Walter Benjamin on Radio: Catastrophe for Children

Lecia Rosenthal

in Mourning Modernism

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233977
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823241200 | DOI:
Walter Benjamin on Radio: Catastrophe for Children

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Walter Benjamin ended his life in the peculiar and inevitably disturbing death-event called suicide, the same as Virginia Woolf. We might speculate that the scenes of authorial death have played no small part in sustaining the critical longing and melancholic identification that surround the two figures. Benjamin's disparagement of his radio works can hardly account for the relative scarcity of critical attention given to the material. His radio programs figure an interrupted, broken transmission, in part because their archival residuum remains incomplete. Catastrophism augurs the dead end, albeit a potentially explosive one, in which the possibility of any encounter with alterity is buried, killed, destroyed. Apter's argument draws on Gayatri Spivak's elaboration of the “planet” as a figure in a critical rewriting of the system-logic of globalization.

Keywords: Walter Benjamin; death; radio; catastrophism; Apter; planet; Gayatri Spivak; globalization

Chapter.  7993 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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