The following exposition contains three parallel parts: this, the body (which is the core material of the exposition); plus two margins... margin left (with thumbnails of referential works by us the authors, as well as related online links); and margin right (with the selection of referenced passages, all appearing in the order drawn from Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project). These three parts of the exposition are set to deliberately draw your attention, to interrupt the body, and indirectly draw you to the form of the trialogue we here propose.

Now, a ‘trialogue’ is a subset of the practice of relations called Threeing. Threeing was created by seminal video artist Paul Ryan in order to explore impasses caused by binary and oppositional relations. By practicing and experimenting with Threeing as mode of artistic research, Paul looked to interpret and strengthen alternative ways to remediate relations with our natural ecosystems. With that on our minds, we—Luis, Howard, and Patrizia, as the actors of the following trialogue—want to approach our common discourses while diverging from a conventional Q&A dialogue. We feel that this first attempt at a triadic approach affords us a fresh opportunity to investigate, diverge, and relate to each other’s respective practices as co-existing ecosystems that share Walter Benjamin as a common force. At the core of our exchanges is the desire to exercise the three different roles required by Threeing; initiator (Luis), respondent (Howard), and interpreter (Patrizia).

Unfortunately, this first attempt at that role-play only affords us one pass at each role. But by enacting this first pass, we are able to set-off a core protocol based not just on mere conversation, but on an exchange that specifically adheres to the three-part thrust of the question-answer-mediation format that the trialogue implies. By taking the exchanges below as our first trial, we look to explore and give body to the concerns of the trialogue—which are translation, interlinearity, and indirection—and how these acts, conditions, and methods, respectively, can be ‘actualised’ and drawn contemporaneously from Benjamin’s Arcades, in order to share and enrich each other’s respective practices. We sincerely thank the Journal for Artistic Research and its panel of peer-reviewers for the opportunity to publish this trial. It motivates us to find other opportunities, to switch roles, to further experiment with the alternative practice of relations that is Threeing, with the hope that it may yield other unforeseen perspectives from The Arcades Project [Das Passagen-Werk].




In reading The Arcades Project, one can immediately sense that this thing is not really a ‘book’, but a hand-held archive of loosely associated, and even deliberately dissociated, materials, of heaps of paper, of iterations and reiterations, of ‘convolutes’; a vast and unfinished artwork. For over a decade, Benjamin collapsed his entire scope of critical research and searched to ‘see’ all of it through the Parisian arcade, as an object to display historical and technological analysis for art. It became his Passagen-Werk…his work of passages and of passage…something he and Franz Hessel originally conceived in 1927. He himself bravely carried on the project over the succeeding decade before being interrupted in 1940, when his lonely and sometimes desperate seven-year exile came to an end with his suicide at the Spanish border (an end still disputed by some). In a 1930 letter, Benjamin deemed the Arcades “the theatre of all my struggles and all my ideas.[2] It had become for him—as it now perhaps becomes for us—a literary laboratory for testing (social, critical and spatial) ideas.

In taking a similar inclination towards testing ideas through the ‘theatre’ of the Arcades, we here embark on a conversation as ‘translators’, looking to find alternative perspectives, paths, and recursions for our respective practices – physical and metaphorical.


TECHNICAL NOTE: The references to specific Convolutes and other materials in The Arcades Project (the convolute passages marked in brackets, e.g. [X#x,#], or by <X°,#> in the first Sketches, or by pg.# in the Exposés and other addenda) are all drawn from the 1999 edition by Harvard University Press.

We do not feel it is necessary to read each passage, but we surely encourage you, the reader, to do so. Therefore, we have here provided you with each of those referenced passages on the right margin.


Patrizia: Say something about the method of composition itself: how everything one is thinking at specific moment in time must at all cost be incorporated into the project then at hand. [N1,3]



Methods of Indirection:

A trialogue between Patrizia Bach, Howard Eiland, and

Luis Berríos-Negrón about Walter Benjamin and translating The Arcades Project.

“In the ‘Epistemo-Critical Foreword’ to the Trauerspiel book, which at the outset raises the question of the mode of presentation appropriate to philosophy, Walter Benjamin distinguishes his own critical methodology from ‘the seamless deductive connectivity of science’ and from what he calls Systemlogik. Systematic closure, he maintains, has nothing to do with truth, which should be understood not as an unveiling that destroys the mystery but as revelation that does it justice. Truth is distinguished from positive knowledge; we can close upon and possess pieces of knowledge, but truth is not a matter of intention or possession. With an implicit glance at the Greek etymology, he defines his method as one of indirection, detour, the roundabout way, even wile and ruse: Methode ist Umweg.Howard Eiland (2019)[1] 

Luis engages the Arcades as a boundary object of analysis that aids in translating historical, perceptual, and environmental forms. These reflexions are probed through installations and display infrastructures that depose the manifold layers of ‘greenhouse’ – as gas, effect, and technology; as industrial and Marxian superstructure; as archive and display to the natural sciences; as colonial memory, and as messianic technic. The process of ‘deposition’ inevitably keeps recalling the Arcades; as recursive acts that interrogate to discover... as indirect methods that destabilise to expose. Luis’ deposition as doctoral work is titled Breathtaking Greenhouse Parastructures: a supplement to the Arcades Project from a Caribbean Perspective [and a call to a careful practice of epistemológica]. The PhD is a deliberate addendum to the Arcades looking to amplify ‘greenhouse’ as technical past and technological future to the superstructure of colonial memory still embedded in technics. By holding the Arcades between his hands (as Benjamin would urge), and by researching from his Caribbean perspective, Luis looks to display and remediate ‘greenhouse’ as a physical and metaphorical disembodiment of colonial violence. In other words, his work is a supplement, support, and display – what Luis calls a social pedestal – for the research and analysis of the global complex that is ‘greenhouse’, one that cuts the relations between the human and non-human worlds, giving form and force to the breathtaking march and seeming destiny of Global Warming.


Howard’s work as a writer, scholar, and translator of Walter Benjamin’s works, includes the first English-language translation of Das Passagen-Werk / The Arcades Project (1999), as well as the new translation of Origin of the German Trauerspiel (2019), not to mention works of his own authorship such as the essential Benjamin biography A Critical Life (2014; co-authored with Michael W. Jennings, and forthcoming in German translation from Suhrkamp Verlag).


