f the ends. violence is a p rod u ct o f nature. N o insight into this prob lem could be gain ed . alm ost alone. . If. 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. N otw ith stan d in g this antithesis. w hich sees violence as a p ro d u ct o f history. a p p rop riate to all the vital ends o f nature. has de jure the right to use at w ill the violence that is de facto at his disposal. I f n atural law can ju d g e all existing law only in criticizin g its ends. unless force is misused for unjust ends. 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. app rop riate to n atu ral ends is th ereb y also legal. before the conclusion o f this rational contract. leg ality is that o f m eans. people give up all their violence for the sake o f the state. Perhaps these view s have been recently rekindled by D a r w in ’s b io logy. w hich holds that the violence that is. accord in g to the theory o f state o f n atu ral law . 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 . 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. to “ju s tify ” the means. regards violen ce as the only origin al m eans. I f ju stice is the criterion o f ends. h ow ever. N atu ra l law attem pts. ju stified m eans used for ju st ends. this is done on the assum ption (w hich S pin oza. for exam ple. besides n atu ral selec­ tion.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. states ex p licitly in his Tractatus Theologico-Politicus) that the in d ivid u a l. how ever. 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 ). so positive law can ju d g e all evolvin g law on ly in criticizin g its means. until the circu lar argu m en t had been broken. the use o f w hich is in no w a y p rob lem atical.

then the sphere o f its ap p licatio n m ust be criticized w ith regard to its valu e. o f course. or.134 T h e realm o f ends. 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. 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 e question that concerns us is. m ean that given forms o f violence are classified in terms o f w hether they are sanctioned or not. and irrep laceable b y an y other. 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. 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. the positive theory o f law is accep table as a h yp o th etical basis at the outset o f this study. and unsanctioned violence. based on the nature o f violence. Instead. is exclu ded for the tim e being from this study. For in a critiqu e o f violence. w ill soon enough be shown. and therefore also the question o f a criterion o f justness. For i f positive law is blind to the absoluteness o f ends. I f the follow ing considerations proceed from this it cannot. 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. natural law is eq u ally so to the con tin gen cy o f means. 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. 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. 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. T h is distinction is b etw een historically ack n o w led ged . a criterion for the latter in positive law can not concern its uses bu t only its evaluation . 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. Principles o f n atu ral law cannot decide this question. but can only lead to bottom less casuistry. R ath er. O n the other hand. so-called sanctioned violence. the central place is given to the question o f the ju stificatio n o f certain m eans that constitute violence. For this critiqu e a standpoint outside positive legal philosophy bu t also outside n atu ral law must be found. in other words. w h ich under certain .

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. be usefully pursued b y violence. as far as the in d ivid u al as legal subject is concern ed. this is a m ere d ogm a. as in the laws relatin g to the lim its o f ed u cation al a u th ority to punish. T h is m eans: this legal system tries to erect. C h ara cteristic o f these. the follow ing discussion w ill relate to con tem p o rary E u rop ean conditions. in a given situation. As a d anger n u llifyin g legal ends and the legal ex ecu tiv e? C e rta in ly not. (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. 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. 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. T h e differing function o f vio len ce. 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. In the first place. but on ly that directed to illegal ends. sanctioned. 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. can be m ost clearly traced against a back grou n d o f specific legal conditions.Critique o f Violence 135 conditions is d eclared legal. legal ends that can only be realized by legal pow er. dep en din g on w hether it serves n atural or legal ends. by that o f preserving the law . how ever. 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. 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.) 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. the other legal ends. For the sake o f sim plicity. 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. In d eed . for then violence as such w ou ld not be cond em ned . rather. Ends that lack such ackn ow led gem en t m a y be called n atu ral ends. in all areas w here in d ivid u a l ends could be usefully pursued b y violence.

w hen not in the hands o f the law . can be an en tirely non-violent. O rg a n iz e d lab ou r is. T h e m om ent o f violence. and be so feared b y it. a n on-action. But its truth is not u n con d ition al. but only from the violence to w h ich it bears witness. rather. and therefore not unrestricted. or the law . A g ain st this view there is certain ly the objection that an omission o f actions. p ro b a b ly today the on ly legal subject entitled to exercise violence. pure means. ap art from the state. S u ch a consideration doubtless m ade it easier for a state pow er to con ceive the right to strike. how ever repellent his ends m ay have been. 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. w here it am ounts sim ply to a “ severing o f relations” . T h is is above all the case in the class struggle. in the form o f extortion. A n d as in the view o f the state. w hich is opposed to that o f the state. cannot be described as violence. has aroused the secret ad m iration o f the public. therefore. It is true that the omission o f an action. the right to strike conceded to lab ou r is certain ly not a righ t to exercise violen ce but. w hich a strike rea lly is. the right to use force . In this case. 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. in the form o f the w orkers’ gu aran teed right to strike. to escape from a violence in d irectly exercised by the em ployer. must be especially evid en t w here its ap p licatio n . the right to strike constitutes in the view o f labour. is necessarily introd u ced . threatens it not by the ends that it m ay pursue but by its m ere existence outside the law . even in the present legal system. once this was no lon ger avoid ab le. 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. By w h at function violence can w ith reason seem so threaten ing to law . 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. or service. is still perm issible. This can not result from his deed. how ever. that violence.136 itself. U n derstood in this w a y. and arouses even in defeat the sym path y o f the mass against law . into such an omission.

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

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

or allow to be used. to the law o f general con ­ sc rip tio n — is a legal end.* For positive law . w h eth er it is perm issible to use. * O n e m ight. It consists in the use o f vio len ce as a means o f legal ends. that is. M o re im p o rta n t is the fact that even the appeal. to the catego rical im p era tive. 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. For the subordination o f citizens to la w s— in the present case. w h ich claim s to preserve law in its very basis. I f that first function o f violence is called the law -m a k in g fun ction. a rea lly effective critiq u e o f it is far less easy than the declam ations o f pacifists and activists suggest. 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 ” . It sees this interest in the representation and preservation o f an order im posed by fate. d oubt w h eth er this famous d em and does not contain too little. this second w ill be called the law preservin g function. 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. 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. T h is com pulsory use o f violence has recen tly b een scrutin ized as closely as. and never m erely as a m eans— is in itself in ad eq u ate for such a critiq u e. so freq u en tly attem p ted . if conscious o f its roots. or still m ore closely than. W h ile this view . w h ich can n o t be constituted i f “ actiori” is rem oved from its sphere. . oneself or anoth er in a n y respect as a means. N or. an d b eyond this on an y m eaning in rea lity itself. 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. V e r y good grounds for such d o u bt could be adduced. such a critique coincides w ith the critiq ue o f all leg al vio le n ce— that is. the use o f v io le n ce itself. and thereby on any m eanin g in actio n . 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. Such a m axim m erely excludes reflection on the m oral and historical spheres. rather.Critique o f Violence 139 w h ich could only com e into being through general conscription. M ilita rism is the com pu lsory. universal use o f violence as a m eans to the ends o f the state. R ather.

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

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. this is violence for legal ends (in the right o f disposition). 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 . T h e ign om in y o f such an a u th o rity . the second is subject to the restriction that it m a y not set itself new ends. 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). In a far m ore u n n a tu ral com bin ation than in the death p en a lty. a consideration o f the . 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. 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. R ath er. T ru e . the police. or sim p ly supervising him .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. these tw o forms o f violence are present in another institu tion o f the m odern state. h ow ever. 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 . I f the first is req u ired to prove its w orth in victory. R easo n m ust. 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. P olice vio len ce is em a n cip a te d from both conditions. It is law -m akin g. in a kind o f spectral m ixture. becau se it is at the disposal o f these ends. a ttem p t to a p p roach such conditions all the m ore resolutely. w ith ou t the slightest relation to legal ends. 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. the “ la w ” o f the p o lice re a lly m arks the point at w h ich the state. w h ich is felt by few sim ply because its ordinances suffice on ly seldom for the crudest acts. 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. 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. w h en they are not m erely. U n lik e law . and law -p reserving. 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.

Its pow er is formless. 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 . 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. is im p licated in the p ro b lem a tic n ature o f law itself. like the ou tcom e. from w h at has been said. should he b reak the agreem ent. in particulars. all-p ervasive. T h e y offer the fam iliar. parliam en ts provide an exam p le o f this.14 2 police institution encounters n oth in g essential at all. in G erm an y in p a rticu la r. In our time. than in dem ocracies w h ere their existence. law nevertheless appears. the last m an i­ festation o f such forces bore no fruit for parliam en ts. everyw h ere appear the sam e. N ot only th at. it can n o t fin ally be denied that their spirit is less d evastatin g w h ere they represent. . It need not be d irectly present in it as law -m akin g violence. 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. A n d tho u gh the police m ay. it forfeits all va lid ity. T h e y lack the sense that a law -m akin g violence is represented by them selves. It confers on both parties the right to take recourse to violence in some form against the other. gh ostly presence in the life o f civilized states. leads fin ally to possible violence. h ow ever peace­ fully it m ay have been entered into b y the parties. the institution falls into d ecay. how ever. A cco rd in g ly . W hen the consciousness o f the laten t presence o f violen ce in a legal institution disappears. the origin o f every contract also points tow ard vio len ce. A ll violence as a m eans is either law -m a k in g or law -p reservin g. I f it lays claim to n either o f these pred icates. like its n ow here tangible. bears witness to the greatest con ceivab le d egen eration o f vio len ce. even in the most favourable case. It follows. 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. 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. For the latter. that all violence as a m eans. elevated by no such relation . the pow er o f a ruler in w hich legislative and executive sup rem acy are united. in absolute m on archy.

are their sub jective preconditions. by the opposing effort. peaceableness. how ever. and w h atever else m ight here be m entioned.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. because no com prom ise. no m atter how it m ay disdain all open vio len ce. T h e relationships o f private persons are full o f exam ples o f this. T h is rem ains. 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. p. because the effort tow ard com prom ise is m otivated not in tern a lly but from outside. T h e ir ob jective m anifestation. Politik und Metaphysik. trust. but alw ays those o f in d irect solutions. is con ceivab le w ith o u t a com pu lsive ch aracter. 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. N ev er­ theless. Is any n on -violen t resolution o f conflict possible? W ith o u t d oub t. T h e pacifists are confronted by the Bolsheviks and Syndicalists. 8. 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. ‘ It w ou ld be better oth erw ise’ is the u n d erlyin g feeling in every com prom ise. Berlin 1921. a “ product situated w ith in the m en tality o f 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. 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.” * S ign ifican tly. 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. C ou rtesy. 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. b ut on ly to m atters con cern in g objects. how ever freely accep ted . . sym pathy. 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 . F or this reason techn iqu e in the broadest sense o f the w ord is their * U n ge r. 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. 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. h ow ever desirable and g ra tify in g a flourishing parliam en t m ight be by com parison. h ow ever.

one effective m otive that often puts into the most relu ctan t hands pure instead o f violent m eans. b u t for fear o f the violence that it m ight unleash in the d efrau d ed party. It grants this right because it forestalls vio len t actions the state is afraid to oppose. It begins to set itself ends. lan gu ag e. 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. the law o f a later period. bu t also a dim inution o f pure means. considered as a techn iqu e o f civil agreem ent. trusting to its victorious pow er. in the end. 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. on the prin cip le ins civile vigilantibus scriptum est. no longer felt itself a m atch for that o f all others. is conten t to defeat law breaking w h erever it happens to show itself. P ro b a b ly no legislation on earth origin ally stip u lated such a sanction. F or w hereas the legal system at its origin. was. 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. lack in g confidence in its own violence. ap art from all virtues. it is the fear o f m utual disadvan tages that th reaten to . not out o f m oral considerations.144 most p articu lar area. For in it not only is n onviolen t agreem ent possible. law restricts the use o f w h olly n onviolent m eans because they cou ld prod u ce reactive violence. therefore. T h e y reflect not only the d eca y o f its ow n sphere. w ith the inten tion o f sparing law -p reserving violence m ore taxin g m anifestations. such ends are in a p p ro p ria te to the ju stified means o f law . It turns to fraud. w hich contradicts the interests o f the state. there is. R a th er. 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. and d ecep tion . Since such fear conflicts w ith the violen t n ature o f law d erived from its origins. in p ro h ib itin g fraud. Its profou ndest exam ple is perhaps the conference. fear o f the latter and m istrust o f itself in d icate its declining vitality. exem pt from punishm ent in R o m a n and ancient G erm an ic law . For. 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” . h avin g itself no trace o f pow er abou t it.

18 ff. 5th ed. Reflexions sur la violence. p. 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. cap ab le o f im posin g silence.. and o f issuing its m en d a ­ cious d ecrees. T w o essentially different kinds o f strike. 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. T h e y are also an tith etical in their rela­ tion to violence. how the mass o f producers w ill ch an ge their m asters. A s regards class struggles. consid eration s— o f h a vin g first distinguished them . in their present organ ization s the politicians (viz. S u ch m otives are clearly visible in countless cases o f conflict o f interests b etw een priva te persons. rath er than p u rely theoretical. It “ nullifies all the id eological consequences o f every possible social p o licy .” “ 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. H e contrasts them as the political and the p ro letarian general strike. m ust now be m ore fu lly ch aracterized . It is d ifferent w hen classes and nations are in conflict.Critique o f Violence 145 arise from violen t confron tation . 250.* 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 po w er is transferred from the p rivileg ed to the privileged . . 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. 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 . in them strike must under certain cond itions be seen as a pure means. w h atever the outcom e m ight be. Paris 1919.” f “ T h e po litical general strike dem onstrates how the state w ill lose none o f its strength. Sorel has the cre d it— from p o litica l. t Sorel.” 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 ). w hich constitute the most en­ d u rin g m otive for a p o licy o f pure m eans. its partisans see even the m ost p o p u lar reform s as b ou rgeo is. and from the intelligen ce o f alm ost all. pp. the possibilities o f w hich have a lrea d y been considered. the p roletarian general strike sets itself the sole task o f destroyin g state pow er.

F or this reason. on grounds o f its possibly catastrop h ic consequences. akin to a blockad e. . By contrast. such as several . an ou tstan d in g exam p le o f violent omission. an u p h eaval that this kind o f strike not so m uch causes as consum m ates. no lon ger en forced by the state. Sorel rejects every kind o f program m e.” 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. sim ple revolt. as a pure means. n ever­ theless the violence o f an action can be assessed no m ore from its effects than from its ends. is nonviolent. opposes precisely this kind o f strike for its alleged violence. the basis o f the existence o f the ru lin g grou p . the second. the first o f these un dertakings is la w ­ m aking but the second anarchistic. State pow er. but on ly from the law o f its means. seen as a w hole. E ven if it can rig h tly be said that the m odern econom y. no ob jection can stand that seeks. o f course. . as distinct from partial strikes w hich are for the m ost part a ctu a lly extortionate. 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. bu t in the d eterm in atio n to resume only a w h olly transform ed w ork. 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.146 by d eclarin g its intention to abolish the state. Sorel has exp lain ed w ith h igh ly ingenious argum ents. the state was r e a lly . is the strike b y doctors. T a k in g up occasion al state­ ments by M a rx. 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. m oral.” A g ain st this deep. 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. more im m oral and cru d er than the p o litica l general strike. to brand such a general strike as violent. o f u to p ia — in a word. 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. and genu in ely revo lu tion ary concep tion . w ho in all their enterprising benefit from the burdens borne by the p u b lic . the revolution appears as a clear. w hich has eyes on ly for effects.

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. 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. even though they have becom e so. o f all legal violence. w hich w ere not a lw ays m ere form alities. 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. O n ly occasion ally does the task o f diplom ats in their transactions consist o f m odifications to leg al systems. like the intercourse o f private persons. 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. using ju stified m eans. 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. H o w w o u ld it be. Since. A d elicate task that is m ore robustly perform ed by referees. therefore. 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. in the nam es o f their states. a lrea d y ind icated .Critique o f Violence i^y G erm a n cities h ave seen. if all the violen ce im posed by fate. and therefore b eyond violence. 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 ­ . rem ains im possible if violence is to tally exclu ded in p rin ciple. every co n ceiv ab le solution to hum an problem s. how ever. justified means used for ju st ends. the question n ecessarily arises as to oth er kinds o f violence than all those en visaged by legal theory. w ith ou t the slightest attem pts at resistance. F u n d a m e n ta lly they have. A c c o rd in g ly . to resolve conflicts case by case. “ secured d eath its p re y ” . en tirely on the an alogy o f a greem en t betw een priva te persons. M o re c le arly than in recent class struggles. 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. 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. w ere o f itself in irrecon cilab le conflict w ith ju st ends.

For it is n ever reason that decides on the ju stificatio n o f m eans and the justness o f ends. no m atter how sim ilar it m a y be in other respects. V io len ce therefore bursts upon N io b e from the . M o reover. T h e non-m ediate function o f violence at issue here is illustrated by ev eryd a y experience. It is not a means but a m anifestation. As regards m an. and can b rin g to ligh t a law on ly in its trium ph. above all in m yth. contradicts the n atu re o f ju stice. fights it w ith v a ryin g fortunes. T h e legend o f N iobe contains an ou tstan d in g exam ple o f this. but first o f all a m anifestation o f their existence. it m ight appear that the action o f A p o llo and A rtem is is on ly a punishm ent. w h ich . For ends that for one situation are just. 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 . this violen ce has th o rou gh ly objective m anifestations in w hich it can be su bjected to criticism . But their violence establishes a law far m ore than it punishes for the infringem ent o f one a lrea d y existing. scarcely a m anifestation o f their w ill. 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. T ru e . N ot a m eans to their ends. to the most visible outbursts o f a violence that is not related as a means to a p recon ceived end. m ost significan tly. that is. These are to be found. P ro m eth eu s— challen ges fate w ith dign ified courage. but also as cap ab le o f gen era lizatio n . for exam ple. but fate-im posed violen ce on the form er and G o d on the latter. 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). are so for no other situation. 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. and valid . 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. he is im p elled by anger. 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. M y th ica l violence in its a rch etyp al form is a m ere m anifestation o f the gods.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). as could be shown.

For the function o f violence in law -m a k in g is tw ofold. in a d em on ically a m b igu ou s w a y. in the sense that law -m a kin g pursues as its end. it reflects a prob lem atic ligh t on law -m akin g vio len ce. I f this im m ediate violen ce in m yth ical m anifestations proves closely related. at this very m om en t o f law -m akin 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. m ore gu ilty than before th rou gh the d eath o f the children. A lth o u g h it brings a cruel d eath to N io b e ’s children .Critique o f Violence 149 u n certain . “ P oor and rich are eq u a lly forbidden to spend the night . It is not a ctu a lly destructive. it sp ecifically estab­ lishes as law not an end u n allo yed by violence. am biguous sphere o f fate. to th at extent. 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. insofar as the latter was ch aracterized above. and to conclude in b ro a d outlin e the critiq ue o f the latter. m ore than the most ex tra v a ­ gan t ga in in prop erty. in the a cco u n t o f m ilitary violence. Ju stice is the p rin cip le o f all divine en d-m aking. in a terribly p rim itive form . b u t at the m om ent o f instatem en t does not dismiss violence. rath er. it stops short o f the life o f their m other. 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. pow er the p rin cip le o f all m yth ical law -m akin g. under the title o f pow er. and. indeed. L aw -m a k in g is p o w er-m ak in 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. what is to be established as law . 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 . w h ich in all cases underlies legal violence. indeed id en tical to la w ­ m a k in g vio len ce. A n d these are. For in this sphere the estab­ lishing o f frontiers. an im m ed iate m anifestation o f vio len ce. but one necessarily and in tim a te ly bound to it. w hom it leaves behind. the task o f “ p e ace” after all the wars o f the m y th ical age. H ere appears. is the prim al ph enom enon o f all law -m a k in g violence. A t the sam e tim e this conn ection prom ises further to illu m in ate fate. as m erely a m ed iate violence. H ere w e see m ost clearly th at pow 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. is w h a t is gu aran teed by all law -m akin g vio len ce.

its occurren ce is. For from the point o f view o f violence. this offen ce” . 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. not chance. the * H erm ann Cohen . there is no eq uality. But how ever u n lu ck ily it m ay befall its unsuspecting victim . A n d the latter constitutes its antithesis in all respects. 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. 2nd ed. retribution. 362. H erm an n C ohen . o f the m ig h ty.* 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. i f the form er sets boundaries. is also significant for an u n derstan ding o f law in another respect. but at the most eq u a lly great violence. F ar from in a u g u ra tin g a purer sphere. and turns suspicion concern in g the latter into certain ty o f the perniciousness o f its historical function. T h e act o f fixing frontiers. in the last resort. unw ritten laws. 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. how ever. mutatis mutandis. in the u n derstan ding o f the law . A m an can u n w ittin g ly infringe upon them and thus incur retribution. the destruction o f w hich thus becom es ob ligatory. it w ill rem ain so as long as it exists. w hich alone can gu aran tee law . Ethik des reinen Willetts. but fate show ing itself once again in its d eliberate am ­ biguity. For each interven tion o f law that is provoked by an offence against the un w ritten and unknow n law is called. in con trad istin ction to punishm ent. T his very task o f destruction poses again. at least in prim eval times.” 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.15 ° under the b rid ges. the question o f a pure im m ediate violence that m ight be able to call a halt to m ythical violence. divine violence is law -d estroyin g. . Berlin 1907. p.. in a b rie f reflection on the ancients’ conception o f fate. L aw s and u n m arked frontiers rem ain. I f m yth ical violence is law -m akin g. Just as in all spheres G o d opposes m yth. and that. m yth ical violence is confronted by the divine.

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

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 . T his is the d octrin e o f the sanctity o f life. or. 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. T h e proposition that existence stands high er than a just existence is false and ignom inious. It contains a m igh ty truth. but in w h at it does to G o d and the doer. . T h u s it was understood by J udaism . A n d so n either the divin e ju d gm en t. on w hich they possibly propose to base even the com m an d m en t itself. nor the grounds for this ju d g m e n t. w hich they either apply to all an im al or even vegetab le life. to take on them selves the responsibility o f ign oring it.” * As certain ly as this last proposition is false. toted cond ition that is “ m a n ” . T h e ir arg u m en tatio n . the injun ction becom es in a p p lica b le . means the irred u cible. life (words whose a m b ig u ity is rea d ily dispelled. . T o this a m b ig u ity the * K u rt H iller in a yearbook o f Das £iel. if existence. . 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. profess that higher even than the happiness and ju stice o f existence stands existence itself. . can be know n in advance. w hen they are referred to two distinct spheres). or lim it to hum an life.*52 deed. h ow ever. 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. that is the a rgu m en t o f the in telligen t terrorist. But just as it m ay not be fear o f pun ish m en t that enforces obedience. ind eed ign ob le. It exists not as a criterion o f ju d g m e n t. in excep tional cases. 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. in com m en su rab le once the deed is accom plished. w h ich expressly rejected the con d em n ation o f k illin g in self-defence. exem p lified in an extrem e case by the revo lu tion ary killin g o f the oppressor. . . better. runs as follows: “ I f I do not kill I shall never establish the w orld dom inion o f ju stice . how ever. W e. N o ju d g m e n t o f the deed can be derived from the com m an dm en t. a n a lo ­ gously to that o f freedom . But those thinkers w ho take the opposed view refer to a more distant theorem .

th ey could not be so by virtue only o f b eing alive. through the suppression o f hostile coun ter-violen ce. W h at. I f the rule o f . o f b eing in life. because these are based on other ideas than the m od em theorem . and decisive a p ­ p roach to its tem poral d ata. M a n cannot. ind eed p ro b a b ly . in his bod ily life vu ln erab le to in ju ry b y his fellow men. and afterlife). (V ariou s sym ptom s o f this have been referred to in the course o f this study. destined in its turn to d ecay. death. on the suspension o f law w ith all the forces on w h ich it depen ds as they d epend on it. then. because only the idea o f its d evelop­ m ent m akes possible a critical. in its d u ration . not even w ith the uniqueness o f his b od ily person. be said to coincid e w ith the m ere life in him . no m ore than w ith an y oth er o f his conditions and qualities. Perhaps.) F in ally. O n the b reak in g o f this cycle m ain tain ed by m ythical forms o f law .Critique o f Violence 15 5 prop osition qu oted above owes its p lau sibility. a new historical epoch is founded. 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 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. dis­ tinguishes it essentially from the life o f anim als and plants? A n d even if these w ere sacred. it is relativ ely recent. finally therefore on the abolition o f state pow er. in d irectly w eakens the la w ­ m a k in g vio len ce represented by it. H o w ever sacred m an is (or that life in him that is id en tica lly present in earth ly life. there is no sacredness in his condition. 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. discrim inatin g. 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.) 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 . 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. (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. at an y price. 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.

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

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

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

o n ly one a c tiv ity : clearin g aw ay.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. First o f all. the 157 . 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 . and the heavier the b lo w it deals him . em pty space. O th e rw ise she w ill take over the destruction herself. For destroying reju ven ates in clearin g a w a y the traces o f our ow n age. T h e d estructive ch ara cte r knows only one w a tch w o rd : m ake ro o m . H e w ou ld stum ble on this fact one day. 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. in d irectly at least. indeed erad ication . p erh ap s b y chan ce. It is n ature th at dictates his tem po. T h e d estructive ch ara cte r is you n g and cheerful. the b etter are his chances o f p ictu rin g the d estructive character. N o vision inspires the d estru ctive ch aracter. T h is is the great bond em b ra cin g and un ifyin g all that exists. It is a sight that affords the d estru ctive ch ara cte r a sp ectacle o f deepest harm on y. for a m om ent at least. o f his ow n condition. H e has few needs. 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. for he must forestall her.

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

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

O n e need only think o f m im icry. is m a n ’s. how ever. in both the p h ylogen etic and the on togen etic sense. R ath er. 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. and its realm is by no means lim ited to w hat one person can im itate in a n oth er. As is know n. the sphere o f life that form erly seemed to be govern ed by the law o f sim ilarity was com prehensive. 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. in dances. p lay is for m any its school./T h e child plays at being not only a shopkeeper or teacher b u t also a w indm ill and a train. 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. As regards the latter. 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.On the Mimetic Faculty ^Nature creates sim ilarities. h ow ever. it ruled both m icrocosm and m acrocosm . . whose oldest function this w a s— and therefore also the gift o f recogn izin g them . 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. H ere it is not enough to think o f w hat we understand today b y the concept o f sim ilarity. C h ild re n ’s p lay is everyw h ere perm eated by m im etic modes o f b eh aviour. w e must suppose that the gift o f prod ucing sim ilarities— for exam ple. This facu lty has a history. T h e highest cap acity for prod u cing sim ilarities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

this is . one gets to know Berlin through M oscow . T h ere is no dirt.M oscow r . For som eone retu rn in g hom e from R ussia the city seems freshly w ashed.obliges ev eryo n e to choose his stan dpoint. by the fact o f “ S oviet R u ssia” . N ot tow ard his contem poraries (w hich is u n im p ortan t) but tow ard events (w hich is decisive). either. the q u estion at issue is not w h ich reality is better. or w hich has greater po ten tial. T h e streets seem in rea lity as d esolately clean and sw ept as in the draw ings o f G rosz. T h is is the first b enefit to the intelligen t E u rop ean in Russia. A t the turnin g point in historical events that is in d icated . A d m itted ly. by decision. ■i M o re q u ick ly than M o sco w itself. w h y the stay is so ex a ct a touchstone for foreigners. 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. 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. ._It . you can only see i f you h ave a lrea d y decided. 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” . bu t no snow. i f not constituted. 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. equ ally. has m ade his d ialectica l peace w ith the w orld can grasp the concrete. 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 . H o w ever little one m ay know R ussia. O n ly he w ho. A n d how true-to-life his types are has b ecom e m ore obvious. In R ussia above all.

he w ill discover above all that Berlin is a deserted city. w om en w ith fruit. and how deserted and em p ty is B erlin ! In M o sco w goods burst everyw h ere ffom the houses. A b rig h tly coloured w oollen cloth protects apples or oranges from the cold. B erlin ’s lu x u ry seems unspeakable. can d y. C o m p a red to those o f M oscow . arc lam ps. I must be on m y w a y . lean against railings. 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. lie on pavem ents. N ext to them are sugar figures.. A t first there is n othin g to be seen but snow. 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 . serpentine gait to w hich the n arrow pavem ents have accustom ed m ost people. nuts. 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. they h an g on fences. 2 '■ T h e city seems to d eliver itself at the outset. wom en w ith sweets. sacks. they are like a freshly swept. . as the tech n iqu e o f ach ievin g locom otion on sheet ice). A n d it ^ begins on the asphalt. therefore. T h e y have their wares in a lau n d ry basket next to them . . R e tu rn in g hom e. People and groups m oving in its streets have solitude abou t them . em p ty racecourse on w hich a field o f six-day cyclists hastens com fortlessly on. 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. K iosks. the d irty snow that . p rin cely desolation hang over the streets o f Berlin.i 78 the facts. and baskets. little carts. for the b read th o f the pavem ents is prin cely. som etim es a little sleigh as w ell. at the station. Berlin streets know no such places w ith sleighs. Y e t this is dispelled as soon as I seek w ords. w ith two prize exam ples ly in g on top. buildings crystallize into figures that are never to return. But w h at fullness has this street that overflow s not only w ith people. E very fifty steps stand w om en w ith cigarettes. P rin cely solitude. N ow she had stopped on the w ay to have a short rest in the street. N o t only in the W est E nd.

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

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

W om en. valenki. Street trad in g is in p a rt ille ga l and therefore avoids a ttractin g attention. T h e y have hot cakes to sell. in w h ich there is som ething o f the hu m ility o f b eggars. on the Sm olenskaia and the A rb a t. A n d on the \ S u ch arev sk a ia . a chicken. R a th e r. their m elan ch oly cry rings one or m ore tim es a w eek in every q u arter. electrical goods.semitchky (sun­ ! flow er seeds. 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. hazelnuts. T h e s e are vendors w ith o u t perm its. lad ies’ u n d erw ear. 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. R epairs are carried out on the spot. 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. or a leg o f pork resting on a layer o f straw in her open hand . I saw som eone soldering over a pointed flam e. First one passes the q u arter o f the scrap-iron dealers. 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. O n ly one caste parad es noisily throu gh the streets here. everyone stands up. w h ich now . becom e . h a n g in g th read ed on strings across the counters. each w ith a piece o f m eat. T his. the p eop le address the passer-by w ith w ords.Moscow 18 1 ch ild ren . th ey sim ply run aw ay. calls like those o f every trad er in the South are unknow n. h an d tools. stuffed birds. T h e street trade culm inates in the large m arkets. 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. O n e finds old locks. T h e n the w ide sleighs w ith three com partm en ts for peanuts. shoes. 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. m easured if not w h isp ered words. form buttresses and colum ns. the m ost fam ous o f all. kitch en utensils. I w a n ted to see a soothsayer in him . a cco rd in g to a ru lin g o f the Soviet. 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 . But all this goes on silen tly. stand offerin g it to passers-by. gossiping or trad in g. m ay no lo n ger be chew ed in p u b lic places). T h e r e are no seats an yw h ere. the rag -an d -b o n e m en w ith sacks on their b acks. m etre rulers. an d . T h e people sim ply h a ve their wares lyin g in the snow. and sausage fried in slices. W hen a m em ber o f the m ilitia 'ap p ro ach es.

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

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. P olitics. em b ittered people was to go out on the street him self. T o get through to them at all. 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. but i f a superin ten den t does her w ork p rop erly. but as n atu ra l a subject. ch ild ren and workers m ove easily through these rooms. to m ake con tact w ith the children o f her district. as obvious a visual aid. is not tendentious. singly or in groups. . 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. and in ad dition to keep a record o f all expenses for m ilk. gam es are p layed . In R ussia the proletariat has rea lly b egun to take possession o f bourgeois cu ltu re. to be heard. as the toy shop or doll-house for m iddle-class children . tw enty or thirty child ren com e to the centre. 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. H er task is. to o c c u p y and feed them . in the o rg a n iza tio n o f crow ds o f such children. A d m itte d ly . w ith its m any thousands o f experim ents. one has to relate as d irectly and clearly as possible to the catchw ord s o f the street itself. T h e y are supervised b y a fem ale state em ployee w h o seldom has m ore than one assistant. in one w a y or another. I f one also bears in m ind that a sup erin ten d en t has to look after the children. 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. 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.Moscow 183 m eeting such bands alone w h en w alk in g hom e. th at she is responsible for all this. b read . 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. T h ere is the P o lytech n ic M useu m . m istrustful. it m ay be filled w ith hundreds o f ch ild ren after two weeks. trad itio n al p ed agogical m ethods never m ade m uch im pression on these infan tile masses. T o begin w ith. som etim es arou n d a gu ide. ch ild re n ’s centres have been installed for years a lrea d y . o f the w hole collective life. Food is d istributed . In each o f M o sco w ’s districts. 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. N eedless to say.

