How many cities have revealed themselves to me in the marches I undertook in the pursuit of books!” – Walter Benjamin: “Unpacking my Library”. I am unpacking . 24 Aug Last night, in the midst of moving books all over my house, I took the opportunity to revisit Walter Benjamin’s essay “Unpacking My Library. 30 Apr Walter Benjamin’s “Unpacking My Library” Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. Ed. Hannah Arendt. Schocken Books; New York,

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So unpacking my library allows me — indeed, forces me — to re-live my past, evaluate librray present, and consider my future. Nothing is further from my mind than to shake either your conviction or your distrust. Cities he visited, rooms he occupied.

Walter Benjamin on book collecting

In this way, to paraphrase Benjamin, our books do not live in us; we live in our books. Kiersten said, on June 1, at 1: And interspersed throughout the rest of the shelves are the books, too many to name, that made me and sustained me as a scholar.

Subscribe to comments with RSS. Traveling to San Francisco was no small feat, and undoubtedly part of the feat was convincing my parents to let me go in the first place.

wwlter To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Notify me of new comments via email. When unpacking his library, Benjamin says he is filled with images and memories he associates with the books.


Notify me of new posts via email. So I accumulated and accumulated, easily owning over 3, books at one point. There are first, second and third editions of Howl. Schocken Books; New York, Email required Address never made public. For such a man is speaking to you, and on closer scrutiny he proves to be speaking only about himself.

The anticipation of unpacking his library is not only caused by being reunited by the actual books but also by being able to relive the experiences associated with each book.

Burroughs enumerated kibrary alphabetized as a booklist. Here there are few spectacular items.

But, as Hegel put it, only unacking it is dark does the owl of Minerva begin its flight. Fontana,pp. This or any other procedure is merely a dam against the spring tide of memories which surges toward any collector as he contemplates his possessions.

Unpacking My Library: On Book Collecting – The Toast

I have a shelf reserved for my teachers over the years: I was enamored with Kerouac, could recite from memory the famous lines from On the Road: These things overshadow the functional, utilitarian aspect of the object. If I do this by llibrary on the various ways of acquiring books, this is something entirely arbitrary. Bring Back the Feminist Bookstore.

Though my hometown of New Haven, Connecticut is by no means a backwater, and indeed as I got older I spent more and more time escaping home to New York and to Boston, at the time, visiting my cool older sister in California was still an exciting and novel opportunity to get away from my parents.


Of no one has less been expected, and no one has had a greater sense of well-being than the man who has been able to carry on his disreputable existence in the mask of Spitzweg,’s “Bookworm.

Mabel Rosenheck is a doctoral candidate in media studies at Northwestern University. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a great article? Walter Benjamin on book collecting.

Notify me of new posts via email. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them.

This museum, like so many museums, tells us as much about how Cimino wants us to see the world than it does about how we already see it. How many cities have revealed themselves to me in the marches I undertook in the pursuit of books!

Reflections on Walter Benjamin’s “Unpacking My Library” on the Occasion of Unpacking My Library

libgary The inspiration for this essay was the act of unpacking his library after its two-year storage. His imagery helps set the mood and can inspire a sense of anticipation of rediscovering each object, each book. Email required Address never made public. I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get nearly anything done. Only in extinction is the collector comprehended.