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Hardcover | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780262022682 | 512 pp. | 6 x 9 in | November 1989
Paperback | $49.00 Short | £36.95 | ISBN: 9780262521642 | 512 pp. | 6 x 9 in | July 1991

Instructor Resources

The Dialectics of Seeing

Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project

About the Author

Susan Buck-Morss is Professor of Political Philosophy and Social Theory, Department of Government, and Professor of Visual Culture, Department of Art History, Cornell University.


“Buck-Morss has written a wonderful book. Although rigorously analytic, the book doesn't sacrifice those qualities in Benjamin's writing that are not reducible to method. His lyrical, hallucinatory evocation of the city as a place of dreams, myths, expectations.”—Herbert Muschamp, Artforum
“Wonderfully imaginative...Like Benjamin, Buck-Morss is a surrealist explorer, her mysteries unraveled by intuition, revealed by illusion.”—Eugen Weber, The New Republic


“Susan Buck-Morss delves into Walter Benjamin's 'Arcades Project' with the same passionate thoroughness, critical wisdom, appetite for irony and subversion, and the sleuth's love for the search with which Benjamin himself explored/late 19th century Parisian arcades. It is a wonderful commentary on both Benjamin's important work and the formation of our consumerist presebt. The Dialectics of Seeing provokes one to think in new ways about many things.”
Professor Paul Breines, Department of History, Carney Hall Boston College
“In the vast literature on Walter Benjamin which has taken on almost industrial proportions, this book of Susan Buck-Morss is a true relief-- a brilliant reconstruction of the almost invisible text of Benjamin's Arcades Project. Reconstructing the philisophical and political meanings hidden in the fragments of Benjamin's quotes and notes, this book represents a magistreral masterpiece illuminating Benjamin's philosophy of mass culture and its redepmtive features. Critical theory has found in her one of its few incorruptable and irreplaceable interpreters.”
Leo Lowenthal, Professor of Sociology, University of California and Frankfurt University, West Germany