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 . The Return from Exile in Siberia. Forr . S h ortly before C hristm as. 5 B egging is not aggressive as in the South. T h ere is one b egg a r w ho alw ays begins. beseeching speeches are addressed to people. 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. d raw n -o u t h ow lin g. Such pictures have for him a very transitory but solid m eaning. T h e re is the a d m irab ly run toy m useum . in old pictures. L o n g . docum ents. A n o th er has the exact posture o f the pau per for w hom Sain t M a rtin . 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 . 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. 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. as fine as any in the L u xem b o u rg ). has brought together a precious. this is directed at foreigners w ho can n o t speak Russian. The Poor Governess Enters Service in a Rich Merchant’s House.184 pieces o f apparatu s. instru ctive collection o f Russian toys. cuts his cloak in two w ith his sw o rd : he kneels w ith both arm s outstretched. and his class. 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. and a strict criterion is necessary only w ith regard to the topical works th at relate to him . free puppet show. w hich u n der its director. w h ere the im p ortu n ity o f the ragam uffin still betrays some rem nan t o f vitality. his w ork. 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. B artram . 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. to em it a soft. at the a p p roach o f a prom isin g-looking 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” . H ere it is a corporation o f the dying. R a th er.

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

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

T o endure this existence in idleness is im possible because. gu aran teed con tact w ith co m ra d es— to this. it becom es beau tifu l and com prehensible o n ly through w ork. political a ctiv ity . or. 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. 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. But this incid en t is also characteristic o f the opposing side. w h ich in tran sigen tly subordinates the prestige o f id eology to p ra ctica l dem ands. It h a s— w ith w h a tev er reservation s— accep ted the truce w ith the Bolsheviks. 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. T h e b u reau cra cy. A t times the respect for this type verges on fetishism. as is know n. has a n y status. In tellectu als. H e had every cap tu red B olshevik u n cerem oniou sly hanged. how ever virtu al. 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. N or any space. For E uropeans such a point o f view . for o rga n ized . is b arely com prehensible. placed them selves at the service o f the Bolsheviks. outside the polftical sphere. in each sm allest detail. w ith the m and ate. 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. return in tim e as specialists to the posts they sabotaged d u rin g the civil w ar. too. For this new life w eighs on no one m ore h ea v ily than on the outsider observing from a distance. O p p ositio n . 7 B olshevism has abolished private life. F or it is not on ly the m ilita ry o f the tsarist em p ire w ho.) 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. or it has been an n ih ilated. better.life_Aad m ade to serve it. 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 o the integration o f personal thoughts w ith the pre-existing field o f forces. 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.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. T h ro u g h the hall door one steps into a .

/ to o n ly thirteen squaxfi. T h e outsider can go beggin g and sink into penu ry if he is not in a position. the street. 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. . along w ith the m elan ch oly w ith w hich it is paid for. T h e ir dw elling place is the office. E ven in the lo b b y one can encounter beds. was com pleteness: pictures must cover the w alls.naetres o f livin g space.nothinghum ancaniioijnil. w ith o u t p ayin g a penn y for it. A n yo n e w ho lays claim to m ore than this prescribed area must. 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 . M o re often still. m ake m anifold am ends. how ever. 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. C u rtain s and partitions. an arm y cam p. on ly a part here or there has been in d iscrim in ately preserved. 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. from the house. and at the same tim e a rad ical m eans o f exp ellin g “ cosiness” . h ave had to m ultiply the n u m ber o f rooms. coloured glass the w indow s. often only h a lf the height o f the walls.which the attack o f com m£E£ again. sent to health resorts in the C rim ea . 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 . Indoors one on ly cam ps. People can bear to exist in it because they are estranged from it by their w ay o f life. the club. A n essential feature o f the petty-bourgeois interior. if he can not ju stify his claim professionally. to buy all this for thousands o f hasadvanced victoriously . can enjoy expensive rad iation treatm ent. covers the cushions.) O f all that. cushions the sofa.i88 little town.. For his accom m od a» tions he pays acco rd in g to his incom e. (Such petty-bourgeois rooms are battlefieldsxtv€r . 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. as a m em ber o f the new bourgeoisie. ornam ents fill the m antelpiece. For each citizen is entitled b y law 7 ^ . 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.

proves viab le. 8 For each citizen o f M o sco w the days are full to the brim . G astiev. From earliest times a large num ber o f clockm akers have been settled in M oscow . h ow ever. factories. this w ill.Moscow i8g F or this reason there is no “ hom eliness” . (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. and often h ave no site o f their own. S ociety projects them to some extent. they are conven ed. 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. T h e re rem ain. F ree trade and the free intellect have been abolished. T h e y fritter everyth in g a w ay .) A feeling for the valu e o f tim e. is ad ap ted . H ere. on ly the office and the clu b . T h e new Russians call milieu. lau n ch ed a poster cam p aig n for p u n ctu ality. the trade-u nion institute for the study o f w ork. only co m plicate m atters. I f civ ilizin g calcu latio n slow ly establishes itself in the collective. in the m anner o f m ed ieval guilds. takes place. com m ittees are fixed at all hours in offices. therefore. at the cleared table o f a canteen. T h ere is a kind o f n atu ral selection and a struggle for existence betw een these m eetings. n otw ith stan d in g all “ ra tio n a liza tio n ” . so alien is the id ea to the Russians. “ T r u d ” . T h e cafes are th ereb y d ep rived o f their public. plans them . in the first place. being held in corners o f noisy ed itorial rooms. But how often m ust this be repeated until fin ally one o f the m an y is successful. under its d irector. on the K u zn etsk y B ridge. M eetings. “ 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 . But nor are there any cafes. is not m et w ith even in the cap ital o f Russia. clubs. the only reliable ed ucator. even for p rivate affairs. in p a rticu la r streets. on U litsa G ertsena. 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. 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 . T h e y are crow ded.

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

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

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

the glisten in g can d y-icin g flow er beds on cakes. raw m eat. w hite. 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. to bloom out o f whiteness. W h en talkin g o f M o sco w flowers one m ust not forget the heroic C hristm as roses. snow and flowers are united in can d y icin g. T h e Pastry C ook from ch ild re n ’s fairy tales seems to have survived on ly in M oscow . O r the glass cases full o f flow ers w ith the heads o f saints looking out am on g them . sweet icicles w ith w hich the ton gue indem nifies itse lf against the b itter cold. O n the S trasn aia S q u a re I saw as I passed long twigs w ith red. W e can only speak o f corruption w here the process is h an d led too hastily. In the eyes o f a n y P a rty fu n ctio n ary. and gle a m in g dishes. now am on g textile goods and crockery stalls. lilies on the street. O th e r bouquets are seen at N ew Y e a r ’s.Moscow 11 i Q3 G reen is the suprem e lu x u ry o f the M oscow w inter. It has in the sm ooth in terp la y o f press. O n ly here are there structures m ade o f nothing bu t spun sugar. F inally. and leaves m oney to the N E P m an. A n y given a m ou n t o f m oney m ay be converted into a specific pow er. It reserves pow er for the Party. em b ro id ­ ered in blue w ool. im ita tin g ice ferns on w indow s. each stalk o f a differen t colour. the peasant cloths w ith patterns. and the m arket va lu e o f all pow er can be calcu lated . In m arkets they are the on ly wares to h ave no fixed stall and appear now am on g groceries. 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. But they outshine everyth in g. T h e Soviet state has severed this com m u n ication betw een m oney an d pow er. M ost in tim ately o f all. blue. N or w h at the frost here inspires. to put som ething . boards. even the highest. green bloom s stuck to them . roses. colou red wool. 12 U n d e r cap italism po w er an d m on ey have becom e com m ensurable qualities. there at last the m a rzip a n flora seems to have fulfilled en tirely M o sco w ’s dream . and trusts a sw itch gear w ithin the lim its o f w hich it rem ains en tirely legal. So things stand on a large scale.

. pun ctual and h a rd -w o rk in g. 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. even if only “ for the ch ild ren ” . . w ithout actu al obligation . on the other. 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. B etw een them . For at any tim e the P arty can casually. the pow er o f the ru lin g authorities is by no means iden tical w ith their possessions. H o w ever. T his is also decisive for those w ho do not d irectly b elong to it. 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. 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. could not otherw ise be explained. Because a reliable political outlook. T o them . T o such discipline the life o f the ruling class is subjected.194 aside. is for most people the only gu aran tee o f other goods. to secure the “ fu tu re” . if not the only good. 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 .” “ H e is an excellent com rade. jobs are open to the extent that they do not overtly repudiate the regim e. and no one likes to see him self disavow ed.” or “ T h e conviction is p revalent here . . H e said he knew y o u . too. un obtrusively change its line in Pravda. O n the other hand. too. 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 .” T h e y chan ge the . perceptible not only betw een strangers. the mistrust. 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. T h e silence. T w o close acq uain tan ces are h avin g a conversation. T h is can be increased solely through literary activity alongside on e’s profession. how ever trivial a film. Russia is today not on ly a class but also a caste state. A ju d g m en t is w eighed inn u m erab le times before being uttered to m ore distant contacts. you m ay exp ect stock phrases in rep ly: “ W e say here . 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. the most precise distinctions are m ade. is quite unthinkable.

and so appears as an a ttra c ­ tion in revues. 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. how ever. It is as com plete in itself and rich in events. like a L rig h tly coloured . as poor. A n d o f them ja z z is perhaps the m ost popular. 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. In ad m iration for this n atio n al a ch ievem en t all Russians are united. h ave becom e over­ n igh t his im m easu rab ly w e a lth y heirs. 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 . a certain in toxication can result. against the hostility o f h a lf the w orld. 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. It is kept behind glass. resolutions. It is one o f the crud e stage sets w ith the aid o f w hich. T ru e . R ussia was the possession o f the tsar (indeed. In rea lity the im age is often m erely ridiculous. T h a t people also enjoy listen ing to it in Russia is not surprising. But d a n cin g to it is forbid d en . In this distorted view o f the bourgeois a n ation alistic m om ent is present. for p rop agan d a p u r­ poses. W h a t does it m a tter— R u ssia’s n ext gen eration w ill be adjusted to this existence. F rom early till late people dig for pow er. It is this reversal o f the pow er stru ctu re that makes life here so h eavy w ith conten t.Moscow 195 subject. “ a possession” ). T h e people. and in the sam e breath as full o f prospects. Its health. the new system o f pow er. and b u ilt up. as it were. S h ou ld the E u rop ean correlation o f pow er and m oney . a grotesque im age o f the bourgeois type is constructed. how ­ ever. Y e t alw ays a sym bol o f the “ b ou rgeois” . “ 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. poisonous reptile. 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 . as a gold d ig g er’s life on the K lo n d ik e. debates. the discipline and com p eten ce o f the a d versary b eing overlooked. But as they p a rt the first says. 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 .

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

are those o f A m erica. In tellectu a l organization . A t th a t tim e the victorious class. E urop ean. In contrast. T h a t is one side o f the ed u cation al question. had lon g been p e rv ad e d by the ideas o f the third estate. 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. In the tech n ical area this tend en cy. h ow ever. R ussian task. For m illions upon m illions o f illiterates. In p resen t-d ay Russia it is q u ite different. 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. A n d as the m a rb le-stiff gesture is not on ly corru pt in itself. d eso latin g form that they ow e fin ally to im perialism .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. P re-revolu tion ary ed u cation in R ussia was. but also a copy o f C o u rt actin g in revo lu tio n a ry M oscow . cu ltu ral . is presu m ab ly sure o f victo ry sooner or later. before it attain ed pow er. 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. the foundations o f a general ed u cation have yet to be laid. and the m ental struggle for em an cip ation was fought out before the political. and the n ational on the ele­ m en ta ry level. 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 . despite all the adventures o f its earliest years. are in R ussia seeking an accom m od ation . 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. ed u cation. T h e E u ro­ pean m om en t in h igh er ed u cation . 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. N ot so in the in tellectu al and scientific areas. 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 is is a n ational. had secured for itself in struggles lasting decades the control o f the c u ltu ra l apparatu s.

in conversation. 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. the “ freelan ce” w riter must also disappear. 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. 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. w orkin g in the dep artm en ts o f censor- . benefits only gossiping busy-bodies. T o d a y it is official d octrin e th at subject m atter. In Russia the process is com p lete: the in tellectu al is above all a fun ctionary. M essage and subject m atter are d eclared o f p rim ary im portan ce. T h e old bourgeoisie has been an n ih ilated . But if one o f R u ssia’s lea d in g authors. 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. For sooner or later. 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. F orm al controversies still played a not inconsiderable part at the time o f the civil w ar. not form .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 . In this R ussia is ahead o f W estern d evelop ­ m ents— but not as far ahead as is believed . 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. Stated more precisely: contact w ith the outside w orld is through the P arty and p rim arily concerns p o litical questions. 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. the new is neither m a teria lly nor in tellectually in a position to establish extern al relations. and is for Russia a sym ptom o f restoration. N ow they h ave fallen silent. 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. decides the revo lu tio n a ry or co u n ter-revo lu ­ tion ary attitud e o f a w ork. quotes Shakespeare as one o f the great poets w ho w rote before the invention o f printin g.

the W estern ad vertisem ent convinces first and forem ost by the expense . T h ese are gifts from the personnel o f a factory to the M o sco w Soviet. C om m u nist agitators. P end ants before the en tran ce o f a T u rkish k itch en : gentlem en . h ow ever. In contrast. B ut M oscow shops are in vitin g . H e is a m em ber o f the ru lin g class. as otherw ise on ly old inn signs do. 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. but they are by far the most interesting. suprem atists. the last ch arm ing. a P om eran ian ru n n in g aw ay w ith a sand al in his m outh. It supports the notion o f d ictatorsh ip even in the field o f in tellectu al creation.Moscow ig g ship. M ost o f these posters repel the W esterner. 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. and. finance. or anecdote. ju stice. T h ese vehicles carry the only political posters still to be seen in M oscow . T o begin w ith. T o d a y on ly b an al cla rity is d em an d ed. exam ple. C a te rin g to a prim itive taste. In this it takes accou n t o f R ussian reality. each w ith a fez ad orn in g his head and each at his ow n little table. they have som ething o f the tavern abou t them . B ut the constructivists. Shoes fa llin g out o f a basket. Also. mass m eetings. C ountless w alls aroun d churches and m onasteries offer on all sides the finest surfaces for posters. *5 N o w and again one com es across streetcars painted all over w ith pictures o f factories. un spoiled m otifi that rem ain are most likely to be found here. T h e shop signs point at right angles into the street. or golden b arbers’ basins. or a top hat before a h a tte r’s. red regim ents. 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. 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. if he survives. 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 . the p roletarian can be train ed in the use o f both only under the p rotection o f d ictatorsh ip . p a rticip atin g in w o rk — w h ich .

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

litres. and attend courses and ed u cation al evenings. drunk. too. another. a third w ith his knee c a u g h t b etw een tw o pistons. and d id actic pictures co ver the w alls o f the L en in niche elsew here. a lo n g w ith com ponen ts o f tools. opposite him is the table o f the defence. 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. the clasp in g togeth er o f tow n and co u n try. T h e proceedin gs take place on a stage in front o f w h ich . m achin e parts. show in g how m an y w ays there are o f ru in ing a book. T h ere they are cond u cted th rou gh collections and b arracks. M etres. both facin g . 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. In the len din g room o f the R ed A rm y bookshop hangs a notice. p rod u ction technique. fill the red -d rap ed room to its farthest corners. 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. an exp ert is called on to speak. retorts co n tain in g chem icals d isp layed everyw h ere on the walls. they turned out to be gas masks. its short text clarified by m any ch arm in g d raw in gs. H e and his assistant have one tab le. on the righ t and the left. T h e villa g e ch ro n icle. T h e hearin g o f evidence has ju st finished. cau sin g an explosion w ith a short circuit. 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 . A b o u t three h u n d red people. N otices.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. sitting and standing. must be stuck up in every pub. etc. w arn in g signs. 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” . a g ricu ltu ra l d evelopm ent. c u ltu ra l institutions are g ra p h ic a lly recorded in lines o f d evelop ­ m ent.. In a niche a bust o f L en in . pain ted proletarian ty p e s— a peasan t and an ind ustrial w o rk e r— sym bolize the smychka. kilogram m es. E arlier. 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. B ut as I cam e nearer. 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. 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.

broad and expansive. alcoholism w ill be disposed o f in this w ay. the ju d g e ’s table. 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. on others fraud. 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. people have alw ays died in child b irth. T h e prosecution dem ands the death penalty. a peasant w om an . sits the defendant. 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. T h e defence counsel. the ground is u n even. Such d em on stra­ tions are carefully prep ared . dressed in black. T h e final w ord o f the d efen d an t: nichevo. for w h ich everyone stands up: tw o years’ im prisonm ent w ith recogn ition o f m itigatin g circum stances. in the cou n try there is a lack o f sanitary aid and h ygen ic instruction. pleads against harshness. Before it. there can be no question o f im ­ provisation. She is accused o f m ed ical incom petence w ith fatal results. 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. In conclusion. 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. 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 . T h e cou rt retires to deliberate. O p e n in g before you . sheds for w ood and tools fill the . fron tally. to d em and severe punishm ent. In the b ack grou n d . b ut I never found them clo sed — you stand on the threshold o f a spacious settlem ent. prostitution. T h e arg u m en tatio n now circles aroun d this case in m onotonous.202 sidew ays to the public. how ever. is a farm yard or a village. sim ple trains o f thought. 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 . being precipitates o f an existence th at requires that a stand be taken a hundred times each day. w ith a thick branch in her hand. 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. S olitary confinem ent is thus ru led out. A fter a short pause com es the ju d gm en t. hooliganism . O n one occasion.

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

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

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. 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 . O n such desks. A m agical b u t u n ca n n y im pression: the profane. series o f the gaudiest oil paintings are displayed. 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. against w hich the b u ild ers forgot to take precautions. the w orshipp er. H o w ever. p ra yin g or doing penance. . 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. its dom es g ra d u a lly rise into the sky like a pack o f fiery suns. i f you enter R e d S qu are from the w est. 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. 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. beside the m ost precious old icons. goes on to the next. 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. then. T h e inside has been not ju st e m p tied b ut eviscerated like a shot deer. for even in 1920 people still prayed here w ith fa n a tic a l fervour. and could on ly be surprised b y a gaze co m in g from an airp lan e. M a n y ch urch es rem ain as u n ten d ed and as em pty. w ith renew ed signs o f the cross. B yza n tiu m seems to have no ch u rch -w in d ow form o f its ow n . Behind them the O r th o d o x priest is ensconced like the B uddhist m onk in his p agod a.Moscow 205 w alls again st w hich the cerem on y unrolls. In their snow -covered. (A n d it cou ld hard ly h ave tu rn ed out d ifferen tly. T h e va u lted passagew ays are n arrow . O n e bends over them and kisses the glass. F rom their inclined.) W ith the rem oval o f all the furniture. 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 . T h is b u ild in g alw ays holds som ething back. retort-shaped heads afflic­ tion speaks. Before sm all. glass-covered pictures ly in g in rows or singly on desks the gen uflection is om itted.

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. has d raw n tinsel and cotton-w ool-tufted F ath er Christm ases across her face like an oriental veil. each pause to think is u n b elieva b ly difficult. Sentries w ith sweets patrol the street. w ho. In the orchestra o f such folk m usic. 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 . Chainaia. In certain taverns one can dine in this w a y and enjoy in ad d itio n a prim itive intsenirovka.) The in toxicatin g w arm th that overcom es the guest on en terin g these taverns. and dried peas in salt w ater. It needs h a lf a d a y ’s . Space literally changes accord in g to w h eth er it is hot or cold. (T h ey can be found in every shop and office. T h erefo re no one know s the city w ho has not know n it in snow. and on the corners tearoom s and beerhouses open. life in w inter is richer by a dim ension. O n e is never very far from either. T h e smallest calculatio n is u n th in k able w ithou t them . alongside accordions and violins. enthroned in concealm en t b eh in d silver chains. In M oscow . This is the term for an epic or ly rical subject that has been a d ap ted for the theatre. 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. M oscow is cram m ed w ith pubs and theatres. on drin kin g the hot tea and en joyin g the sharp zakuska. m an y o f the large grocery stores do not close until abou t eleven at night. for to this it is p rim arily ad ap ted . O r each district m ust be visited durin g the season in w hich its clim atic extrem e falls. People live on the street as if in a frosty ch am b er o f m irrors. O n e is the vertical coordin ate o f m ealtim es. crossed by the evening h orizon tal o f the theatre. It is often a folk song cru d ely d ivided for a choir. 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. and it can be understood on ly throu gh this ad aptation. abacuses used as instrum ents are som e­ times to be heard.206 n arrow alleyw ays it is quiet.

h ow ever. cakes.Moscow 207 resolution even to m ail an a lrea d y addressed letter. N evertheless. w h ich felled m an y o f the m o v em en t’s fighters. L ike everyth in g else. 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. 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. for Bolsheviks. T h e m ou rn in g for L enin is. F or a t least three days. also m ou rn in g for heroic C om m u nism . that is u su a lly b ro u g h t on ly b y old age. A t that tim e m any retu rn ed their m em b ersh ip books to the P arty. T h e few years since its passing are for R u ssian consciousness a long time. not c iv il w ar. T o d a y oth er orders are in force than those o f L e n in ’s tim e. 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. 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. 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. once hanging. It is as i f stabilization had a d m itted to their lives the calm . It is sign ifican t th at the report o f the E nglish trad e-u n ion delegation. 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. a d m itted ly slogans that he h im self suggested. flags throu ghou t the city are at half-m ast. som etim es even the apathy. 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. 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 flows into the w ea ry guest like honey. but can al construction . His nam e grow s and grows. Y e t w h en yo u have finally found a restaurant. 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. 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. and factory b u ild in g . a . are left o u t for a few weeks. electrification . his im age grow s q u ick ly rem ote. or a cu p o f te a — w arm th m akes the passing time itse lf an in toxican t. 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). this (w ith reason) is done in L e n in ’s nam e. M a n y o f the b la ck -v eiled pennants.

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

the ch am b er w here the trophies 209 . It seems to be still a w a itin g its designated use. A vast agg lo m era tion o f steps. ready at a sign to en circle hesitant visitors. and oyster stalls. it exhales a stink o f oil. I f he forfeits n oth in g else in this gam e. T h e w hores are strateg ically placed. it is his hat. F or this dep ot o f w orn -ou t a lleyw ays is the prostitutes’ q u arter. bridges. and beggarw om en . arches. and to bounce the relu ctan t guest like a ball from one side o f the street to the other.M arseilles T h e street . the only valid field o f experience. In visib le lines d ivid e the area up into sharp. and p rin ter’s ink. urine. o f p o verty. T h is com es from the tartar baking hard on the m assive ja w s: n ew spaper kiosks. “ Les bricks” . lavatories. . after the barges m oored a hun d red paces a w a y at the je tty o f the old harbour. . a n gu lar territories like A frica n colonies. 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. H u n ch b a ck s w ear it. the red -lig h t district is called. but it alread y has it. — 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. w hich is the colour o f sham e here. turrets. the porters and w hores prod ucts o f d ecom position w ith a resem blan ce to hu m an beings. T h e h arb ou r people are a bacillus cu ltu re. 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 . and cellars. B ut the p alate itself is pink. 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.

bowlers. H ere. leanin g against a pillar. at m id d ay in the m ountains. 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. how ever. into w hich the houses o f the C ite C hab as snuggle. a rattlin g o f boards. Notre Dame de la Garde. 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. E very step stirs a song. 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. L ittle chains o f stream ers and sails are her earrings. For in these deserted corners all sounds and things still have their ow n silences. she turns a defiant face to all the brothel keepers o f the quarter. like a gigan tic hornet. a flap p in g o f w et linen. O n this bashful. if you are to pursue them w ith a net as they flutter a w a y unsteadily into the stillness. O n ly you h ave to have strayed up here alone. A t night. 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. the old H o tel de V ille. Noises. 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. shines a signet ring on a fishw ife’s h ard finger. glazed votive w reaths that look like relief profiles o f her forebears. o f the axe o f the cicadas. hu n tin g hats. and abou t her neck is an oval o f w axen. just as. trilbies. signboards w ere hun g over them as the m idw ife B ian ch am ori has hung hers. the lam ps in its velvet lin in g form constellations that have not yet been nam ed. and . stood p atrician s’ houses. U nless.210 o f m an h oo d — boaters. a grindstone im pales it from behind w ith its w h izzin g sting. on w hich. two hundred years ago. T h e high-breasted nym phs. that is. a q uarrel. d rip pin g hand. a b a b y ’s b aw lin g. a clatter o f buckets. A disused fortress is her holy footstool. and the net is finally torn w hen. and points unruffled to a sturdy b ab y in the act o f em ergin g from an egg. there is a silence o f hens. But the chase is dangerous. from the coloured b u ll’s-eyes o f w hich the w orld shines back. 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 n the least frequ ented . in 1893. T h is place is deserted. 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. 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. Cathedral. and to know the m ou rnin g o f such rad iant. in the sleepy presence o f a few w om en an d m en. tariffs for the d iscoun t on special trips in S a ta n ’s lu x u ry train are consulted. u n fath om ab le goods. and cab in ets w here the lon g-d istance traveller can discreetly w ash are kept in readiness as confessionals. and a p roletarian district to the north. the b leak b u ild in g stands betw een q u a y and w arehouse. glorious cities one must have been a child in them . As a relo a d in g point for in tan gib le. despite the proxim ity at its feet o f L a J o liette. S leep in g cars to eternity d ep art from here at M ass tim es. E xtracts from the railw a y traffic regu ­ lations in the form o f pastoral letters hang on the w alls. T h e facad e gives an in d ication o f the w a itin g room s w ith in . the harb ou r. T h is is the M arseilles religion station. But w hen all was com plete. w ho know som ething o f the sadness o f M arseilles. to the south. the w hole w orld shrinks to a . w here passengers o f the first to fourth classes (though before G od they are all equ al). T h e grey houses o f the B o u leva rd de L on gch am p s. the m onotonous residential quarters o f the lon g-stan d in g inh abitants.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. the n arrow yard w here. N e a rly forty years w ere spent on it. p lace and tim e had conspired victoriou sly in this m onum ent against its architects and sponsors. w ith their concord an ces and cross-references. look very m uch like in tern a tio n al tim etables. 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. sit readin g hym n-books that. the barred w indow s o f the C ours P uget. w ed ged am ong their sp iritu al possessions as b etw een cases. 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 Passage de L orette.

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

O utskirts are the state o f em erg en cy o f a city. the terrain on w hich incessantly rages the great d ecisive b attle b etw een tow n and cou ntry. to b lo w it up. the inland h arb ours. C o m p to ir de la L im ite. rue de J a m a iq u e . It is now here m ore b itter than betw een M arseilles and the P roven9al landscape. b arb e d w ire against thorn y palm s. T h e y feel tem pted to m ake use o f so m uch fresh m isery. the quarters o f po verty. Suburbs. the m ore p o litica l the atm osphere becom es. 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. 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. 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. A lim en tation M o d ern e. m u tely beseeching us to lift the treasure from the ruins? W e hasten by. in S a in t-L a za re . Bar du G a z . 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. the m iasm as o f stinking corridors against the d am p gloom under the plane trees in b roo d ­ ing squares. 2 13 The down-and-out w ho. A ren c. But we shall falter a g a in at every corner. S ain t-A n toin e. Savon A b a tJ o u r. b u ryin g it in the shell splinters o f ev ery n ational and com m ercial lan gu ag e. T h e farther we em erge from the in n er city. 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 . 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. the w arehouses. the w ar-d isa b led o f com petition. . It is the h an d -to-h an d figh t o f telegraph poles against A gaves.Marseilles runners o f red gu ards in front o f dockyards and arsenals. M in o te rie de la C a m p a g n e . after n ightfall. 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. H ow far w e are from the sad d ign ity o f our poor. short-w in ded outside staircases against the m ighty hills. on w hom tags and tins o f b oot b lackin g h an g like b raid and m edals. the scattered refugees o f w retchedn ess: the outskirts. aw aken s bad instincts in the passers-by. W e reach the docks. Septem es.

and m ica. 1928 .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.

By ev eryth in g that happens. C on n ection s becom e difficult to perceive. som eth ing strange. . the subject is surprised and overw helm ed . longsu b m erged m em ories a p p e ar. in e lu cta b le is a p p ro a ch in g . .” “ It is curious that hashish poisoning has not yet been exp erim en ­ 215 . atm ospheric sensations oc c u r: va p o u r.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. now and then en joym ent. at first they arouse interest. a constan t and finally exhau stin g oscillation b etw een to tally differen t w orlds o f consciousness. and fin a lly. th o u gh t is not form ed into w ords. T h e m em ory o f the in toxication is surprisingly c le a r. A ll this the su b ject reports in a form that u su ally diverges very w id ely from the norm . the grou n d tilt steeply. and by w h at he says and does. . 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 . 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. . w h ole scenes and situations are e x p e rie n c e d . A ll this does not occu r in a continuous d ev elo p ­ m en t. w eariness and torm en t. . S p a ce can exp an d . H e also attains experiences that a p p ro a ch inspiration. . His lau g h ter. . . . an o p aq u e heaviness o f the a ir. or else lu m p y and th reaten in g. 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. m ore lum inous. w hen there is no tu rn in g a w a y from them . all his utteran ces happ en to him like o u tw a rd events. in the m id d le o f a sen tence these transitions can take p la c e . rath er.. illu m in ation.. . im ages and chains o f im ages. . . colours g ro w b rig h ter. objects m ore b eau tifu l.

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

yet no bourgeois sat there.Hashish in Marseilles 2 17 an im ated . First. one is able to fill a glass ex a ctly to the b rim w ith ou t spilling a drop. at the m ost. B ut the m eal cam e later. seem ed to be p la yin g there. a few petty-bourgeois fam ilies from the n eighbou rhood . 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. It was a very a d va n ced post. as one can never do w ith sharp senses. and w ill rem ain so. the little b ar on the harbou r. 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. w hen u tterly w ea ry. besides the true port p roletariat. 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. 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. For at this tim e I was still a vo id in g the C an n ebiere. indeed a brass band. a circu m stan ce I had gau g ed . not yet quite sure o f m y regu latory functions. 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. (I believe it was the farthest accessible to me w ith ou t d anger. W a lk in g past below . in the trance. so I w ent up to a very large one that had just been vacated .) It was still sufficien tly far from rue Bouterie. For it m ade m e into a physiognom ist. h ow ever. o f rem ark ab le coarseness or ugliness. w h ich w ere. I was a g a in ju st on the point o f retreatin g in confusion. M ost o f the w in d o w tables w ere occupied. in part. I must note how I found m y seat. I now . As I was sittin g d ow n . or at least a contem plator o f physiognom ies. for a concert. w ith the same a ccu racy w ith w h ich . this harb ou r tavern. 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. Y e t in the end I on ly reach ed the first. 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 . 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. I had spied an em p ty table on the b alcon y o f the second story.

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

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. clearly. I passed b y w ithou t cord iality. O n ly one o f them . 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. O n . b ack to the w alk to Basso’s. T o speak on ly o f the physical aspect. th rou gh w hich I could look dow n on the dark square. now that. this w ind ow . 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. w ith o u t concern for the result. As I did so an in com p rehen sible gaiety cam e over me. L a te r I noted as I looked d ow n . 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. U p stairs at Basso’s. Aero II. 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 . A n d as I did so from tim e to tim e. rath er. I hesitated before takin g wine.” H ere I m ust observe in gen eral: the solitude o f such trances has its d ark side. A n d there is no d ou b t that tru ly b eautiful. M o reover. in the bar that I had ju st left. “ From cen tu ry to cen tu ry things grow m ore estra n g ed . m y ga ze had been ob liged to pass over certain excessively deform ed countenances. w h en I looked dow n. the old gam es began a ga in . threw into a relief by this colonn ad e. T h e square in front o f the harb ou r was m y palette. w h ich rem in d ed me o f aerial w arfare. 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. and I sm iled in turn at all the C h ristian nam es o f F rance. had n othin g to do w ith the square as he saw it but. I had chosen m y seat on accou n t o f the open w in d o w . It was a h a lf bottle o f Cassis. w ith the view that the great p o rtra it painters o f the seventeenth century. B ut first. like a painter d a y d re a m in g on his palette. illu m in a tin g visions w ere not aw akened. e x a ctly as.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. on w h ich im a g in a tio n m ixed the q u alities o f the place. as i f it form ed a figure a b ou t him that. A piece o f ice was floatin g in the glass. tryin g them out now this w a y . 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.

