25 Oct 2018 – 26 Oct 2018

Benjamin and Goethe

Venue: ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et.

Concept and Organization: Eli Friedlander (Tel Aviv University), Eva Geulen (ZfL/HU Berlin)

The workshop is public. If you wish to participate, please register with the ZfL’s secretary. Upon registration, you will be provided with a link to the primary texts, in German and in English translation. Languages of the workshop are German and English.

Much of Benjamin-research in recent years has dedicated itself to his reception of Goethe. Despite those efforts, Benjamin’s unorthodox connection to and claiming of Goethe have remained enigmatic. Given Benjamin’s role as one of the early theoreticians of media and also given his acute political sensibilities, his intense reception of Goethe can appear like the »non-polished monolith« Benjamin claimed the ›demonic‹ to be in the even landscape of Goethe’s oeuvre. Benjamin’s dissertation on the »Concept of Art Criticism in German Romanticism« (before the handbook articles on Goethe, but after the essay on Goethe’s »Elective Affinities«) marks a significant juncture. With it, the debate between Romanticism and Classicism, important to this day is raised to a new level. In addition to the earlier essay on Goethe’s »Elective Affinities«, the dissertation is at the center of the workshop. The workshop does not foresee lengthy introductions or formally delivered papers. Exact readings are at issue. Their purpose is to probe the viability of Benjamin’s engagement of form in Romanticism and Goethe today.


Thu, 25 Oct 2018

  • 2.00–4.30 pm
    ›Concept of Criticism‹, part II
  • 5.00–7.30 pm
    Epilogue on the Romantics and Goethe

Fri, 26 Oct 2018

  • 9.30–11.00 am
    Continuation of discussion of epilogue
  • 11.30 am–1.00 pm
    Opening of Goethe's ›Elective Affinities‹