Ever since Patrizia set eyes on the Arcades manuscripts in the Walter Benjamin Archive in Berlin in 2012, she cannot cease reflecting on their unique qualities. The meticulously executed pages and their countless coloured markings appeared to contain meanings otherwise lost in the subsequent editions of the published work. Benjamin created connections within his notes in a number of ways: through the convolutes he constructed, through the marks-symbols (see legend of marks below), and through words buttressed by black boxes, inserted the end of certain fragments (see D1,1 on right margin). Emanating from a graphic interaction with the work, a number of projects emerged: Patrizia followed in Benjamin’s footsteps to Paris and translated his coloured symbols into an online digital format:; she also built up a series of over 150 drawings that take up Benjamin’s methodologies.



How did we meet? On the 7th of December of 2015, by coincidence, Patrizia and Luis gave back-to-back presentations about our respective practices at a conference titled Walter Benjamin in Palestine: On the Place and Non-place of Radical Thought in Ramallah. The titles of each of our presentations were ‘Arcades-Work’ and ‘Reflecting on the Arcades’, respectively. Ever since then, given our also coincidental base-city of Berlin, we have maintained a friendship that gravitates around thoughts and findings about our processes regarding Benjamin. We suspect that our common interest (one that borders on obsession) lies in the desire to echo and learn from Benjamin’s voice, and if possible, to supplement the unfinished nature of Das Passagen-Werk.

To expand upon these curiosities and conversations, Luis travelled to meet Howard in Cambridge, Massachusetts on the 26th of October of 2016. Since then, Howard and Luis have also been in a loose, ongoing conversation by way of intermittent emails and other correspondence. Our dialogue is mainly driven by an interview dynamic, where Luis looks to draw insights from Howard that may intensify the relevance of the Arcades in regards to Luis’s deposition and translation of ‘greenhouse’ as historiographic object and display. Through these exchanges, we’ve been engaging in disparate dialogues about the complex cosmos of history and of art that is Walter Benjamin. The exchanges have triggered various ‘indirections’, urging unforeseen aspects and encouraging further research into the Arcades that may translate and actualise ‘greenhouse’ as archetypal display structure and messianic indexical form…to what was the past, and is to become the future, of the natural sciences and their histories.

Ultimately, the three of us are joined by the attitude to reactivate that ‘theatre-laboratory’. We do it as a way to talk to ourselves and to each other as methods for testing and intersecting our respective research, experimentations, and reflexions. It is now becoming for us a method of indirection that allows for the contrast between our respective works and procedures to complement the work of Benjamin as a form of iterative inquiry. That is how we may indirectly display and perceive the intransitive margins, languages, and perspectives that may make visible, epistemically, the multiple displays of the many worlds of our struggles and of our ideas.[3] 

So, in full awareness of the impossibility of seeking Benjamin’s own guidance, we share with you the following conversation as a test, as an indirect ‘trialogue’ translated through Benjamin and his Arcades. We do so, if for no other reason, because it was Benjamin himself who argued that ‘translatability’ is what gives life, or rather, afterlife to a worthy work of art[4] – where art (especially in its modality of research) has a privileged place in Benjamin’s idea of ‘progress.[5] 

May the indirections only continue.

Howard (cont.): At any rate, to continue situating myself, I had submitted a manuscript on Heidegger to Harvard Press, and, though the manuscript was never published, the readers for the press had praised my translation of passages from Heidegger’s notoriously difficult texts; and so Lindsay Waters (to whom great credit is due) took a big chance and hired me, despite my complete lack of professional experience, to translate Benjamin’s no less difficult magnum opus, this strange and ungainly assemblage—the publication of which made a bigger splash than was expected.


I might add here that, as different as Benjamin’s writing is from Heidegger’s in subject matter and tone (not to mention their politics), one finds striking similarities between their vocabularies. And I would suppose that this has something to do with their having in common an education in the tradition of Southwest Neo-Kantianism. They both studied with Heinrich Rickert (and both were in Rickert’s Bergson seminar in Freiburg in the summer of 1913), and Benjamin read widely in phenomenology as well. So my experience with reading Heidegger came in handy when I encountered Walter Benjamin.


The eight or nine years of labor spent in translating the Passagen-Werk (the responsibility for which I shared with Kevin McLaughlin, who took on a large portion of the French), was an extraordinary education in itself, as you can imagine. This entailed a great deal of library work—these were still pre-internet times—researching Benjamin’s several hundred cited sources, learning about the authors he so carefully quoted and the historical contexts he drew on, and searching for published English translations of the cited texts… It also, of course, required much reading to be done in order properly to hear’ what Benjamin was saying in this polyphonic monster machine of a text.


Among the authors who fed most directly into my study of The Arcades Project (and of course translation is nothing if not a rigorous form of close reading and textual analysis), I would have to name Baudelaire first of all. Almost everything about the man and his writings was enlightening and inspiring—from the biography and letters, to the journalism and the notebooks. Baudelaire as poet and as critic—the lyric voice of the new metropolis, with all these rich new metropolitan milieux and urban types (flâneur, prostitute, ragpicker, etc.), along with the theorist of modernity (city symphony and theory of modernité later reflected in twentieth century poets like Stefan George and T.S. Eliot). Baudelaire’s allegorical-phantasmagorical inferno was certainly exemplary for Benjamin himself, even with the political reservations. And Baudelaire’s melancholy sense of antiquity as pervading the things’ of everyday modernity—something evident throughout his poetry and prose-poetry—was, together with Nietzsche’s critique of historicism in his Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben (and together with Bergson and Proust), obviously crucial for the development of Benjamin’s own materialist historiography, his sense of the interlacing and mutual tension of particular past and present moments in the charged fullness of now time’ (Jetztzeit) or the historical encapsulation and crystallization of the dialectical image. (I’m thinking here particularly of convolutes K and N in the Arcades.)


The critique of scientific historicism, as it develops from Nietzsche through Benjamin and Heidegger on to more recent thinkers like Jacob Taubes, Giorgio Agamben, and Werner Hamacher, involves at its core a conception of temporality—of spacetime—that literally shatters the homogeneous continuum at the base of any historiography that imagines it can know the past as it really was.’ In place of the conventional linear teleological model is a discontinuous field-oriented model of doing history, which presupposes a densely layered vertical temporality in which past and present play into one another at each moment anew. Only from out of the highest energy of the present can you understand the past, insisted Nietzsche; the past as such speaks as an oracle, and the historian inevitably becomes, as Friedrich Schlegel already recognized, a prophet facing backward: into the abyss of time. In other words, our understanding of the past is always conditioned by the concerns of our own present moment, which themselves, of course, grow out of the past.


