… The modern age, Benjamin suggests, is defined by this sense of the precariousness of the past. Where history and tradition were once things to be handed down, generation by generation, they are now fleeting presences, which must be trapped in the same way birds or ghosts are trapped—deviously, by sideways approaches. “To articulate the past historically does not mean to recognise it ‘the way it really was,’ ” he writes. “It means to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger.” …

– From Walter Benjamin’s genius for surreal visions by Adam Kirsch as found at: https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/other/flights-of-the-dream-bird

 

 

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