Benjamin-Brecht podcast

posted by Katalin Teller on 2009/11/12 18:00

The English translation of Erdmut Wizisla’s formidable study Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht: The Story of a Friendship has been published this autumn by Libris. On this occasion, the Department of History at Royal Holloway University of London has organised a conference with a number of leading scholars from across the Humanities, including Erdmut Wizisla (Berlin), Peter Thompson (Sheffield), Barbara Engh (Leeds), Tony Phelan (Oxford), Esther Leslie (Birkbeck), and Chryssoula Kambas (Osnabrück). This event has been recorded and is available as a series of podcasts at the following URL: http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2009/11/walter-benjamin-bertolt-brecht-story-of-a-friendship/.

No-one has a better view of the much disputed relationship between these two figures than Erdmut Wizisla, director of Berlin’s Benjamin and Brecht Archive. Greeting the German edition, Momme Brodersen spoke for many when he wrote: ‘If this book had appeared decades ago, it would have terminated an unproductive debate in one fell swoop: that of the influence – be it fruitful, be it disastrous – of probably the most significant German playwright and poet of the 20th century, Bertolt Brecht, on probably the most significant critic of his day, Walter Benjamin’. The conference celebrated the book’s publication and explored the ways in which Wizisla’s study augments, challenges or re-constellates previous analyses (most notably the one emanating from that other ‘Story of a Friendship’, published in English in 1982, by Gershom Scholem).


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