Patrizia: Baudelaire […] is supposed to have enjoyed strolling often along the Canal del’Ourcq. [J18a,5]

Howard (cont.): As for other works with a special bearing on the Arcades, I got to know various nineteenth century French sociological, philosophical, and political writings by authors such as Fourier, Saint-Simon, Joubert, Blanqui, to which were added my reading or re-reading of novels by Balzac and Flaubert, above all, the former’s Père Goriot and the latter’s Sentimental Education, and Eugène Sue’s unique Mysteries of Paris. Among the numerous twentieth century critics cited in Benjamin’s text (particularly in connection with Baudelaire), I would particularly want to mention Jacques Rivière, the early champion of Proust and Nijinsky. I was also glad to read more widely in Valéry’s criticism, particularly his essays on nineteenth century painters, essays which clearly belong in the tradition of Baudelaire. And, finally, my re-reading (and teaching) of Proust’s fiction and criticism, in concert with the translation of the Passagen-Werk, only deepened my appreciation for the profound affinity between these two writers, something of which Benjamin was only too aware.


I have also learned much from recent and contemporary Benjamin critics such as Irving Wohlfarth, Michael W. Jennings, Miriam Hansen, Brendan Moran, Eli Friedlander, Sami Khatib, Peter Fenves, Peter Osborne, and Jane O. Newman. What these philosophically and historically informed critics have in common, I would say, what they all in different ways are advocates of and practitioners of, is an avant-garde realism stemming from Walter Benjamin’s unique approach to texts of every shape and kind. At issue, then, is a mode of reading at once focused and expansive, at once descriptive and allegorizing.


Patrizia: Linking of Proust’s Oeuvre to the work of Bauelaire. [K9,2]




2. Luis: When we talked briefly about the term ‘interlinear’ that appears in Benjamin’s Task of the Translator I mentioned this passage…

“Where the literal quality of the text takes part directly, without any mediating sense, in true language, in the Truth, or in doctrine [Lehre], this text is unconditionally translatable. To be sure, such translation no longer serves the cause of the text, but rather works in the interest of languages. This case demands boundless confidence in the translation, so that just as language and revelation are joined without tension in the original, the translation must unite literalness with freedom in the shape of an interlinear version. For to some degree, all great texts contain their potential translation between the lines; this is true above all of sacred writings. The interlinear version of the Scriptures is the prototype or ideal of all translation.[6] 

…would you comment on his use of the term?


Howard: You ask about the term ‘interlinear’ as deployed at the end of The Task of the Translator. Benjamin, as you know, is talking here about ‘translatability’ as a quality distinguishing literary texts: the “higher the level of the work,” the more translatable—that is, the more amenable to “einer formvollen Übersetzung,” one formally or literarily distinguished. Newspaper stories, bare statements of content, are not suitable for the art’ of translation. A work must have within itself, within its form and content, the potential for renewal in order to be truly translatable; a translation, Benjamin says, constitutes an afterlife of the work itself, which is to say, the work’s rebirth and transformation in a new historical context. Thus the concluding sentences of the ‘Translation’ essay: “all great texts contain their potential [virtuelle!] translation between the lines…” (But what exactly does “between the lines” mean here?) And then the observation about the interlinear versions of “sacred writings” as the Urbild or ideal of all translation. This observation would go together, I think, with the emphasis on “words rather than sentences [as] the primary element of the translator,” since the interlinear version usually follows the word-order of the original rather than the syntactic logic of the translator’s language. But it’s interesting that Benjamin affirms the unity of “literalness and freedom” in the form, Gestalt’, of the interlinear version.

In our conversation at the Harvard Coop, I was stressing something similar in regard to my own translation practice: the attempt to mime, to stay as close as possible to, the syntax and diction of the original while remaining at all times attuned to English idiom. The hope was by this means to expand the resources of my own language in something of the way Benjamin describes in his essay. One doesn’t want the result to sound’ like a translation, but it should nevertheless reflect something of the character, the flavor, the feel, of the foreign language that is its source. What Benjamin invokes as formvolle translation depends, I believe, on this rigorous free play with idiom, on this ear for idiomaticity and the possibilities of transformation within the boundaries and rhythms of the idiomatic, boundaries no doubt fluid in some indeterminate degree.

Patrizia: Fashions are bizarre and common, simple and full of fantasy [B3a,1]




3. Luis: I mentioned that I am working on the discourses of climate change, and specifically in regards to my critical work on ‘greenhouse’, as manifold term. When I shared this with you, you quickly directed me to convolute [W] on Fourier (pgs. 620–650). What aspect of this convolute do you feel relates so closely to climate change and ‘greenhouse’? Do you interpret Benjamin as foreseeing ‘climate change’ directly, as a context that would affect his approach to natural history?




Howard: Benjamin’s take on Charles Fourier and the “phalansterian philosophy” is summarized, in The Arcades Project, in the opening section of the “Exposé of 1935” (pp. 4–5) and in convolute passages [W7,4] and [W8a,5] in particular. The Fourierist propagation of phalansteries, as experiments in the merger of civilization (technology) and nature, is taken (despite Fourier’s blatant anti-Semitism) as a model of social revolution, which Benjamin conceives here in terms of the innervation of the “technical organs of the collective” (terms which recall his Surrealism essay of 1929). This is for him a political-educational conception, and thus he emphasizes Fourier’s pedagogic ideas (for example, in [W8,1] and [W16,6]) together with Fourier’s ideas about town planning ([W17,3] and p. 3: “city of arcades”). I would say that the closest Benjamin comes in this text to foreseeing any planetary climate change is when he touches on Fourier’s extravagant cosmic-utopian visions, which he compares to the satires of Grandville. See, for example, [W1a]. Fourier was a relatively early fantasist of a world in which the earth’s weather has been entirely tamed, that is to say, a world in which technology and nature, spirituality and animality, are everywhere happily married under the architectural and natural (celestial) vaulting of the arcade. The point of departure for the Fourierist utopia was a critique of the amorality and false morality of the business world, but Benjamin suggests that the “secret cue” for these imaginings was really the advent of the machine age. With his longstanding imagination of catastrophe, and his experience of the rise of the police state in the modern technologized metropolis, he probably would not have been surprised about the current perilous state of the environment.

