On Hashish by Walter BenjaminOn Hashish by Walter Benjamin

On Hashish

byWalter BenjaminEditorHoward EilandIntroduction byMarcus Boon

Paperback | May 30, 2006 | German

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Walter Benjamin's posthumously published collection of writings on hashish is a detailed blueprint for a book that was never written--a "truly exceptional book about hashish," as Benjamin describes it in a letter to his friend Gershom Scholem. A series of "protocols of drug experiments," written by himself and his co-participants between 1927 and 1934, together with short prose pieces that he published during his lifetime, On Hashish provides a peculiarly intimate portrait of Benjamin, venturesome as ever at the end of the Weimar Republic, and of his unique form of thought.

Consciously placing himself in a tradition of literary drug-connoisseurs from Baudelaire to Hermann Hesse, Benjamin looked to hashish and other drugs for an initiation into what he called "profane illumination." At issue here, as everywhere in Benjamin's work, is a new way of seeing, a new connection to the ordinary world. Under the influence of hashish, as time and space become inseparable, experiences become subtly stratified and resonant: we inhabit more than one plane in time. What Benjamin, in his contemporaneous study of Surrealism, calls "image space" comes vividly to life in this philosophical immersion in the sensuous.

This English-language edition of On Hashish features a section of supplementary materials--drawn from Benjamin's essays, letters, and sketches--relating to hashish use, as well as a reminiscence by his friend Jean Selz, which concerns a night of opium-smoking in Ibiza. A preface by Howard Eiland discusses the leading motifs of Benjamin's reflections on intoxication.

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was the author of many works of literary and cultural analysis.
Title:On HashishFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 7.5 × 5.5 × 0.56 inPublished:May 30, 2006Publisher:HarvardLanguage:German

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0674022211

ISBN - 13:9780674022218


Table of Contents

Translator's Foreword

Abbreviations and a Note on the Texts

"Walter Benjamin and Drug Literature,"
by Marcus Boon

Editorial Note,
by Tillman Rexroth

Protocols of Drug Experiments (1-12)

Completed Texts


"Hashish in Marseilles"


From One-Way Street

From "Surrealism"

From "May-June 1931"

From The Arcades Project

From the Notebooks

From the Letters

"An Experiment by Walter Benjamin," by Jean Selz



Editorial Reviews

Benjamin's work continues to fascinate and delight because it has something for everyone: the literary critic, art historian, philosopher, urban theorist and architect. Whether he is talking about children's toys, Mickey Mouse, Surrealism, photography, or Kafka, Benjamin has a knack for figuring out what they can tell us about the wider world that produced them.