Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was a literary critic of modernism, writing commentary on authors such as Proust and Kafka. Gershom Scholem was a precocious teenager when he became Benjamin's close friend. His account of that relationship - crucial for both men until Benjamin's suicide in 1940 - is at once a tribute to his friend's genius and a lament for his personal and (as Scholem sees it) intellectual self-destructiveness. Prickly but also poignant, this book revisits passionate engagements with Marxism and the Kabbalah, Germany and Palestine, as if Scholem sought to summon up his friend's spirit, to have the last word in the argument that might have saved his life.
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