Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was the quintessential European intellectual between the two world wars. Historian, philosopher, literary critic, student of language and culture, and journalist, the independent scholar was forever trying to define himself and his time as products of a tradition in crisis.In a very real sense, Benjamin's life and work were one-a chronicle of the modern European intellectual and mirror of an era. Bernd Witte's interpretive biography introduces Benjamin through critical thought and through topics and authors that ignited Benjamin's work. For the first time, English readers have the opportunity to survey the facts surrounding Benjamin's life and assess the interpretations of his texts. Witte's quest for Benjamin's own perspective yields a full chronology and sympathetic mastery of Benjamin's ideas. The German edition, titled Walter Benjamin: Einfiihrung in Leben und Werk, was published in 1985.