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

S om eth ing very beautiful was go in g on aroun d the door o f the dance hall. H e was the d oorm an . 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. and b y “ h ere” I did not m ean the town but the little.” I felt flattered b y the th o u gh t o f sitting here in a centre o f dissipation. how few. o f w ho else m ight be sharing m y in to x ica tio n this even ing. 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. earlier. are electrified and fall at every m ovem ent into the most unusual relationships. W ell. two figu res— citizens. “ B a r n a b e ” . from the shadows o f the boat. O f how I was in cap ab le o f fearin g future m isfortune. M y m ood was free o f all desire. 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. 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. not-veryeven tful spot w here I found myself. w e ll. rode past me in a cab. But there w ere not only know n faces. It h a p p en e d suddenly. w hen the glass is rubbed.” So began a train o f thought that I am no longer able to pursue. 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. . G irls d isplayed them selves in the d o o rw a y. future solitude. vagrants. and I sank into a dream o f them . for hashish w ould alw ays rem ain. ex a ctly as. U . w h ile I was in the state o f deepest trance. had sudden ly d etach ed him self in the form o f a harb ou r loafer and pim p. 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 . w h a t do I k n o w ? — passed me as “ D an te and P e tra rc h ” . and now he is fetch in g her back. 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. 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. G . H ere. read the sign on a streetcar that stopped briefly at the square w here I was sitting. “ A ll m en are b ro th ers. 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. w h ich .Hashish in Marseilles 221 w ere the b read o f m y im ag in a tion .

In the little bar. ev eryth in g was suddenly subm erged in the noise o f voices. For if. 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. W h a t was most p eculiar about this din o f voices was that it sounded en tirely like dialect. and it did not happen w ithout inn er disputation. 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 . I have forgotten on w h a t grounds I perm itted m yself to m ark the beat w ith m y foot.222 T h e m usic that m eanw h ile kept rising and falling. appears to extend to the op tical. in w hich.” 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. 1928 . I called the rush switches o fja z z . It was not far from the first cafe o f the evening. 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. T h e people o f M arseilles sudden ly did not speak good enough F rench for me. suddenly. w ith ou t hoping or exp ectin g anythin g. T h e phenom enon o f alienation that m ay be in volved in this. T h e y w ere stuck at the level o f dialect. 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 ” . w hen w e love. above all. not o f streets. T h ere w ere times w hen the intensity o f acoustic im pressions blotted out all others. 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. she now throws us. in am ple handfuls to existence.

IV .


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. to reach a d ecisio n . 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. w ith that o f the hum anistic concep t o f fre e d o m . 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. T h e necessary g ra d ­ ient. and so has no excuse for takin g the m ovem ent for the “ artistic” . R o b ert Desnos. T h a t is his opportun ity. H e can gauge the energies o f the m ovem ent. 225 . after len gth y d eliberation . 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. or. at an y price. P h ilip p e S oupault. Paul E lu a r d — m ay have been a m eagre stream . 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.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 . 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. m ore precisely. in the case o f Surrealism . T h e G erm an observer is not standing at the head o f the stream . H e is in the valley. arrive at the con viction that this p a ltry stream w ill never drive turbines. is produced by the difference in in tellectu al level betw een F ran ce and G erm an y. Louis A ragon . fed on the d am p boredom o f post-w ar E urope and the last trickle o f F rench decadence.

conclusive. in such m ovem ents. 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. Surrealism is in this phase o f transform ation at present. lan gu age on ly seem ed itself w here sound and im age. E very th in g w ith w hich it cam e into con tact was integrated . T h ere is alw ays. But at the time w hen it broke over its founders as an inspiring dream w ave. it seem ed the most integral. 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. 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. it was. Stated m ore briefly and d iale ctica lly . how ever. 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.226 “ p o etic” one it superficially appears. whose catalogu e o f heroes A ra g o n left us in that w ork. 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” . 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. earlier precursors w ill be discussed later). beside the passage “ on the silk o f the seas and the arctic flow ers” . 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. SaintPol R o u x. or d ecay as a p ublic dem onstration and be transform ed. “ T h e r e ’s no such th in g . For this book is indeed the first docu m en t o f the m ovem ent (in recent tim es. fixes a notice on his . he later w rote. I f it was such at the outset.” In just how inconspicuous and perip heral a substance the d ialectical kernel that later grew into Surrealism was origin ally em bedded. For there is no dou bt that the heroic phase. 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 . absolute o f m ovem ents. profane struggle for pow er and dom ination. is over. Im age and lan gu a g e take precedence.

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

once an aristocratic virtu e. has becom e m ore and m ore an a ffair o f petty-bourgeois parvenus.e. w eathercocks. creative synthesis betw een the art novel and the roman-d-clef. D iscretion concern in g on e’s ow n existence. 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. M oreover. 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. th at we b ad ly need. H e calls Nadja “ a book w ith a b an gin g d o o r” . W h a t had at first seem ed accid en tal began to be disturbing. w hen he knew N a d ja ).” W e have from a recent author quite exact inform ation on P roven cal love poetry. N ow I concede that the breakneck career o f Surrealism over roof­ tops. the author tells us. a m oral exhibitionism . because it was the tim e o f the ‘ courts o f lo ve’. (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. ligh tn in g conductors. “ A t just that tim e” (i. gutters.” E rich A u e rb a ck points out in his excellent . 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 ” . I was struck b y the n um ber o f doors in the corridors that w ere alw ays left ajar. to o — as Nadja also in d icates— a “ profane illu m in atio n ” . verandas. retired m ajors. “ A ll the poets o f the ‘ new style’ .) T o live in a glass house is a revo lu tion ary virtue p ar excellence. and I tried to picture w ith great inten ­ sity how people saw life then . 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.228 victim but a voyante. w h ich comes surprisingly close to the Surrealist conception o f love. Nadja has ach ieved the true. T h e shock I had then m ust be felt by the reader o f Nadja. It is also an in to x ica ­ tion. “ I took a great interest in the epoch o f Louis V I I . 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 .. one need only take love seriously to recogn ize in it. 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.

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. W h a t are these things? N oth in g could reveal more a b ou t Surrealism than their can on . 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 ” . the earliest photos. in the first iron constructions. fashion able restaurants w h en the vogue has begun to ebb from them . gra n d pianos. T h e lad y. L e a v in g aside A r a g o n ’s Passage de I’ Opera. 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. they all have a p p ro x im ately the sam e very curious experience o f lo v e . 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). 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. too. N o one before these visionaries and augurs perceived how d estitu tion — not only social but arch itecto n ic. in the first glan ce throu gh the rain -b lu rred w ind ow o f a new a p artm en t. the objects that h ave begun to be extinct. on G odforsaken S u n d ay afternoons in the proletarian quarters o f the great cities. all are subject to a kind o f secret bond that determ ines their inner and perhaps also their outer lives. 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? . “ possess a m ystical beloved. 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 . the dresses o f five years ago. but also on the m ornin g before a b attle or after a victo ry . So. the first fa ctory buildin gs. if not action. for Breton. not love.Surrealism 22g Dante: Poet o f the Secular World. 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. H e is closer to the things that N a d ja is close to than to her. binds Breton to the telepath ic g ir l— if not to m ake ch astity. too. into revo lu tio n a ry experience. m atters least. enslaved and enslaving o b jects— can be sudden ly transform ed into revo lu tio n a ry nihilism . in esoteric love.

and m onasteries. But only revolt com pletely exposes its Surrealist face (deserted streets in w hich whistles and shots dictate the outcom e). we find the catalogu e o f these fortifications. L ’ heresiarque. A t the centre o f this w orld o f things stands the most d ream ed -o f o f their objects. and to w eld yo u rself to all the people w h o tod ay are still prou d o f their privileges. 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. therefore. the m echanics w hom m oney ennobles. to m ingle w ith the bearers o f burdens. from P lace M aub ert. sonorous unconsciousness that inspires m y only con vin cin g acts. But civilizatio n w ill give them short shrift. N ad ja is an exponent o f these masses and o f w hat inspires them to revolution: “ T h e great living.” H ere. on e’s ow n. to m ake you rself at hom e in their autom obiles. in the fate o f their masses. the city o f Paris itself. 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. In his vo lu m e o f novellas. w here as now here else dirt has retained all its sym bolic power. in their fate. the dead o f the picture galleries. in palaces. 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.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. graves. to take your places in the internation al sleeping cars. A n d no face is surrealistic in the sam e degree as the true face o f a city. castles. 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 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. w hich are b eau tifu l as arm our from the age o f ch ivalry. corpses behind screens. w hich one must overrun and o ccu p y in order to m aster their fate and. to the “ T h ea tre M o d e rn e” . here stands the fabulous keeper o f keys h old in g a bunch o f the keys to all times.” T h is speech was attributed to A p ollin aire by his friend H enri H ertz. But in B reton ’s description o f her b ar on the upper floor— “ it is quite dark. A p o llin a ire originated this technique. “ O p e n . you. w hich I am inconsolable not to have know n.

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.Surrealism 231 hended room in the old Princess C afe. 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. is a “ little u n iverse” . separate existence o f concepts w h eth er outside or inside thin gs— has alw ays . w ith couples in the blue light. too. are crossroads w here gh ostly signals flash from the traffic. 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. as in old ch am b erm aid s’ books. and in co n ceiva b le analogies and connections b etw een events are the order o f the day. For a rt’s sake was scarcely ever to be taken litera lly . from inner com pulsion. It is the region from w hich the lyric poetry o f S urrealism reports. 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. squares o f the city into illustrations o f a trashy novel. w ord -for-w ord quotations w ith page num bers refer. T h ere. It m akes the streets. In such passages in Breton. N or is it by any m eans fortuitous that no such w ork yet exists. to w hich. the cosmos. it was the last restauran t designed for love. T h e last page w ou ld have to show an X -ra y pictu re o f Surrealism . It was the b ack room on the first floor. For w ritten as it dem ands to be w ritte n — that is. T h is realism . in the larger one. too. W e called it the “ an atom y school” . h o w e ver— that is. 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. T h e Surrealists’ Paris. things look no different. 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. T h a t is to say. p h o to g ra p h y intervenes in a very strange w a y. the b elief in a real. 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. portrays less a historical evolution than a constan tly renew ed. gates. but as the d eep ly grou n d ed com position o f an in d ivid u al w ho. 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.

D ad aism . how ever. the universe. “ T h e conquests o f science rest far more on a surrealistic than on a logical th in kin g” — if. H e says. not as artistic d abb lin g. 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. in other words. “ T h e thought o f all hum an a ctiv ity makes me la u g h . 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. w ho origin ally belonged to this group. H ow slogans. m agic form ulas.” 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 . 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. 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. Pierre N aville. 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.” If. or Surrealism . But to d a y ’s writers fill this g a p .232 very q u ick ly crossed over from the logical realm o f ideas to the m agical realm o f words. w hether it is called Futurism . In his excellen t essay “ La revolution et les intellectuels” . the hostility o f the bourgeoisie tow ard every m anifestation o f radical in tellectu al freedom p la yed a . there is no m odern eq u ivalen t in literature. L ’ esprit nouveau et les poetes. 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. In the transform ation o f a h igh ly contem plative attitu d e into revolu tion ary opposition. righ tly called this d evelopm ent d ialectical. A n d it is as m agical experim ents w ith words. the foundation o f scientific and technical d evelopm ent. a nation. they m ake m ystification. too— then such integration is too im ­ petuous. 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. the cu lm in ation o f w hich Breton sees in poetry (w hich is defensible).

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

O n ly in contrast to the helpless com prom ises o f “ sen tim en t” are certain central features o f Surrealism . as far as it is positive. But p o litica lly and econ o­ m ically they must alw ays be considered a poten tial source o f sabotage. and com ing across the scenario o f a horror play b y Breton that centres abou t a violation o f children. w hereas evil stems en tirely from our spontaneity. to disinfect and isolate against all m oralizin g d iletta n ­ tism. to be m ore exact. . “ S ta v ro g in ’s C on fession ” from The Possessed. N o one else understood. one finds som ething usable inside. 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. is G od -in spired .234 Russian counterparts. approxim ates conservation. 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. not to the R evolu tion . L ittle has happ ened so far to prom ote this understanding. T h is chapter. to be understood. h ow ever rom antic. w ith o u t know ing o f one another. and forty years later in W estern E u rop e the w ritings o f D ostoyevsky. R im b au d . C on vin ced o f this. and L au trea m o n t exploded at the same tim e. how n aive is the view o f the Philistines that goodness. one resolves to open up this rom an tic d um m y. for all the m an ly virtue o f those w ho practise it. bu t to traditional culture. If. 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. 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. and in it we are ind epen d en t and self-sufficient beings. O n e finds the cult o f evil as a political device. w hich touches very closely on the third canto o f the Chants de Maldoror. indeed o f the Surrealist tradition. O n e m ight. how ever. one m ight perhaps go b ack a few decades. For S tavrogin is a Surrealist avant la lettre. T h e ir collective achievem ent. w orked on their infernal m achines. Betw een 1865 and 1875 a n um ber o f great anarchists. select from D osto yevsk y’s entire work the one episode that w as a ctu ally not published until about 1915. too— that their positive function derives entirely from a feeling o f ob ligation . as he did.

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. H e considered vileness itself as som ething preform ed. A n d here. and h a p p ily. in the m ost w retch ed part o f him self. “ as on the first d a y ” . U n fo rtu n a tely . a sim ilar attem p t in the case o f R im b a u d was successful. H e places him self in the line o f descent from M ick ie w icz. rather. too. and precisely in them . R im b a u d is ind eed a C ath o lic. 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. they are perhaps not “ sp len d id ” . he ga v e the devil no o p p ortu n ity to m eddle in his handiw ork.Surrealism 235 N o one else saw inspiration. only the m ethod is m ore ph ilosoph ical and less n aive than that o f the old school. in an attem p t to m ake his p o etry look a ccep table. it is that o f insurrec­ tion. there is no d ocu m en tation for it. o f w hich only V ic to r H u go and a few others are still a liv e . as the bourgeois idealist sees virtue. both in the course o f the w orld and also in ourselves. and says: “ O f course. but also baseness. 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. as he did. separated by an infin ity from the cliches through w hich sin is perceived by the Philistine. in even the most ign oble actions.” B ut i f L a u tre a m o n t’s erratic book has a n y lin eage at all. b y his ow n accou n t. and that a d d u ced by S o u p au lt rests on a confusion. A lfred de M usset. S o u p a u lt’s attem pt. b u t he is one. in his edition o f the com plete w orks in 1927. T h a t is w h y all these vices have a pristine v ita lity in his w ork. D o sto yevsk y ’s G od created not only h eaven and earth and m an and beast. S ou they. vengeance. can be assigned one. after all. 1869. but etern ally new. 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. So that in the end one really sings on ly o f goodness. 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 . I som ew hat sw elled the note to brin g som ething new into this literature that. B audelaire. O n the oth er hand. M ilton. cru elty. to w hich we are disposed if not called .

as we know . an ecstatic com ponent lives in every revolution ary act. ( . For them it is not enough that. 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 . 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 . This com ponent is id en tical w ith the anarchic. But that is the concession o f a com m u nard dissatisfied w ith his own con trib u tion w ho. h ow ever. u n dialectical conception o f the nature o f intoxication . rem ains the only cause w orth servin g.” 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. by the tim e he turned his b ack on poetry. T h e aesthetic o f the painter. is liberation in every respect). the poet.236 hatred. 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. T h e Surrealists have one. A d d ed to this is an in a d eq u ate. T h is it m ay call its most p a rticu la r task. to you I have entrusted m y treasure” . 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. Since B akunin. because they are convinced that “ freedom . d ictatorial side o f revolu tion? In short. 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. to the depth o f the insights o f Poe. E urope has lacked a rad ical concept o f freedom . 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. he writes in the Saison en enfer. w hich on this earth can on ly be b ough t w ith a thousand o f the hardest sacrifices.” 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. to sink its roots deeper than the theory o f “ surprised” creation originated b y A p ollin aire. the constructive. as long as it lasts. 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. “ H atred . had lon g sin ce— in his earliest w o rk — taken leave o f religion.

surrealistic. T h e most passion­ ate investigation o f telepath ic phenom ena. as the profane illu m in ation o f th in kin g abou t the hashish trance. by virtue o f a d ialectica l optic that perceives the ev eryd a y as im pen etrable. not a trace. For w h at is the program m e o f the bourgeois parties? A bad poem on springtim e. For histrionic or fan atical stress on the m ysterious side o f the m ysterious takes us no fu rther. dilettan tish optim ism m ust u n failingly show its true c o lo u rs: . 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). 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 . and everyone has as m uch “ as i f he w ere ric h ” . 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. T h e reader. the jl&neur. A n d m ore profane. and everyone lives “ as if he w ere free” . poetic politics? “ W e have tried that b everage. the loiterer. we penetrate the m ystery only to the d egree that we recogn ize it in the ev eryd a y w orld. is enm eshed in a n um ber o f pernicious rom an tic prejudices. 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). the im p en etrab le as everyd ay. the d ream er. 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. 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. w ealth . rath er than th a t!” W ell. the ecstatic.Surrealism 237 en etat de surprise. for exam ple. filled to bursting w ith m etaphors. it w ill interest you all the m ore how m uch an excursion into poetry clarifies things. are types o f illu m in ati ju st as m uch as the op ium eater. A n y th in g . “ T o w in the energies o f in toxication for the revo lu tion ” — in other words. . O f angels. N o t to m ention that most terrible d ru g — ourselves— w hich we take in solitude. o f art as the reaction o f one surprised. the thinker. as the profane illu m in ation o f readin g abou t telepath ic phenom ena. A n y serious ex p lo ra ­ tion o f occult. freedom . These are m ere im ages.

betw een individuals. T o counter this. w h at next? H ere due w eigh t must be given to the insight that in the Traite du style. and callin g for proletarian poets. Surrealism has com e ever closer to the C om m u nist answer. and artists. M istrust in the fate o f literature. 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. 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. in invective. but three times mis­ trust in all recon ciliatio n : betw een classes. G. 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. required in distinction betw een m etaph or and im age.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. at im portant points in this sphere o f im agery. A n d that means pessimism all along the line. But w hat now. 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. Indeed. A r a g o n ’s last book. A b solu tely. This im age sphere. thinkers. too. in m isunderstanding. For in the jo k e. A n d he tells them better. A n d un lim ited trust only in I. 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 . how ever. a h ap p y insight into questions o f style that needs extending. mistrust in the fate o f E u rop ean h u m an ity. 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. m istrust in the fate o f freedom . 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. even at the expense o f his artistic a ctiv ity. 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. betw een nations. F arb en and the peaceful perfection o f the air force. in all cases .

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

w h ich had been know n at least since L e o n a rd o ’s tim e. perhaps. the tim e was ripe for the invention. w here ph otograph y is at hom e to this day. W hen. H u g o and N a d a r — cam e in its first decade. there is a definite reason for it. aided b y the patent difficulties encountered by the inventors. B ut that was closer to the arts o f the fairgroun d. both N iepce and D ag u erre sim ultaneously succeeded in doing this.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. It w ould not be surprising if the p h otog rap h ic 240 . the state. 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. N ot that hucksters and charlatan s did not approp riate the new techniques for gain. ph ilosophical questions suggested by the rise and fall o f ph otograph y h ave gone unheeded for decades. than to industry. In d u stry m ade its first real inroads w ith the visitin g card picture. 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 . m ore obviously than in the case o f the p rin tin g press. after abou t five years o f effort. indeed. T h u s it is that the historical or. w ith com ­ pensation to the pioneers. assumed control o f the enterprise and m ade it public. if you like. they did so en masse. But this was the decade w h ich preceded its ind u strialization . 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. A n d if people are starting to be aw are o f them today. even in that early period .

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. sp eakin g on b e h a lf o f D a g u e r re ’s inven tion . 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. T h e utm ost the artist m ay ventu re. 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. L e ip zig i93i- . “ is not ju st an im possible u n dertakin g. M a n is m ade in the im age o f G od . at the high er b id d in g o f his ge n iu s.” H ere w e have the philistine notion o f art in all its o v erw een in g obtuseness. 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. 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. B ut that does not m ake it an y easier to use the charm o f old ph otographs. W ith 80 plates. as has been established after th o rou gh G erm an in vestig ation . 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 . der Meister der Photographie. A n d no m atter how extensively it m a y have been d eb a ted in the last cen tury. 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 stranger to all tech n ica l considerations. 1930.1 for real insights into their nature. David Octavius H ill . for the first tim e. the very wish to do such a th in g is blasphem ous. 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. “ T o try to cap tu re fleeting m irror im ages” . the Leipziger Stadtanzeiger. M . H ein rich S ch w a rz. a va ila b le in fine recent p u b lica tio n s.A Small History o f Photography 241 m ethods w h ich today. F a r d ifferen t is the tone o f the address w hich the physicist A ra g o . ga v e in the C h a m b e r o f D ep uties on 3 J u ly 1839. 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. n a tu ra lly w ith o u t the sm allest success. it said. felt it m ust offer in tim ely opposition to this b la c k art from F ran ce. Aus der Friihzeit der Photographic 1840—1870. borne on the w ings o f d ivin e inspiration . in the m om ent o f highest d ed ication. Frankfurt a. N evertheless. Ein Bildbuch nach 200 Originalen. 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.

w h o even now is still real and . seductive m odesty. not posed subjects. m ore im portant. A n d it is they. the w om an w h o w as alive there. Such figures had lon g been know n in painting. unpretentious m akeshifts m eant for internal use.” In a g rea t arc A r a g o ’s speech spans the field o f new technologies. B ut these pictures he took himself. though. do so on ly as testim ony to the art o f the painter. som ething that can not be silenced. “ a p p ly it to the observation o f nature. says A ra go . 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. “ W h en inventors o f a new in strum en t” .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. w h ich had to be turned this w a y and that until. B ut after two or three generations this interest fades. it offers an insight into the real scope o f the inven tion . that gave his nam e a place in history. a pale grey im age cou ld be discerned. like jew ellery . T h e y w ere one o f a k in d . in 1839 a plate cost an a verage o f 25 gold francs. Just as 70 years later U trillo p ain ted his fascinating view s o f Paris not from life but from picture postcards. w hile as a painter he is for­ gotten. 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 . D a g u e rre ’s ph otograph s w ere iod ized silver plates exposed in the cam era obscura. there rem ains som ething that goes b eyond testim ony to the p h otog rap h er’s art. the pictures. In the hands o f m an y a painter. we en cou n ter som ething new and stra n g e : in H ill’s N ew h a ve n fishwife. 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. that fills you w ith an u n ru ly desire to know w h at her nam e was. if they last. W here the p a in tin g rem ained in the possession o f a p a rticu la r fam ily. in the proper light. W ith p h otograp h y. how ever. th ey becam e a techn ical adjun ct. her eyes cast dow n in such indolent. now and then som eone w o u ld ask after the originals. 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. T h e y w ere not infreq u en tly kept in a case.

looking b ack . the father o f the poet. i f only in gen eral terms. shortly after the birth o f her sixth child. b egu ile our fo reb ea rs: h ow did that m outh kiss. “ A n d I ask: how did the b ea u ty o f that hair. w ith w h ich rea lity has so to speak seared the subject. D etails o f structure. N o m a tter how artful the ph otograp h er. ju st as we d iscover the instinctu al unconscious th rou gh psychoanalysis. 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 r you tu rn up the pictu re o f D au th en d ey the p h otograp h er. ly in g in the b edroom o f his M oscow house w ith her arteries severed. here to o : the most precise tech n ology can give its products a m agical va lu e. m ay rediscover it. bu t w hich. 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. bu t her ga ze passes him by. H ere she can be seen w ith him . 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. 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. w e h a v e some id ea w h at is in volved in the act o f w alk in g. reveals the secret. for exam ple. absorbed in an om inous distance. he seems to be h old in g her. en larged and c a p a b le . 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. to w h ich desire curls up senseless as sm oke w ith o u t fire. cellu la r tissue. m ean in gfu l yet covert enough to find a h id in g place in w akin g dream s. those eyes. such as a painted pictu re can never again h ave for us.A Small History o f Photography 243 w ill never consent to be w h olly absorbed in art. 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. P h otog rap h y. W hereas it is a com m on place that. the beholder feels an irresistible urge to search such a p ic ­ ture for the tin y spark o f con tin gen cy. no m atter how carefu lly posed his subject. w ith its devices o f slow m otion and en largem en t. o f the H ere and N ow . 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. 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.

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” . 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” . and gothic tracery in the fu ller’s thistle. and believed that the little tiny faces in the pictu re could see us. Berlin 1931. w hich people seldom bought. so he reported. p h otograp h y had not yet becom e a jou rn alistic tool. preferring to consult them in the coffee hou se. uncom prom ised by captions. and ord inary people had yet to see their nam es in print. N ew spapers w ere still a lu x u ry item . people and babies. totem poles in tenfold enlargem ents o f chestnut and m aple shoots. too. But his subjects. “ to look lon g at the first pictures he developed. 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. 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” . H ill’s subjects. and the w atch w o rd o f a later ph otograph er from the h eyd ay o f the art. are no less reserved. In short.244 o f form ulation. Published with an Introdu ction b y K a rl N ierendorf. for their part. W e w ere abashed by the distinctness o f these hum an im ages. “ D o n ’t look at the cam e ra ” . It has been said o f H ill’s cam era that it kept a discreet distance. m ake the difference betw een techn ology and m agic visible as a th o rou gh ly historical variab le. 120 plates. 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” . 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 . they m ain tain a certain shyness before the cam era. But that did not m ean the “ th e y ’re looking at y o u ” o f anim als. cou ld be derived from their attitude. M a n y o f H ill’s portraits were m ade in the 2 K a rl Blossfeldt. T h e h u m an countenance held a silence about it in w hich the gaze rested. Urformen der Kunst. a b ish op’s crosier in the ostrich fern. . 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.

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. 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 shape it has borrow ed from its w earer is not u n w o rth y o f the creases in his face. In short. E v ery th in g abou t these early pictures w as built to last. T h e low light-sensitivity o f the early plates m ade p rolon ged exposure outdoors a necessity. “ is the m ain reason w h y these ph otographs. a p a rt from their sim plicity. says O rlik o f early p h o to g ra p h y . in one o f H ill’s pictures. J u st consider S ch ellin g ’s coat. d u rin g the considerable period o f the exposure. looks like an interior. hollow ed out like ch im ney-pieces. 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. and for a lon g w hile the last. A n d indeed the cem etery itself. 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. one should also bear in m ind that entirely new . w ith inscriptions inside instead o f flames.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. 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. the subject as it w ere grew into the picture. “ T h e expressive coheren ce due to the len gth o f tim e the subject had to rem ain still” . a separate clo sed -off space w here the gravestones prop ped against gab le w alls rise up from the grass.” 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 . 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” . rests assured. too. But this setting could never have b een so effective i f it had not been chosen on tech n ica l grounds. as K ra c a u e r has ap tly noted. its im m o rtality . 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.

. 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 ’ ). B ayards all lived w ell into their eighties and nineties. b u t before lon g exclu ­ sively. was not lan d scap e pain tin g. T h is was the tim e ph otograph album s cam e into vo gu e. Piersons.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. 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.e. and w h en later on the retouched n egative. 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. yo d ellin g . lea n in g again st a polished d o o rja m b . how ever. a sharp decline in taste set it. b u t the p o rtrait m iniature. 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 . 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. at first on ly as a sideline. w a v in g our hat against a painted snow scape. 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 . w hich was the bad p a in te r’s revenge on p h oto g ra p h y. the painters parted com p an y on this point w ith the tech n ician . 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. or as a sm artly tu rn ed -o u t sailor. and finally. T h e y w ere m ost at hom e in the chilliest spots. w e ou r­ selves: as a parlo u r T y ro le a n . T h is tran sition al generation disappeared very g ra d u a lly . 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. T h e real victim o f ph otograph y. . not even exp erienced painters exp ect the cam era o b scu ra” — i.” 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. even A ra g o . becam e ubiquitous. . businessm en in vad ed professional p h otograp h y from every side. In the end. to m ake ou r sham e com plete. stan din g leg and trailing leg. as is proper. Stelzners. indeed. in his historical review o f the early attem pts o f G io v a n n i B attista Porta. though. little T ru d i w h en she was still a b a b y .

A n d as i f to m ake these upholstered tropics even stuffier and m ore oppressive.” T h is was the period o f those studios. in a sort o f con servatory landscape. such as Spaniards w ear. H ere too w e see in op eratio n the law th at new ad vances are prefigured in older techn iques. or curtains. b ut the w a y it is used in p h o to g ra p h y is absurd. First it w as pillars. 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 . w h ich occu pied so am biguous a place b etw een execution and representation . an atm osp h eric m edium . T h e m ezzo tin t process was o f course a tech n iqu e o f reproduction . T h ere was an a u ra a b o u t them . and to w h ich an early po rtrait o f K a fk a bears p a th e tic witness. w h ich d om in ate this lan dscape predestined for them . 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. A n d i f at first head-holders or kneebraces w ere felt to be sufficient. T h e b ack grou n d is th ick w ith palm fronds. 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.A Small History o f Photography 24J T h e accessories used in these portraits. w ith their draperies and palm trees. further im pedim en ta w ere soon ad d ed . 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. such as w ere to be seen in fam ous paintings and must there­ fore be artistic. 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 . their tapestries and easels. H e w o u ld surely be lost in this setting w ere it not for the im m ensely sad eyes. since it u su ally stands on a carpet. b etw een torture ch am b er and throne room . dressed up in a h u m ilia tin g ly tight c h ild ’s suit overloaded w ith trim m in g. A n d once ag a in the tech n ical eq u iva len t is ob viou s. 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. As an E nglish trad e jo u r n a l o f the tim e p u t it. the pedestals and b alu s­ trades and little oval tables. . th at lent fullness and secu rity to their gaze even as it p enetrated that m edium . perhaps six years old. it consists in the absolute co n tin u u m from brightest ligh t to darkest shadow . T h e most cap ab le started resisting this nonsense as early as the sixties. “ in p ain tin g the pillar has some p la u sib ility. T h e re the b oy stands.

“ in w hich n othin g disturbs the tran q u illity o f the com position ” . T hus. n otw ithstan d in g this fashionable tw ilight. 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. w h a t is again and again decisive for p h otog rap h y is the . w hereas the ph otographer was confronted. exactly as it was banished from rea lity by the d eepen ing degeneration o f the im perialist bourgeoisie. a p en u m b ra l tone. esp ecially in Jugendstil. cam e into vo gu e . A n d yet. So m uch for the techn ical considerations behind the atm ospheric appearances. a pose was m ore and m ore cle a rly in evidence. especially the so-called ru bber print. h o w ­ ever. before b ein g ruined by the print. 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. w ith a technician o f the latest school. w h ich “ gives these early ph otographs their greatness” . 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. For that a u ra was by no means the m ere prod u ct o f a prim itive cam era. though.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. A n d am ong the in v en ­ tion ’s contem poraries. in the ph otographer. 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. 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. T h ese pictures w ere m ade in rooms w here every client was confronted. A fter 1880. in terru p ted b y artificial highlights. the au ra w hich had been banished from the pictu re w ith the rou t o f darkness throu gh faster lenses. whose rig id ity b etrayed the im poten ce o f that gen eration in the face o f tech n ical progress. 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. in every client. D elaroch e a lre a d y noted the “ u n p reced en ­ ted and exq u isite” general im pression. ph otographers m ade it their business to sim ulate w ith all the arts o f retou chin g.

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. T h ere was even a facial resem blance. show ed such pretty tow n views. ever cast the alm ost fabulous spell. A tg e t was an actor w ho. leavin g behind an oeuvre o f m ore than 4. the pianist strikes the key and the note rings out. 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.” In d eed . B erenice A b b o t from N ew Y o rk has gath ered these together.000 pictures. H e lived in Paris poor and unknow n. for the painter. “ must first p ro­ duce the note. w hen A tg e t was there before th em . T h erefo re m a n y are a b le to flatter them selves that they have discovered the pole. like the pianist. the ph otograp h er. B oth w ere virtuosi. correspond to the vio lin ist’s prod u ction o f sound. N o P aderew ski w ill ever reap the fam e. com plete w ith tou ched -u p m oon. D ra w in g and colourin g. selling his pictures for a trifle to p h otog rap h ic enthusiasts scarcely less eccen tric than him self. 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. 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. H e reached the pole o f utm ost m astery. sold them o ff for next to n othin g. and that is A tg et.” T h ere is. C am ille R ech t has found an ap t m etap h or: “ T h e violin ist” . Paris and L e ip zig 1931. m ust seek it out. T h e pain ter and the p h oto­ gra p h er both have an instrum ent at their disposal. .A Small History o f Photography 249 p h o to g ra p h e r’s attitud e to his techniques. w hile the violinist is under no such restraint. often for the price o f one o f those picture postcards w h ich . b ath ed in m id n igh t blue. he died recently. disgusted w ith the profession. find it in an instant'. H e w as the first to disinfect the stifling 3 Eugene A tg e t Lichtbilder. A tg e t’s Paris photos are the forerunners o f surrealist p h o to g ra p h y . 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. he n eglected to plan t his flag there. but at the sam e tim e precursors. 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. th at P agan in i d id . aroun d 1900. 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. has the ad van tage o f a m ech a n ical device th at is subject to restrictive laws.

there a tree-top whose bare branches criss-cross a gas lam p. here a piece o f balu strade. W h en a van t-g ard e periodicals like Bifur or Variete publish pictures cap tion ed Westminster. to trace a range o f m ountains on the horizon. forgotten. the un ique. 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. w hich illustrated papers and newsreels keep in readiness. w here from night to m ornin g the hand-carts stand in serried ranks. W h a t is aura. w h at he did not pass by was a lon g row o f boot lasts. or rath er a copy. 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. and thus such pictures too w ork against the exotic. to b rin g things closer to us. A tg e t alm ost alw ays passed b y the “ great sights and the so-called lan d m ark s” . and the picture is unm istakable. Lille. 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. 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. no m atter how close the ob ject m ay be. H e cleanses this atm osphere. or the Paris courtyards. that b ran ch . 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. 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. 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 . T h e stripp in g bare o f the object.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. they p um p the au ra ou t o f reality like w ater from a sinking ship. rom an tically sonorous nam es o f the cities. is divested o f its u n iqueness— by m eans o f its \reproduction. E very d ay the need to possess the ob ject in close-up in the form o f a picture. or a b ra n ch that throws its shadow on the observer. W h ile resting on a sum m er’s noon. becom es m ore im perative. A n d the difference betw een the copy. or a gable w all. Antwerp or Breslau b u t show ­ ing only details. N ow . cast adrift. or the tables after people . the destruction o f the aura. or rath er to the masses. H e looked for w hat was u n rem arked.

