Sparks Will Fly

Benjamin and Heidegger

Edited by Andrew Benjamin & Dimitris Vardoulakis

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Heidegger, History Of Philosophy, Phenomenology
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438455044, 305 pages, January 2016
Hardcover : 9781438455051, 305 pages, April 2015

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Table of contents

Introduction: “Sparks Will Fly”
Andrew Benjamin and Dimitris Vardoulakis
Part I. Knowledge
1. Entanglement–Of  Benjamin with Heidegger
Peter Fenves
2. Critique and the Thing: Benjamin and Heidegger
Gerhard Richter
Part II. Experience
3. Stimmung: Heidegger and Benjamin
Ilit Ferber
4. Commodity Fetishism and the Gaze
A. Kiarina Kordela
Part III. Time
5. Monad and Time: Reading Leibniz with Heidegger and Benjamin
Paula Schwebel
6. Time and Task: Benjamin and Heidegger Showing the Present
Andrew Benjamin
Part IV: Hölderlin
7. Who Was Friedrich Hölderlin? Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, and the Poet
Antonia Engel
8. Sobriety, Intoxication, Hyperbology: Benjamin and Heidegger Reading Hölderlin
Joanna Hodge
Part V. Politics
9. Beyond Revolution: Benjamin and Heidegger on Violence and Power
Krzysztof Ziarek
10. A Matter of Immediacy: The Political Ontology of the Artwork in Benjamin and Heidegger
Dimitris Vardoulakis
11. Politics of the Useless: The Work of Art in Benjamin and Heidegger
David Ferris
Biographical Notes

Collected essays consider points of affinity and friction between Walter Benjamin and Martin Heidegger.


Despite being contemporaries, Walter Benjamin and Martin Heidegger never directly engaged with one another. Yet, Hannah Arendt, who knew both men, pointed out common ground between the two. Both were concerned with the destruction of metaphysics, the development of a new way of reading and understanding literature and art, and the formulation of radical theories about time and history. On the other hand, their life trajectories and political commitments were radically different. In a 1930 letter, Benjamin told a friend that he had been reading Heidegger and that if the two were to engage with one another, "sparks will fly. " Acknowledging both their affinities and points of conflict, this volume stages that confrontation, focusing in particular on temporality, Romanticism, and politics in their work.

Andrew Benjamin is Professor of Philosophy and Jewish Thought at Monash University, Australia and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and the Humanities at Kingston University, London. He is the author of several books, including Working with Walter Benjamin: Recovering a Political Philosophy. Dimitris Vardoulakis is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Sovereignty and Its Other: Toward the Dejustification of Violence.


"…makes a valuable contribution to both Heideggerian and Benjaminian scholarship by bringing to light important connections and points of conflict. " — CHOICE