Patrizia: Child with its mother in the panorama. The panorama is presenting the Battle of Sedan. The child finds it all very lovely: “Only, it’s too bad the sky is so dreary.”—“That’s what the weather is like in war,” answers the mother. [D1,1]




SET 3: Questions sent 2018-03-14 13:08, Responses received on 2018-04-05 22:39





7. Luis: Which words did Benjamin use originally for ‘interpenetration’?



Howard: In [N7a,1], “interpenetrates” translates hineinwirkt. Elsewhere in the Arcades, to my knowledge, “interpenetration” translates Durchdringung. See, for example, the first section of the Exposé of 1935, on the interpenetration of new and old. See also [F2,8] (Giedion); [M2,4] and [M3a,5] (flânerie); [P1a,2] and <O°,10> (imagery and film). You cite [S2,1] below.





8. Luis: Could you comment on what appears at the very end of [M1a,4] – “/Interior/ Today, the watchword is not entanglement but transparency. (Le Corbusier!)



Howard: “Heute ist die Losung nicht Verschränkung sondern Transparenz.” I think this is a reference to the modernist preference for the openness and transparency of glass structures, as opposed to the obsessively closed and interwoven spaces of the nineteenth century bourgeois interior; at issue also, I presume, is the modernist urbanism, with its long avenues and its opening-out of spaces, as opposed to the constricted and tangled spaces of the medieval town in its various survivals.


Patrizia: Paris is the city of mirrors. The asphalt of its roadways smooth as glass, and at the entrance to all bistros glass partitions. A profusion of windowpanes and mirrors in cafés, so as to make the inside brighter and to give all the tiny nooks and crannies, into which Parisian taverns separate, a pleasing amplitude. [R1,3]




Howard (cont.): Interesting that verschränkte Zeit is the Benjaminian formula for Proust’s conception of “intertwined time” in the 1929 essay On the Image of Proust. Shows how slippery Benjamin’s terminology can be.





9. Luis: In your previous responses, you point to your ‘Translator’s Introduction’ of your upcoming translation of the Trauerspiel, as well as to your talk/essay Reality as Palimpsest: Walter Benjamin as Flâneur. These references of course induce fascinating digressions that are impossible to ignore…


In Palimpsest you state:


\“What Benjamin stresses is “the interpenetrating and superposed transparency of the world of the flâneur, [Durchdringungs- und Überdeckungstransparenz der Welt des Flaneurs (S2,1)].” The street, you remember, leads downward in the historical imagination of the flâneur, becomes transparent to an historical underworld, becomes a medium of historical perception and of allegorical perception.\”


And, in the ‘Translator’s Introduction’ to Origin of the German Trauerspiel:


\“In the “abyss of allegory,” the dissociative, dismembering tendency of allegorical perception inevitably spawns a teeming metaphoric that militates against any rigid application of dogma…\”


There seems to be a contradiction between ‘interpenetration’ and ‘dissociation’ when it comes to Benjamin’s allegory. Here allegory does not seem to quite reach the synthesis of a “highly paradoxical logic” – if paradox is to be the fulfilment of Benjamin’s historical theory. Is there a point of contact I’m missing? Or, is contradiction the desired effect, a provocative almost-synthesis, and for the Arcades, as a tactic for avoiding complete intention, say, of an ‘unintentionality’? If so, has there been a specific critique of such an approach by his contemporaries?




Howard: Very interesting and difficult question. This is, again, a slippery terminology. Part of the problem here, I suppose, has to do with the confrontation of two different texts and two different subject matters, though they have in common a “teeming metaphoric”: the nineteenth century flâneur’s mode of perception and that of the baroque ‘Trauerspiel. The flâneur, with his or her concretely localized historical imagination, experiences the interpenetration of the present moment and landscape by far-off times and places. On the other hand, the allegory of a decentered and unmoored world, in the seventeenth century ‘Trauerspiel, is articulated in part through the dismemberment and dispersion of a world of things Dingwelt, as in the famous Dürer Melencolia I, with its array of allegorical objects. Perhaps it can be said, however, that the flâneur, Baudelaire’s “kaleidoscope endowed with consciousness” [M14a,1], who is initiated into the urban labyrinth [M16,3], and who knows how to get lost in the forest of the city [M11a,5], also experiences dispersion in his way, while the ‘Trauerspiel’s historical allegory also knows an interpenetration of objects (throne room and dungeon, etc.). In Benjamin’s Baudelaire texts of 1938-39, the allegorical mode of perception is characterized, as with the flâneur [M1a,1] to [M1a,4], in terms of superimposition, specifically the superimposition of past, of antiquity, on the present and its novelty. One possible approach to this problem might be to consider the concept of literary montage in Benjamin—from One-Way Street through Berlin Childhood—as involving simultaneous dissociation and interpenetration of the individual items (the assemblage of moments or entries or vignettes). Something like Deleuze’s “pensée nomade” perhaps, continuous embarkation. Montage as the methodological fulfilment of paradox.


Patrizia: Perspectival character of the crinoline, with its manifold flounces. At least five to six petticoats were worn underneath. [E1,2]


Howard (cont.): The comparison, in [K2,5], of the superstructure to the phenomena of dream and the infrastructure to bodily process is, I think, complementary to this theory of immediately perceptible phantasmagoria. It was always a matter, for Benjamin, of first descending back into the dream, into its darkest or tiniest corners and deepest reaches, in order finally to work one’s way out of it, out of what is immediately manifest, and to awaken. Upon thus awakening from and to’ the dream world and the dream imagery, one discovers in these phantasmagoric phenomena, as Tiedemann says, the immanent “signature” of the epoch and of the century.


SET 1: Questions sent to Eiland 2016-11-24 06:02, Responses received on 2017-01-06 00:25


1. Luis Berríos-Negrón: During our first conversation you mentioned that it took about a decade to do the translation of the Arcades, based on the Tiedemann edition in volume 5 of Gesammelte Schriften published in 1982 (Suhrkamp) … could you situate yourself—as you branched out to the vast reference materials, authors, and writings—and mention those that stood out, those that best informed your sense of Benjamin in general, and about The Arcades Project specifically?



