The Origin of German Tragic Drama is Walter Benjamin’s most sustained and original work. It begins with a general theoretical introduction on the nature of the baroque art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, concentrating on the peculiar stage-form of royal martyr dramas called Trauerspiel. Benjamin also comments on the engravings of Durer and the theatre of Calderon and Shakespeare. Baroque tragedy, he argues, was distinguished from classical tragedy by its shift from myth into history. Georg Lukacs, an opponent of Benjamin’s aesthetics, singled out The Origin of German Tragic Drama as one of the main sources of literary modernism in the twentieth century.
About the Author
Walter Benjamin was a German-Jewish Marxist literary critic, essayist, translator, and philosopher. He was at times associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory and is the author of Illuminations, The Arcades Project, and The Origin of German Tragic Drama.
George Steiner, author of dozens of books (The Death of Tragedy, After Babel, Heidegger, In Bluebeard’s Castle, My Unwritten Books, George Steiner at the New Yorker), is Extraordinary Fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge University.
Praise for The Storyteller by Walter Benjamin
“Benjamin was the interlocutor of all the demons and angels of storytelling. And this is why he knew its endless secrets. Listen to him.” – John Berger
“This volume collects an extraordinary array of short pieces by Walter Benjamin that lets us see the centrality of stories, dreams, and tales to his own experimental writings. This volume is a marvelous gift that will reorient our reading of Benjamin in startling ways” – Judith Butler
“Much praise is due to the editors for bringing together a newly translated collection of his short fictions, The Storyteller, in which he shows our iniquitous material world suffused and sabotaged by the uncanny like no one else.” – Jacqueline Rose
“A circular book to visit again and again, a book one can start reading right in the middle or read backwards, playing with its chapters and sentences wildly and freely, just as the philosopher would have probably wished.” – Elif Shafak, Financial Times