A Walter Benjamin London Research Network conference of new work on Benjamin’s doctoral thesis on Romanticism, followed by a workshop on its most influential interpretations.
11 Mar 2016
10:00am – 6:00pm
302, Hatcham House (St James 19)
Benjamin’s doctoral dissertation, The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism, has long functioned not only as a lens through which to synthesize the theories of art and knowledge in early Romanticism, but also as a cornerstone for understanding Benjamin’s own theories and practices of criticism. In harnessing his affirmation of criticism’s ability to unfold the potential immanent to works of art, such readings proffer upon the dissertation an undeniable political and historical force. Departing from ‘the literary’ both as a conceptually privileged mode of expression and as a configuration of linguistic experience, this workshop brings together emerging scholars with the aim of directing attention to under-analyzed aspects of Benjamin’s early work on criticism and critique, and to the possible articulations of politics and history contained therein. Presentations will focus on: the relation between criticism, philosophy and literature; irony; the afterlives of Benjamin’s dissertation; allegory and the Baroque. This will be followed by a workshop on the dissertation and selected readings.