Destruction preservation, or the edifying ruin in Benjamin and Brecht

Kolocotroni, V. (2018) Destruction preservation, or the edifying ruin in Benjamin and Brecht. In: Mitsi, E., Despotopoulou, A., Dimakopoulou, S. and Aretoulakis, E. (eds.) Ruins in the Anglo-American Literary and Cultural Imagination. Palgrave Macmillan. (Accepted for Publication)

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Abstract

Walter Benjaminʼs short radio piece for children, ʽThe Fall of Herculaneum and Pompeiiʼ, part of a mini-series on natural-historical disasters broadcast on Radio Berlin in 1931 and Bertolt Brechtʼs Kriegsfibel (War Primer), compiled between 1937 and 1944, bookend a period of displacement, personal and political catastrophe and intense reflection on the use and abuse of mythical thought and the challenges of memorialization. Specific to the moment of their production but also deploying genres that speak to mutually informed projects of transformation of unreconstructed ʽenemyʼ practices and 'defunct forms', these writings may also be seen as staging dialectical negotiations of preservation and destruction, set in aftermath sites where ruin and guided recollection offer a form of refuge and radical edification. For our own retrospective positioning of Brechtʼs and Benjaminʼs contribution to the intellectual line of defense against ʽdark timesʼ, they also posit a challenge as they may be seen to engage critically with humanist paradigms or aspects of an archaeomodern Bildung.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Accepted for Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kolocotroni, Dr Vassiliki
Authors: Kolocotroni, V.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan

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