Benjamin's ‘curious dialectics of intoxication’

Dave Boothroyd

in Culture on Drugs

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780719055980
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700921 | DOI:
Benjamin's ‘curious dialectics of intoxication’

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This chapter examines Walter Benjamin's thoughts about intoxication. It explains the narco-analytic thrust of Benjamin's thinking with reference to several of his well-known texts, and argues that Benjamin's frequent, but often seemingly ambivalent, remarks about the critical value of intoxication to revolutionary thinking provide a key to understanding his method of dialectical images. The chapter argues that drugs and intoxication were in several ways central both to Baudelairean flânerie and surrealism, as well as to the original critical pathway of Benjamin's own distinctive materialist cultural critique.

Keywords: Walter Benjamin; intoxication; dialectical images; drugs; Baudelairean flânerie; cultural critique; surrealism

Chapter.  11606 words. 

Subjects: Media Studies

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