This book is Benjamin's effort to represent and to critique the bourgeois experience of 19th century history, and, in so doing, to liberate the suppressed true history that underlay the ideological mask. In the bustling, cluttered arcades, street and interior merge and historical time is broken up into kaleidoscopic distractions and displays of ephemera. Here, at a distance from what is rmally meant by progress, Benjamin finds the lost time(s) embedded in the spaces of things.
Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was the author of many works of literary and cultural analysis. Howard Eiland teaches literature at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kevin McLaughlin is Assistant Professor of English at Brown University and the author of Writing in Parts: Imitation and Exchange in Nineteenth-Century Literature.