O n the other hand. But it was no lon ger a portrait.A Small History o f Photography 251 have finished eatin g and left. 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. em p ty the triu m p h al steps. T h a t generation did not pass on its virtues. . or the brothel at R u e . alm ost all these pictures are em p ty. whose street n u m ber appears. It gives free p la y to the p o litica lly ed u cated eye. at four differen t places on the b u ild in g ’s facade. Das Antlitz der £eit. em p ty the courtyard s. E m p ty the P orte d ’A rc e u il by the F ortification s. N o 5. 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. as it w ere p resentin g them at face valu e. T h e gen eration th at was not obsessed w ith go in g dow n to posterity in ph otograph s. the P la ce du T ertre. R e m ark a b ly . like a lo d gin g that has not yet found a new tenant. depends very m uch on the subject. 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. the city in these pictures looks cleared out. 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. to get onto the p la te w ith them . Berlin 1930. taken a b ou t 1850— for that very reason allow ed that space. the dishes not y et cleared a w a y — as they exist in their hundreds o f thousands at the same hour. 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. too. 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. the space w h ere they lived . m erely w ith o u t m ood . as it should be. 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. how ever. W h eth er this is possible. 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. how ever. 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. u n d er whose ga ze all intim acies are sacrificed to the illu m in ation o f detail. 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. . gigan tic. T h e y are not lonely. em pty. .

and then back dow n all the w ay to the id io t. A p a rt from this basic en cou ragem en t. on e’s closest relatives and friends. “ from direct ob servation ” . com m en tin g: “Just as there is com p arative an atom y. w hich helps us to u n d er­ stand the nature and history o f organs. the earth-bou nd m an. thereby m ovin g the in q u iry out o f the realm o f aesthetic distinctions into that o f social . so this ph otographer is doing com parative p h otograp h y. but. “ His com plete w ork com prises seven groups w hich correspond to the existing social order. there is a m ore specific incentive one m ight offer the publisher. takes the observer through every social stratum and every w alk o f life up to the highest representatives o f civilizatio n . W h eth er one is o f the left or right. and is to be published in some 45 folios con ­ taining 12 ph otographs ea ch . w h ich offer inexhaustible m aterial for study.” So far w e have a sam ple volu m e contain ing 60 reproductions. w rote L ich tw a rk b ack in 1907. and he has done it from a scientific view poin t. It was assuredly a very im partial. one w ill h ave to get used to being looked at in terms o f o n e’s provenance.” T h e author did not approach this enorm ous un d ertak in g as a scholar. 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. as the publisher says.” 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. bu t delicate too. ' “ 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. or w ith the a d vice o f ethnographers and sociologists. on e’s sw eetheart” . indeed bold sort o f observation. A n d one w ill have to look at others the same w a y.” 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. 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.252 the trem endous physiogn om ic gallery m ounted by an Eisenstein or a P udovkin. W ork like S an d er’s could overnigh t assume unlooked-for topi­ cality. It is a train ing m anu al. “ S an d er starts o ff w ith the peasant. ad optin g a scientific standpoint superior to the ph otograph er o f d e ta il.

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-

like a factory. econom ics. politics. It is from the unm asking o f the inauthentic that this battle against the press arose. . 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 . leaves the spirit o f m ankind in the state o f being un able to do w ithou t old ones. 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. Die Fackel itself contains m odels o f this. In this d u ality o f a chan ged life d ra g gin g on in un chan ged forms. “ that to the m ixtu re o f ele­ ments . indeed. A t certain times o f d a y — tw ice. the w a y flow ery lan gu age.” he said o f the latter. It. must by now have been reached and jo u rn a listica lly processed. 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. as the creator o f the feuilleton in poetry and prose.260 ing H eine as an ornam entalist. and that the new level o f lan gu age that he created is the level o f essayism. “ It is m y op in ion . T ru e. . how ever. w hile u nable to coin new p la ti­ tudes. art. as one w ho blurred the b o u n d a ry betw een jou rn alism and literature.” O r. its un tyin g w ou ld have to follow a d ifferent pattern. he later p laced even N ietzsche beside H eine as the b etrayer o f the aphorism to the im pression. “ 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. gives it value for the connoisseur.” 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. etc. the w orld ’s ills grow and prosp er. he added psychology. is an abortion o f technology. A n d not from ju st any m aterial: ev eryth in g that has happened in the m eantim e. in any region o f life. in the decom posing E u rop ean style o f the last h a lf century. anyw here. as H ein e’s was that o f feuilletonism . “ T h e n ew spaper industry. dem ands separate areas for w orkin g and selling. as ornam ent. 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.” In these words K rau s deftly tied the knot b in d in g tech n ology to the em pty phrase..

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

Im m ed iately. rather. T h e trinity o f silence. Its first principle is. and m oreover there is . developed to the utm ost. 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. I f in J o h a n n Peter H ebei we find. But for both.262 not be decided now. know ledge. 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. 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. K rau s knew this criterion from the first. the constructive. H e w ho addresses deeds violates both w ord and deed and is tw ice despicable. to discover the true question the situation poses. N otw ith stan d in g their abu n d an ce. 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. in K rau s w e see its most d estructive and critical face. Those w ho now have nothing to say because it is the turn o f deeds to speak. forever u n w illin g to conform to principles proffered to it. creative side o f tact. to dism antle the situation. and does so precisely because his criterion is never that o f bourgeois respectability. His alertness perm its no one to ask it questions. T h is profession is not extinct. a silence that catches the storm o f events in its black folds. 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. billow s. and to present this in place o f any other to his opponents. K rau s lived in a w orld in w hich the most sham eful act was still the faux pas. its livid lining turned outw ard. and alertness constitutes the figure o f K rau s the p o le­ micist. he distinguishes betw een degrees o f the m onstrous. 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. talk on. His silence is a dam before w h ich the reflecting basin o f his know ledge is constantly deepened. 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.

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. bu t w hen his m ind was opened. . so the m oral law acts silently. . and conspicuous events are on ly single m anifestations o f these laws. a transform ation has taken place that has caused it. the m ountains spew ing fire. Ju st as in nature the general laws act silently and incessantly. the tossing o f the sea. A t the th eological core o f this concept. even as parad isiac relationships. how ever. For tact is n o w — as n arrow m inds im agine i t — the gift o f allottin g to each. . the gro w in g o f corn. because they are on ly effects o f far high er laws. W hen m an was in his infan cy. . child ren . 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. a n im atin g the soul through the infinite intercourse o f . and his echo is heard w herever K rau s concerns him self w ith anim als. the ligh tn in g flash that cleaves houses. “ the rip plin g o f w ater.” Stifter writes.Karl Kraus 263 no other criterion for true tact. 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 . I do not hold greater than the form er p h en o m en a. he was seized by w hat was close at hand and obtrusive. 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. w h at is socially befitting. qu ite w ith ou t constraint. and was m oved to fear and ad m iration . tact is the ca p a city to treat social relationships. as n atu ral. “ T h e stirring o f the a ir . the earth qu ak e la y in g w aste to countries. though not d ep artin g from them . plants. O n the contrary. 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. It is a theological criterion. H ebei possessed this noblesse in his priestly bearin g. his sp iritu al eye not yet tou ched by science. m iracles ceased. to coincide w ith the cosm opolitan credo o f A u strian worldliness. K ra u s in arm our. . indeed. but the lack ey like an A d a m in livery. Stifter gave this creed its most au then tic stam p. the verd u re o f the earth. the storm d riv in g the surf. and w on d er increased. I believe them sm al­ ler. on consideration o f all relationships. the shining o f the sky. .

His defeatism is o f a supranation al. “ 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. let alone a historical resolution. for him creatio n ’s true m irror virtu e. once d ep loyed against creation. C ertain ly the dog is not for n othin g the em blem atic beast o f this author: the dog. p la n eta ry kind. 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.264 hum an beings. the ideal exam ple o f the follower. in w hich fidelity. 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. K raus im parted this inform ation under the title “ T h e E n d ” . 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. K rau s. 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. 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. This insolently secularized thu n d er and ligh tning. so for him . It is a landscape in w hich every day fifty thousand tree trunks are felled for sixty new spapers. F or as the landscape o f A u stria fills u nbroken the cap tivatin g expanse o f S tifter’s prose. whose last act is w orld conflagration. and to be still recogn izab le in their core as creation. that is. 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. As a deserter to the cam p o f anim al creatio n — so he m easures out this wilderness. either.” T a c itly . b u t nature. the holy has given place to the m odest yet questionable concept o f law . H ow lam entable that people usurp its p lace! These are his followers. w ho is n othin g . the terrible years o f his life are not history. in these famous sentences. storms. purity. gratitu d e smile from times lost and rem ote. 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. w ill not stop short o f its m aster. a river cond em ned to m eander through a landscape o f hell. and history for him is m erely the w ilderness d ivid in g his face from creation. that o f the d o g ” . surf.

But if a n y th in g makes plain w h at is infinitely ques­ tion able in these creatures. is in strict accord an ce w ith this social u p h e a v a l. Indeed. In this fig h t— and on ly in . op en ly shaping itself. 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. if anyw here. unlike the bourgeois form . in other w ords. “ K r a u s ” . T o defend this against police. H e becam e the ad vo cate o f the nerves and took up the fight against the petty. ev eryd a y im itations. that o f the poor. the agitator. and concepts. m orality. and A d o lf Loos. becam e the problem o f p rivate life. 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. finally against neighbours in every form . the better. w hom he conceived and con vin ced in one and the sam e act.” H ere. 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 . party. it is that they are recruited solely from those w hom K rau s h im self first called in tellectu ally to life. It is en tirely logical w hen the im poverished. in a society that is in the process o f b u ild in g houses w ith glass w alls. A n d 265 the m ore personal and un founded this devotion. and constitution. o f econom ic and ph ysical existence. H ow m uch renu n ciation and how m uch irony lie in the curious struggle for the “ n erves” . 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. K rau s is right to put it to the hardest test. but the subject grew under his hands.Karl Kraus excep t devoted creatu rely life. writes R o b ert Scheu. reduced h um an b ein g o f our days. from whose ranks cam e Peter A lten b erg. house and hom e. the private life that is dism antling itself. can only seek sanctu ary in the tem ple o f livin g things in that most w ithered form . press. H e found that they w ere ju st as w orth y an object o f im passioned defence as were prop erty. becam e his profession. as a private in d ivid u a l. His w ord can be decisive only for those w hom it did not beget. constantly to find new enem ies. the con tem po rary. “ 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.

a single w ord. “ being right is not an erotic m atter. 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” . and he gla d ly prefers others’ being right to his being w ro n g . and w hich is a ch ief instrum ent o f corruption in our literary and political affairs. 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.” T o prove his m anhood in this w ay is denied to K ra u s . inconsistency. in confidence o f a truly prestabilized . m ore for w hat they say than for w hat they w rite. 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. 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.” K rau s once said. 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. But it w ill be a rightness resulting from m y wrongness to d a y . K rau s never offered an argum en t th at had not engaged his w hole person. reconciling h a rm o n y — w hole and in tact from a single fragm en t o f sentence. 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. is the precon dition o f his p o lem ical au thority. injustice. for exam ple. it w ould be disappoin tin g to observe how it arrived at its pron oun cem ents— by fairness. and how right he then is to clin g to this. and least o f all for their books. O n the contrary. T h a t K rau s attacks people less for w hat they are than for w hat they do. It is not in the last underm ined by w h at others must avoid : its ow n despotism . 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. In sigh t into its operations can discover on ly one th in g: . As decisively as he makes his ow n existence a p u b lic issue w hen the fight dem ands it. “ M a n y w ill be right one d ay. or even self-consis­ tency. T h u s he em bodies the secret o f a u th o r ity : never to disappoint. a single intonation .266 i t — his followers also have their use. his existence dem ands that at most the self-righteousness o f others is opposed to his wrongness. “ For the m a n .

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

and it is the stigm a o f every d ebate concern in g him . o f how un errin gly Die Fackel w ou ld illu m in ate it. 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. 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. others rem ain that are m ore deeply im m ersed in it than one suspects.268 but also in w h at it does. 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. that all a pologetic argum ents miss their m ark. 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 . 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. — Words in Verse I V It is deeply rooted in K r a u s ’s nature.” Ju st as this . T h a t cannot be done. But not in all parts. but is the prim eval w orld or the w orld o f the dem on. the un in terrupted lam ent. high capitalism defiles not only the ends but also the m eans o f journalism . T o certify K rau s as an “ ethical p ersonality” is his first objective. T h e ligh t o f the first d ay falls on h im — thus he em erges from this darkness. as in the fairy tale. If. T h e d em on ’s solitude. Demon H ave I slept? I am ju st falling asleep. For. I I. A n eye that can n o t adjust to this darkness w ill never perceive the outline o f this figure. T h e great work o f L eop old L iegler springs from an ap olo­ getic posture. too. it is the expression o f this pow er. then a new blossom ing o f p arad isiac. 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. the dem on in K ra u s has m ade van ity the expression o f his being. h ow ­ ever. 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.

H e w ill p ay any price to get h im self talked abou t. how ever. all its nakedness. and is alw ays justified by the success o f these speculations. In this w a y his style comes into being. W h ile such thoughts are q u ite u n m istakable in K rau s. a m b ig u ity. his van ity makes him a h yp o ch o n d riac. and a self-expressive art op eratin g w ith the m ost archaic. is m anifest: self-expression and unm asking m erge in it as self-unm asking. “ T h e patien t o f his gifts” . no vilification o f his person. and over and above the real ones. K rau s has said. that he exposes w ith all its w ounds. the dem on. 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. crossing a room w ith swift. too. T h ere is no reproach to him . 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. it is attained chiefly by the card iac strength o f great thoughts. As such he has been described by K a rin M ichaelis. V iertel called him . 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 zone. in K rau s eccen tric reflection is in continuous uproar. I f he does not see his reflection in him self. in a p article. he is vain. that could not find its most legitim ate form ulation in his ow n w ritings. In fact. 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. his life and his suffering. in those passages w here self-reflection is raised to self­ ad m iration . A n d if he then offers a sacrifice to his van ity. and w ith it the typ ical reader o f Die Fackel. for w hom in a subordin ate clause. he w o u ld not be the dem on that he is w ere it not fin ally himself. from the obscurest and driest fact a piece o f his m u tilated flesh hangs.Karl Kraus 269 d a n cin g dem on is never still. 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 ” . he sees it in the ad versary at his feet. fibres and nerves q u iv er. his capacities are m aladies. Y es. indeed in a com m a. restless bounds to reach the lecture podium . “ A n ti-S em itism is the m en tality . 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 th ereby indicates the nature o f the relationship o f his own o p p o­ nents to himself.

This q u ib b ler. com poser and conductor. 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. ign om in y and bonhom ie. teasing. because it alone offered him the thousand opportunities to break out. both have attained perfection. “ T o rm e n t” . Has courtesy here becom e the cam ou flage o f hate. too. mimesis plays a decisive role. “ I a m . and K rau s creeps into those he im personates. probing betw een syllables. the lowest kind o f flattery. and thus he shows his va n ity its most legitim ate p la ce: in m im e. o f w h ich . torm enting.” K rau s has said. shot through w ith all the lightning flashes o f im provisation. glu tton y and dis­ honesty. dram atists and actors. A d m itted ly. a state that was experienced. But in his polem ics. ap art from K rau s. threatening.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 . by no one as d eep ly as by K ierk ega a rd . w hich in his p u b lic readings is heightened beyond com prehension. digs out the grubs o f hum bug. T o cre ep — so is term ed. His m im etic genius. 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. hate the cam ou flage o f courtesy? H o w ever that m ay be. childishness and covetousness. 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. the Chinese pitch. 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. O ffen b ach . 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. 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. T h e grubs o f ve n a lity and garru lity. im ita tin g w hile it glosses. Indeed. not w ith ou t cause. 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. “ perhaps the first instance o f a w riter w ho sim ultaneously writes and acts his w ritin g ” . in order to annihilate them .

/ I should have chosen. is their d erivation o f his hatred from love. sophistry and m alice.Karl Kraus 271 there is so m uch talk in K rau s in such op aq u e allusions. here has its seat. But w h at im plicates him so d eeply is m ore than the deeds and m isdeeds. piercin g. “ O h . 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. Brecht said. he declares. “ W h en the age laid hands upon itself.” 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 . 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. 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. b y no means. 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 . H ow utterly b an al. His protests against letters. printed m atter. 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. N o! T his incorru p tib le. R ig h tly .” A las. it is the lan gu a g e o f his fellow m en. 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. F or he stands on the threshold o f the Last J u d gm en t. 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. he was the h an d s” . T h e econ om y o f his errors and w eaknesses— a fantastic edifice. W ell it m ay. and at the same tim e how fu n d am en tally w rong. and certain ly not the com m ent o f his friend A d o lf Loos. 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 ” . “ stands on the frontier o f a new a g e . 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. “ K r a u s ” . Few insights can stand beside this. 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. had I on ly been left the choice / to carve the d og or the butcher. As in the most .

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. 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. sw ord-sw allow in g p h ilology in the new spapers pursues justice just as m uch as language. ev ery th in g — lan gu age and fa c t— falls for him w ithin the sphere o f justice. T h en ce the overw h elm in g im m ed iacy. and ap p aren tly alm ost w ith ou t cause. 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. it is only to file a com plain t at the L ast Ju d gm en t. a single advertisem ent. H e does not stand on the frontier o f a new age. E ach thought has its ow n cell. K rau s is no historic genius. a single phrase. nothing better refutes this than the fact that. and the dam n ed floating before them . too. N othin g is understood about this m an until it has been perceived that. 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” . I f he ever turns his b ack on creation. for him . becom e a cham ber. 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. not in its . his know ledge only p ra ctica l expression. the blessed. the w ord o f som eone else in his m outh as other than a corpus delicti. 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. A ll his fireeating.2J2 opulent exam ple o f baroque a ltar painting. and his own as other than a ju d g in g w ord. o f necessity and w ithou t exception. For this is the last official act o f this zea lo t: to place legal system itself under accusation. the ready w it o f the w holly un con tem plative m om ent. K rau s accuses the law in its substance. It has been said o f K rau s that he has to “ suppress the Jewishness in h im se lf” . 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. if he breaks o ff in lam entation . a legal ch am b er over w hich lan gu ag e presides. even that he “ travels the road from Jewishness to freed om ” . and the inversion that allow s his w ill only theoretical. But each cell can in an instant. ju stice and lan gu age rem ain founded in each other. K rau s knows no system.

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

. . lead less tow ard heaven than d ow n w ard . before all else. as the deep hum an affect trem ulously pervad in g the w orld o f these m iniatures. not only in the u n fath om ab le folds o f their garm ents. T his gu ilt w ill alw ays lead to Expressionism . As if falling sickness had over­ taken them thus. from w hich his m ature w ork was nourished by roots that cracked open their soil. “ In clin a tio n ” m ay be seen. “ gesteilt” [clenched. 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 .274 these noises. steeped]. as it were in w a rd ly curved. in the V ie n n a G enesis— is struck by som ething very m ysterious. 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. W h a tev er powers m ay have fought out their spiritual battles on these shoulders. stage sets. But on ly one. o f hum an shoulders that. . w e are able to call by its nam e. as it does the m anifestoes o f that generation o f poets. in their runn ing that is alw ays precipitous. aspect is revealed by the front o f these figures. to and even under the earth. not only in their w ideopen eyes. 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 ’ . in the witnesses o f the entrance into Jeru salem — into terraces o f hum an necks. sentences. in the servants o f the G ethsem ane scene. the paintings w ere com posed. stepped. “ gestuft” . T h e sam e phenom enon appears quite different to som eone w ho looks at their backs. 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. But anyon e w ho exam ines their figu res— for exam ple. one o f them . T hese backs are p ile d — in the saints o f the adorations. really clenched in steep steps. M a y he accept it as red em p tio n !” “ I share the guilt. W h a t finally rem ained o f Expressionism .” 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. from our experience o f the condition o f the defeated masses im m ed iately after the end o f the w ar. b ut also in their w hole expression. in w hich an o rigin ally hum an im pulse was converted alm ost w ith ou t . they lean tow ard one another.

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. For it was precisely art for a rt’s sake. than the literary expert. artiste. J ournalism is b etrayal o f the literary life. as it m ade love stand out against perversion. and every feuilleton poses anew the insoluble question o f the relationship betw een the forces o f stup id ity and m alice. and the com prom ise that intellectuals m ade w ith it in order to find shelter in jou rnalism . It is. o f the dem on. “ P enury can turn every m an into a jou rn alist. w hich for the decaden t m ovem ent applies to love as w ell. indeed the d an d y w ho has his forebear in B aud elaire. that linked expertise as closely as possible to craftsm anship. entw ined w ith those o f sexuality. So K rau s can call by their nam e the laws o f his ow n craft. 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. “ 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. As a “ g ru m b le r” he particip ates in their lot in order to denounce them . the en ligh t­ ened friend o f m an and nature. 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 . It is m uch less the ph ilanthropist. whose expression is gossip.275 residue into a fashion. K rau s w rote as ea rly as 1912. to tech n iqu e.Karl Kraus . in the p roclam ation o f art for a r t’s sake. 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. 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. but not every w om an into a p ro stitu te.” the false bottom In this form ulation K rau s b etrayed o f his polem ic against journ alism . Id le ch atter is its true substance. w ho unleashed this im p lacab le struggle. O n ly B au d elaire hated as K rau s did the satiety o f h ealth y com m on sense. and allow ed poetry to shine at its brightest only against the foil o f hack w riting. as he did in the Wall o f . fu n d a ­ m en tally. makes them p itia b le ” . and denounces them in order to pa rtici­ pate. o f m ind.

as in terms o f its n atu ral sexuality. w hich incites her w ith intuition. from those w ho hasten to be the first w ith her. by an un erring instinct. how ever. and w ant to be the first. But they rub it from her brow like a bad dream . / but paym ent. a Lassalle. T h e life o f letters is existence under the aegis o f m ere m ind. how he slows his step and seeks the d etou r o f follow ership. “ C o n tem p t for prostitution? / H arlots worse than thieves? / L earn this: not on ly is love paid. how m ultifariously he forms his thought. m alice ensnare one another. too. It is a natural phenom enon as m uch in terms o f its natural econom ic aspect. as a m anifestation o f com m od ity exchange. 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. w ho perhaps does not live. not a social deform ation. to be a disturber o f the p eace. the late-com er. T h e dem on. 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. T h e m an “ has wrestled a thousand times w ith the other. But K rau s “ enlists w ith the pow er o f n a tu re. contem pt. rather than slake her w ith know ledge. 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. 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. E vasion o f the genuine and dem onic function o f m ere m ind. T h a t to him the fit state o f m an appears .” 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. w ho leads the w hore to the street exiles the m an o f letters to the courtroom .” N ow if la n g u a g e — this we read betw een the lines— is a w om an. a Paul-Louis C ourier. how far is the author rem oved. o f fem ale sexuality. R o b ert Scheu rig h tly perceived that for K ra u s prostitution was a n atural form .2 j6 China. how he lets hatred. N ot because he has superior qualities but because he is the other. but whose victory over him is certain. 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 . 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. as prostitution is existence under the aegis o f mere sexuality.

T o ask a picture in the room how it likes w ork. So I h ave a lot o f free tim e. he entitles the logbook o f this control.Karl Kraus 277 not as the destiny and fulfilm ent o f n ature liberated through revo lu tio n a ry chan ge. was not w h at people m eant by callin g K rau s a V ienn ese satirist.” T h ese questions are sacrificial gifts that he throws to the dem on w hile w orking. rom an tic n igh t: it is the hour betw een sleeping and w akin g. to w hich K ra u s exposed h im self m ore h arro w in g ly than any other. to ask the clock w hether it is tired and the night how it has slep t. d isqu ieting reflections even on his idea o f free­ dom and o f h um an ity. 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. M onster A lre a d y the snow falls. how ever. m ere sexuality into m ere m ind. how ever. His night. o f an a rch a ic nature w ith ou t history. — Words in Verse I II Satire is the only legitim ate form o f regional art. 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. in its pristine. I I I . o f the n octu rn al room w here he is alone w ith his dem on. “ I w ork d a y and night. the night w a tch . and w here these two abstractions hostile to life find rest in recogn izin g each other. In face o f this reality. This. or a m oonlit. For this reason. is not m aternal. prim eval state. how ever. For night is the m echanism by w h ich m ere m ind is converted into m ere sexuality. 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. the “ pure m in d ” that his followers w orship in the m aster’s activity is revealed as a worthless chim era. but as an elem ent o f nature per se. By Might. throw s u n certain. R a th e r. 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.

be­ . 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. T h e satirist is the figure in w hom the can nib al was received into civilizatio n .” T h u s d ra w in g the frontier betw een the private and p u b lic spheres. the press. For that it had to thank its p artner. w ith ou t sacrificing or gain in g a single m otif. In contrast. so that the proposal to eat people has becom e an essential constituent o f his inspiration. w hich in 1789 was supposed to in au gu rate freedom . For this reason. It should be com pared to M a r x ’s treatm ent o f the “Jew ish q u estion ” . 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 .278 o f literary consum er goods. and hum an d ign ity ” — thus K rau s concludes the dispute betw een the can n ib al and hum an rights. “ H u m an ity. from S w ift’s pertinent project concern in g the use o f the children o f the less w ealth y classes. In such directives the great satirists have taken the m easure o f the hu m anity o f their fellow men. 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. and freedom are precious things that cannot be bough t d early enough w ith blood. His recollection o f his origin is not w ith ou t filial piety. a m ankind that has run out o f tears but not o f lau gh ter. if it must. w hich consists in the d evourin g o f the adversary. was destined to becom e the political prose o f 1930. A d m itted ly. In him civilizatio n prepares to survive. u n d er­ standing. 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. cu ltu re. 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. 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. and com m unicates w ith him in the true m ystery o f satire. 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 .

[n l b ] . on the G ran d e C h au m iere. 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 .” 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. this inn er m usic. m ock ery to lyricism . T h e voice o f K rau s speaks. that is the splendour that falls on the old Paris ballroom s. becom es cu n n in g and evasion. 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.” says K ierk ega a rd . . Ju st as p rattle seals the enslavem ent o f lan gu age w ith stup id ity. Before its rad ian ce the chim eras o f progress evaporate. to lead m aterialist h u m a n ity to victory. beautiful. ” 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. discrim ination. a dance floor. b etray in g id yll to parod y. It whistles b itin g ly abou t the peaks o f d izzy in g stup id ity. N onsense is true. “ A n d the inim itab le d u p licity o f this m usic. . as m usic. reverb erates shatterin gly from the abyss o f the absurd. A n d in O ffe n b a c h ’s op eretta the bourgeois trin ity o f true. the Closerie des L ilas in his perform ance o f La Vie Parisienne. and in F rescata ’s lines it hums. freshly rehearsed and w ith m usical accom p an im en t. or a m ilitary sta te— the deep sense o f private licen ­ tiousness opens a d ream y eye. A n d w h at as lan gu age m ight have been ju d ic ia l strictness. u n itin g pain and p leasu re— this gift is here d eveloped to its purest p itc h . rather than sings. 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. ren u n ciation . 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. w h ich sim ultaneously puts a plus and a m inus sign before ev eryth in g it says. in its star turn on the trap eze o f stupidity. “ T h ro u g h the n ew sp ap er. .Karl Kraus 2 jg cam e a m ockery. the ab u n d an ce o f m usical devices read y to perform all duties. “ the distin ction b etw een p u b lic and private affairs is abolished in p riva te-p u b lic prattle. and good is b rou gh t together. so op eretta transfigures stupidity through music. weakness good. ob stru ction and postponem ent. stu p id ity beautiful. 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.

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

His service to the w orld perm its no com prom ise. 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. this h u m m in g in w hich. follow ing S h akesp eare’s exam p le. T h e en d u ran ce o f his convictions is persistence in a role. w rote h im self parts that let him taste blood. 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. But as soon as he turns his b ack on it. So K ra u s. and the hom ogeneous mass o f false friends created . 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. w h en T im o n plays the rich m an. 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. as in a crater lake am id the most m onstrous crags an d cinders. 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. For in each o f his roles the actor assim ilates b o d ily a h u m an being. T h e n is felt the torm enting. K rau s confronts a w orld o f enemies. but by exten d in g its boundaries further and fu rther it fin ally enfeebles itself. T h e O ffe n b a c h readings. His dem i.or sub-hum an traits are con q u ered b y a truly in h u m an being. T h e po w er o f the dem on ends in this realm . the hero as an actor. are bereft o f all m usical m eans. a m onster.” 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 . he is rea d y for a good m any. that sets the tone o f these perform ances. 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. His experiences are in their en tirety nothing but this: cues. 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. T h is is w h y he insists on them . seeks to coerce them to love and yet coerces . its cues. 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. H am let the m a d m a n — it is as i f his lips d rip p ed blood. w ith W ed ekin d a b o u t the stage or w ith Loos a b ou t food. the w orld is p e acefu lly and con ten ted ly m irrored. the recited o f couplets from N estroy. in its stereotypes.Karl Kraus 281 th ron gin g abou t him should be seen as o rigin atin g in Shakespeare. A lw a y s he is the m odel. T h e w ord n ever gives w ay to the in strum en t. In this sm ile.

as the zealot. 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. 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. in 1929. A n d he w ho found the goal before the w ay did not com e from the source. d eviatin g. cam ped abou t the place. Profanum vulgus praises this renouncer w ho never told it w hat it ought to hate. o f course. by contrast. V e r y late. nor yet the pharisees and scribes who. A n d only retrospectively. circuitous w ay back . K rau s entered the lists against the great partner whose w ork had arisen at the same tim e as his ow n. in the same w ay as K raus. has done a w ay w ith all hieratic m om ents.282 them to n othin g but hypocrisy. w ho in the tem ple dwells from w hich he never had to drive the traders and the lenders. “ 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. 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. “ A fter T h irty Y e a r s ” . therefore. the object o f w orship. lan gu age is on ly the J a c o b ’s lad d er w ith its ten thousand w ordrungs. obscure the antithesis betw een the linguistic gestures o f both m en. R ath er. K r a u s ’s lan guage. w ith a decisiveness that must have m atured in years o f silence. he calls the w orld a “ w rong. T h ere. did K ra u s issue the challenge. 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” . T o this K rau s alludes here. T h is cannot. beneath the threshold o f the cen tury. 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 ” . It is the m edium neither o f clairvoyan ce nor o f dom ination. describe it. he confronts G eorge. as does V iertel w hen. G eo rg e’s first published book and the first volu m e o f Die Fackel are dated 1899.

