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Fifty years after his death, Walter Benjamin remains one of the great cultural critics of this century. Despite his renown, however, Benjamin's philosophical ideas remain elusive--often considered a disaggregated set of thoughts not meant to cohere. This book provides a more systematic perspective on Benjamin, laying claim to his status as a philosopher and situating his work in the context of its time. Exploring Benjamin's theory of language, spoken and nonspoken, Rainer Rochlitz shows how Benjamin reconceptualized traditional ideas of language, art, and history. Offering an expansive assessment of a unique twentieth-century thinker, this volume provides an indispensable guide for readers of Benjamin's recently released collected works.