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By John Schad

“'as interesting because the such a lot experimental avant-garde mobilizations of literature in the course of the interwar interval. Stein, Breton, Pirandello and Pessoa come to mind.'” – Geoffrey Hartman, Yale University

A startling critical-creative exam of 1 of the 20 th Century's top thinkers, The overdue Walter Benjamin is a documentary novel that juxtaposes the existence and loss of life of Walter Benjamin with the times, hours and mins of a working-class council property at the fringe of London in post-war Austerity England. the unconventional centres on one specific tenant who claims to be Walter Benjamin, and purely ever makes use of phrases written by means of Benjamin, it appears oblivious that the genuine Benjamin devoted suicide two decades previous while fleeing the Nazis. before everything set within the sixties, the textual content slips again to the early years of the property and to Benjamin's final days, as he strikes throughout Europe looking ever-more desperately to flee the 3rd Reich. via this fictional narrative, John Schad explores not just the emergence of Benjamin's considering from a politicised Jewish theology pressured to confront the increase of Nazism but in addition the consequences of his utopian Marxism, solid in exile, for the very diverse context of a displaced operating type group in post-war Britain.

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Example text

To whom,” sweet moron, “To whom,”’ said Porlock. ‘To whom did he telephone in his last and desperate hours, minutes and seconds? ’ ‘To whom, indeed,’ said the rentman. His eyes narrowed. And, as they narrowed, Mr Tal looked up from the table that shook. ’ said the rentman. Alarmed. ’ ‘Or telephone is,’ said the rentman. ’ I asked. ‘A metaphor,’ said the rentman. Mr Tal went back to his shoebox. ’ muttered Painter. He addressed an innertube. Pause. Mr Tal’s head was trembling as he bent to open his case.

He was short and wiry but his arms were long, very long, and he had absurd teeth. Slapstick teeth, he said. Much like his outsize nose and a pair of glasses that did not and would not sit straight. National Health, he said. Over one arm he had a gabardine raincoat and under his other was tucked a huge ledger, as if a Bible. Leather bound, he said – as if leather were a place, or destination. He wore a suit 36 the front room that was, he confessed, on the small side, the small side of things. Indeed, his trousers could not quite reach his shoes, try as ever they might; although three loyal pens stood to attention in the top pocket of his jacket.

Slapstick teeth, he said. Much like his outsize nose and a pair of glasses that did not and would not sit straight. National Health, he said. Over one arm he had a gabardine raincoat and under his other was tucked a huge ledger, as if a Bible. Leather bound, he said – as if leather were a place, or destination. He wore a suit 36 the front room that was, he confessed, on the small side, the small side of things. Indeed, his trousers could not quite reach his shoes, try as ever they might; although three loyal pens stood to attention in the top pocket of his jacket.

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