Constellation: Friedrich Nietzsche and Walter Benjamin in the Now-Time of History
Constellation is the first extended exploration of the relationship between Walter Benjamin, the Weimar-era revolutionary cultural critic, and the radical philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. The affinity between these noncontemporaneous thinkers serves as a limit case manifesting the precariousness and potentials of cultural transmission in a disillusioned present. In five chapters, Constellation presents the changing figure of Nietzsche as Benjamin encountered him: an inspiration to his student activism, an authority for his skeptical philology, a manifestation of his philosophical nihilism, a companion in his political exile, and ultimately a subversive collaborator in his efforts to think beyond the hopeless temporality--new and always the same--of the present moment in history. By excavating this neglected relationship philologically and elaborating its philosophical implications in the surviving texts of both men, Constellation produces new and compelling readings of their works and through them triangulates a theoretical limit in the present, a fractured "now-time" suspended between madness and suicide, from which the collective future regains a measure of consequential and transformative vitality.
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