Howard Eiland: I had done no published translation work at all when I was commissioned to translate Das Passagen-Werk—this extraordinary collection of research materials conceived in the form of literary montage, executed with an often dazzling philosophical laconism, and documenting through citation and reflection the construction, heyday, and decline of the architectural form known as les passages, the arcades, a story unfolding between the early nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, with salient figures such as the flâneur, the collector, the gambler, and the prostitute, and involving topics as varied as iron construction, barricade fighting, the bourgeois interior, underground Paris, advertisements and fashion, all assembled in a series of ‘convolutes—chapters or files or folders—devoted to particular aspects of the arcades and their milieux in nineteenth century Paris and all intermingled (as the term Konvolut suggests) in the most intimate ways through Benjamin’s elaborate motivic organization and editing techniques.


Patrizia: Grandville’s masking of nature with the fashions of mid-century. [G16,3]

4. Luis: Is there is any merit to adding convolutes to the Arcades? Has anyone tried to formally do this already?

Howard: The Arcades Project is clearly unfinished. Indeed, at one point in the text [m2,1], Benjamin refers to the “fundamentally unfinishable collection of things worth knowing” as having its prototype in “study”—no doubt a kind of oblique reflection on his own grand collection and endlessly sprawling study that is The Arcades Project itself. But I would also adduce here the argument Agamben has made in introducing his new edition of Benjamin’s Baudelaire book, which is itself an offshoot of the Arcades. The familiar editorial distinction between completed work and incomplete work becomes problematic in Benjamin’s case, Agamben argues, and especially where a posthumously published work like The Arcades Project is concerned, a work in which we find an “intimate interpenetration of documentation and construction,” resulting in a kind of “hybrid of material and form, research and draft [Forschung und Darstellung], reading and writing”.[7] The hybrid form in itself (in this case, citation plus commentary and reflection) might well serve as a model for other critical-creative projects, though I can’t think of any actual examples (parts of Roberto Calasso’s The Ruin of Kasch? Sebald’s novels? Performance art like that of the Chicago-based “Goat Island” group? Perhaps your own work?). There is certainly much evident opportunity for following-up on Benjamin’s research in the Arcades, for exploring and further contextualizing the materials he cites and tracing the manifold connections. But I can’t really imagine anyone adding to Benjamin’s ‘sui generis text itself, except perhaps in the form of scholarly supplements or clarifications in a critical-historical edition.



SET 2: Questions sent 2017-09-15 13:08, Responses received on 2017-09-23 01:03


5. Luis: Where would Benjamin best describe his reasons for choosing the arcades as a historiographical object?



Howard: I think you are right to emphasize the historiographic context. Of course, one can point to various factors, including the influence of Simmel’s, Kracauer’s, and Hessel’s approaches to the phenomena of the modern metropolis, and Hessel’s observations of street life in particular. Benjamin himself, in the Arcades [N2a,4], stresses the historiographic context in adducing the connection of the Arcades text to the Trauerspiel book [Benjamin’s post-doctoral thesis] and its concept of origin, ‘Ursprung. The latter is clearly distinguished from simple genesis Entstehung, insofar as the origin is not a discrete starting point that is then left behind but rather is understood to encompass an extended process of genesis, development, and obsolescence. This is the historical “eddy” discussed at the beginning of the Trauerspiel book, the interplay of fore- and after-history, Vor- und Nachgeschichte, that constitutes a dialectical image—dialectical because referencing both past and present. The dialectical image is an historical “force field” [N7a,1], the site of confrontation and mutual tension. Thus the image of the arcade, for Benjamin, comprehends a century-long historical process, what he thinks of as reflecting the decline of the bourgeois class. In its seedy, phantasmagorical obsolescence, at the end of the nineteenth century, as you know, the Paris arcade is characteristically home to fortune-tellers, streetwalkers, detective agencies, and the like, as opposed to the ultra-luxurious shops of the beginning of the century. At any moment in this long history, one may light upon an image (say, the image of a greenhouse) wherein what has been comes together with concerns of the historian’s own present day to form a ‘constellation, that whereby the dialectical process of historical origin (in this case, the origin of the arcade) comes to a dynamic standstill.

Patrizia: The arcade is a street of lascivious commerce only; it is wholly adapted to arousing desires. Because in this street the juices slow to a standstill, the commodity proliferates along the margins and enters into fantastic combinations, like the tissue in tumors. [A3a,7]




Howard (cont.): And what might be the resultant of this sudden interpenetration of a moment from the past by the historian’s now? What, if not, in this case, the image of our own world as ‘green house’? Conceived in this way, of course, it is an image of the subsumption of nature in history, or what Benjamin likes to call ‘natural history’: which, as you indicate, is always a story of precursors and afterlives. At every new reading, the image is born again: the historical evidence presents itself to the historical materialist “always anew, never in the same way” [N7a,1].


This is one consequence of the post-ontological situation that Heidegger in particular lays out, the world beyond classical metaphysical substance: namely, that the idea of timeless truth is subject to radical transformation—eternal transience. The idea of dynamic essence, Wesen’ as verbal, is something Heidegger shares with a great many other post-Nietzscheans, including Walter Benjamin. I would also want to introduce here, in connection with the historicization or temporalization of nature in the concept of origin, your intriguing formulation of a time machine for environmental translation. Translation as itself an image of change in nature.


The image of the arcade, then, is an image of spatiotemporal ‘passage. Passage and threshold. Transparency and partition. Here is where your idea of ‘mnemonic membrane’ or ‘anamnesic medium’ may be relevant. The arcade, as you say, is a medium of reflection: per skylight, vitrines, marble walls and floors, “mirror-walls,” and above all shop windows. At every turn, the pedestrian is drawn into some historical theater of reflections—a world of superimpositions, threshold upon threshold. In other words, the historian’s present moment opens up and becomes transparent to a series of past moments—a kind of historical palimpsest (Allow me to refer to my online talk, Reality as Palimpsest, which concerns Das Passagen-Werk). The greenhouse, as an historical phenomenon preceding and succeeding the arcades, encompasses all these interpenetrating layers of historical imagery and image-action.






6. Luis: In your response about interlinearity, you point to the ‘afterlife’ of the text, specifically as a “potential for renewal”. I think this “potential for renewal” seems to take a tinge of unwitting positivism, if Benjamin seems to accept Marx’s privileging of labour (interior) over nature (exterior).[8] This reads to me as though there is an assumption that natural resources are a constant-given (or even a standing reserve, [Bestand], as per Heidegger[9]) in order to assure human synthesis as nature-making; a prevalent characteristic of positivism, if not of colonialism. Does Benjamin offer resistance against such potentially positivist instrumentalisations, particularly of his dialectical image?




