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THE INTRICATION OF POLITICAL AND RHETORICAL INQUIRY IN WALTER BENJAMIN

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Abstract:

Scholars have largely ignored Walter Benjamin's assertion that his work was a continuation of initiatives begun by Giambattista Vico and Carl Gustav Jochmann. But Benjamin's assertion is important. It situates his work in a tradition of rhetorical inquiry. In turn, rhetorical inquiry ought to be understood as a form of political thought. This article traces the intrication and development of Benjamin's rhetorical and political interests from his early work on Trauerspiel through a sequence of texts written before and after the fall of the Weimar Republic in 1933, up to and including the various redactions of the 'Kunstwerk' essay.

Keywords: Carl Gustav Jochmann; Giambattista Vico; Walter Benjamin; Weimar Republic; intellectual history; political theory; rhetoric

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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