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Fb2 Necessary Angels: Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin, and Scholem ePub

by Robert Alter

Category: History and Criticism
Subcategory: Fiction
Author: Robert Alter
ISBN: 0674606639
ISBN13: 978-0674606630
Language: English
Publisher: Harvard University Press (March 1, 1991)
Pages: 131
Fb2 eBook: 1106 kb
ePub eBook: 1225 kb
Digital formats: lit mobi txt mbr

In four elegant chapters, Robert Alter explains the prismlike radiance created by the association of three modern masters, Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Gershom Scholem.

In four elegant chapters, Robert Alter explains the prismlike radiance created by the association of three modern masters, Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Gershom Scholem. The volume pinpoints the intersections of these divergent witnesses to the modern condition of doubt, the no-man's-land between traditional religion and modern secular culture. In four elegant chapters, Robert Alter explains the prismlike radiance created by the association of three modern masters, Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Gershom Scholem.

Necessary Angels : Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin, and Scholem. In four chapters, Robert Alter explains the prismlike radiance created by the association of three modern masters, Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Gershom Scholem

Necessary Angels : Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin, and Scholem. In four chapters, Robert Alter explains the prismlike radiance created by the association of three modern masters, Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Gershom Scholem. The volume pinpoints the intersections of these divergent witnesses to the modern condition of doubt, no-man's-land between traditional religion and modern secular culture.

Robert Alter earned his bachelor's degree in English (Columbia University, 1957), and his master's degree (1958) and doctorate . Necessary Angels: Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin, and Scholem, 1991, Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0-674-60663-0.

Robert Alter earned his bachelor's degree in English (Columbia University, 1957), and his master's degree (1958) and doctorate (1962) from Harvard University in comparative literature. He has written twenty-three books, and is noted most recently for his translations of sections of the Bible. Imagined Cities: Urban Experience and the Novel, 2005, Yale University Press

Necessary Angels: Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin, and Scholem. Robert Bernard Alter (b. 1935) was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Lifetime Achievement and the PEN Center Literary Award for Translation

Necessary Angels: Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin, and Scholem. 0674606639 (ISBN13: 9780674606630). 1935) was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Lifetime Achievement and the PEN Center Literary Award for Translation. He is the Class of 1937 Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and has published many acclaimed works on the Bible, literary modernism, and contemporary Hebrew literature. Books by Robert Alter. Mor. rivia About Necessary Angels.

Robert Alter, Necessary Angels. Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin, and Scholem. Alter reports Harold Blooms statement, according to which Scholem interpreted Kabbalah under the influence of his reading of Kafka

Robert Alter, Necessary Angels. Notes: Introduction Alter speaks of post-traditional Jews (p. xiii). He wants to provide the reader a phenomenological description. Alter reports Harold Blooms statement, according to which Scholem interpreted Kabbalah under the influence of his reading of Kafka. Moshe Idel argued the same in one of his essays, in which he spoke about Scholems gnostic approach to Kabbalah (p. 12). Important: Benjamins letter to Scholem, dated 12 June 1938 (p. 13) Benjamin and Scholem towards Agnon.

Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Necessary Angels: Tradition and . The author explains the prism-like radiance created by the association of Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Gershom Scholem.

The author explains the prism-like radiance created by the association of Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Gershom Scholem. He pinpoints the intersections of these divergent witnesses to the modern condition of doubt, the no-man's-land between religion and modern secular culture.

The word that seems almost unavoidable in describing Alter’s work is elegant

The word that seems almost unavoidable in describing Alter’s work is elegant. It certainly applies to these essays on the epiphanic force of memory in the thought of Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Gershom Scholem. All claims to the contrary, modernity is not, according to Alter, immune to visitations by angels. Highly recommended reading for those who are open to illumination and enchantment.

In four elegant chapters, Robert Alter explains the prismlike radiance created by the association of three modern masters: Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and .

In four elegant chapters, Robert Alter explains the prismlike radiance created by the association of three modern masters: Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Gershom Scholem.

Shierry Weber Nicholsen, Robert Alter. Published: 1 January 1991. Keywords: Necessary Angels, Scholem, Benjamin, Modernity in Kafka, Tradition and Modernity.

Like Alter, Idel, in his book Old Worlds, New Mirrors (2010), pays particular attention to Scholem, Benjamin, and Kafka among the . 2 Robert Alter, Necessary Angels: Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin and Scholem.

Like Alter, Idel, in his book Old Worlds, New Mirrors (2010), pays particular attention to Scholem, Benjamin, and Kafka among the German Jewish writers of their period. Like Alter, Idel insists on Benjamin’s and especially Kafka’s ignorance of Hebrew as well as on the influence of these authors on Scholem. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), 25-64.

In four elegant chapters, Robert Alter explains the prismlike radiance created by the association of three modern masters, Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Gershom Scholem. The volume pinpoints the intersections of these divergent witnesses to the modern condition of doubt, the no-man's-land between traditional religion and modern secular culture.

Scholem, the devoted Zionist and master historian of Jewish mysticism, and Benjamin, the Marxist cultural critic, dedicated much of their thought and correspondence to Kafka, the explorer in fiction of radical alienation. Kafka's sense of spiritual complexities was an inspiration to both thinkers in their resistance to the murderous simplification of totalitarian ideology. In Necessary Angels Alter uncovers a moment when the future of modernism is revealed in its preoccupation with the past. The angel of the title is first Kafka's: on June 25, 1914, the writer recorded in his diary a dream vision of an angel that turned into the painted wooden figurehead of a ship. In 1940, at the end of his life, Walter Benjamin devoted the ninth of his Theses on the Philosophy of History to a meditation on an angel by the artist Paul Klee, first quoting a poem he had written on that painting. In Benjamin's vision, the figure from Klee becomes an angel of history, sucked into the future by the storm of progress, his face looking back to Eden. Benjamin bequeathed the Klee oil painting to Scholem; it hung in the living room of Scholem's home on Abarbanel Street in Jerusalem until 1989, when his widow placed it in the Israel Museum.

Alter's focus on the epiphanic force of memory on these three great modernists shows with sometimes startling, sometimes prophetic clarity that a complete break with tradition is not essential to modernism. Necessary Angels itself continues the necessary discovery of the future in the past.

Comments to eBook Necessary Angels: Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin, and Scholem
Blacknight
This is a rather low-key, patient kind of work, rather than one given to grandiose pronouncements (of the kind that Benjamin himself is sometimes wont to make); still, the effect of it builds as it goes, and Alter's project gains sharper contours with each chapter, and the short book ends up leaving a strong impression in the memory and a genuinely useful clarification of a fascinating cultural moment in the mind.

Alter formulates a paradox in order to set about elucidating it: literary Modernism seems for the most part unreligious, even anti-religious (one thinks of the long Hell sermon in Joyce's Portrait of the Artist), yet Kafka, and perhaps Benjamin in the realm of criticism, are prototypical Modernists whose thought revolves around identifiably religious, specifically Jewish, categories and concerns. Tradition is clearly the polar opposite of modernity; Judaism is essentially traditional--so how can the most modern of Modernists be so clearly stamped by their Judaism?

Several answers are proposed. Modernism springs from alienation (Eliot, Pound, Stein and Joyce, for example, were all exiles or expats); German (and Austrian) Jews experienced alienation in a particularly profound way, and so become Modernist archetypes. This alienation affected:

--their identity (Kafka, Benjamin and Scholem, like the second-generation Pakistani Muslim immigrants in England in My Son The Fanatic, all rejected their parents' assimilation into the German-speaking bourgeoisie for a more pungent sense of self and experience),

--the language they used (this became--as everything does in a Modernist context--a problem: German or Hebrew--or maybe Yiddish?--and if German, what kind of German? How does one write it without sacrificing one's Jewishness?

--the literary forms that suggested themselves (Scripture, for example, as well as pseudo-Scripture, and satire-Scripture; Law and Narrative; and most of all, Commentary and Interpretation) and the kinds of roles writers could assume (Prophets, Legal Scholars, Commentators)

--their sense of where history was going (as opposed to secular notions of progress, as Jews they are either leaving Eden further and further behind or else awaiting a Messiah, both of which--think Eliot and Yeats--are recognizable Modernist thought figures.

Another particularly interesting working through of the religious Modernism paradox was Alter's discussion, towards the end, of the fine line these writers walk between religious belief on one side and pure nihilism on the other: one might assume that faith and nihilism are polar opposites, so that the space between them would necessarily be huge and glaringly obvious; but in fact--especially in Kafka's story-fragments and parables--they become the nearest neighbors. Precisely because Jews are so dependent upon tradition for orientation, they can be exquisitely sensitive to the possibility that it might finally be running dry, might no longer have much of relevance to say: and once again, this is Modernism's home turf.
Castiel
Alter is one of the most distinguished of all modern literary critics. Perhaps he is best known for his pioneering literary studies on the Bible. But he has written on diverse subjects from American- Jewish Literature to Fielding and the Comic Novel. Here he examines the relations of three giants of Jewish and world culture, Gershom Scholem, Walter Benjamin and Franz Kafka. Kafka had enormous influence on both Scholem and Benjamin who were close friends and influenced each other intellectually.
This work is a master work in cultural and literary criticism.
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