Walter Benjamin in Ibiza

April 18, 2018



I've been reading Howard Eiland's and Michael W. Jennings' biography of Walter Benjamin. Although I'm disappointed about how the book is written, it was nice to find out about some particularities of Walter Benjamin. Here a few about his stay in Ibiza in 1932 and 1933:

Benjamin was a flaneur par excellence, but going on a walk with Benjamin wasn't a quick undertaking. Apparently, each time he got an idea while walking, he stopped, murmuring "Tiens, tiens!" He admitted that walking kept him from thinking. "Tiens, tiens!" became his nickname in Ibiza. 

In Ibiza, Benjamin also got another nickname "el miserable," since he was poor and consequently not in a very optimistic mood. Being a freelance writer, Benjamin joked, had the advantage that one may be fully employed even when not being paid. 

In a letter to Gretel Karplus, the later Gretel Adorno,  Benjamin described how, under the influence of opium, he "obtained significant results in my study of curtains - for a curtain separated us from the balcony that looked out on the city and the sea." Benjamin coined the word "rideaulogie"  - the discipline that studies curtains. In his Crock Notes  ("crock" being a code word for hashish and opium) he mentions that curtains are "interpreters of the language of the wind."



I've been reading Howard Eiland's and Michael W. Jennings' biography of Walter Benjamin. Although I'm disappointed about how the book is written, it was nice to find out about some particularities of Walter Benjamin. Here a few about his stay in Ibiza in 1932 and 1933: Benjamin was a flaneur par excellence, but going on a walk with Benjamin wasn't a quick undertaking. Apparently, each time he got an idea while walking, he stop…


I've been reading Howard Eiland's and Michael W. Jennings' biography of Walter Benjamin. Although I'm disappointed about how the book is written, it was nice to find out about some particularities of Walter Benjamin. Here a few about his stay in Ibiza in 1932 and 1933:

Benjamin was a flaneur par excellence, but going on a walk with Benjamin wasn't a quick undertaking. Apparently, each time he got an idea while walking, he stopped, murmuring "Tiens, tiens!" He admitted that walking kept him from thinking. "Tiens, tiens!" became his nickname in Ibiza. 

In Ibiza, Benjamin also got another nickname "el miserable," since he was poor and consequently not in a very optimistic mood. Being a freelance writer, Benjamin joked, had the advantage that one may be fully employed even when not being paid. 

In a letter to Gretel Karplus, the later Gretel Adorno,  Benjamin described how, under the influence of opium, he "obtained significant results in my study of curtains - for a curtain separated us from the balcony that looked out on the city and the sea." Benjamin coined the word "rideaulogie"  - the discipline that studies curtains. In his Crock Notes  ("crock" being a code word for hashish and opium) he mentions that curtains are "interpreters of the language of the wind."



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