Benjamin's "Goethe's Elective Affinities," Criticism, Love, and Cinema

Do30Mär(Mär 30)14:30Fr31(Mär 31)14:00Benjamin's "Goethe's Elective Affinities," Criticism, Love, and CinemaWorkshop with Eli FriedlanderVeranstaltungsartWorkshop

Eli Friedlander Benjamin's Goethe's elective affinities


On March 30 and 31, the GRK „Normativity – Critique– Change“ will host a workshop on „Benjamin’s ‚Goethe’s Elective Affinities‘, Criticism, Love, and Cinema“ with Eli Friedlander as well as contributions by Georg Bertram, Andrea Messner, Jochen Schuff, Pioter Shmugliakov, and Tobias Wieland. Please register via

Walter Benjamin’s „Goethe’s Elective Affinities” is one of the richest texts of the philosopher’s œuvre, comprising a multilayered set of issues that range from those explicitly raised by the novel – such as marriage, fate, etc. – to those pertaining to a philosophical theory of criticism: that is, to the very idea of engaging with such issues as marriage or fate by way of interpreting a literary text. The aim of the upcoming workshop is to acquire a fresh understanding of the essay and to explore its relevance to contemporary debates in aesthetics, the philosophy of love, and film philosophy.

The workshop consists of two parts. On the first day of the workshop, we shall undertake a reading of Benjamin’s essay together with Eli Friedlander (Tel Aviv University, the author of Walter Benjamin: A Philosophical Portrait, Harvard UP, 2012) whose upcoming new interpretation will be made available in advance to registered participants. The second day will be devoted to a series of short attempts to appropriate the essay’s ideas in further contexts, examining – among other things – its connection to Benjamin’s later work, its intersections with the work of Stanley Cavell, and the significance of Goethe’s text to current debates about love and polyamory. Contributions will be by Georg Bertram, Andrea Messner, Jochen Schuff, Pioter Shmugliakov, and Tobias Wieland.

Venue: GRK „Normativity, Critique, Change“, FU Berlin, Altensteinstraße 15, 14195 Berlin

If you are interested please register via As the space at the venue is limited, first come first serve applies. 

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30 (Donnerstag) 14:30 - 31 (Freitag) 14:00

Freie Universität BerlinHabelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin