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The Problem of Distraction$
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Paul North

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804775380

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804775380.001.0001

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Time Wears Away / Benjamin

Time Wears Away / Benjamin

(p.143) Chapter 5 Time Wears Away / Benjamin
The Problem of Distraction
Stanford University Press

This chapter examines Walter Benjamin's thoughts on the concept of distraction. It suggests that Benjamin's theory of distraction was based on Franz Kafka's insistence on a lack of transcendence and Martin Heidegger's insistence on the need for it. It also explains that while Kafka and Heidegger associated distraction with temporal problems, Benjamin ascribed to a specific historical movement. He believed that distraction is both dispersed and dissipating and that it appears only sporadically as a producer of and a response to historical turning points.

Keywords:   distraction, Walter Benjamin, Franz Kafka, Martin Heidegger, transcendence, historical movement

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