(Scenting rh ym e’s h azards in every corner. It died at its source because it cam e into the w orld as a h ybrid o f m ind and sexuality. R h y m e — tw o putti b earin g the dem on to its grave. im p a tien t and hesitant to consum m ate in jo y and to rm en t. Trebuchant sur les mots comme sur les paves. arrives at a concep tion o f happiness that is as resigned as it is sensual. to be sure. 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. pervertin g phrases. Flairant dans tous les coins les hasards de la rime. 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 . . m artial angel w ith a foil in his hand. Heurtant parfois des vers depuis longtemps reves. “ A n d so. T h e theatre o f this ph ilosophical recogn ition scene in K r a u s ’s w ork is poetry. has its at the end o f the line.” he continues in this most im portan t passage o f his essay on K ra u s. . bliss­ fully abusin g chiastic em braces. lead in g b ack to im m ed ia c y . 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. as on ly B au d elaire knew him : “ practisin g alone fantastic sw ords­ m a n sh ip ” . ju st as blessedness has its source at the end o f tim e. T h e child recognizes by rh ym e that it has reached the sum m it o f . S tu m b lin g on w ords as on uneven pavem ents. “ 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 . Jostlin g now and then lon g-d ream ed-o f lines.” 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. and its lan gu ag e rh ym e: “ A w ord that never lies at source” and that. T h is is a poetic.Karl Kraus 283 to p a ra d ise” . “ here chasing a m etap hor that has ju st turned the corner. sa tire— a d etou r to p o etry . in fatu ated w ith sim ilarities. p u b lic ity — a false trail b ack to la n g u a g e .) Also a licentious angel. there co u p lin g words like a procurer. alw ays on the look-out for a d ven ­ ture.

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

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

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

in his in d iv id u a l w ork. . . the on ly pow er in w hich hope still resides that . “ the u n p o litical m an. in his in d iv id u a l circu m stan ­ ces a species-being . to tear from context. / they strayed from being to seem ing. an d therefore no lon ger separates social pow er from h im self in the form o f political pow er. . . only then is hum an em an cipation co m p le te . to destroy. as an in d ivid u a l m an. p riva te right. has becom e in his em p irical life. / T h e ir lyrical case was not C lau d iu s / but H e in e . . and found it tossing helplessly on the w aves o f jo u rn a listic caprice.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. . . writes M a rx . 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. necessarily appears as the n atural m an. 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 . in the struggle for liberation . and that he is recogn ized by the posture that the fight w ith exp loitation and p o verty stam p upon him. that there is no idealistic but only a m aterialistic d elivera n ce from m yth. w ork. 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 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. .” 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 . the true m an on ly in the form o f the abstract citoyen. . . . investigated G erm an ed ucation. F or the sake o f such d evelop m en t K rau s revised the school an th ology. how ever.” T h e fact. p rivate interests. . . 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. “ M a n as m em ber o f bourgeois so ciety ” . to the w orld o f needs. O n ly in despair did he discover in q u otation the pow er not to preserve but to purify. 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. It stands to bourgeois society. 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. in the sam e relation as to the fou n d atio n o f its existence . and therefore to its n atural basis.

. I tell you.288 som ething m ight survive this a g e — because it was w renched from it. This. or w h y this irrep ro ach a b ly h on our­ able m an w en t beserk. this gu ard ian o f G oeth ean linguistic values a polem icist. 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 incom prehensible on ly in the fact that it has not been preserved in D ie Fackel’s largest type. A n d w hen. in V ien n a. was bound to happen. ad m itted ly by the grace o f a purer ideal origin. But alread y no one recognizes them any m ore. though in antithesis to Stifter’s p a triarch al cod e. how ever. a d eran ged rem edy w ith a purer ideal purp o se— the devil take its practice. Y o u golden bell. not creative n a tu r e : L e t tim e stand still! Sun. only in the melee did they take on their com bative aspect. 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 . H ere we find confirm ation that all the m artial energies o f this m an are inn ate civic v irtu es. let y o u r ligh t boom thunder. it is a confession that is in every respect astonishing. he placed the m atter back in the hands o f n a tu re— this tim e destructive. 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. — 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. 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. . melt in you r ow n heat. in his own hom e. no one can grasp the necessity that com pelled this great bourgeois character to becom e a com edian. he abru p tly broke it off. since he thought fit to begin ch an gin g the w orld w ith his ow n class. but G od preserve it as a constant threat over the heads o f those w ho have p rop erty and . T h a t our strident death be silenced. 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. and all their followers. recogn izin g the fu tility o f his enterprise.

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

are at each m om ent created anew in countless throngs. acco rd in g to the T a lm u d . a new angel. cease and pass into nothingness. Perhaps one o f those who. once they have raised their voices before G od . than w ho d edicated one o f his most his form er self-assertion. So his m odesty a p p ears— bolder dissolved in dem on ic self-reflection. chastising. a monster. 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. w hich profound works to “ Y o u r M ajesty Forgetfulness” . A n g e lu s— that is the m essenger in the old engravings. but w here origin and destruction com e together. L am en tin g.290 have a lread y begun to last. 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 . his rule is over. N either pu rity nor sacrifice m astered the dem on . so that he m ight furnish them w ith an epigraph from now L ich ten b erg. and who. '9 3 0 31 .

V .


he needs and seeks guides to its w ider expanses. em a n a tin g forlornness b etw een the shopfronts and even danger at the crossings. m y eyes sought the plinths. For a lth ou gh the child. since the events takin g place on them . 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. But that a particu la r significance attaches to this 293 . W ith them I w ent to the Z o o — a lth ou gh I recall it on ly from m uch later.A Berlin Chronicle For my dear Stefan N ow let me call b ack those w ho introd u ced me to the city. began the lab yrin th . how ever. 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. A t the end o f Bendlerstrasse. to the T ierg a rten . E m pire-style plinths. seem ed as if petrified by the signs that a little rivulet inscribed in the sand. grow s up at closest quarters to the city. w ho. if less clear in their ram ifications. if not to the Zoo. 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. 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. rising sheer from the flow er beds on their illustrated. 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. R a th e r than the figures. in his solitary gam es. 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. was Schillstrasse. w ere closer in space.

a gaze that appears to see not a third o f w h a t it takes in. w here nothing suggests that you stand but a few yards from the strangest place in the city. 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 . and before I had acq uired the art o f readin g a street m ap. I rem em ber. H ere the nursem aid supervenes. It is likely that no one ever masters an yth in g in w h ich he has not know n im poten ce. 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. it must have corresponded m ore than closely to w hat was w aitin g behind it. for here. o f the city centre. too. how nothing was more intolerable to m y m other than the p ed an tic care w ith w h ich . 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. it is true. M y h abit o f seem ing slower. or not far aw ay. and if an yth in g was cap ab le o f increasing m y d isinclination to perceive this fact. I alw ays kept h a lf a step behind her. 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. and . m ore stupid than I am . but in the heart o f it. rarely frequented by me.294 H o h en zollem lab yrin th I find confirm ed even now by the u tterly un concerned. b an al appearan ce o f the forecourt on T ierga rten strasse. 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. 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 if it was thirty years before the distinc­ tion betw een left and right had b ecom e visceral to me. A b o v e all. T his h ad two sources. on these walks. W h ich brings m e to the m iddle period o f m y life in Berlin. m ore m aladroit. a cold shadow d rivin g a w ay w h at I loved. and if you agree. and has the great a tten d an t danger o f m akin g me think m yself q u icker. I was far from a p p re­ ciatin g the extent o f m y in ep titu d e. it was the insistence w ith w hich m y m other thrust it under m y nose. m ore dexterous. had its origin in such w alks. A t that tim e. First was a very poor sense o f d irection.

A n d even w ith out this m ap. 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. 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 . the assem bly halls o f various collectives. 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. 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 . w ith a gu aran tee o f p erm an ­ en ce— be don e. exem ­ p la ry at least in the title o f his w ork.A Berlin Chronicle shrew der than I am . 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. but now I w ou ld incline to a general sta ffs m ap o f a city centre. I have evolved a system o f signs. the decisive benches in the T ierg a rten . the sites o f prestigious cafes whose lon g-forgotten nam es d aily crossed our lips. First I envisaged an o rd in ary m ap. A n d it is not ju st this title that concerns me here. I f I had to pu t in one w ord w hat I ow e to Paris for these reflections. 295 I h ave long. T h e first form was created in the w ork o f M a rce l Proust. W h a t Proust began so p la yfu lly . 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. it w ou ld be “ c a u tio n ” . because o f ign oran ce o f the theatre o f future wars. I still have the en cou ragem en t provided b y an illustrious precursor. the tennis courts where em p ty apartm ent blocks stand today. if such a th in g existed. the hotel and brothel room s that I knew for one night. “ L iv ed B erlin ” does not sound so good but is as real. the F renchm an L eon D au det. strictly circum scribed. D oubtless it does not. 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 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. 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 ways to differen t schools and the graves that I saw filled. the two forms in w h ich alone this can le g itim a te ly — that is. had not Paris set before me. w hich ex a ctly encom passes the best th a t I m ight ach ieve here: Paris vecu.

that im age. am ong the shrieking children . I was am ong them long before I had any conception o f the source o f the islan d ’s nam e. Even if the girl I loved. O ld . T h ro u gh its position this ice rink was com ­ p arab le to no other. in w hich he will h ard ly find m ore successors than he needed com panions. for he has seen that it can be unfolded. and only in its folds does the truth reside. w atch in g the boats glid ing in the dark w ater. Such is the d ea d ly gam e that Proust began so d illettantishly. had left at last. w hile that w hich it encounters in these microcosm s grows ever m ightier. w ho is h old in g the b ab y betw een her knees and knitting. 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 . the tender retreats o f lon ely old men. there she sits. solitary m en found their w ay here. and now one skated under the little arched bridges w here in sum m er one had leaned on balustrades. there was now here I liked staying to think o f her .296 becam e aw esom ely serious. 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. to the serious side o f life : the new spaper. 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. no im age satisfies him . p a y in g due honour. benches for “ adults o n ly ” at the edge o f the sand pit w ith its ditches. her lab ou r done. from the smallest to the infinitesim al. under the overh an gin g branches o f the trees along the bank. am id these scatterbrain ed w om enfolk. not to m ention the d ifficulty o f his style. above all. after tarrying lon g on the paths o f this garden. readin g her novel and keeping the child in check w h ile hard ly raising an eyelid until. or on chains held by lions’ m ouths. stem and studious. But here. 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. T h ere w ere serpentine paths near the lake and. It cam e from R ousseau Island and drove the skaters loop ing and w hirlin g on N ew L ake. she changes places w ith the nurse at the other end o f the bench. stretched a lake connected to lab yrin th in e w aterw ays. that taste. that tou ch for whose sake all this has been u nfurled and dissected. and now rem em brance advances from sm all to sm allest details.

the palm s. 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. I do not m ean his book On Foot in Berlin . as if we w ere return in g to harbour. the Surrealists had u n w ittin g ly in au gu rated their reactio n ary career. From beneath low ered lids our gaze often met. the quartier in Berlin is u n fortu nately an affair o f the w ell-to-do. A n d then m y fifth gu id e : F ran z Hessel. carytids. w hich was w ritten later. h ow ever. and I never sw ept the sand from w here I was going to sit dow n. and neither W ed d in g nor R e in ick e n d o rf . sleeping feasts w ith w hich. and you w ent out w ith steps that nod d ed to the frozen groun d. bu t the Celebration th at our w alks together in Paris received in our n ative city. before resolving to u n bu ck le them . It prospered. tou ched the fam iliar planks and stum bled past the chocolate-dispen sing slot m achines. 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. through the d o o rw a y behind w hich glow ed the a n th racite stove. h eavy w ith their skates after a lone excursion across the bustling ice.A Berlin Chronicle 29J better than on a backless bench in one o f those playgrounds. T ru e . 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. O n this m eadow we spread out such w om en as still am used us at hom e. and past the m ore splendid one w ith a hen lay in g can d y-filled eggs. a few years earlier in Paris. com plaisan t. the je tty still rising and falling as on w aves under the feet o f strolling seam en. thus fulfillin g the text that the L ord giveth unto his ow n in sleep. w hich did not yet reach the grou n d . on w h ich w e com posed a sm all. 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. A ll these pictures I have preserved. orien tally p allid epilogue to those great. b ut they w ere few. I f you then slow ly rested one c a lf on the other knee and unscrew ed the skate. it was as if in its place you had sud d en ly grow n w ings. was the “ G reen M e a d o w ” — a bed that still stands high above the couches spreading all arou n d . w indow s. T h e cen trepiece o f this Celebra­ tion. better than on d rafty stairw ays.

or liberty in front o f the W alln er T h ea tre. like the sudden stillness o f a clearin g w ith a lily stan din g erect at its centre. roofs. as it were. sum m oning m y last * Benjam in is referring to Paris. 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. A station gives the order. 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. gen erally speaking. A girl p h otograp h er was w ith us. But to lose oneself in a c ity — as one loses on eself in a forest— that calls for quite a different schooling. even the snapshot. w hich. 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. kiosks. for exam ple. a m o d em factory. are no longer. F or the closer we com e to its present-day. therefore. 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. in w hich. like the startlin g call o f a bittern in the distance. passers-by. Paris taught me this art o f strayin g. Such pictures can perhaps be com pared to railw ay stations.* N ot to find on e’s w ay in a city m ay w ell be uninteresting and banal. fluid. signboards and street names. but it is an ou tdated m anoeuvre that confronts us w ith the arch aic. and the sam e is true o f ph otograp h y. [ n lb ] . O n ly film com m ands op tical approaches to the essence o f the city. such as con d u ctin g the motorist into the new centre. for a surprise attack. fun ctional existence. 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. . A ll the m ore gratifyin g. the narrow er draw s the circle o f w h at can be p h otog rap h ed .298 nor T eg el bears com parison on this accou n t w ith M en ilm on tan t. T h en . in this age w hen railw ays are begin n in g to be out o f date. N or is it to be denied that I penetrated to its innerm ost place. It requires ign o ra n ce— n oth in g m ore. or bars must speak to the w an d erer like a crack in g tw ig under his feet in the forest. A u teu il. or N eu illy. the Stettin tunnel. A n d it seems to me. T h e fourth g u id e. 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. as I think o f Berlin. the M in o ta u r’s cham b er.

w ith ou t recallin g m y endless flAneries. 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. T h e city. In any case. possibly w e had been sent hom e from school. T h e most rem ark ab le o f all the street im ages from m y early child hood . 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 . skirting the L an d w eh r C a n a l w hile. this situation left behind an alarm signal. I can not rem em ber. 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. I set m y foot. 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. to Bad S alzsch lirf o r — in the later y ea rs— to Freuden stadt. or even the partin g from w h a t had been. from another side it surpassed m y gra p h ic fantasies. R id es to the station in the rattlin g taxi. 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. A n d so it was not w h at im pen d ed that w eigh ed so terrifyin gly upon me. 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. 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. I had been ca u g h t up in a local flood disaster. h o w e ver— m ore so even than the arrival o f the bears. betw een the colum ns o f w ater. asserting itself even in this first stage o f the jou rn ey. w h ich I w itnessed at the side o f a nursem aid. but in other w ays. persisted. for a w eek at least. w hich had ju st neared its end. am ong the d irty cushions. b ut that w hich still continued. too. But if Paris thus answ ered m y most uneasy ex p ecta ­ tions. 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. 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 .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 ). in a prim eval forest I should not have been m ore aban d o n ed than here on K urfurstenstrasse. was a m aze not on ly o f paths but also o f tunnels.

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 . w ho did not trouble even to take the leaflets he held out to them . T h e poor? For rich children o f his gen eration they lived at the back o f beyond. and then you w ent by the Stettin Station. supported only by the yellow . how ever m istily. 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. assum ing a transparency in w hich. so that the w retched m a n — thus the story en d ed — secretly jettisoned his entire consignm ent. one o f his first excursions to do so). H e detects in them a new and d isturbin g articulation. A n d in it he now cuts another sec­ tion through the sequence o f his experiences. First. 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. perhaps. he was confined to this affluent q u arter w ith ou t know ing o f an y other. In any case. 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. a lrea d y . w ith ou t his k n ow in g either nam e or origin. 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. enclosing him in the district w here he liv e d — the old or the new W est End. 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. 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. A n d if at this early age he could picture the poor. Perhaps the same sabotage o f real social existence is to be found even later in m y m anner. his early child h ood . or H eiligen d am m . though w ithout m oney. 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.300 A rendsee. too. it was. the contours o f w h at is to com e are delineated like m ountain peaks. T h e present in w hich the w riter lives is this m edium . C erta in ly a w h olly unfruitful solution to the problem . in the im age o f the tram p w ho is a ctu ally a rich m an.

in w h ich little men pushed w heelbarrow s. 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. O n accoun t o f this au n t and her mine. Just as there are. G orlitz stations. and Friedrichstrasse. 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. Stettin. is it not. it is one o f the streets least tou ched by the changes o f the last thirty years. it was d ark on them . this was a crossing o f frontiers not on ly social but top ograp h ical. n ever be nam ed after S teglitz. each w ith its outskirts like a city : the Silesian. T h ere is no d ou b t. how ever. 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 . S teg litzer Strasse cou ld henceforth.A Berlin Chronicle 301 d escribed. o f w alk in g in the city. be it even w ith m y ow n m other. for children . 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. W h ere it joins G en th in er Strasse. in the sense that w hole netw orks o f streets w ere opened up under the auspices o f prostitution. 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. B ut is it rea lly a crossing. A t the b egin nin g. in the stubborn refusal under a n y circum stances to form a united front. and shone lanterns into the shafts in w hich buckets w ere w in ch ed p erp etu ally up and dow n. at any rate. rather. So on these erring paths the stations becam e m y especial habitat. even th ou gh she was alw ays enthroned in her bay w in d o w . T h e stairs rose steeply to her room from ju st behind the hall door. for me. . 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. 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. lab ou red w ith pickaxes. as a child I knew a street that was ruled and occu pied entirely by a w om an.

in m y dream s. 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. 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 their daughters their skirts.302 In the b ack rooms and attics. a position in w hich I had been placed by m y own recklessness and folly. and the classrooms that fin ally cam e into view . . Needless to say. [ n l b ] . by turnin g them selves into the arena o f the most e x tra va ga n t events. and the scrapin g o f hundreds o f feet in m y ears. 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. these room s lend themselves to dream like representation . are am ong the horrors that have em bed d ed them selves most inerad icab ly in me. w ho. B enjam in is talking about his school experiences. T h e corridors. was in its architecture and situation am ong the most desolate. as on those w alks in the city w ith m y m other. no one could ever determ ine on w hich stories the im poverished opened their d raw in g rooms. brought the district the reputation o f b eing a theatre o f the most squalid diversions. I was often seized — I seem to rem em b er— by revulsion at being hem m ed in by this m ultitude. It m atch ed its em blem . pu n y and * T h e beginning o f this passage is missing in the m anuscript.* w ith nothing before me but boots and calves. C lim b in g the stairs in this fashion. and again. V e r y u n derstan d ably. o u tw a rd ly in good repair. T h e school. d u rin g the inflation period. U n d o u b ted ly. 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). a plaster statue o f the E m p eror F rederick. that is to say. like every assem bly o f that class. to rich A m erican s. solitude appeared to me as the only fit state o f m an. the cold torpor that overcam e me at each crossing o f the classroom thresholds. as gu ardian s o f the past. num erous prostitutes h ave established them selves here. 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). and these have taken revenge on the m onotony.

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

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. un becom in g figure o f a boy is the follow ing: ringleader. on a trial basis. for I rem em ber n othin g o f it. This com m on piece o f sch oolboy parlan ce was en tirely u n ­ fam iliar to me. it is thanks large ly to tw enty years’ observance o f one little rule: never use the w ord “ I ” except in letters. and never forgot. T h e exceptions to this precept that I have perm itted m yself could be counted. to w h at was later to becom e the K aiser F ried rich School. 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.” I f I w rite better G erm an than most w riters o f m y generation . some six years later. But by the time it was addressed to me and m y class it must have m ade little impression. It was re-enacted in sim ilar form . A n abyss opened before me. one o f frenetic. 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” . but at that time was still situated on Passauerstrasse. w hich I sought to b ridge w ith a lacon ic protest.304 w hole atm osphere o f the school is condensed. perhaps because I thou ght them true. N oth in g else is left o f this earliest school experience. was so utterly approp riate. the m elody o f this song seem ed to surround the departure from this hell w ith infinite m elancholy. 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. 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. I heard it w hen. This w ord that still adheres in m y m ind to a p h legm atic. fat. h ow ever. 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. but most prob ab ly because the situation in w hich they were spoken. “ L oiterin g at the rear / you never need fear / n eu rasth en ia. I was sent for my first m orning. havin g hitherto received only p rivate tutoring. N ow this . m ilitary h yp er-activity. 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.

So his im age . 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. w hich is entitled not to be sold cheap. was to reveal to me. T o be sure. and I w ere on less than cordial terms. it relied on ruse. 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. durin g the term in w hich I was president o f the Berlin Free Students’ U n io n . from d ay to d ay in a loosely subjective form . 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. 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. H ow w e had agreed on this I no lon ger rem em ber. T h e district I am talkin g o f is the T ierga rten q u arter. For w hen one d ay it was’ suggested that I should w rite. I f the preface has now far exceeded the space o rigin ally allotted to the glosses.A Berlin Chronicle 505 has had a curious consequence that is in tim ately connected to these notes. a ch ief target o f m y attacks. fifteen years later. But far from protesting. the precau tion o f the subject represented by the “ I ” . and I had no in k lin g o f the m agical aspect o f the city that this sam e 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. for the student “ G ro u p for Social W o r k ” led by Joel was. w ou ld not so easily be sum m oned to the lim elight. and it w as precisely as leader o f this grou p that Joel had signed the lease. 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 was a sm all a p artm en t that I had rented jo in tly w ith the student Ernst Joel. T h ere. 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. accustom ed for years to w a itin g in the wings. it can h a rd ly have been sim ple. at the same tim e. Ernst Joel. was the “ M eetin g H o u se” . for me at that time on ly the d eb atin g group m attered . and in any case. M y co-signatory. 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. but in none o f them was the place itself so m uch a part o f the event.

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

W e did not know that it was b ou nd to fail. cast b y the in com p re­ . as clearly as at that tim e. 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. 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. heroic a ttem p t to chan ge the attitudes o f people w ith o u t chan gin g their circum stances. 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. the splendid but w h olly un freq u en ted cluster o f trees in the Schlosspark B ellevue. the sparse streetcars spaced at great intervals. w hen I recall its old-fashioned a p artm en t houses. 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. 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. how ever. 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. its m any trees dust-covered in sum m er. on ly m akin g a place in it for the w ords o f H o ld erlin or G eorge. even if on the basis o f en tirely differen t reasoning. 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. T o d a y . It was a final. 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. In sp ite— or perhaps b ecau se— o f 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. even i f the shadow o f dow nfall. the cum bersom e iron-and-stone constructions o f the m u n icipal railw ay cu ttin g th rou gh it. A n d tod ay. only b reak in g the in h u m an ity o f their inm ates’ parents.

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 . gab led roofs over its tw o side aisles. M a tth e w ’s S q u a re — are perhaps on ly j ap p a ren tly so. 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. B leak verses filled the intervals betw een our heartbeats. w hen w e paused exhausted on the landings betw een floors. M y gaze has brushed them too often since. 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. too often they have been the decor and theatre o f m y walks and concerns. “ In dustry adorns the bu rgher. It is an old-fashioned church. M a tth e w ’s C h u rch on St. that on this w orn staircase they trod in ancient tracks. M y soles w o u ld doubtless be the first to send me w ord.A Berlin Chronicle 3 /5 It is true that countless facades o f the city stand exactly as they stood in m y childhood. O n e o f the coloured w indow s was open. . 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. 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. and the y ellow -an d -och re brick o f w h ich it is built. and to the b eat o f raindrops the u p w ard m arch resum ed. once I had closed the door b ehin d me. th ey have m uch k n ow ­ led ge o f our child hood . For did I as a child really frequ ent the re m o te -1 corn er w here it stands. and w hile the straps o f m y satchel cut into m y shoulders I was forced to read. w h ich has conserved in seclusion the pow er to recogn ize m e that the fa§ade lost long ago. or the facad e o f the house. T ru e. 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. 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.” O utsid e it m a y h ave been raining. Y e t I do not en counter m y childhood in their contem plation . even i f w ith in the livin g quarters all is chan ged. For w ith its colum ned w indow s it has stayed the same. and for this w e love them . A n d the few exceptions to this r u le — above all St. did I even know it? I can n o t tell. m y eyes no lon ger see it. A front door in the old W est End.

For au to b io gra p h y has to do w ith tim e. and even if they fill w hole quarters w ith their names. 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. but betw een the tw o I found m yself a shelter. I f I paused thus late in a d oorw ay. the city o f w ork and the m etropolis o f business. A n d these quite certain ly do not. Rem iniscences. H ere. these places. o f those ' places and m om ents when it bears witness to the dead. T h e y steal along its w alls like beggars. and . w here it ju ts into that o f the livin g. A n d this is shown not so m uch by the role that m y ow n life plays here. T h e atm osphere o f the city that is here evoked allots them on ly a brief. know ing no p recon ceived opinions. It is as \ d early attach ed (though w ith ju st as strong reservations) to the realm o f the dead. even though som etim es tard y and also unknow n ones that I did not revisit and w here I was not alone. N oisy. I alw ays found quarters. as to life itself. 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. shadow y existence. even extensive ones. nevertheless has m ore. sniff at thresholds like a genius loci. m atter-offact Berlin. o f m om ents and discontinuities. it is in the form they have at the m om ent o f recollection. For even. I am talkin g o f a space. do not alw ays am ou nt to an autob iograph y. perhaps m ore than a n y th in g else. I saw sunset and d aw n . rather than less. if m onths and years ap p ear here. m y legs had becom e entangled in the ribbons o f the streets. than some others. even for the B erlin years that I am exclu sively concerned w ith here. has none abou t life. to vanish again. and it was not the cleanest o f hands that freed me. shows itself full o f d ead . it is as a dead m an ’s fills his gravestone. and the obscure aw areness o f these m om ents. 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. appear w raith lik e at w indow s. w ith sequence and w h a t m akes up the continuous flow o f life. For childhood. 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.316 I never slept on the street in Berlin. H ow far a child has access to the past is d ifficult to tell.

purveyors o f all the fruits o f field and tree. that is m anifest in w h at follows. w ith its dangerous. B ehind us lay the forecourt. and to it b elon g the follow ing im ages. heavy sw ing doors on their w hiplash springs. w ere ensconced the ponderous ladies. 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. let no one think w e w ere talkin g o f a Markt-Halle [covered m arket]. and m am m als. 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. m ushroom s. and w e had now set foot on the flagstones. D id it not b u b b le and seethe below the hems o f their skirts. 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. and o f all ed ib le birds.A Berlin Chronicle 3/7 depends on m any th in gs— tim e. acco rd in g to the teach in g o f E picurus. rather than child hood experience itself. slippery w ith fish w ater or swill. on w hich you could so easily slip on carrots or lettu ce leaves. 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. First o f all. 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” . T h a t sets a lim it to the c h ild ’s m em o ry — and it is this lim 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 . environm ent. constan tly d etach them selves from things and determ ine our percep tion o f them . priestesses o f V e n a l Ceres. h ow ever. B ehind w ire partitions. 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 . crustaceans. each b earin g a num ber. the second h a lf o f the nineteenth cen tu ry certain ly lies w ithin it. procuresses. not in the m anner o f general representations. fishes. chunks o f m eat and cab b age. its nature and ed ucation. but o f im ages that. W h erever this bou n d ary m ay h ave been draw n. so that none o f them conform s to the origin al concep t o f b u yin g and selling. N o: it was pronounced “ M ark-Talle ” .

w here I was w a itin g — I forget for w hom . 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 . N ow on the afternoon in question I was sitting inside the C afe des D eu x M agots at St. indem nifies itself in m em ory. laden w ith baskets and bags. and knew at the same m om ent ex a ctly how it was to be done. and the answers w ere inscribed. W ith a very sim ple question I interrogated m y past life. laboriously drove their brood before them along these slippery alleyw ays o f ill repute. the places to pause. in this gentle gliding. 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. in the \ solitude encom passing us in our im m ersion in that w orld o f things. I was struck by the idea o f d ra w in g a d iagram o f m y life. the railings and the squares. and w hy the city. as if o f their ow n accord . S ud d en ly. A . m y friendships and com radeships. I tell m yself it had to be in Paris. becom ing aw are. w ith the force o f an illu m in ation. and w ith com p ellin g force. w here appointm ents and telephone calls. T h e m ore frequently I return to these m em ories. j the depths o f a sleep in w hich the dream im age w aits to show the / people their true faces. you had at once a feeling o f sinking. w here the w alls and quays. It was on this very afternoon that m y b io grap h ical relationships to people. w here people m ake the m ost ruthless dem ands on one another. 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 ere revealed to me in their most vivid and hidden intertwinings. But if in w in ter the gas lam ps w en t on in the early evening.-G erm ain-des-Pres. on a sheet o f paper that I had w ith me. sessions and visits. m y passions and love affairs.3 lS procession o f housewives w ho. teach a lan guage so singular that our relations to people attain . o f the depths o f sea b elow the surface that heaved o p aq u e and sluggish in the glassy waters. the collections and the rubbish. 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. the arcades and the kiosks.

m istaken id en tity.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. I have never since been able to restore it as it arose before me then. speak o f a lab yrin th . I was inconsolable. says N ietzsche. 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. com panionship on travels. 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. M ore im portant. reconstructing its outlin e in thought w ith ou t d irectly rep rod u cin g it. It was m any years earlier. or the m aster. ego or fate. gu id e us to the friend. the people w ho had surrounded me closed together to form a figure. . So m any prim al relationships. the beloved . how ever. how ever. I believe at the begin nin g o f the w ar. after some tim e they branch o ff these corridors (the m ale m ay be d raw n to the right. the b etrayer. 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. w hen I lost this sheet. or other su c h — hard ly n u m ero u s— situations. N ow . fem ale to the left). school com radeship. 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. not through other people. fam ily relationships. so m any entrances to the m aze. resem bling a series o f fam ily trees. “ he w ill have the sam e experience over and over a g a in . relations to new people. I am not concern ed here w ith w h at is installed in the cham b er at its en igm atic centre. the pupil. 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” . 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. rather. A gain st the back grou n d o f the city. 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. but through n eighbou rhood . but all the m ore w ith the m any entrances lead in g into the interior. T hese entrances I call prim al acq u ain ta n ces. I should. that in Berlin. in the most diverse periods o f life.” W h eth er or not this is true on a large scale.

