In Walter Benjamin. Presence of Mind, Failure to Comprehend Stéphane Symons offers an innovative reading of the work of German philosopher, essayist and literary critic Walter Benjamin (1892-1940). Oftentimes interpreted as being either of a theological (Jewish-Messianic) or a materialist (neo-Marxist) nature, Benjamin’s writings are here characterized as "neither a-theological, nor immediately theological."
Starting from Benjamin’s philosophy of history, his interpretation of the work of Franz Kafka, his study on the German Baroque and his critique of modernity, Walter Benjamin. Presence of Mind, Failure to Comprehend zooms in on the issue of how a belief in the possibility of redemption and an attentiveness [Aufmerksamkeit] to expressions of an absolute force can endure within a universe that is nevertheless confronted as unfulfilled.