Howard: So much for the spatiotemporal physicality of the arcade that you ask about… I’ll take a stab at responding by pointing further to [J75,2], where Benjamin turns to Fourier in the context of Baudelaire briefly to discuss “the labor process in its relation to nature.” In expounding the Fourierist idea of play as the canon of a labor no longer rooted in exploitation, he introduces the image of a world inn—“the image of an earth on which every place has become an inn.” He invokes the double meaning of the word Wirtschaft’ in imagining an earth cultivated according to such an image: “all places are worked by human hands, made useful and beautiful thereby; all, however, stand, like a roadside inn, open to all.” The distinction between nature and labor is transcended here along with the distinction between act and dream.

You ask whether Benjamin regards nature as a constant given, acknowledging the difficulty and uncertainty of this matter. It’s a great question. Let me point to [K3a,2]… as a possible way into this matter. Here Benjamin mentions “the dialectical essence of technology.” On the one hand, he refers to the “new worlds of form” that have arisen, without our doing, in the new physics, in mechanics and machine construction, in film, and, he says, have subjugated us; he wonders when and how such forms, or those arising from them, will reveal themselves as “natural forms.” On the other hand, he affirms another impulse “living” in technology, an impulse to emancipate oneself from nature and “master” it by bringing about objectives “strange to nature.” So I don’t think one can fairly accuse WB of favoring the interior over the exterior. The whole thrust of the arcade image, as you otherwise indicate, is to overcome the opposition of interior and exterior, room and street, dream and waking life. Compare [N1,1] through [N1,3] on the “intervals of reflection,” involving a turning “intensively to the outside,” and on the “differentials of time” which guide his philosophical-historical “sea voyage.”

I would say that, in the highly paradoxical Benjaminian logic, there is ultimately a sort of complementarity between objectivity and metaphoricity. Because of the express priority of language, metaphoricity is infinitely extended, as in Nietzsche and Derrida (cf. also Benjamin’s comments on Kafka’s attempts to “metamorphize life into scripture,” in his famous letter of August 11, 1934, to Scholem); all concept is infected by metaphor, beginning with the concept of con-cept (what is “grasped together”). To the common sense that distinguishes language as an instrument from things as objects, it is merely a metaphor to say that a work of art has a life and an afterlife. But Benjamin means it literally. The work has an objective life and afterlife that develop through history in the form of translation, criticism, and other art: the form of tradition. The commonsensical dualism that undergirds both the conventional understanding of metaphor and the conventional understanding of object has ostensibly been transcended in this extension of the meaning of life, in this oceanic art and philosophy. But the need for constant vigilance against the atomization and instrumentalization of things is thereby in no way diminished; it is surely the beginning of “effective resistance.”


Patrizia: And in no other way can one deal with the arcades—structures in which we relive, as in a dream, the life of our parents and grandparents, as the embryo in the womb relives the life of animals. Existence in these spaces flows then without accent, like the events in dreams. Flânerie is the rhythmics of this slumber. [D2a,1]

10. Luis: In the “Translator’s Introduction” to the Trauerspiel book, you also seem to point to a type of inference that Benjamin looks to attain, as a critical methodology (“METHODE IST UMWEG!”), one that he distinguishes from “the seamless deductive connectivity of science.” Is this ambiguity of inference the ‘weak messianic power’ Benjamin looks to bestow upon ‘his’ ideal historiographer [10], one I would interpret as a type of nature-maker?



Howard: Yes, as you indicated in our previous conversation, ‘Bestand is a key term in later Heidegger, used, in connection with the concept of Gestell or Ge-Stell[11], in reference to the standing reserve or collective resources of the totally mobilized technologized world. Now, Gershom Scholem, you remember, who was no simple-minded rationalist, and who at least early on propounded—with Walter Benjamin—a theological anarchism, accused Benjamin, in letters later on, of ambiguity-mongering. But surely a recognition of fundamental ambiguity and ineluctable aporia, if not exactly of total chaos, is crucial to any real sense of the historical significance of modern life. Method requires indirection, to paraphrase the Trauerspiel Hamlet, and at times, it would seem, requires even “equivocation.”[12] A science of breaks, or cuts (Derrida), or lightning flashes [N1], rather than seamless connectivity. Method as montage. What Benjamin characterizes as the “weak messianic power” is, as you know, a function of historical time; it bespeaks the mysterious but legible claim which the past has on each present generation, along with the receptivity to the deep, slumbering and bubbling past with which the present as such is endowed (and that, I should think, is where the nature-making comes in). There is a persistent, constantly renewed and varied dialectic here, as in Heidegger (leaving aside their politics or metapolitics for the moment, one can see both men, I was suggesting, for all their differences, as revolutionary heirs of the Neokantian tradition)—a dialectic of nature and culture, givenness and agency, physis and technē.





11. Luis: I earlier asked about what could be perceived as positivist instrumentalisations of dialectics… and I would like to return to that once more… again, I wonder about the other side of the emancipatory ‘mastering’ of nature… did Benjamin consider the potential instrumentalisation of such a notion, as an argument perhaps for reinforcing the colonial project (or rather, was he concerned with colonialism)?



Howard: You refer to Benjamin’s invocation of the ‘dialectical essence of technology in [K3a,2], where the revelation of what is natural—let us say, self-engendering or emergent of itself—in modern machine construction and the new physics, etc., is countered by the liberation from nature’. The mastering presupposes immersion in what is revealed, i.e., experience and education, not any sort of instrumentalizing will to power. The argument, to call it that, is reminiscent of Fourier, with his emphasis on play. And clearly related to the dialectic of receptivity and productivity mentioned in my response above (Question 6).

I believe we touched on the Tiefe des Urwalds in [N1,4]—the primeval forest where, until now, only madness has reigned, and the consequent task of clearing the undergrowth of myth and delusion—in our conversation at the Harvard Coop. I’m not aware of much else in Benjamin that might be stretched to suggest a concern with colonialism specifically. His critique of objectification, instrumentalization, and commodification (which in many ways goes back to his student years and to works like Metaphysics of Youth and On Language as Such and on the Language of Man). He liked Joseph Conrad and spoke, like him, of the interior jungle’ in One-Way Street in a passage followed immediately by the little section entitled “Gloves,” which concerns the mastering of disgust.