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

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

was fear o f being late. too. T h e fire was lit in the stove and soon. I know o f such a wish that was fulfilled for me. and w ould not claim it to be wiser than those o f children in fairy tales. T his wish accom p an ied me throu gh ou t the w hole o f m y school days. n otw ithstan d ing other occasional sum m er trips. it was time to get up. T h e wish that anim ated me on such w inter days. But only S u n d a y ’s children rem em ber the wish they m ade. I rose from the couch in the afternoon because o f a gym nastics class. how ever. Its inseparable atten d an t. 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. T h en I had no other wish than to finish m y sleep. 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 . the dread w ith w hich. 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. . in an extrem ity o f fatigue. repulsive clockface. M y parents b eing w ealthy. w hen I pass the S av ign yp latz. 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. “ T h e Cold H e a rt” . when. thanks to the decades in w hich it neither passed m y lips nor reached m y ears. had come to grief. I can still feel today. in the bourgeois sense o f the w ord. into sum m er residences not far from hom e. we m oved every year. the gratin g was m arked out on the bare floor. T h ere is one other sound that.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. w here I lived. [n lb ]. It was not long ago that I rediscovered it. and so it is only a few w ho recognize its fulfilm ent in their ow n lives. before I w ent to school and perhaps later. 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 been fulfilled. later N eu b ab elsb erg. It goes b ack to m y early childhood. stepping into Carm erstrasse. First it was Potsdam . W hereas the latter period still * See H auflfs fairy tale. has preserved the un fath om able m ystery that certain words from the lan gu age of adults possess for children. am id reddish reflections. and even later.

because I could not find the p eacock feathers in the grass as I h ad been prom ised— b y contrast. airy. that the m ention o f certain sup pliers— “ sources” . O n such o c c a ­ . no lon ger contains a trace o f a b rew ery [Brauhaus]. I rem em ber. long past m y childhood and adolescence. T h e econom ic basis on w h ich the finances o f m y parents rested was surrounded. the sum m er m onths in Potsdam h ave w h olly vanished. 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. like countless rose petals in a drop o f R ose M alm aison. P ro b a b ly not only for me. the hours I stood fishing beside m y father on the b an k o f L ak e G rie b n itz.A Berlin Chronicle 323 survives in a n um ber o f im ages. T h ere are. and their m u ltip licity. the visit to P eacock Island that b rou gh t the first great d isappoin tm en t o f m y life. distinctions to be d raw n . A n d I have thus d ivu lg ed the w ord in w h ich . are co m p a ra b le to those o f M a lla rm e ’s poem s. are preserved in their scent. but also for m y m other. by deepest secrecy. T h e w ord is B rau hau sberg. as they w ere c a lle d — alw ays took p lace w ith the solem nity befittin g an initiation . 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 ” . M o re curious is the fact that consum ption. o f ch ild ren and o f adults. A n d it is certain that such a state o f affairs was the rule in a Jew ish fam ily. 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 . their colour. at any rate. 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. These w ords that exist on the frontier b etw een two lingu istic regions. forfeiting their form . and no d ou b t in very m an y C h ristian ones as well. Likew ise the w ord B rau hau sberg has lost all heaviness. T o approach w h at it enfolds is alm ost im possible. hundreds o f sum m er days. the eldest child. it is true. too. 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.

the L epke art auction. If. w hich w ere m y fa th er’s responsibility. W h a t is certain is that the suppliers he henceforth searched out w ere his investm ents. so to speak. 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. 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. 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. 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. w ith the exception perhaps o f his carpet buying. the hints and instructions o f m y father gave rise to an un kn ow n and slightly sinister one. from tim e to tim e. . w hen he had w ith d raw n from L ep k e’ s. 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. i f his soles were suitably thin. 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. shoes at S tiller’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. therefore. These shoppin g places w ere strictly preordain ed by tra d itio n — quite unlike the conn ec­ tions w ith traders. he concerned h im self increasingly w ith speculative investm ents o f his cap ital. rather. and it w ou ld not surprise me if the interest he took in household transactions was far keener from this tim e on. how ever. L ater. 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. A t their head. w ere never seen by me. I d ou b t that this com m erce was an altogether h a p p y one. he also brough t hom e a purchase. was the L epke auction room itself. M y father possessed at base. in w hich he was a partner. unlike the others. in d irectly con n ected my w ith from m oth er’ s shopping excursions.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. this gavel alw ays lay on his desk. and suitcases at M a d le r’ s. w ith w hich m y father not only had connections but from w hich. the en trepren eurial nature o f a b ig businessm an. Even if I never heard the rap o f this gavel. In m y childhood.

w h o stood on a gon d ola red u ced to one-thirtieth o f its size. was the state o f affairs rega rd in g the S ta b ern ack firm. w hose ou tw a rd m anner seems to h ave been alm ost alw ays courteous an d p liable. how ever. I do not know .A Berlin Chronicle 32 5 from those o f a m an in his profession. M y father telephoned a great deal. H e. 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. L e a v in g aside m ealtim e conversations. W h eth er the ch oice was affected here. o f m y class. and one o f the most inglorious. A p a rt from this. T h ere w as. the M o or b lack. In . hyd rogen peroxid e obtained in huge bottles from the “ M e d ic in a l Stores” . on the other hand. w hom I im agin e w ith it. too. against the crisp surface o f the cut roll. w hich for years held an uncontested m on op o ly o f installations in our apartm en t. h old in g w ith one h and an oar that could be taken out. besides. to rem ove the b u tter still ad h erin g to it. and whose nam e has stayed in m y m em ory because his son was a m em ber. alm ost life-size. This w ork o f art was m ade o f w ood . So m uch for L e p k e ’s art au ction . it was the firm o f G lad en b eck. filled the role o f p artn er in countless telephone conversations w ith m y father. possessed perhaps on ly on the telephone the b earin g and decisiveness corresponding to his som etim es great w ealth . how ever. Such was certain ly the case. b y m ore intim ate com m ercial ties. It is. the real token o f m y fa th er’s profession in our a p artm en t was a M oor. w hen it was scraped for the last tim e. rea lly stood there o rigin ally or is a creatu re o f m y im agin ation . H err A ltg elt. 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. o f w h ich m y father was a director. im plau sible as it m a y seem. in later years. T h e w hole. one o f w hose directors. it was on ly the telephone that intim ated to us the occult w orld o f business and traders. Less transparent. the sound o f the bell that announced the start o f a p erform ­ ance at the theatre. 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. the go n d o la and oar glo w in g in m an y colours beneath the varnish. w ith our su p p ly o f m outh w ash. 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. a futher p u rveyor o f art-w orks— at least as far as bronzes w ere con cern ed . and lifting on the oth er a golden bow l.

For w hen. on Lutherstrasse in the W est End. w hich was em bodied tangibly in m y fath er’s activity. and in autu m n w ith teal. on the other hand. shrilling from the darkness. p rin cip a lly in the vicin ity o f H am b u rg. w ho w ere trying out new m ethods o f calcu latio n in the w ine business. 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. T hu s he had connections in the provinces. 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. [n l b ]. I have therefore know n it nailed in some corner o f the corridor. 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 . W ine. .32 6 conversations w ith m ediating agencies this energy not in freq u en tly grew vociferous. a consortium erected the b u ild in g that now houses the Scala as an “ Ice P a la ce ” . w hence. N ow one evening. R envers lived at 24 N ettelbeckstrasse. w hich frequently called him a w ay on business. T h e telephone first cam e into use durin g m y childhood. 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. a b ou t 1910. m y father. d an cin g instruction was entrusted to Q u aritsch . was catered for by a Berlin firm . 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. at least as long as he lived in the same b u ild in g . F in a lly these names becam e entw ined. w ith a sizable stake. 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 am ong their num ber. B ut as for me. T h e house was regu larly plied from this source w ith H olstein butter. in the parental discussions. But not all m y father’s m ysterious transactions w ere carried out by telephone. the fam ily doctor was Renvers.* Joseph G oldschm idt was our banker. and the “ serious side o f life” . found in the altercations w ith the telephone operators its true sym bol. operations w ere perform ed by R in n e.

w ith ou t m y h a vin g been able to exch an ge a w ord w ith her. 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. In the ign om in y o f a “ new su it” we stood there. others again in education. 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. 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. how ever. A d am . For m y part. E m m a Bette. Bud and L ach m a n n . i f I were able to le a f through it again today. A m o n g these was a prostitute in a very tigh t-fittin g w hite sailor’s suit. T h e re are people w ho think they find the key to their destinies in hered ity. w hich I was able to survey at m y ease from a box in the circle. Esders and M ad ler. 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. a d ecid ed ly enterprising lad y. m y father conceived the idea o f takin g me there. T h e Ice P alace. T h e m ain con trib u tor to this collec­ tion was m y m aternal grand m oth er.A Berlin Chronicle 32 j was the open in g date or later. but also a thrivin g n igh tclu b. 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. 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. 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. and the appraising eyes o f our m other. A n d because the lon gin g w e feel for a . determ ined m y erotic fantasies for years to com e. H erzo g and Israel. I believe that I should gain num erous insights into m y later life from m y collection o f picture postcards. no. whose m u ff lay on the counter. In those early years I got to know the “ to w n ” only as the theatre o f purchases. Gerson. caverns o f com m od ities— that was “ the to w n ” . w ho. others in horoscopes. A n im p en etrab le chain o f m ountains.

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. w hen I gazed . the y ellow -an d -w h ite-d au b ed quays at Brindisi. 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 . She was a w id ow . at ease. P overty could have no place in these rooms w here even . ornam en ted w ith a little balustrade and looking out onto the Blum eshof. 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. three o f her daughters w ere a lread y m arried w hen I was small. w h ich seemed the en d ing o f all things. unable to tear m yself aw ay. and now here to rational c a lc u la ­ tion. or m oves. 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. 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. the cupolas o f M a d o n n a di C am p iglio printed bluish on blue. M a d o n n a di C am p iglio. W esterland. But perhaps I must first say som ething about the apartm en t as a w hole. at the w ooded slopes o f T a b a rz covered w ith glo w in g red berries. inheritance. but a good deal abou t the room that she occupied in her m o th er’s apartm ent.328 place determ ines it as m uch as does its ou tw ard im age. 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. I can tell nothing about the fourth. rem ain ing forever eq u a lly near to and far from its ending. and the bows o f the “ W esterla n d ” slicing high through the w aves. H ere reigned a species o f things that was. V isitin g the old lad y in her carpeted w in d o w alcove. I shall say som ething abou t these postcards. the idea o f that particu la r protectedness seems to relate most d irectly to their shortcom ings. entrusting their future to the d u rab ility o f their m aterial alone. no m atter how com plian tly it bow ed to the m inor whim s o f fashion. 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. Brindisi. com fortable.

such as w hen I was allow ed. T h e most im p o rta n t o f these rem ote. 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. h u rd y-g u rd y men. T h e y had no space for d y in g — w hich is w hy their ow ners died in a sanitorium . 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. Perhaps this was because. and b y night the theatre o f our m ost oppressive dream s. and ab ove all C h ristm as D a y . 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. it was least suited to the sojourn o f adults. M y w akin g existence has preserved no im age o f the staircase. or finally because it opened onto the back co u rt­ yards w ith children. though w ith ou t barrin g m y w ay. O n ly feast days. 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. 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. w hen this day cam e. to the sound o f piano etudes. b eing the least furnished. less-frequented rooms. and porters. M o reover. But o f these it was m ore often the voices than the forms that w ere to be described from the loggia. 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. was the loggia. It is for this reason that. 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. the courtyards o f a residential q u arter as genteel as this never really bustled w ith . dom estic servants. it seem ed as though it had been aw aited all the y ear long in the front rooms. 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 . w hile the furniture w ent straight to the secondhand dealer. 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. m akin g its presence felt w hen I had only a few m ore stairs to clim b. 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. could give an idea o f the capaciousness o f these rooms.A Berlin Chronicle 329 death had none. how ever. or because m uted street noises cam e in. But if.

or under the spray o f clatterin g plates. solely because the first nam e o f its ow ner. St. 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. w ho lived opposite her in the same street and was older and m ore severe.330 a ctiv ity . an indefinite realm o f the shades o f deceased but im m ortal gra n d ­ mothers. the carpet b ea tin g that was the lan gu a g e o f the . slipped over its b alu strade. as i f they w ere d am aged . m y fath er’s m other. to one driving past w ith ou t ever h avin g set foot inside. M a tth e w ’ s. a m onum ent to an ea rly-d ep arted grand fath er. 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. 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. was G eorg. So the B lum eshof has becom e for me an E lysium . like his. But is not this. nor did the other. 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. A n d ju st as im agination . too. m y g ra n d ­ m other did not die in the B lum eshof. only the loggia. could hold it. is apt to adorn its edges w ith incom prehen sible. D id not Berlin itself find its w a y into the exp ectan t ch ild hood night. the city: the strip o f light under the bedroom door on evenings w hen we w ere “ en terta in in g” . As I have a lread y ind icated . 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. w hich none o f the other rooms could ever quite contain. S u n d ay seeped out o f them . capricious frills. 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. h avin g once cast its veil over a district. 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. all rem ain ed piled high till evening. so. 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. and ev eryth in g seemed to a w ait the Sleeping B eau ty slum ber that descended here on Sundays.

T h a t was. on ly to close upon them once m ore. h ow ever. m y eyes . A ll b ear the handsom e. as i f the servants w ere pursued by phantom s. 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. ad m ittin g him or lettin g him go. in w h ich at early even ing a lam p stands. 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. o f servant girls. not long after I had grow n out o f the little p rivate circle. O n d ep artu re. rather. L o n g before I knew o f classes at school. w ere railw ay stations. W h a t order o f n ob ility these L an d au s belonged to I do not know . N o distance was m ore rem ote than the place w here the rails con verged in the mist. 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 . 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. T h e cou rtyard was one o f the places w here the city opened itself to the ch ild . their openings w ere a pan oram a. each tim e I passed the L u tzo w U fer. L ater. the real grow nups. R e tu rn in g hom e. from staircases bristling w ith filth. all was different. never to let me see or enter them . 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 . others. 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. lan gu id and m uted under the grey sky. a lan gu age that som etim es took its tim e. These w ere the b ack yards that the city showed me as I returned from H ah n en klee or Sylt. She was m y first teacher.A Berlin Chronicle jji nether w orld. 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. the fram e o f a fata morgana. and there are those perhaps w ho look into them as into cou rtyard w indow s in d am aged w alls. from cellar w indow s hung w ith rags. b reak in g at others into an in ex p lica b le gallop. as far as I know . I was b rou gh t by her into close relationship to the children o f m y “ class” . 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. legible signature “ H elene P u fah l” .

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

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. Som ething was to be done that I did not like. 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. m y m ind goes b ack to the William Tell. or rather. w ith w h ich . A n d w h ile I can recount the sequence o f th eatrical events in the follow ing six or seven years. A pinkish-grey cloud o f seats. hence not on ly the d a zzlin g program m e but also the im posing circle seats. 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. But his guest perform ances in Berlin w ere d u rin g . 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. T h e latter tw o perform ances m y gran d m oth er had taken under her w in g . the gratitu d e for the even in g that m y m other was a b ou t to give me. and thus m y silent in d ign ation at so crude and brutal a proced u re.A Berlin Chronicle 333 and at w hich I a p p eared . But the feeling w ith w h ich I did so. 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. in itiated m e to the Berlin stage. because o f the event that preceded it. I can no lon ger discern in so m uch lum inous haze. w hile n othin g rem ains in m y m em ory o f the same ev en in g’s perform ance. As a boy I longed for nothing m ore than to see K a in z. I obeyed. and faces has o b literated the pranks o f the poor little m onkeys on the stage. F inally. 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. She threatened that unless I did her b id d in g I should be left at hom e in the evening. m y m other had recourse to coercion. w ith D estinn. w ith M atkow sky. T ru e. the actu al h ap p en in g on the stage. as I know today and a n ticip a ted then. as is custom ary. lights. nor o f the Fiesco. at the O p e ra . the source o f the light. nor o f the William Tell that. 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. A n d yet m ore fon d ly than to them . th at I saw at the Schauspielhaus or the Carmen. the h igh ly herm etic nature o f w hich is still un dim m ed. h ea v ily escorted.

the depiction o f the H alle G ate in pale blue on a d arker blue background. 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. at the door o f the a u d i­ torium . 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. 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. and in the end I can no longer even distinguish dream from reality. the full m oon was in the sky. did n othin g to advance its fulfilm ent. at any rate. 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. m y wish was denied for years. A t this point m em ory pauses. a “ so far and no fu rther” ? T ru e. I really saw this opera. So I confront u n certain ty w herever I follow m y earliest theatrical m em ories. 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. and only picks up its thread again w hen I am m oun ting the stairs to the circle in the evening. but not b u yin g m y ticket. in a kind o f p eop le’s theatre. M y parents. the top layer o f card had been rem oved . It was a noisy. and one had to hold it against a lam p or a can dle to see. but all the m ore silent was the jo u rn e y there. W h a t is it that imposes once again on m em ory. b y the light o f w indows and a lunar surface p a rad in g in exactly the same illum in ation. the w hole scene regain its com posure. T h e B elle-A llia n cep latz was to be seen w ith the houses that fram e it. I see before me a scene from the d ram a. but entirely cut off. w hich was a lrea d y that o f the theatre at the N ollen d orfp latz. their contrasting w hite disrupted the picture. the w hole evening. any m ore than I know w hether I saw K a in z or not. unknow n Berlin spreading abou t me in the gaslight. through a snow -covered. Perhaps . before the perform ance o f Richard II. From the m oon and the w indow s in the facades. cheerful evening. w ith ou t m y know in g w hether it is really from this perform ance or from another. w ith the im age o f his actin g.334 school time. 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. how ever. sure enough.

the b u ild in g exudes a sad. how ever. 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. if n othin g o f it com es b ack to me besides the com pulsion incessantly to rem ove m y cap. at the very b egin n in g. gives a n arrow -chested. O f the w alk to school I have a lrea d y spoken. w hich crossed K nesebeckstrasse at this point. spinsterish prim ness. w hen another o f the teachers passed. the m em ory o f w h ich had displaced w h a t previously stood in for reality. o f course. 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. it seems to me. but perhaps it was only a dream th at I had later o f this w alk. R isin g close by h ig h ­ shouldered im pression. 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. or. since leavin g. was still clo sed — how m elan ch oly and oppressed m ust this w ait at the door h ave been. w hich the ja n ito r was allow ed to open on ly ten m inutes before school started.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. N or. h ave I ever had the idea o f go in g back. But to greet a teacher as one w ould a relation . O n ly today. a protractor. w ho w ere perm itted to enter. A t an y rate. the precincts o f the m u n icip al railw ay. 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. 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. to p a y atten tion to m yself. 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. The w hole. E ven m ore than to the experiences I had w ithin . I should h ave had no objection to a less intim ate. and in some w ay m ilitary d isp lay o f respect. 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. But if the portal had been reached ju st in tim e. at any tim e they pleased. under the arch o f the m u n icipal railw ay .

N ervously I aligh ted at the L ehrter station. perm itted m yself only the briefest w ell­ . w hich seldom m et w ith success. or congregate. 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. u n certainly I set o ff in the direction I v a g u ely rem em bered. un­ frequented avenues lead in g to it w ere flanked by barracks. on some field or drill ground in the vicin ity o f the L eh rter station. gam es. But in the m ob ilization o f the w hole school that took place on such occasions. too. N eedless to say.33$ or a friend seem ed in o rd in ately unfitting. 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. w ith m ixed feelings o f relief and repugnan ce. 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. barracks bordered the p la yin g field. 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. A b o v e all in the u n fath om able shock or. but also in sm aller but m ore telling details. T h e broad. T h e m atches w ere n orm ally played in M a y or Ju ne. 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. I. rather. the field was a parade ground. I never belonged to the school team . From now on bew ilderm ent was u n in terru pted : w hether I had to look for m y own school party. or sought a resting place in the shade. As a rule. nevertheless the terror and the pall they placed me under in those years never lifted from me. and found m yself at last. althou gh I had not understood these results. change o f seats. the w eather was b lazin g hot. 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. as if they had w an ted to hold school in m y hom e. or d eten tio n — only in the low er forms. w hether I had to reach a stall w ith ou t crossing the field in order to buy fruit for breakfast. w hile avoid ing any a p p e ar­ ance o f indifference. around one o f the gentlem en w ho m ade know n the d a y ’s results. or finally. am id some alien troop o f schoolboys. A n d if I experienced the antiquated forms o f school d iscip lin e— can ing. From this alone it can be seen how little school was ever able to w in me over. was involved.

W h a t is visible b etw een them . 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. 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. crow n ed w ith crenellations. 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. therefore. 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 . So I h ave to m ake do w ith w hat is resurrected only today.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. O n ly this n arro w m ould in g. O n the classroom cu p b oard I en cou ntered it again. cou ld at last seriously begin. T h e first fragm en t to reap p ear is w h at was certain ly. 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 . A n d perhaps that is not so difficult to explain. w hile the w hole. 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. I pick it up and question it like H a m let addressing the skull. the idlest o f m y percep tion s: the m ould in g. 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. w hich m ight have throw n some light on these im ages. 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. In a n y event. T h e intention was certain ly to rem ind the onlooker o f a castle. I freq u en tly took the op p ortu n ity to do this. stan din g out there before me. ab ove the classroom s. has lost its details w ith ou t trace. 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 because. A n d there I now com e across it. 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. W h a t he was to do w ith the recollection was an oth er question. It is. throughout m y w hole tim e at school. isolated pieces o f in terio r that have broken a w a y and yet contain the w hole w ith in them . 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. only b evelled and notched. once liberated from it. it now stands before me qu ite uselessly. is not em pty space b u t the same w ood. a m o u ld in g representing a row o f battlem ents.

passing deserted corridors. arriving breathless in the classroom . arrivin g late. Y e t never m ore than a shadow o f m eaning and reason passed across it in such places. in the vicin ity o f the m any little coats and caps on their racks. w ith the u nspeakable grey-green ornam ents adorning the w all o f the hall. unless it w ere the bell that shrilly m arked the beginning and end o f lessons and breaks. second. offerin g as little shelter as the light the dentist shines into the m outh on w hich he is about to operate. N othin g. defenselessly exposed to the bad odours em an atin g from all the bodies pressing so closely against m ine. 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. Betw een two peals o f the bell lay the break. its im pact was lost. how ever. 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. and w ith the absurd bosses and scrolls o f the cast-iron balustrades. streaking through only two doors. you got in unseen. In the first. T h e tim bre and d uration o f this signal never varied. once you had plucked up courage to open it. T hese staircases I have alw ays hated: hated w hen forced to clim b them in the m idst o f the herd. 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. I hastened up them qu ite alone to the very top. and third forms. 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. even though he m ight be quite near. a forest o f calves and feet before me. In the w inter the lam ps w ere often still on w hen it rang. 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. but it was bereft o f cosiness. the refuge o f all m y m inutes o f terror and m y nightm ares. and it rem ained. 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. could com pare w ith the m oulding. the second p recip itatin g the shuffling. hated no less w hen. chatterin g u proar w ith w hich the mass o f pupils. . surged up the n arrow stairw ay from floor to floor.

but from that o f the sum m er. 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. we w ere ensconced w ith in it. T h e y w ere outside. b y a sense o f the insignificance o f all this. inside. T h is b ew ild erm en t. o f the benefits o f lettin g things take w h at course they w ou ld . since I had no idea w here it was. 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 . y o u ’ll never get th ere” — and. 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. on grounds o f a fa m ily tradition. H o w ever. W h ile I was w an d erin g thus. forgetfulness. T h ere are m em ories that are esp ecially w ell preserved because. by the first stirring o f m y sexual urge. from the point o f view o f the c ity . I was suddenly and sim ultaneously overcom e. un der the oddest circum stances. in its fam ilial no less th an its divin e aspect. 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. and I m ust disengage m y m em ories o f it. he had to give w a y. 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. 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. It was on the Jew ish N ew Y e a r ’s D a y . and m y parents had m ade arran gem en ts for m e to atten d some d ivin e celeb ration . b y the th ought “ T o o late. they are isolated b y a shock from all that follow ed. from its sultry.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. a lth ou gh not them selves affected. m an y years earlier. W e had our “ sum m er residences” first at Potsdam . 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. like moss that one plucks at ran d om in the dark from the walls o f a cave. held in some sym p ath y. tim e was up long ago. it grew later and later w ith ou t m y d ra w in g nearer to m y goal. . w h ich m y m other. on the one hand. 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. P ro b a b ly it was a service at the reform ed synagogue. on the other. then at B abelsberg.

in exact truth. It did not snatch them up or carry them aw ay. w hich opens onto I know not w hat tree-lined w alk. w ith ou t seeing them eat or drink. It had been an eerie one. nocturnal cou n terp art o f that bright. T hese silks the ghost was stealing. and yet I knew it stole them . and in w hich m y m o th er’s dressing gow ns. house dresses. tan talizin g.34 ° self-sufficient. is alread y closed to me. T h e big garden. w hich. tablecloths. 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 shawls w ere suspended. A ghost had appeared to me. piled up on the shelves. . lay the sheets. 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. Perhaps I have sated m yself w ith m y favourite gam e. T h e w hole d a y I had been keeping a secret to m yself: the dream o f the previous night. 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” . faded-violet cu rtain . and this corner was the sinister. just as in legends people w ho discover a spirits’ b an q u et know that these d ead things are feasting. napkins. it did n othin g w ith or to them that was actu ally visible and distinguishable. These were the hell and paradise into w h ich the ancient m agic o f hearth and home. and pillowcases. T h e site o f its operations did not. really exist. had been sundered. It was this dream that I had kept secret. w here I have been roam in g in overgrow n b order regions. one coverin g another. 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. struck by a bolt. T h e darkness behind the curtain was im pene­ trable. fell b ack w ard out o f the painted foliage to w hich they w ere attach ed by strings. som ew here in the bushes by the w ire fence. but had nevertheless a very strong resem blance to one know n. beatific realm that opened occasion ally w ith m y m oth er’s linen cupboard . w hich had once been lod ged in the spinning w heel. shooting w ith the ru bb er bolts o f m y “ E u rek a ” pistol. It is tim e to go to bed. at the w ooden birds. and inaccessible to me. 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. O n e o f our m aidservants stands a long w hile at the w rou ght-iron gate. in w h ich .

In va in m y parents had stood at the w in d o w in the first light. n arra ted at len gth as a prop h ecy. how ever. I did not see them lock them selves in . this conten t an d w orld transfigured every part o f the book. so that m y m oth er had succeeded in in restrain ing m y father. them e. a m urderer and crim in al w ith m an y previous convictions. and subject m atter are extraneous to the book. 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. w hich I now . 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. Y o u did not read books th rou gh . 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. So w ith each book its content. m y m oth er and father com ing q u ietly into m y room at an unusual hour. o f course. 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. M u c h later they w ere cau gh t. earlier they w ere solely and en tirely in it. w h o. and it em erged th at their organizer. arm ed only w ith a pocketkn ife. b u t w hereas now content. located not m erely in its b in d in g or its pictures. too. p a ragrap h s and colum ns. was a deaf-m ute. T h e y burn ed w ith in it. at a n y price. A num erous b an d o f burglars had descended on the house in the night. T h e house had b een stripped o f e v e ry ­ thing. 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. W h a t m ade me even prouder. y o u . at hand. T h e dangerous visit had lasted alm ost until m orning. its w orld. they w ere enshrined in ch ap ter headings and open in g letters. b lazed from it. A t m id d ay m y gra n d m o th er arrived from Berlin w ith the bare necessities. had w a n ted to confront them . But. signallin g to the outside w o rld : the ban d had d ep arted at their leisure w ith the baskets. was p a lp a b ly there. T h e w orld that revealed itself in the book and the book itself w ere never. was the question w h y I had kept silent abou t m y dream . w hen I got up next m ornin g there was n othin g for breakfast. to be d ivid ed . h a lf asleep.A Berlin Chronicle 341 A n d in the n ight that follow ed it I noticed.

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. 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. A n d w hat did it m atter if the arom as that rose from the tunnels high into the air. scents. 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. due to insufficient exposure-tim e if no im age appears on the plate o f rem em brance. therefore. reopening them after an interval. and forgettin g others in w hich w e passed months. 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. m ingled w ith the smell o f the gin gerb read . 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. extended through the w hole like subterran ean passages. T h ere was n othin g finer than to sn iff out. and. 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. For in reality the longer stories. It is not. w hich was adorned w ith coats o f arms.342 dw elt. ab id ed betw een their lines. 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. surprised you rself at the spot where you had halted. rather. 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. 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 . . w here w e saw globes or w aterw heels glisten. on this first ten tative expedition into the lab yrin th o f stories. and sounds that cam e from its different cham bers and corridors. 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. H e is all the m ore im patien t to be allow ed to w ith d raw . brightnesses. scarcely ven tu rin g a fleeting glan ce betw een its pages. the various drafts. T h e rapture w ith w hich you received a new book. interru p ted m an y tim es to reappear as con tin u a­ tions.

there lay [text breaks off] W ith the jo y o f rem em berin g. the news itself that so affected m e : the deceased was a distant cousin. against the soil o f the island itself. w h ich was a peacock island yet bore no peacock earth. I had been told on the w ay there th at I should find peacock feathers in the grass. T h is had no part in the process. as is the little heap o f m agn esium pow d er by the flam e o f the m atch . are the cases w hen the half-light o f h abit denies the plate the necessary ligh t for years.A Berlin Chronicle 343 M o re frequent. h a b itu al. 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. 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. N o r is this very m ysterious. perhaps. w ith the speed o f a spark leapin g b etw een two ch arged systems. 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. too. S ca rce ly had I h eard this w hen. 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. that it. really. an oth er is fused: th at o f possession in m em ory. and w hile our w akin g. 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. 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. It was not. until one d ay from an alien source it flashes as if from b u rn ing m agnesium pow der. I . b u t rather. our d eeper self rests in an oth er place and is touched by the shock. But in the w ay in w hich m y father told me. 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. ev eryd a y self is in volved a ctiv e ly or passively in w hat is h app en in g. how ever. H ad I found the feather I craved in the grass. and now a snapshot transfixes the ro o m ’s im age on the plate. 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.

as it was practised in those halls. T h ere it began w ith the barrel . ladies. kneeling in m y nuptials w ith the ground as a dynast conquers endless territories by m eans o f a single felicitous union. T h e orch ard at G leinicke. com pletin g in an instant in fantasy the w ork o f countless walks. unlike our present track suits. N ow the island seemed to have broken a prom ise. 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. E ven Christm as was fu n da­ m en tally a festival o f the courtyards. 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. rather. they resem bled skating rinks or gym nasium s. 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. the narrow . and children. still had abou t it all the eccentricities o f its beginnings. the b road . I have talked o f the courtyards. rather.344 should have felt as if I were exp ected and w elcom e at this spot. concealed from all others. 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. and outings. 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. O n the asphalted floor. It was the era o f “ sporting costum es” that. to define the p a rticu la r sport as sharply as possible and isolate it from all others. have the snobbish ch aracter o f the later ice palaces or indoor tennis co u rts. the bliss at havin g. were constructions w ith front w heels ten times larger than their small rear wheels. their airy seats p ro b ab ly occupied b y artistes rehearsing a num ber. S im ilarly. C e rta in ly the peacocks could not console me. cerem onious p rom en ad e o f Schloss B abelsberg. did not yet seek to a d ap t the b od y to im m ediate needs. T h e sport. ju st as those halls cut it o ff from nature and other exercises. but. to be found in the grass only by me. These halls did not how ever. m oving under the supervision o f trainers am ong the ord inary tricycles for gentlem en. and bespoke a m en tality for w hich sport and open air w ere not inseparable as they are today. concealed pathw ays o f our sum m er garden. gam es. after m uch toil.

in w h ich the exploited and their rulers lie irreco n cila b ly opposed. and all at once. it was a cam p posed and arran ged alm ost as artificially as the cribs com posed as paper or w ooden figures. 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. B ut I w onder w hether the term is a ctu a lly w ell chosen. But m y father gave the news w ith details. unknow n w orld o f w ares.A Berlin Chronicle 34. there are words or gestures from w hich we infer that invisible stranger. a grow n m an w ho scarcely concern ed me. 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 sound that seems to have been heard som ew here in the darkness o f past life. indoors. tapp in g. p rob ab ly to say good night. offered their dolls and farm anim als for sale to child ren o f their age. O n e o u gh t to speak o f events that reach us like an echo aw aken ed by a call. it d ivid ed his city into tw o m igh ty cam ps. I thought. that he told me the news o f a re la tiv e ’s death. N o. took the o p p ortu n ity to exp lain. But Christm as cam e. leaned in the snow or glistened in the rain. bereft o f feet. B ut has the cou nter­ part o f this tem poral rem oval ever been investigated . A cco rd in gly . C hristm as cam e and w ith it a w hole. from the vault o f w hich the present seems to return only as an echo. in answer to m y . 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. It was h a lf against his w ill. I was perhaps five years old. if we are not m istaken. O n e ev e n in g — I was a lread y in b e d — m y father app eared . w hich stretched the w eek before the festival w ith chorales. w hich. alone. w h o left them in our keeping. before the eyes o f the bourgeois child. 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.5 organs. These w ere not the genuine ones. the future. and there it ended w ith the C hristm as trees. [breaks o ff] T h e deja vu effect has often been described. It is a w ord. T h e deceased was a cousin. 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.

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. and was com m u n icative. But that evening I m ust have m em orized m y room and m y bed. M a n y years afterw ard I discovered w hat I had “ forgo tten ” . 1932 . a part o f the news that m y father had broken to me in that room : that the illness was called syphilis.34 $ question. w h at a heart attack was.

VI .


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. M e h rin g passed through n ationalism and the school o f L assalle. C oh eren t M arxist th o u gh t was non-existent. 349 . 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 . F or by contrast w ith M arxist econom ics. Stuttgart 1904. “ F ranz M eh rin g ” . pp 103-104. I.” 1 M e h rin g cam e into con tact w ith M arxism later. did no m ore than in d icate a b ro a d field for the m aterialist d ialectic in it. and w hen he first entered the Social D em o cratic P arty. B ut M e h rin g ’s field.Eduard Fuchs. 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 . had few points o f con tact w ith th at o f Fuchs. in Die . assim i­ lated the lessons o f the m asters on ly in d irectly or at any rate belated ly. apart from a few isolated personalities. T h e d ifference in their dispositions was 1 K a rl K a u tsky. a P lekh an ov. w hich does not ease m atters. Fuchs on the other hand cam e upon M e h rin g qu ite early. as both researchers w ere aw are. Xeue £eit. Its teachers. M a rx and Engels. W h ile the first w ho b roach ed it. 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 . a M ehrin g. there is still no history o f this theory. X X I I . in the final years o f E n gels’s life. 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. the history o f literature.

