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Walter Benjamin: The Storyteller

  • American Folk Art Museum 2 Lincoln Square New York, NY, 10023 United States (map)

Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Storyteller” is one of his most important—a profound meditation on the contrast between story-telling and mass communication and the immense significance of the apparent fact that “Less and less frequently do we encounter people with the ability to tell a tale properly.” Join the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, The New York Review of Books, and the American Folk Art Museum as we take the occasion of the NYRB’s publication of “The Storyteller” and related essays to examine the meaning and enduring relevance of Benjamin’s essay—for modern politics, communication, literature, and sensibility. With BISR’s Christine Smallwood, Suzanne Schneider, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, translator Tess Lewis, and novelist Alexandra Kleeman, we’ll ask: What distinguishes a story from a novel? How do we acquire knowledge collectively? Why, in the age of mass communication, are we “not richer, but poorer in communicable experience.” Is political, cultural, and social fragmentation endemic to “modern” life, and if so, can it be overcome?

A light reception will follow the talk. The event is free to attend. RSVP here.

Earlier Event: June 3
Translating Maja Haderlap