It is in the famous passage at the end of One-Way Street that he speaks of education in terms of the “mastery (if we are to use this term)” not of children but of the relationship between the generations, as technology is the “mastery not of nature but of the relation between nature and humanity”. The critique of imperialism is explicit here. As is the deconstruction of mastering.




12. Luis: Ok, but then what aspect of the Arcades do you feel gave WB the strongest sense of confidence about it manifesting as a ‘natural form’? Similarly, what gave WB the sense that the Arcades would register as a demonstration of ‘progress’, as he would expect from a work of art?



Howard: As you’ve suggested, the discourse of ‘nature and life tends almost everywhere in Benjamin to be problematic, in both an epistemological and a moral perspective. In Critique of Violence, under the apparent influence of Hermann Cohen in particular, there is adumbrated a conflict of nature and spirit, and there is an explicit, now famous or infamous, denial of anything sacred to bare life. But how to square this with the affirmation, from his 1919 dissertation and Task of the Translator forward, of the afterlife of works of the spirit?

I suppose the emphasis on chance and contingency, the author’s coming upon recondite things in the library by chance [N2,4], the way a flâneur comes upon mnemonically alive things by accident in his walks through the city, or the way a movie camera discovers unexpected stations in everyday urban spaces, is part of what would point to that which in The Arcades Project ‘is nature.


Benjamin maintains in many places that there is no detectable progress in the general history of humankind but only in specific areas, such as, most obviously, the field of medicine. So, if this grand, unfinished notebook that we call today a book, and even a classic or magnum opus, The Arcades Project, is a demonstration of any sort of progress, I guess it would have to be progress specifically in extending the principle of montage: montage as a literary form and montage thinking.


Patrizia: He [Baudelaire] arranged supplies of lifestock for the English army…, and rode about on elephants while composing verse. [J18,2]




13. Luis: Rolf Tiedemann states in his essay Dialectics at a Standstill that

“Benjamin refused to join [Marxist art theorists]. He viewed the doctrine of aesthetic reflection as already undercut by Marx’s remark that the ideologies of the superstructure reflect relations in a false and distorted manner. Benjamin followed this remark with a question:

If the infrastructure in a certain way (in the materials of thought and experience) determines the superstructure, but if such determination is not reducible to simple reflection, then how should it be characterized? As its expression. The superstructure is the expression of the infrastructure. The economic conditions under which society exists are expressed in the superstructure, precisely as, with the sleeper, an overfull stomach finds not its reflection but its expression in the contents of dreams, which, from a causal point of view, it may be said to condition’. [K2,5]


Could you comment on how the Arcades – as both a physical superstructure of iron and glass, and as superstructural metaphor to the cultural object – reinforces the passage above?




Howard: I refer you to the “Exposé of 1939,” in The Arcades Project, which from first to last treats of “a [nineteenth century] world dominated by its phantasmagorias.” Accordingly, the phenomena of the Paris arcades and their milieux, the phenomena of fashion and shopfronts and the world exhibitions, of the bourgeois interior, and so on, are understood not only theoretically, as ideologically conditioned structures and expressions, but also, as Benjamin says, concretely in the immediacy of their perceptible presence, that is, as manifest phantasmagoria. This kind of perception is, according to him, a function of the reifying historicism prevailing in the nineteenth century, which essentially makes an inventory of humanity’s life forms, giving what is in its nature dynamic and transient the appearance of permanent, stable, grounded identity. The Benjaminian physiognomics, which Tiedemann highlights, would work to counteract the distortions and falsifications of social reification—the insidious congealing and fetishizing commodification of things, throughout which processes the powers of myth are continually at work. Nietzsche and Marx as (not so) strange bedfellows in later Benjamin!



  1. Howard Eiland in his “Translator’s Introduction” to Walter Benjamin’s Origin of the German Trauerspiel, recently published by Harvard University Press (2019). ↩︎

  2. The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin: 1910–1940, trans. Manfred R. Jacobson and Evelyn M. Jacobson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,1994), p.359 (letter of January 20, 1930, to Gerhard Scholem). ↩︎

  3. _ibid., Jacobson 1994. ↩︎

  4. “[…] a translation comes later than the original, and since the important works of world literature never find their chosen translators at the time of their origin, their translation marks their stage of continued life. The idea of life and afterlife in works of art should be regarded with an entirely unmetaphorical objectivity. Even in times of narrowly prejudiced thought, there was an inkling that life was not limited to organic corporality. But it cannot be a matter of extending its dominion under the feeble scepter of the soul, as Fechner tried to do, or, conversely, of basing its definition on the even less conclusive factors of animality, such as sensation, which characterizes life only occasionally. The concept of life is given its due only if everything that has a history of its own, and is not merely the setting for history, is credited with life. In the final analysis, the range of life must be determined by the standpoint of history rather than that of nature, least of all by such tenuous factors as sensation and soul.” — “The Task of the Translator,” in Selected Writings, Volume 1 (1996), p. 254 ↩︎

  5. As per Rolf Tiedemann in his essay “Dialectics at a Standstill”, that appears in Eiland’s translation of the Arcades Project on p. 945 – “A ‘real definition’ of progress, therefore, could emerge only from the vantage point of art, as in the Passagen-Werk”, where Benjamin states: “In every true work of art there is a place where, for one who removes there, it blows cool like the wind of a coming dawn. From this it follows that art, which has often been considered refractory to every relation with progress, can provide its true definition. Progress has its seat not in the continuity of elapsing time but in its interferences.” [N9a,7] ↩︎

  6. Benjamin, Walter W., et al. Selected Writings. Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2004, pp. 262–263 ↩︎

  7. “On Benjamin’s Baudelaire,” in Walter Benjamin and Theology, ed. Colby Dickinson and Stéphane Symons [Fordham Univ. Press, 2016], pp. 217–30 ↩︎

  8. “Labour is first of all, a process between man and nature, a process which man through his own actions mediates, regulates, and controls the metabolism of nature as a force of nature… He develops the potentialities slumbering within nature and subjects the play of its forces to his own sovereign power.” – Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. Capital. University of Chicago, 1990, p. 284 ↩︎

