On the Minute, Out of Time: Reading the Misreading of Time in Walter Benjamin's “Auf die Minute” (1934)

Robert Gary Ryder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

From its public birth in 1923 to the early 1930s, all German radio was “live,” in that early radio technology did not allow for edits and rerecordings. Such is the case described in Walter Benjamin's “Auf die Minute” (1934), his last published text on radio in which he describes his first experience in a radio studio. The text is often read as an allegory of his frustrated and ultimately failed attempt to change the course of German radio history. Nevertheless, “Auf die Minute” can also be read in the context of Benjamin's other references to both mechanical and historical time. This article suggests that this short text is less an allegorical eulogy of Weimar radio than a continuation of Benjamin's exploration into the problem of historical time and, more specifically, the possibility of having, even in the new medium of radio, what he calls a “genuine historical experience.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-235
Number of pages19
JournalGermanic Review
Volume91
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016

Keywords

  • clock
  • hell
  • history
  • media
  • radio
  • time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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