Walter Benjamin’s radio addresses for young people remain a comparatively neglected part of his work. New scholarship and translations have begun to address this, however. This arti- cle argues that the radio addresses, and particularly the address on the Borsig locomotive and machine works, deserve a prominent place within the critical and intellectual trajectory of Ben- jamin’s career. A close reading of “Borsig” demonstrates how the addresses model the modes of experience mediated by and through Benjamin’s master figure of the flaneur and generate the possibility for a historical pedagogy adequate to modernity. In the radio addresses, in general, and in “Borsig,” in particular, the mediation of experience entirely through sound and the nar- rating voice requires the simultaneity of past, present, and future that resolves into Benjamin’s theory of history. “Borsig” thus points directly toward the stakes of the Passagen-Werk and Benjamin’s later theoretical essays.
The German Quarterly
This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Amidon, Kevin S. “The flaneur in the Borsig locomotive works: Walter Benjamin, the Berlin Radio Youth Hour, and sound as pedagogy.” German Quarterly, 2023 (Winter), pp. 56-73., which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/gequ.12320. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Amidon, Kevin S. “The flaneur in the Borsig locomotive works: Walter Benjamin, the Berlin Radio Youth Hour, and sound as pedagogy.” German Quarterly, 2023 (Winter), pp. 56-73. https://doi.org/10.1111/gequ.12320