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. was w in n in g his first victories as a publicist. Friedrich Engels. Cited in G ustav M ayer. this is a process w h ich rem ains w ithin theology. in a socialist ed itorial office. T h e letter is dated 14 J u ly 1893 and says. T h a t is. pp 5 4 1-54 2 . Selected Correspondence. T his was the situation o f historical m aterialism itself. 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. 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. M o re im portant. .” 2 E ngels’s objection is tw ofold: first. pp 450-451. though. not as the reflection in thought o f ch an ged econom ic facts. Since the bourgeois illusion o f the etern ality and finality o f cap italist prod u ction has been added as w ell. o f ideological conceptions in every separate dom ain. and in any one there is a host o f impulses at w ork. 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. V o l II. R ousseau w ith his repub lican Social C o n tra ct in d irectly ‘overcom es’ the constitu­ tional M on tesquieu. o f systems o f law . 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. I f L u th er and C a lv in ‘overco m e’ the official C ath o lic religion. 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. or H egel ‘overcom es’ F ich te and K a n t. T h ere are m an y kinds o f collector. M e h rin g w as b y tem peram ent a scholar. Fuchs a collector. am ong other things: “ It is above all this sem blance o f an indepen den t history o f state constitutions. Berlin. philosophy or po litical science. as a pioneer o f the m aterialist view o f art. a new school o f poetry as a reaction to a 2 M arx-E ngels. M oscow 1964. Friedrich Engels und der Au/stieg der Arheiterbewegung in Europa. that dazzles most people. It finds expression in a letter F ried rich Engels sent to M e h rin g at a time w hen Fuchs.350 even m ore im portant. 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. and the p o rtrayal o f m anners.

w here M arx writes: “ T h ere is no history o f politics. w hich m ust renounce a calm . D a vid R ya za n o v. “ T ru th w ill not run a w a y from us” — this d ictum . T h e m ore one reflects on E n gels’s rem arks. 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.” 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. . o f religion ” . . o f religion or art. F or a d ialectical historian.Eduard Fuchs. a new style as the overcoming o f an older one. 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. b y G ottfried K eller. Frankfurt am M ain 1928. the w orks w h ich the con cep t o f art purports to encom pass. Marx-Engels Arckiv . can leave his intentions b eh in d . T h e y teach him how their fu n ction can outlast their creator. 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. o f art. 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. second. indicates the exact spot w here historical m aterialism breaks through the historicist view o f the past. too. 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. o f science . 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 . I. w h ich Engels carried w ith him for h a lf a cen tu ry . 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. But the explosive pow er o f these thoughts. . o f law. p 301. can be seen to u n dergo constant change. ed. 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.3 goes deeper. b ut w ith the history that has brou gh t the w ork dow n to us. 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. and how this effect derives from our encounter not ju st w ith the w ork.

the p articu lar w ork. its rh ythm is apparent only to a d u al insight. the p articu lar life. L ondon N L B . and in the epoch the course o f history are suspended and p reserved .35 * o f the con tem p lative approach ch aracteristic o f historicism . 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. . 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.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. “ T h a t w hich is origin al is never revealed in the naked and m anifest existence o f the factu al. pp 45-46. T h e historical m aterialist m ust sacrifice the epic dim ension o f history. . A n old. It has recourse to a consciousness o f the present th at shatters the continu u m o f history. bu t the p a rticu la r epoch. T h e past for him becom es the subject o f a construction whose locus is not em p ty tim e. is related to its history and subsequent d evelopm en t. H e breaks the epoch a w a y from its reified his­ torical continuity. 1977. 5 Erotische Kunst> I. historical m aterialism a specific and u n iqu e en gagem en t w ith it. and the life from the epoch. in the life’s w ork the ep och . but by no m eans an undisputed one. p 70. The Origin o f German Tragic Drama . d ogm atic and naive notion o f “ recep tio n ” coexists in him w ith the new and m ore critical one. . 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. 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 is un derstan d ing has its place in F u ch s’s schem e.5 C heek by jo w l w ith this. and the w ork from the life’s w ork. It forms an exact an a logy to R a n k e ’s “ w h at it was actu ally lik e” . H istorical m aterialism conceives historical u n derstan ding as an after-life o f that w h ich is understood. w hich is “ after all the o n ly thin g that m atters” . how ever. 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. I t .” W alter Benjam in. whose pulse can still be felt in the present.

His w ork con­ stan tly overshot the bounds o f the research er’s field o f vision. . finally. w ith his a ctiv ity as a politician . Fuchs started to earn his livin g in the mid-1880s. how ever. Fuchs had the sam e question in m ind. he never b ecam e the typical scholar. T h is fact does not. 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 ” . Collector and Historian 353 Fuchs com plains that the question is ign ored in art history. 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. 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. E rich S ch m idt. 2 Fuchs was born in 1870. p 13. w hether by H ein e or G ervin us. H is collections are the p ra ctica l m a n ’s answer to the paradoxes o f theory. It was the tim e o f B ism arck ’s law against socialists.” 6 T h is w as also the view taken b y M eh rin g. 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. and he was soon in volved in w h a t tod ay seems the 6 Gavarni. too. a v a lu a b le study in terms o f its contents if not its m ethods. 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. and no less so for the opposite. Its solution affords a criterion for the stan­ dards o f historical m aterialism . So it was w ith his achievem ents as a collector. is one o f the most im portan t problem s o f a r t. 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. ju stify the suppression o f a n o th e r : th at such a solution is still w antin g. S tah r or D an zel or.Eduard Fuchs. ap p eared not long afterw ards. for the d u ration o f his success. 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. 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. so. the starting point o f whose analyses in his Lessing-Legende was the reception accorded to the poet.

500. 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. com pared w ith an an n u al average o f 2. A few years later. T h is issue was u n usually successful. the Miinchener Post. solicited the services o f the youn g book-keeper Fuchs from a S tu ttga rt p rin ter’s. 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 . H is contributions. T h en . T h e nam e o f the presum ptive co-author. W ilh elm Blos’s p o p u la r books on the revolution. the Suddeutsche Postilion. 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. T h u s Fuchs b ecam e editor o f a m agazin e devoted to political satire. and filled som e gaps w ith contribu tion s o f his own.g. 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. together w ith his d a y-to -d a y w ork. the B avarian organ o f the Social D em ocrats. T h e id ea was p lain ly an auspicious one. this. It h app en ed one d ay that Fuchs. to w ork there w ith R ic h a rd C a lv e r. w h ich still appeared on the title p age . had to assum e responsibility for m akin g up an issue o f the Postilion.354 id yllic struggle o f the illegal m ilitan ts o f that tim e. he proposed to con trib u te his ow n studies to a jo in t w ork. w h o had som e exp erience in the prod u ction o f illustra­ ted alm an acs. Fuchs h im self ann ou n ced the second o f these w orks in D ie Zukunft. 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. B y contrast w ith history books illustrated b y livin g artists (e. failed to m aterialize. A certain H ans K raem er. Sixty thousand copies w ere sold. h ow ever. w ith pictures b y von Jen tsch ). 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. 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. Fuchs w en t to M u n ich . stood him in go od stead in his studies for this w ork. T h is a p p ren ­ ticeship ended in 1887. T h e publishers o f the Miinchener Post also b rou gh t out a m agazin e o f socialist lam poons. these w ere the first historical w orks w ith d o cu m en tary illustration. appeared the M a y issue o f this p ap er. A ten-m onth spell in prison. the sam e year. to help out. after a con viction for lesemajeste in the press.

7 F uchs em erged at a tim e w hen. 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. Collector and Historian 355 o f the first edition o f the w ork on caricatu re. o f science.8.. .8 T h is m eant new tasks in the p a r ty ’s ed u cation al w ork. the less could it conten t itself w ith their m ere political and scientific en lightenm ent. X I I I / I .Eduard Fuchs. was dropped in the second. o f Jew s.1 8 . Honore Daumier: Holzschnitte und Lithographien. 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. . D er M aler Daum ier. M ax . . 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. to use a tailor-like G erm an [sic] for a tailor-like a ctiv ity ” . Friedrich N ietzsche. p lou gh ed over b y M a rxist dialectics. p 168. p 645. Chinesische Grab-Keramik des 7. Dachreiter und verwandte chinesische Keramik des 1 5 . . S tu ttgart 1895. . 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. result is the generally approved ‘ p o p u lariza tion ’ . Part T w o (here cited as Erotische K unst ) . V o l I I : D ie galante V o l I I I : D as biirgerliche £eitalter. “ Z u r Frage der O rgan isatio n des Proletariats der In telligen z. 8 A . 9 N ietzsche w rote as early as 1874: “ T h e fin a l. V o l I I : D a s individuelle Problem . Part O n e. V o l I: Renaissance. T h is raised the w hole problem o f the popularization o f knowledge. T h e slogan “ W o rk and E d u c a tio n ” . V o l I I: Vom Jahre 184 8 bis zum Vorabend des Weltkrieges (here cited as Karikatur ) . A p a rt from these works. V o l I : Holzschnitte. and o f the W orld W ar. “ 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 : Vom Altertum bis zum Jahre 184. Geschichte der erotischen Kunst. D ie Karikatur der europaischen Volker. 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 ’. T h e historical m aterial. 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.” Die Neue £ eit. T h e m ore the w orkin g masses flocked to the p arty. “ V o m N utzen und N ach teil der H istorie fur das L e b e n ” . Gavarni. it w ou ld not h a ve lost its feel for the scientific tasks o f historical m aterialism . also S upplem entary Vols I—I II (here cited as Sittengeschichte)'. D ie grossen Meister der Erotik. L eip zig 1893. I. w ith p o p u la rizin g the theories o f surplus valu e and o f evolution.10. It was not solved. . T h e y in clu d e: Illustrierte Sittengeschichte vom M ittelalter bis zur Gegenwart. V o l I: D as zeitgeschichtliche Problem. Unzeitgemassige Betrachtungen. Jahrhunderts . T h e long series o f his m ajor w orks was la u n c h e d .9 I f the ed u cation al w ork o f the p arty had b een d irected at the class. Jahrhunderts. V ols II I V : Lithographien (here cited as Daumier ) . Fuchs devoted special studies to the caricatu re of w om en. as D ie Neue J^eit once put it. Tang-Plastik. V o l I I I : D as individuelle Problem. T h a t did not happen.

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

w h ich shows th at w e do indeed recogn ize “ things in them selves” . sold 200. H is m ajor w ork. 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. 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. Stuttgart 1908. . pp 17 7 -17 9 and PP 333 ~ 33 ® > on the changes in housew ork effected by technology. w h ich in K o rn appears as know ­ ledge tout court. 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 . . . .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. ex a ctly as ca p ita l represents for econom ics the con ­ trol o f past la b o u r. 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. . X X V I / I I . “ Proletariat und K lassik ” . Collector and Historian 5 5 7 stron gly d raw n to n atu ral science. N atu ra l science. pp 4 1 4 -4 15 . T h is is the point w here positivism breaks dow n. It is also an historical one. . 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 . 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 overlooked the fact that capitalism has decisively con d ition ed that d evelopm ent. In the d evelopm ent o f tech n o lo g y it saw only the progress o f science. Stu ttgart 1891. H ow ever.12 L ate r it occupies a sim ilar position in E n gels’s thou ght. In actu al fact history represents for consciousness the catego ry o f possession. does so a b o v e all as the fou n d ation o f technology. 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. A s such. . Die Frau und der Soziatismus. and pp 200-201 on w om an as inventor. T h e prestige o f the n atu ral sciences had d om in ated d ebate since Bebel. it forces us to investigate the positivist and u n d ialectical separation betw een n atu ral science and the hum anities. Die Neue £eit. In d eed for a class whose essence is its function. But tech n ology is ob viou sly not a pu rely scientific phenom enon. 12 See A u gu st Bebel. Women and Socialism. not the retrogression o f society. K o rn .Eduard Fuchs.” 11 T h is critiq ue o f historicism has some w eight.

T his was p a rticu la rly true o f Social D em o ­ cracy at the turn o f the century. w h ich was th o rough ly class-determ ined. I f it sought to pu n ctu re the illu ­ sions o f positivism in certain specific areas. Die Neue £eit.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. A prognosis was needed. have outstripped hum an needs. “Joh n R u skin ” . 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 a t exp erience was really reserved for the follow ing cen tury. T h e energies that tech n ology develops beyond their threshold are destructive. 13 P 728. 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. 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 . he w rote. Cited in D. b y and large it rem ain ed under their sw ay. 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. then cam e the realism o f a D u C a m p . T h e disciples o f S ain t-Sim on started the ball ro llin g w ith their industrial p o etry. w ho saw the locom otive as the saint o f the fu tu re. and it w as not forthcom ing. It is d iscoverin g that traffic speeds. . T h e y serve p rim arily to foster the tech n ology o f w arfare. 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. and o f the m eans used to p rep are public opinion for w ar. X V I I I / I . It m ay be said o f this d evelopm ent. 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. Stu ttgart 1900.” 13 T h is rom antic view o f techn ology is straight out o f Die Gartenlaube. like the cap acity to d u p licate both the spoken and the w ritten w ord . “ since the locom otive is w orth m ore than the finest pair o f w in g s. 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 also prom ised the certain ty o f a rich harvest.

T o put it sim ply. 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. 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. 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 u b in gen 1913. pp 11 12. 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. Verhandlungen des zweiten deulschen Soziologentages: Schriften der deutschen Gesellschaft fu r Soziologie . and some essential features o f his w ork are d erived from it. “ cultured S tates” have m ade it a point o f pride to resem ble. 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 . T h is p ro b lem a tic goes b ack to the Engels text qu oted above.Eduard Fuchs. T w en ty -five years after this was said. estab ­ lished by false consciousness. o f law or religion) w ith a new and even m ore p rob lem atical one. It owes its existence not ju st to the efforts o f the great geniuses w ho fashioned it. .” A lfred W eber. the passage m ay be seen as the locus classicus that defines historical m aterialism as the history o f culture. m ay be dissolving and destructive. his w ork partakes o f the p ro b lem a tic that is inseparable from cu ltu ra l history. “ D er soziologische K u ltu rb e g riff” . In d eed .” In short. 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. 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. but whose existence we feel to be higher than everyth in g h ealthy and livin g w hich it destroys. even to be. 1 : 1. Collector and Historian 359 3 T h is was the age in w h ich E d u a rd Fuchs grew up. b u t also in greater or lesser d egree to the anonym ous d ru d g ery o f their contem poraries.” T h is concept o f cultu re contains seeds o f barbarism w hich h ave since germ inated. now stripped o f their a p p aren t a u ta rk y. such works o f art. 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.

experienced. yet com piles the political developm ents o f the same period from other historians. . 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.36o culture has yet done ju stice to this fu n dam en tal fact. But the absu rd ity o f a d ialectical history o f culture as such lies deeper. Stu ttgart 1898. or any part o f it.[ 9 6 - . is fetishistic. . “ O f the bourgeois historians” . or can w ell hope to do so. In short. the disintegration o f culture into com m odities to be possessed by m ankind is un­ thin kable for it. is now here scattered over a w ider area than in that part p eop le call culture. for obvious reasons. “ Akadem isches” . Y e t this is not the crux o f the m atter. Die Neue £eit. it does not present even the ap p earan ce o f progress in dialectics. . i f not o f the p rod u ction process in w hich they arose. since the continuum o f history. cu ltu ral history on ly seems to represent a d eepen ing o f insight. “ L am p rech t is know n as the one w ho has com e closest to historical m a terialism ” . N ev er­ theless.” 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. 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. A n y con cep t o f historical m ethod vanishes . 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 does not see that w ork. I. then o f that in w h ich they continue to survive. “ L am p rech t stopped h a lfw a y . H istorical m aterialism does not regard the w ork o f the past as over and don e w ith. that is p o litica lly . It is m anifest in the am bitious German History o f L am p rech t. 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. . to w h ich the critics o f M ew %eit m ore than once addressed them selves. I f the concep t o f culture is a p rob lem atical one for historical m aterialism . PP 1 95 . b lo w n ap art by d ialectics. C u ltu re appears reified. X V I . 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. 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.

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. po in tin g to the w ork o f R o d in and Slevo gt. 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. 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” . It was the collector w ho found his w a y into grey a re a s— caricatu re. a H eartfield and a G eorge Grosz. W h ere it has lastin g va lu e. not unity in diversity. p 125. His studies in ceram ics give him the auth ority to sponsor an Em il Pottner. 4 F u ch s’ w ork takes on sharper historical definition against this b a ck ­ groun d. 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. 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. B ut it does not give m ankind the strength to shake them off. not harm on y. it was w rested from an in ­ tellectu al constellation th at has rarely been m ore u n favou rab le. whose traces can still be recogn ized even in M a rx. 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. so as to get its hands on them . Collector and Historian 36 1 perience. A ll his life Fuchs enjoyed friendly relations w ith creative artists. A constant reference to con tem porary art is am ong the most im p ortan t im pulses o f Fuchs the collector. 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. 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. in the bluntest term s. 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. . I. too.Eduard Fuchs. In 1908. he prophesied a new b ea u ty . against classical an tiq u ity itself. com es to him partially through the great creations o f the past. It. w hich m ade cu ltu ra l history its lodestar. 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.16 16 Erotische Kunst. H is passion for D au m ier leads him to the w ork o f Slevogt. 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. For w here the latter was on ly the highest an im al form . “ w hich in its end result prom ises to be infin itely greater than the an cien t w orld .

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.) T h e subject m atter o f history. A tten tion to the techn ology o f reprod u ction reveals. F in ally. b u t constitutes the precise d ia­ lectical prob lem th at the present is called upon to resolve. as does scarcely any other line o f in q u iry. w h ich idealism keeps h an d y in the form o f historical representation and appreciation. (It w ould be a m istake to equ ate this w eft w ith the m ere nexus o f causation. needs no appreciation. and threads m ay have been lost for centuries that the present course o f history erratically. ex p licatio n o f ico n o grap h y not only .3 62 In brief. 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 a t is indeed F u ch s’ purpose. F or it offers not vague analogies to the present. in ­ conspicuously picks up again. These parts o f F u ch s’s w ork are pioneering. once released from pure facticity. 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 . 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. it is thorou gh ly d ialectica l. have becom e one and as such have been superseded. w ithin limits. O n the other hand. in the consideration o f mass art. it th ereb y allow s the correction . the decisive im portance o f receptio n . 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. C on sideration o f mass art leads to a revision o f the concep t o f genius. it also shows that m uch the auth or intended rem ain ed inchoate. R ath er. T h e y are essential elem ents o f any future m aterialist critique o f w orks o f art. T h a t cannot be the case before the disiecta membra. 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. I f in n oth in g else. his intention w ou ld be felt in the sententiousness that often m akes his text sound m ore like a lecture. 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. o f the process o f reification un dergon e by the w ork o f art. and in the study o f the techn ology of reproduction.

17 Fuchs had to concern h im self w ith form alism . 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. 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. for the resonance o f a beautiful room. In his Problem o f the Individual he refers to a p rin cip le from W o lfflin ’s Classical Art. B ut it does contain som ething useful. T h e ph enom enon .” 18 T h is form u lation is certain ly offen ­ sive to the historical m aterialist. above all it guards against the excesses to w hich an y form alism soon b ecko n s. “ T h e C inq u ecento has a particu larly strong feeling for the relation between m an and building. . His research is confined to the sculpture o f French cathedrals from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. Collector and Historian 363 proves indispensable for the study o f reception and mass art. 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. and so does not overlap with F uchs’ studies. 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. T h e H igh R enaissance. p 275. W olfflin. 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. 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.Eduard Fuchs. M u n ich 1899. 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. 19 O ld e r panel painting gran ted no m ore than the outline o f a house to men for their quarters. 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 . although m uch m ore sparin g in the representation o f actual interiors. In this p a rticu la r case.19 A d m itted ly W olfflin on ly touches on this question in passing. p 227. dedicated more than before to inhabitants rather to suppliants. . From then on pain terly creations. 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. con tin ued to build on this foundation. Die klassiscke Kunst . It can scarcely im agin e an existence w hich is not arch itectu rally fram ed and founded” . 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. .

It had a lread y lost some o f its tension in M eh rin g. Geschichte der deutscken Sozialdemokratie. 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. T ra its w ere thus form ed in his ch aracter that can be called in the best sense bourgeois. 21 F ranz M eh rin g. It can be seen from m ore than one passage that Fuchs the w riter was not interested in argum en t. In that study he earned the solidity an d the rigou r that m ade him in­ vu ln erab le to revisionism . b u t also scientific and theoretical. 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. . It showed w h a t a host o f political. II. p. 546. 2). he points straight to the dubiousness o f the categories o f cu ltu ral history discussed above. 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. O n 20 Erotische Kunst. reason) over b ro a d vistas o f history he shared. 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. or even discussion. from the sheer n u m ber o f skirmishes fought. T h e y are to be m et w ith no less in Fuchs. p 20. energies w ere m ustered in the g rea t classics. Part T w o : Von Lassalles offenem Antwortschreiben bis zum Erfurter Programm (Geschichte des Sozialismus in Einzeldarstellungen. one can easily im agine his portrait in a gallery o f scholars.” 21 T h e subsequent d evelopm ent o f art b ore him out. N ex t to him one m igh t pu t G eo rg Brandes. Stu ttgart 1898.3^4 ted for only in terms o f a ch an ge in the m ood o f the tim es . 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 . for it no longer dared to take on the cen tu ry sin gle-handed. is not to be found in F u ch s’s arsenal. whose rationalist fervour and passion to shed the ligh t o f the ideal (pro­ gress. science. Be that as it m ay. com bative as he m ay appear. M e h rin g s insights sent him w ith redoubled con viction to the study o f science. H e thus m ade good his distaste for the bellettristic p lo d d in g o f his contem poraries. T h e eristic dialectic. his Lessing-Legende is a considerable achievem en t. yet are far from gu aran teein g the d ialectician . I II . E ven so.

a n ature turned tow ards the positive. I. From the start. . 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 . Precisely because these pictures represent som ething a ltogether different from ‘sentim ental motifs’ they will live forever . . F uch s never tires o f em p hasizin g the source va lu e. w hen ever there w as a question to be clarified. Fuchs is rem iniscent o f him ab ove all in his insatiable hunger for m aterial. . . T h e works o f both w ill rem ain an inexh au stible m ine o f inform ation for research. Collector and Historian 365 his oth er side one m ight im agin e A d o lf B astian. can arrive at the passion for caricatu re. 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 . 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.” 22 W h en Fuchs brings prehistoric peoples and ch ild ren ’s draw ings into the area o f caricatu re. T h ere is o f course no question th at the d rivin g force 22 Karikatur. p 28. . the con cep t m a y becom e p ro b lem a tic. 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.Eduard Fuchs. T h is interest runs throu gh the w hole broad range o f his w ork. . appears all the m ore origin al. the ethnologist. he says som ew here. w hether su b stan tive23 or form al. the au th ority. as pow erful m onum ents to the enslavem ent o f m aternal w om an in the nineteenth cen tu ry. A n sw er it as he w ill.” Der Mater Daumier. pp 4 -5 . 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. . 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 . truth enters the gam e. From the start his interest in art differs from w h at m ight be called joy in the beautiful. o f carica tu re. 5 For the psychologist it m ust be a significant question how an enthusiast. So too Fuchs alw ays o b eyed the im pulse that drove him on to the quest for new evid ence. “ T ru th lies in extrem es” . 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. so far as Fuchs is con ­ cerned the facts allow o f no d ou b t.

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

Fuchs had to p a y a price for it. or the riddles o f history that find their solution in m aterialism . fin ally 29 Dachreiter. II. 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. 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. but as an actu al catego ry o f contem plation . 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. p 186.” 30 T his style is not w ithin reach o f ev eryo n e. the T ’ an g period did w ith its bold lines” . he clinches his arg u m en t b y saying that the works “ in the final analysis . and very often not even as m uch im pression as. not to say rustic. But the urge to the most im m ed iate m astery o f the facts. For instance. T o in d icate the price in a w ord : Fuchs the w riter had not the gift o f surprise. . H e tries to com pensate for it in the most various w ays.29 T his is how Fuchs the w riter comes to the p a rticu la r and apod ictic. 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 ich in this view gives artistic crea ­ tion its special ch aracter. T h e eru ptive im m ed iacy. In d eed . and L om broso and M obiu s as authorities. So for him it is often no m ore than a single leap from percep tion to ju d gm en t. style expressed in m asterly fashion in his d ictum .Eduard Fuchs. . T h e con cep t o f genius. m ake no m ore. say. It was related trends that later led Fuchs to conceptions akin to p sych o a n a ly sis. w h en Fuchs reports his critical reservations a b o u t the artistic form alism o f the M in g period. he was the first to ap p ly them fru itfu lly to aesthetics. 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. 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. 30 Erotische Kunst. 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 . w hich is a lrea d y decisive for his concep tion o f creation and o f reception too. p 48. . H e was u n ­ d o u b ted ly aw are o f this lack.

then this must ultim ately be exp lained on econom ic grounds. 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. “ In both epochs the econom ic basis was the same. Starting from an analysis o f Chinese horticulture. . This am bition took its toll o f Fuchs as well.So m uch is clear. “ Das franzosische M alerei im n eunzehnten Jahrhu n d ert vom Stan d pu n kt der m aterialistischen G eschichtsauffassung” . the posture. as the explanation o f m an y characteristics o f the Em pire. Stu ttgart 1911. b reath in g form . So also Plek h an ov: “ W hen art. pp 30 -31. . “ E ven the enorm ous elep hant ears seem lo g ic a l. T h e course o f art history is seen as necessary. even the most d isconcertin g art forms as logical. expressed in various ways. organic. h o w ev e r. in terpolated between the m aterial relationships o f production and the rem oter realm s o f the superstructure. the u n doubted causal connection b etw een being and consciousness. logical. . . Th is is the first ch ara c­ teristic it displays.3 68 prevails in his analysis as w ell. X X I V . in tuitive approach becom es prob­ lem atic w hen it attem pts to fulfill the dem ands o f a m aterialist analysis. .” 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. 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. 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. how ­ ever. Fuchs goes on. . those o f the T ’ ang period vivaciou sly stir in every lim b” . “ T im e ” . Tang-Plastik. w hich is created by the higher classes. 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. So life and m ove­ ment come to the forefront in the art o f the T ’ ang period. Fuchs then turns to the new sculpture w hich em erged under T ’ ang rule. stands in no direct relation to the process o f production. A favourite idea o f the author. PP 543 5 44 . O b viou sly. only in the . These are no m ere con ­ structs. 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. are in this case not so easy to establish.” G . 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. as it were trans­ missions. Plekhanov. in clu d in g art. is ap p licab le here as well. between the social relations founded on ‘la b o u r’ and art. “ aw oke from its long sleep in C h in a in those centuries . too. Die Neue £eit. W e know w h at a 31 Tang-Plastik. pp 41-42 . for exam ple. This im m ediate. for com m erce alw ays quickens life and m ovem ent. O n e gets the im pression that these term s occu r less frequently as his analysis proceeds. T h e re are some in term ediate stations between th em . W hile the whole b earin g o f the anim als o f the H an period is heavy and cum bersom e. . . . 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. A ll that can be said w ith confidence is that he envisaged a series o f m ediations. L a ter practice becam e m ore lax and was often content w ith analogies. . M a r x ’s classic historical d ialectic takes the existence o f causal dependencies as given. but in v a ria b ly an idea clo th ed in livin g. styles in art as organic. T h e m aterialist in terpretation o f history .

p 42. V en ice flourished because o f its trade. C onsequen tly its aesthetic outlook is in every respect realistic. 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. 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 . O n the other hand. L ate r. 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. S tu tt­ gart 1909. X X V I I / I . In the tim e o f the persecution by Bism arck. X I I I/ I .” Tang-Plastik. T h e aspect o f life we encounter in it is rather festive and sym bolic. p 42. 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. It is true that leaders like K a u tsk y took issue w ith such deviations. T h e zenith . Fuchs saw Renaissance this basis was at a h igh er stage o f developm ent. as a glance at the R ep u b lic o f V en ice suffices to show. no such connection exists. L au fen berg. Die Neue £eit.” Erotische Kunst. T h e y can be felt th rou gh ou t his w ork. T h e notion o f self-activity has sunk to a sad state here. o f T itia n or o f V eronese could scarcely be called “ realistic in every respect” . Y e t the art o f Palm a V ec ch io . his political instincts as w ell as his co m b a tiv e n ature in clin ed him to the left. Die Neue & i t . Fuchs alw ays held a lo o f from revisionism .33 S im ilarly. O n e m ay disregard the fact that a “ realistic” representation “ in every respect” cannot be found in art. Both were founded on com m erce in com m odities. 33 H . B ut as a theoretician he w as powerless to escape these influences. I. In effect. H istory began to look d eterm in istic. “ 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. T h e m aterialist cannot deduce any m anifestations o f style from this. pp 70 9-710. F in ally trade itself appears as the subject o f the exercise o f art. A n arch ist deviations he blam ed on insufficient k n ow led ge o f geology and biology. “ D ogm a und K la ssen k am p f” . in the epoch o f revisionism . the trium ph o f the p arty was “ in­ e v ita b le ” . 32 K a r l K a u tsky. S tu tt­ gart 1895. 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. 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.Eduard Fuchs. the evo lu tio n ary view o f history laid increasing em phasis on develop­ ment. p 574.32 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” . 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 . this effect helped to keep the p a r ty ’s self-confidence intact and its figh tin g spirit unbroken.

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” . m ore questionable kind o f optim ism . Y e t in the long run.” 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 1830.34 T h e determ inist view is thus coupled w ith a robust optim ism . and on M a rx in his predictions o f the course o f cap italist d evelopm ent. I. and w hich are tod ay fam iliar even to the m ost m ediocre politician .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” . he m aintains. W h en C on d o rcet spread the doctrin e o f progress. or for the circum stances in w hich it operates. 34 Karikatur. p 312. no class can engage in p o litical action w ith a n y success. the p roletariat a hun dred years later was in a different position. T h e prospects o f incipient barbarism . w ith o u t self-confidence. “ 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. 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. w hich had daw n ed on Engels in his Condition o f the Working Class in England. 35 Erotische Kunst. Social D em o cra cy in ­ clined tow ards the second. T h e echo o f the echo are those books in w h ich H u g o as orator speaks to posterity. p 3. w ere invisible to lesser lights arou n d the turn o f the cen tu ry. Its echo was the orator V ic to r H ugo. the bourgeoisie was on the brin k o f p o w er.” 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. and the art o f the future w ill u n qu estion ab ly take us to still greater h eigh ts. I. It celebrated its trium ph in K a n t in the form o f “ spontaneity” . In the p roletariat it could breed illusions. and in technology in the form o f autom atic m achines. But it m akes a difference w hether the optim ism is felt for the active strength o f the class. .

w h ich im proves on closer acq u ain ta n ce. “ Q u i vote regn e” . 36 A . X I/ I. p 780. F ranz M eh rin g. raising the stan dard o f d em ocratic optim ism . in clu d in g m aterially and socially prom i­ nent persons. the earth in w h ich the C om m u n ard s lie buried. like M e h rin g. and this. this was how M e h rin g cam e to see it. “ E n tw e d e r-O d e r” . 38 M eh rin g com m ented on the trial occasioned by “ T h e W eavers” in Die Neue Zeit. the w ellspring o f u topian socialism . T h e figure o f the collector. T h is was the im age o f F ran ce that lived in M a r x and Engels. II. But one looks in va in for the collector. he rather perm its the v icto ry o f order through the in terven tion o f a handful o f soldiers” .37 was the co u n try as it appeared to Fuchs. he com pares H ein e w ith those w h o stayed at hom e. T h e poet in no w ay stands on the side o f the revolt. has not often been given its due. “ Z u r Frage der O rgan isatio n des Proletariats der Intelligen z” .38 F ra n ce is also a hom e for Fuchs the collector.Eduard Fuchs. 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. are defenceless victim s o f cap i­ ta lism . Besides. T h is optim ism long con ­ tinued to b eget strange fantasies. p 652. m oved b y dangerous if dom esticated passions. the hom e o f exiles. Die Neue £«/. the fatherlan d o f the tyran t-haters Q u in et and M ich elet. should be considered proletarian s” . O n e o f them was the illusion that “ all in tellectu al workers. . . 37 Karikatur. Q u in ce y or N erva l.” 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. Collector and Historian 3 7 1 step is m easured. 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. . too. as “ the v a n gu a rd o f culture and freed om ” . am ong the characters o f H o ffm an n . espe­ cially in the case o f G e rh a rd t H a u p tm a n n . he contrasts G erm an natu ralism w ith F rench satirical novels. 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 . In this w a y he w as led. For it was “ an u n d en iab le fact that all w h o offer their services for m oney. p 238. 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. 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. S tu ttgart 1893. w rote V ic to r H ugo. M ax . to m ake sound predictions.

he says. the m ost passionate people that w alk the e a rth . . than one could h ave expected from a rom an tic. their pockets are em pty. to the passionate intensity o f his interests. H e had alw ays been a stranger to rom an ce. Y o u w ill seek him in vain in the “ P hysiologies” . Paris 1925. p o in tin g to the very q uick o f the m an. he was a B alzacian figure w ho ou tgrew the a u th o r’s conception .— T h ese people are m illionaires. . T h e y look as if they cared for n othin g and bothered a b ou t n oth in g. an Elie M agu s. “ you can often m eet a Pons. B alza c does not p o rtray the hunter out in the bush track in g dow n his q u arry. is the place occupied by the collector in B alzac. 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 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 collector is not a m o n g their num ber. A ll the m ore significant. their ga ze is blan k. p 162. B a lza c puts the w hole em phasis on the possessor. w ho are very poorly dressed. the gam b ler. “ T h e r e ” . his Elie M agu s. o f the fldneur. they heed neither the w om en nor the shop w indow s. . T h e feverish exaltation that fills his Pons. w e are told v irtu a lly n othin g a b ou t how they w ere acq u ired. H e talks abou t Paris. the virtuoso. 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. B alzac raised a m on u ­ m ent to him w h ich is in no w a y rom an tic. 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 . then. T h e y w a lk along as i f in a dream . 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 . and he uses millionaire as a synonym for collector. w ho are very poorly dressed . T h e y are collectors. 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. T h e y look as if they gu ard w ith tireless vigilan ce. 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. Le Cousin Pons. Indeed. . .

