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Benjamin and New Left Books (now Verso) – and Libris

Further to this discussion of the Benjamin archive book, published in English by Verso, some invaluable notes on the history of the publication of Walter Benjamin’s writings can be found [here], as a prelude to the publication next year of Erdmut Wizisla’s Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht: the story of a friendship, 1924–1940.1 Let the Verso editorial staff read these notes, and learn.

And let this be the occasion to celebrate Libris, on the eve of its twenty-first birthday. Though it is now known mainly as an exceptional importer of German-language culture into the English language, in its earlier phase the list ranged more widely. Throughout it has shown a spirit of unapologetic intelligence and belief in serious art, allied with the wish to make accessible, clear, outreaching books, in their form as well as their content. Behind these books one can discern a model editorial intelligence – ‘model’, partly because it is so self-effacing.

1 Update 2023: the Libris website is now no more. The English-language edition of Wizisla’s book is now discussed here.