Contending with Violent Words; or, The Afterthought of (In)Civility

Philosophy and Rhetoric 44 (4):403-423 (2011)
The lost opportunity is overwhelming, an exigence in the full sense—a recollection of that which can only remain forgotten. In the midst of the storm, what to do now? If this is the question with which Walter Benjamin began, in a poem published in 1910 under the pseudonym "Ardor," it is one over which he kept a solemn vigil, rarely letting it slip from view, even as the border closed in the months not long after he rendered Klee's 1920 painting, Angelus Novus, into the emblem of a critique that seeks the "shard of weak messianic power" that comes to recognizability only in a history "filled full by now-time [Jetztzeit]" (2011, 22-23; 2003, 395). A hope then, a feeling that even as the storm from paradise blows ..
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