Collector and Historian 373 whose pride. 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.000 years o f h u m an history. 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. 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.” Fuchs is an exam ple o f the ramasseur typ e. in each o f his w orks. w ere such that m erely in order to b rin g his collections before the p u b lic eye. B alzac portrays an entire society. “ A lm ost all leaders o f the school o f 1830” . as ch aracterized b y D rum on t.500 o f them . 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. he takes a R a b elaisia n jo y in q u an tity. it was also the exhibition ism o f the great collector that prom pted Fuchs. in w hich he presented h im self as their like. to publish exclu sively un publish ed pictures. D u m as published an ap p eal to the workers o f Paris.Eduard Fuchs.” 40 W hen the revo lu ­ tion cam e in 1848. D ela cro ix throw s epics onto the can vas. 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. he had prod uced 400 novels and 35 p lays. m ach in e operators and cloakroom a tten d a n ts. “ had the sam e extra o rd in ary constitution. the sam e fertility. 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. H e never h ad an y item rep rod u ced in m ore than one single place. Paris. he said. in order to pick out some 1. 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.000 items. T h e y all have backs for w hich no b u rd en is too h e a v y . Les Heros et les Pitres. he w ou ld put them on sale in the form o f reproduction s. pp 107-108. d raw n alm ost exclu sively from his ow n collections.160 p eople: proofreaders and typesetters. w rites D ru m o n t. and the sam e pen ch an t for the grandiose. L ater. 40 E d o u ard D rum ont. . D u m a s’s novels range over 4. he had p rovided a livin g for 8. he even spares a th ou ght for the claq u e. whose expansiveness. B oth show him to be a true descendant o f the race o f bourgeois giants aroun d 1830. In tw enty years.

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

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. 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” .Eduard Fuchs. 1936. 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. 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” . I f the latter go along w ith this ad vice. I f Fuchs had realized this. See A b e l B onnard. p roclaim ed conscience the arbiter o f m orality. all o f w h ich w itho ut exception ended in his acqu ittal. It was based on the w idespread view . w hich Fuchs cam e to know in his y ou th . pp 179 ff. C onscience is concern ed w ith altruism . Zeitschrift fu r Sozialforschung. Collector and Historian 3 75 J aco b in ism . one m ust look to the spiritualism that runs through these revolutions. 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. T h is w as an illusion. 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 . 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 .Y cole adm irative de la terreur” . 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. Les Moderes. 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. this bourgeois m oralism contains ele­ ments th at conflict w ith F u ch s’s m aterialism . he m ight perhaps h ave succeeded in m u tin g the clash. 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 ” . m uch in need o f revision.42 As is h a rd ly surprising. T h e b eh a vio u r o f the bourgeoisie. p 161 ff. Its golden threads w ere spun by m orality.43 F or a decisive counter to this. V . Paris. w h eth er o f R o b esp ierre’s citoyen. or o f K a n t ’s citizen o f the w orld. . Its touchstone is the in­ d ivid u a l conscience. 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. T h is deeply serious outlook on life. whose m em orial is Schlosser’s w orld history. 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. W ritten by F edor von Z ob eltitz. and it cheerfully advises n on-p rop erty-ow ners to do likew ise. is alone enough to protect him against the suspicion o f any profiteering speculation.

. needs this value. . . . B ut it does so unconsciously. . 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. H en ce this beh aviou r bears the price tag o f virtue.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. 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. Y e t that w ou ld be the n atural reaction o f a historical m aterialist. Paris 1936. rath er than on the often unconscious reactions o f their class to its position in the p rod u ction process. that every ru lin g p o litical or social order strives to idealize itself. . . 45 N orbert G u term an and Henri L efebvre. w ho m ade excessive use o f bona fides: “ Bourgeois . is professionally upright. or at best their obtuseness. lead to an over­ estim ation o f the role o f conscious elem ents in the form ation o f ideology. . T h e d e m o c r a t. P I5 I 46 Erotische Kunst. N ot only because he perceives this con cep t to be a carrier o f bou r­ geois class m orality. La Conscience mystijiee.” 44 It does not occu r to Fuchs to in d ict the very notion o f bona fides (good conscience). in order m orally to ju stify its existen ce. T h is is how class m orality gets its w ay. since he believes it his d u ty to direct his attacks against the conscience o f the bourgeoisie. M ore recent M arxists have at least hin ted at the truth o f the m atter. For it is an eternal law . Its id eology seems to him a tissue o f lies.” 45 T reatm en ts w h ich focus on the conscious interests o f individuals. .” 46 H ere w e approach the essential m isunderstanding. he says. “ T h e sanctim onious d riv e l” . p 30. p n . F u chs misses this point. “ 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. 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. T h u s it has been rem arked o f the politics o f L am artin e. II/I. d em ocracy . 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. 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.

w hen the class struggle has p o w erfully invested the entire bourgeois w ay o f life. lay open in all shop w in dow s. . p 188. 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. I. For reification not on ly obscures relations am on g people.e. it can be said o f Fuchs that 47 Ibid. T hose forms are to be cond em ned on the oth er hand. its plates as b ad as they were infam ous. 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. 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.48 In short.” (Karikatur. 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. 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. 48 Karikatur. too. p 43.” 47 T his m oralism bears an o b viou sly bourgeois stam p. w hich debase this highest o f in­ stincts to a m ere instrum ent o f sophisticated pleasure-seeking. it also befogs the real subjects o f such relations. at least on the p a rt o f the exploiters. I. His m oral-historical im age o f the D irecto ry has traits rem iniscent o f a p op u lar ballad. 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. 8 P sychoanalysis. failed to shake the m oralism that left its m ark on F u ch s’s historical m aterialism . I. .Eduard Fuchs. pp 201-202). whose m em bers no longer function as fully responsible m oral subjects. 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” . over degen erate in d iv id u a lity ” . “ T h e frightful book o f the M arqu is de Sade. . i.” Barras expressed “ the desolate fantasy o f the shameless lib ertin e. T his thesis m ay have some lim ited v a lid ity in the present d ay. . 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. offences that are so to speak against n atu re” . w ho are alw ays cap ab le o f developm ent. Collector and Historian 377 sciousness.

W ed ekin d . W ou ld it be too rash to link the threshold between h um an and anim al. . . “ Egoismus und F reih eitsbew egun g” . N ot through an increase in visual attractions. looked into these con n ec­ tions. T h erew ith the orgy becom es possible. II. o f erect posture? W ith its appearan ce. For them there is sim ply no such th in g as en ou gh ” . 50 Erotische Kunst . H u m an beings are en tirely different. the partners can for the first tim e in natural history look into each oth er’s eyes d urin g orgasm . T h e anim al turns aw ay from the lushest fodder and the clearest stream w hen its hunger and thirst are assuaged. A ll the more significant. then. A coeval o f Fuchs. w an t fantasy. It is a b rillian t ap ologia for the orgy. . 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. but rather because the expression o f satiety and even im potence can now becom e an erotic stim ulan t itself. 4. esp ecially creative hu m an beings. By con ­ trast w ith m an. . w hich Fuchs sees in the orgy. p 166. to p la y a role in dress. .9 M a x H orkheim 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. p 283. in an aside on n atural history.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. . in clu d in g erotic fantasy. .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.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. anim als do not h ave orgies. and its sexual d rive is m ostly restricted to b rie f and clearly defined periods o f the year. w hich he rig h tly sees as “ a revolu tion o f n arro w ­ m indedness” . it m ust be understood that the orgy is one o f the signs that distinguish us from anim als. Fuchs n eglected to u n dertak e their social critiq u e. bu t rather the usual view o f their history and their exten t” . directly to th at o ther threshold. A c c o rd in g to Fuchs “ orgiastic pleasure is am on g the most valu able tendencies o f culture . H ere Fuchs is on the track o f an im portant pheno­ menon. . is the passage w here he m akes good this omission. T h is is w here the taboo on m ore or less w ide areas o f sexual pleasure com es in. “ M a n is h ap p ily no lon ger a beast o f the field and we .

I II . announces “ how people m ean to carry on the business o f p u b lic m o ra lity ” . T h e first such elem ent is “ the interests o f class d istin ctio n ” . I II . o f in vestigatin g fashion m erely from the aesthetic and erotic stan d ­ points. w h ich is cou ched in terms rem iniscent o f K a rl K rau s. 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. . III. H e did not fail to note its role as an instrum ent o f d om in a­ tion. w h ich runs through the w hole o f F u ch s’s w ork. I f there is an yth in g sexually arousing here. . p 189. 52 Ibid. 53 Ibid. depraves all this. T h is can be seen in his very definition o f it. 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. T h is is probab ly the effect in tended by most o f these photographs. p 234. the social. p 269. in third place w e m ust not forget “ the e ro tica lly stim ulatin g purposes o f fashion” . . says Fuchs in his history o f m anners. so is its m ain fun ction to supervise the grosser class differences. though a d m itted ly w ith o u t correctin g it. J u st as fashion articu lates the nuances o f status. than the sight o f nakedness in the photograph itself. it is m ore the idea o f the naked b od y d isplayed before the cam era. T h e y en riched his o rigin ally b io logically-d eterm in ed conception . b io­ 51 Sittengeschichte. In the third vo lu m e o f his history o f m anners Fuchs d evoted a long essay to fashion. and the ero tic— than does fashion. But his con cep tion o f the erotic rem ained close to a rigorous. . com ­ m on am on g interpreters o f m anners (think o f M a x von B oehn). In d eed .” Ibid. Erganzungsband. .” 51 F u ch s’s psychological and historical outlook proved very fruitful for the history o f clothing. 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 . pp 53-54. Fashion. d rew fresh n ourishm ent from his psych oan alytic studies.52 In cid e n ta lly. Fuchs enthusiastically espoused the theory o f the erotic origin o f the creative im pulse.Eduard Fuchs. Fuchs did not fall into the error. 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 .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 ” . 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. w hich seeks to increase its sales potential throu gh repeated changes o f fashion . there is scarcely any subject that lends itself better to the a u th o r’s threefold in terest— the historical.

56 Erotische Kunst. E ven w hen they sit.” Erotische Kunst. w hereas the grow in g in ci­ dence o f breast fetishism points to a reverse trend. in F u ch s’s un derstan ding. 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. p 6 i. 54 For Fuchs art is im m ediate sensuousness. rigid. p 223. T h u s. A rt is sensuousness becom e form.atur. . even w hen any reference to it is avoided. at the sam e tim e the highest and noblest sensuousness. 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 essence o f art is: sensousness. . so w ith colour. m etallic. .” 56 F u ch s’s deepest insights into the realm o fsym z bols w ere prom pted by D au m ier. 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 w hole body is tense. As w ith line. 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. . m ilitary. p 390. I. his w ritin g is filled w ith it. People do not lie.54 T h e sym bolic significance o f erotic im agery. becom e visible. like an arrow on the bow string. . A rt is sensuousness. . Indeed it is sensuousness in its most potent form. - . Fuchs ackn ow ledges only w here he feels a strong sense o f personal iden tification . W h en that happens. Just as historical m aterialism . it is as if they w ere abou t to spring up. as revealed by F reud in The Interpretation o f Dreams. I. . T h e pictures produce a cold . w h ich m ight perhaps have m odified his m oralistic view o f social and sexual rela­ tions. for the parad e grou n d allow s o f no ‘ Stand easy’ . as id eology is im m ediate expression o f interests. it had to m atch the content o f the pictu res.rik. T h e colou r had to be harsh . w h ich traces its historical equivalents. “ 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 . H e steered clear as far as possible o f the theory o f repression and the com plexes.” 55 M o re exp licit is a revealin g observation on fetishism . II. 55 Ka. brassy effect . 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 . 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” . by contrast w ith those o f the r o c o c o .3#° lo gically determ ined view o f sensuality.

the an im al painting. especially w hen som eone is stan din g or resting beneath. 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. . T h e branches o f such trees extend like a g ia n t’s arm s.” 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. A n d so he w a yla y s the types offered him by his tim e and 57 Der Maler Daumier. 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 . not on ly the lan d scap e. as Fuchs observes. its m u scu lar excitem ents. 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 . the m asculine. H is concep tion . Collector and Historian j 8i H e sees them as “ a q u ite u n iq u e sym bolic form . and the still life. 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 . . 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 . 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. . the agonistic elem ent. H e certain ly grasped the b read th and livin g con trad iction o f the m a n ’s character. . 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. D au m ier seems to ask. 9 N o one becam e m ore alive for Fuchs than D au m ier. p 30. 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. he w as no less aw are o f the other pole. th ey seem to reach out for the infinite. . is closely akin to the scu lp to r’s. T y p ic a lly . 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. D au m ie r depicts trees w ith outspread branches. pu gnaciou s side o f D au m ier. . H is highest enthusiasm is aroused b y the a th letic tension o f the w h ole b od y.Eduard Fuchs. one cou ld alm ost say that it was th rou gh him that Fuchs becam e a d ialecti­ cian. but also the erotic m o tif and the self-portrait.

. It shows on ly the u p p er h a lf o f a head. cou ld yet be so free o f ran co u r ? Fuchs has on ly to speak o f D au m ier. Y e t the w ay he did so suggested th at he could w ell h ave dispensed w ith it. p 18. so fam iliar was it to him — as can only occu r w ith a painting one has had in m ind for years. O n ly so could he discern the most covert uncertainties of contour. to authenticate it. T h a t the sketch is restricted to this part. O n e d ay Fuchs was shown a hitherto unknow n version o f the pain ting. suffices to give Fuchs a deep insight into D a u m ie r’s prod uctive m ania. A sketch. T h e fam ous “ A rt E x p ert” . rem ained unnoticed. 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 . H ere . For. or con tem p late p a rticu la r things.” 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. 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. says Fuchs in his w ork on the artist. 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.58 “ T h ere are in n u m er­ able figures in D a u m ie r’s p ain tin gs” . . w h eth er they gaze into the distance. D a u m ie r’s people look literally w ith the tip o f their nose. It is above all the studies o f ju d ges and law yers that m ay be seen in this light. must be num bered am ong the figures in question. D oubtless this was the case for Fuchs. a w ater colour in several versions. the slightest deflections o f line. or look no less inten tly into their ow n inn er selves. alerts Fuchs to the fact that here the p a in ter’s central interest is in play. so fleeting that to call it unfinished w ou ld be a euphem ism . 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. N o variatio n . 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. 59 Der Maler Daumier. H ere the least im pulse can set him off. “ en gaged in the most co n cen trated looking. T h ere is no other subject th a t struck such sparks o f insight from his connoisseur’s intelligence. A g a in and again Fuchs reverted to the original. in w h ich the eyes and nose alone speak. 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.382 puts them on show in a convulsed travesty o f O ly m p ic cham pions.” Die grossen Meister der Erotik. the least evident discolorations o f shadow . they acqu ire their highest lum inosity. . that it presents only a person looking. and all his energies com e alive. p 14. he says. for all their force and penetration.

M arolles was the first to recogn ize the im p ortan ce o f prints: his 125. W e see it dressed up in its S u n d a y best. H e is not alone am ong the great collectors in his aversion to m useum s. they un dertook the tran sfigu ration o f the interior ju st as it h ad exp ired . H e was no less the co lle cto r’s luckiest strike. T h e collector’s passion gives him a d ivin in g rod th at guides him to new sources.000 piece collection forms the groun d floor o f the C ab in et des Estam pes. 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. 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. T h e G on cou rts preced ed him in this. 60 Dachreiter. 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. Collector and Historian 383 10 D au m ie r was the happiest subject for the scholar. they h ave not the la tter’s biggest ad va n ta ge. 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. Fuchs rem arks w ith justified prid e that it was not the state b u t he him self. 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. 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 y had con cen trated on so-called showpieces. 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 . T h e sevenvo lu m e catalogu e o f his collections. whose G reek acquisitions and travels testify to the single­ m indedness w ith w hich th ey collected. W ith M arolles. their distaste w as even m ore vehem ent. and on ly v ery rarely in its m ostly sh ab b y w o rk a d a y clothes. on his ow n initiative. is the first great a ch ievem en t o f arch aeology. A great exam ple on the threshold o f the m od em age is the hum anists. “ O f course” . pp 5-6. “ to d a y ’s m useum is lim ited to this kind o f collectin g if only for reasons o f space.Eduard Fuchs. says Fuchs. .” 60 T h e great collectors are u su ally distinguished by the origin ality o f their choice o f object. the m odel for D am o ced e. T h is w as true o f Fuchs.

“ E very age has its ow n qu ite specific techniques o f reproduction . on com m ission from the collector. Fuchs belongs in the ranks o f these great. shrunk to m ere m er­ chandise. a response to the requirem ents o f the tim e. it yet survived. T h e fetish o f the art m arket is the old 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. p 44. 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. . system atic. . but rath er the w a y the w orld and things w ere seen in those days by society at la rg e . T h is fact needs 61 Tang-Plastik. also regu larly produces a change in the techniques o f gra p h ic reproduction . and un­ sw ervingly single-m inded collectors. says Fuchs abou t the sculp­ ture o f the T ’ an g period. 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. w here. T h e y represent the techn o­ logical poten tial o f the period concern ed and are . E ven w here the scientific con ­ ception p u rp o rted ly em bodied in such collections was not destined to last.3&4 T h e gem collection o f von Stosch w as catalogu ed by W in ck elm an n . 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. whose founders. and w ith it im pulses he had received from historical m aterialism .” 61 Fuchs was one o f the first to elu cid ate the special ch aracter o f mass art. T h is happ en ed w ith the collection o f W a llr a f and Boisseree. 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. 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. “ the fact that in no single instance do w e know the in d ivid u al creator o f such a w ork. His idea was to restore the i w ork o f art to its existence in society. 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. the collection itself som etim es was.

I. M ass circu latio n means cheapness. is a mass art. T h e techn ical stan dard o f the arts is one o f the most im portan t criteria. T h ere is no caricature w ith ou t the mass circu latio n o f its products. Collector and Historian 385 to be m ade p a rticu la rly c le a r . in w hat sense m ay best be seen by going through 62 Honore Daumier. looking at the despised and a p o cry p h al was his strength.Eduard Fuchs. 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. In them he pointed to subjects in whose study historical m aterialism can train itself. . A m o n g these m any caricatures m ay be found. T h e caricatu re was mass art. cited by G eorges B atault. A n d he b eat his ow n path to them as a collector. 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. 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. A n d w h at is F u ch s’ ex p la n a tio n ? C arica tu re. 64 Karikatur. a path w h ich M arxism had done little m ore than broach. 63 Dachreiter. T h a t “ thousands o f the sim plest potters w ere cap ab le o f prod ucing. apart from coins. T h a t took a passion bord erin g on m ania. p 13.” 62 Fuchs was a pioneer w ith such insights. 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 m echanical technique o f reprodu ction served to produce terracotta figures. I. Paris 1934. p 46. It left its m ark on F u ch s’s features.” V ic to r H ugo. “ W illiam Sh akespeare” . “ T h e m iracle o f the loaves represents the m ultiplication o f readers. N ot in F u ch s’s eyes. he says. 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. 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. p 142. T h e excep tion proves the rule. Le pontife de la demagogic: Victor Hugo. 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. So there was no caricatu re in a n tiq u ity.” 64 T h e coin offers too sm all an area for caricatu re. literally o ff the cuff. so was genre painting. But “ there was no cheap form o f reprod uction in the ancien t w orld. p 19.

p 113. p 45. w hich is ap p a ren tly once m ore to be inflicted on it future can tell. “ It is not the least glo ry o f the Chinese ridge tu rrets” . 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. w ith his base wish to m ake gold. A n d ju st as the alchem ist. so did this collector. M u n ich 1908. and their eyes b laze fire. necrom ancers and misers to be found in the paintings o f the old masters.” 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. he w rites. w hile satisfying the base wish for possession. 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. . only the 1937 65 See E rich Klossow ski.3 86 D a u m ie r’s lon g series o f lithographs o f art-lovers and dealers. “ that they represent an anonym ous folk art. even to the very build. 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. like so m uch about w h ich the past has v a in ly sought to instruct us. T h e y resem ble Fuchs. o f adm irers o f p ain tin g and connoisseurs o f sculpture. T h ere are no heroic epics to celebrate their creato rs.65 As a collector Fuchs is one o f their kind. T h e y are tall. 66 Dachreiter. E ven in the late books one can feel the passionate interest Fuchs took in these im ages. Honore Daumier. gau n t figures.

D ecem ­ ber 4. F ran kfu rt I9 5 5 - . X L V I I . Berlin 1928. “ M o sco w ” : D ie Kreatur. 1931. “ T h eo lo gico -P o litica l F ra g m e n t” : Schriften. L X X . V . 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. V I I . “ K a r l K r a u s ” : Frankfurter ^eitung. V o l. in three instalm ents. in four instalm ents. 1931. I. L X X V I . I. X X I I . 1927. L X X V I . “ N a p les” : Frankfurter ^eitung. 1925. 1929. “ C ritiq u e o f V io le n c e ” : Archiv fu r Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik.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. “ H ashish in M arseilles” : Frankfurter ^eitung. O c to b e r 1937. “ F ate and C h a ra c te r” : D ie Argonauten. I. R o w o h lt. L X X V I I . N o vem b er 20. V o l. “ A Sm all H istory o f P h o to g ra p h y ” : Literarische Welt. “ T h e D estructive C h a r a c te r ” : Frankfurter /jitu n g . “ E d u a rd Fuchs. 1932. 1931. “ M arseilles” : Neue Schweizer Rundschau. 1929. F ran kfu rt 1955. C o llecto r and H istorian ” : ^ eitschriflfur Sozialforschung. A u gu st 19. “ S u rrealism ” : Literarische W elt. 1921. II. Su h rk am p V e rla g . 1920/1921.

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

231. 25 and n. 230. M a x von. 225. 350 C am eron. 30. N iko lai. 7.. H elm u t. 18. 233 B ern h ard . 280 Belm ore. H . 375n Bossert. 229. M atth ias. Pedro. Peter. 3 2 m C opernicus. 249 and n. 26 and n. 168 B ach. 198 Buber. 23. 354 Blossfeldt. W . L eon . 369 B loch . 8. de la B arca. 265. A b e l. 246 Bebel. 255. 239 Busoni. 249 B urkhardt. M ik h ail A . 9. E rich . J u lia M argaret. 280 C a lv er. 225. 254 Bloy. 354 C alvin . T y ch o . 249 A b ra h a m a San ta C lara . C h arles. 373 Barras. 24 and n. 227. 103 Corbusier. 184 B atau lt. G io rgio de. R ich a rd . 235 Bism arck. 367 C ald eron . 358n B aku n in . 232. 357 B eethoven. 32. 271 B rentano. 2 35 . 385n B aud elaire. 250.. 239 Bukharin. 33. 227. 232. i5n B eraud . D . 278 Boehn. 320 and n C ohn . B ern h ard von. A d o lf. Paul Francois de. 312 B errich on . H onor6 de. 4 8 >5 '. 30 B uchner. D om in iq ue Francois. 27. 10. A ndrS. 256. 2 in A d orn o. 230 C lau d el. 379 Boisseree. F rank. 272 A d orn o. 382 B ayard . 377n B artram . 228 B aedeker. 375n Ch irico. 230. O tto von. 275. N icolaus. Berenice. 226. H enri.. 10. 287 Co hen . 228. L u d w ig van . 349. T h eod or. 37 and n A lte n b e rg. 240 C arrel. 3 5 . Louis. G u illau m e. L u cien . 232. 238 A tget. 31. 242. Georges. 22. 103 Brandes. 66 Bekessy. 236 B a lza c. Joh n . Jako b. A rn olt. 229. 353. 281 A p o llin aire. Paterne. 233. 226. J o h a n n Sulpiz. Ernst. 24. 31. 155 Bios. H erm an n . K a rl. P au l. 233. E ugene. 131. 227. 364 Brecht. G eo rg . A lfred .236 A ra g o . Francois Ren6 A u guste. B ertolt. G eo rg. G retel. 18. 2 4 m Brahe. 235 C laudius. 384 Bonnard. K a rl. 256 A u e rb a ch . 234 Bronnen. 150 and n Co hn . 276 C h a tea u b rian d . A u gu st. Im re. E m ile-A ntoine. W ilh elm . 100 C a lib a n .Index A b b o t. 244 and n. 20. 268. 184 Bastian. 236 389 . 246 A ra g o n . J u lia . M artin . F erru ccio B envenuto. 245 Breton. 241. 372 and n.

264. 383. 31. 260. 248 H illel. 9. 21. G eorges. 317 Ernst. 133 D au det. 353 H offm ann . 351 . D a vid O . T . 228 Engels. 37. Sergei. 263 H egel. M ax. 252 E luard. 3 57 . 230 H erzfelde. 310 Hessel. 24n. Ju lia n . J oh n (H elm u t H erzfelde). 362 Green. Paul (Sulpice C h evalier). 312 H aecker. 381. 3 51. 353 D arw in . 287. G lu ck . L u d w ig. 307. 371 H ofm annsthal. 3 59 . F ritz. G ottfried. 382. 47.. 307 G ervinus. 37 0n. Jo h a n n W o lfg an g von. J o h an n G ottlieb . Pau l-L ou is. 243. E rich. 333 D oblin. 30. M arie J ea n Antoine N icolas. M artin . 334 K a n t. (Jacques Anatole Francois T h ib a u lt). 333. 245. Pau l. 18. 297. 221. 306. Sigm und. A lfred. 371 H eartfield. F riedrich. 9 and n. 149 Frankel. 242. 248 D elacroix. Joh an n Peter. A . 349. E d ouard . 235 C ourier. see Lautream ont D u h am el. 246. 36m H ebei. 308. 235. Louis. 36gn K e ller. 312 H ertz. 386 D au then dey. 371. R ob ert. 349. 220 Jo e l. C h arles. 216 Frescata. 225. 233 Eisenstein. Franz. 283 G uillaum e H u go. H u go von. A n ato le. 48. F erd in an d V icto r Eugene. T h eod or. 322n H au p tm an n . 375 K astn er. 354 Jensen. 351. Friedrich C . 259. Ernst. 374 and n G irard i. 3 7 1 Epicurus. 225 Destinn. A lfred. 25. 276 D agu erre. 235 D oyle. E n gelb u rt. 380 Fuchs. Fried rich . H ein rich. K a rl. Paul (E ugene G rin d el). Leon. 241. 383 G eorge. 350. 114. 234. N orbert. 353. 177. 284 H orkheim er. 350 France. H ans G ab riel von. 371 H einle. 14. 49 G rosz. 230 F ab re-L u ce. 367n G u ttm an n . M ax im e. 240. 370 C oulon. 356. H on ore. K u rt. 27. I52n H irsch. 233 Ferri. 307 H o lty .. 244. E m m y. 350. 3 6 m G u n dolf. Josef. M arcel. F yod or. 229. 138. 2 4 m . 364 H eid egger. E. 256 D an te A ligh ieri. Isidore. 353. G eo rg W ilh elm F riedrich . 32 H old erlin . 49 D rum ont. 15. Franz. 227 G avarn i. 38 H eine. 4 1. 349-386 Fuller. 32.. 240. 370. 299 H ill. 258 G oeth e. 19. 244 D elaroche. 36 m . 373 Desnos. A rth u r C o n an . 281 H am an n . 305 K a fk a . 3 6 5 ^ 380. H ein rich . 25n K a u tsk y . 3 5 m F ichte. 67. 2 4 m G u ttm an n . W ilhelm . Joh an n G eorg. E nrico. Stefan. A n n a K a th a rin e . 350. 118 H au ff. 3 75 n > i 78n 3 57 . 40. 247 K a in z . 268. W ielan d . A lex an d er.390 C ondorcet. 29. Johannes. Im m anuel. 25 G u term an n . 240. 31. M ax. 239. 295 D aum ier. 38511 Jentsch. 3 1 1. 39 Dostoevsky. 373 and n du C am p . V icto r. 358 Ducasse. G erh art. Sim on. 3 6 4 . 310. H enri. 4 1. 252 Dollfuss. 262. F ried rich . L u d w ig. G eorge. 282. 369 Feuerbach. 67. 374 D an zel. 37 ° . G u stav. 310. H einrich. E duard. 18. 252. 103 H iller. 23. 279 Freud.

I g n a c e je a n . 31. 282 O rlik. 279n. 121. K a rl T h eo d o r Kasim ir. 270. 310 Pilniak. G erm ain e. 350. L o la . 246 Pindar. A lfred. Joseph N icephore. 357 and n K lossow ski. 265. J osephin . 289 L ouis V I I . M ax. 146. 35 ° M ontez. 371 n M ehrin g. 279 K le e . 3o8n. O ffe n b ach . A . 290 L ich tw ark. A d o lf. 276. 45. 3 8 . Laszlo. 281. 207. 235 N ad ar (Felix T o u rn a ch o n ).2 9 0 . 349 L iegler. (Charles de Secondat). 281 N iepce. T h eo d or. A lfred . 356 L au fen berg. L u d w ig.M i K e p ler. 248 O u d . Siegfried. F ranz. 2^0. 351 M urillo.. 201. 371 M atkow sky. V . 103 K e rr. 254 M oliere (Jean Baptiste Poquelin). 237 N erval. N icolo. 6 1. 360 L a n d a u . N iccolo. 36811. 232. 2 71. 363n M arolles. 376 L am p rech t. 196. 9. K a rl. 268 L igu o ri. 25. 1 in . 41 L u k acs. 354 K ra ft. Soren. G eorg. 29 . 367 M o h oly-N ag y. 376n L en in . 39 Poe. 349. E rw in . 208. 371 M ickiew icz. K a rl. M artin . 167 L am artin e. 249 Pau. 240. Jo h n . 67 M ach iav elli. 227. 332 Piscator. L eo . 289 K n o ch e . 280 K ie rk e g a a rd . Stephane. 280. 235 M o gra b y . 240 N ierendorf. (Friedrich Leop old ). 355n L asker-S ch iiler. 366 M usset. 3 6 i » 3 6 4 . 36on. 235 M ilton. H einrich. 186. F erd in an d. 354 M uller. 240 L ich ten b erg. 3on L o w en th al. 349. 23. Louise von. 254 Lacis. 28. 211 M ontesquieu. F ra n z. J acq u es.2 5 8 . Hans. A lfred de. D o ra. 367 Loos. 350 M alla rm e. 167 Lom broso. 18. Johannes. 239. 168 Peter the G rea t. 24n K ra u s. 368n Poliak. 331 L a n g e n . 283 3 1 9 . 270.3 7 9 K r u ll. 197 Petrarch. 23. A lb ert.3 9 . E d gar A lla n . K a rl. Joh a n n . 36gn La u tream o n t (Isidore D ucasse). Pierre. 246 N aville. 26. A sja. 30. Cesare. 281. 130 M onticelli. M ich a el. K a rl. 221 Pfem pfert. 281. E m ile. 33 L u th er. A d a m . K a rl. 189. 349. 48. A lphonse de. 358 Peladan . 353. A d olph e. 197 Pierson. 11 Plekhanov. 244n N ietzsche. Bartolom e Esteban. Pau l. 118. W ilh elm . 280.. 370. F ried rich . F ried rich 126. 23. 270. 332 K o rn . 287. 96. E rich. 278. 173 M obius. 200. Boris (Boris A n d reyevich V o g a u ). L u d w ig . 3 1. 35on M eyerh old . 311 M eyer. 36. 40.. 182. W erner. 228 L o uis-P h ilippe. 364 and n. Jacob u s Johannes Pieter. 249 Paganin i. G u stav. 260. 371 M eidner. I. H enri. L eop old . 32. G . 62. 9.2 2 2 . Ju les. 371 N estroy. 269 M ichelet. 356. G erard de. 227 L eon ard o. 383 M a rx . 35511. V . 245. 119.7 9 . 236 3 4 9 > 3 5 ln > 3 56 . 18. 2 3 4 >235 L efeb vre. 333 . K a rin . 245 K raem er. 386n K ra ca u e r. 252 L ieb k n ech t. G eorge Christoph. Else. A d albert. 374 M ale. 37. 236 Paderew ski. 196 M ichaelis. 372 L o w y . 3 5 5 N ovalis. A lfonso M aria de. 33. 38. 310 Lassalle. E m ile.

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