  9. Heidegger, Martin. The Question Concerning Technology, and Other Essays. Harper Perennial, 2013 ↩︎

  10. Also as per Rolf Tiedemann in his essay Dialectics at a Standstill, in the Arcades Project, on p. 944 – “Since the dialectical images belong III such a way to messianic time, or since they should at least let that time reveal itself as a flash of lightning, messianism is introduced as a kind of methodology of historical research—an adventuresome undertaking if ever there was one. “The subject of historical knowledge is the struggling, oppressed class itself” (Illuminations) p. 260); one may imagine the historian of the dialectic at a standstill as the herald of that class, Benjamin himself did not hesitate to call him “a prophet turned backward,” borrowing a phrase from Friedrich Schlegel (1:1237): he did not dismiss the Old Testament idea that prophecy precedes the Messiah, that the Messiah is dependent on prophecy. But Benjamin’s historiographer is “endowed with a weak messianic power, a power to which the past has a claim.” The historian honors that claim when he captures that “image of the past that is not recognized by the present as one of its own concerns” and thus “threatens to disappear irretrievably” (Illuminations) pp. 256–257).” ↩︎

  11. Heidegger, Martin. The Question Concerning Technology, and Other Essays. Harper Perennial, 2013 ↩︎

  12. See Shakespeare’s Hamlet V.i.139-140: “We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us” (Hamlet). Also II.i.66: “By indirections find directions out” (Polonius). ↩︎

Patrizia: Boredom is a warm gray fabric lined on the inside with the most lustrous and colorful of silks. In this fabric we wrap ourselves when we dream. We are at home then in the arabesques of its lining. But the sleeper looks bored and gray within his sheath. And when he later wakes and wants to tell of what he dreamed, he communicates by and large only this boredom. [D2a,1]




14. Luis: Did Benjamin himself challenge this ‘inmost image’ in order to contrast the embedded ‘historical index’ that shapes the dialectical image?


Howard: Benjamin says in this passage from the “First Sketches” section of the Arcades, that it is not a matter of finding an earlier time residing in the time present; rather, the Now constitutes the inmost image of what has once been. In [D°,6], he refers similarly to a “strange capacity for distilling the present, as inmost essence of what has been [Diese wunderbare Kraft, die Gegenwart als innerste Essenz des Gewesnen zu destillieren…].” The essence of the Now is distilled—i.e., through a name—from out of the ‘Then’, as a subject may be disclosed from out of its objects, as a self is conceived from out of its world. Benjamin, one could say, tries to think from out of’ the object, by giving himself wholly to the object (achieving what he calls inner anonymity). The metaphor of distillation, of course, reminds us of the Trauerspiel book and the alembics of the alchemist. For the alchemist, the extraction of the quintessence, what Benjamin calls the “intimate, the bitter essence,” requires heating: let us say, intensification, concentration, deep focus. The quintessence or inmost image is then condensed’ and materially separated from its mythic matrix. So perhaps one could say—all too summarily—that Benjamin privileges the inner while systematically (according to an inner systematic—certainly not an external, manifest system) dissolving the boundaries between inside and outside.


Patrizia: “The legend according to which one can see the stars by day from the tunnels of the Paris quarries” originated in an old mine shaft “that was covered over on the surface by a stone slab in which there is a small hole some six millimeters in diameter. Through this hole, the daylight shines into the gloom below like a pale star.” [C3a,2]




Howard Eiland is an American writer. He taught in the Literature Section of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1983 to 2014 and received the 2011 James A. and Ruth Levitan Prize for Excellence in Teaching. He is the co-author, with Michael W. Jennings, of the first English-language biography of Walter Benjamin, A Critical Life. He co-edited three volumes of Benjamin’s Selected Writings, and translated Benjamin’s Arcades ProjectBerlin Childhood around 1900On Hashish, his Early Writings: 1910–1917 and Origin of the German Trauerspiel. He also recently published Notes on Literature, Film, and Jazz (Spuyten Duyvil).


Patrizia Bach is a visual artist living and working between Berlin and Istanbul. Walter Benjamin’s belief that history is inherent in all present things and pictures and that they are always to be read “in the fight for the oppressed past” did not only change the artist’s personal relation to history but influenced and changed her work immensely. Her publication Arcades Work, Drawings on Walter Benjamin & Walter Benjamin Paris City-Map (Revolver-Publishing, Berlin) is listed on the-short list of the most beautiful books in Germany, 2018. Bach was a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude (2018/2019), and is invited as artist in residency at Kulturakademie Tarabya (Istanbul), 2020, where she will continue working on her project Past, in Each of its Moments, be Citable – on Walter Benjamin's Concept of History in the City of Istanbul.


Luis Berríos-Negrón is a Puerto Rican artist. Recent exhibitions include Neganthropic Anarchive at Gammelgaard (DK, 2019), Wardian Table in Agropoetics at Savvy Berlin (DE, 2019), Impasse Finesse Neverness Museum of Archeology of Bahia (BRA, 2017), Collapsed Greenhouse District Berlin (DE, 2016), and Earthscore Specularium Färgfabriken Stockholm (SE, 2015). In 2012, he was core collaborator in Paul Ryan’s Threeing at Documenta13, and in Ute Meta Bauer’s Future Archive at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein. In 2013 he represented Germany with curator Matthias Böttger in the São Paulo Biennial for Architecture, and in 2014 he was commissioned artist for the 3rd Biennial of Art of Bahia. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from Parsons New School (2003), a Master of Architecture from MIT (2006), and a PhD in Art Technology & Design from Konstfack / Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, 2020). Berríos-Negrón currently lives and works between San Juan, Copenhagen, and Berlin.





For the work of Luis Berríos-Negrón and Howard Eiland, credits of photos and other works are as described and/or embeded.

©Luis Berríos-Negrón, 2021

©Howard Eiland, 2021

For Patrizia Bach: Passagen-Arbeit, since 2012
All drawings: crayon or pencil on paper, 22 x 28 cm (like Walter Benjamin’s manuscript pages) ©Patrizia Bach, 2021 / Photographs: Gunter Lepkowski, Berlin.
The depiction of Walter Benjamin’s ‘marks’ is a digital interpretation by the artist (see: Their interpretation is taken from: Giorgio Agamben, Cronologia dell’opera e notizie sultesto, in: Walter Benjamin: Parigi, capitale del XIX secolo, Turin 1986, p xii–xii. Translation of the marks into English: Patrizia Bach and Sam Dolbear.