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Benjamin, Walter

The world of the child and the nature of childhood are amongst the most persistent subjects in the work of German writer and critic Walter Benjamin (1892–1940), known primarily for his essays on aesthetic theory as well as his philosophy of history. Although Benjamin never formulated a coherent theory, his constant reflection on these subjects is manifested in a diverse array of heterogeneous texts. After his having abandoned the Youth Movement (Jugendbewegung) and turned away from his teacher Gustav Wyneken, the first indications of Benjamin’s interest in childhood emerged as early as the mid-1910s with sketches on the aesthetics of the imagination and colours. (Upon becoming a father in 1918, Benjamin began to keep a notebook, documenting—until 1932—with evident fascination how his son Stefan acquired ...

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