Berlin—Paris—Marseille: Walter Benjamin and Les Cahiers du Sud

Sofia Cumming


My article focuses on Walter Benjamin’s long-standing relationship with Les Cahiers du Sud, a literary review founded in 1925 in Marseille by Jean Ballard. I argue that the support Benjamin’s work received from Ballard and his colleague, writer and critic Marcel Brion, was integral to Benjamin’s success and survival as an exiled intellectual in France in the 1930s. Benjamin’s publications in the journal—“Hachich a` Marseille” (1935) and “L’angoisse mythique chez Goethe” (1937)—are thereby analyzed within the context of his status as a transnational critic, operating at the margins of the media industries in both Paris and Berlin. By doing so, I examine the manner in which the collaborative work rooted in the network surrounding Les Cahiers du Sud intersects with Benjamin’s wider conceptual concerns and his reception by a French readership, thus providing an alternative critical lens through which to view his journalistic endeavors as an e´migre´ writer. (SC)

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