Victoria Kahn: Allegory, Emptiness, and Redemption

Victoria Kahn

I want to respond to Jennings’s definition of allegory as the attempt to conjure meaning in an empty world, both in the seventeenth century and in Benjamin’s own time. Newman brings out the significance of Benjamin’s dubious claim that all the writers of Trauerspiele were Lutherans by linking it to the Lutheran war theology of World War I. She notes Benjamin’s critique of WWI war theology in his comments on “the empty world of inauthentic actions” of the German baroque. But her claim that Benjamin is really criticizing Germany for the failure to develop “a religious program in any more than a merely instrumental way” seems questionable. Can we really read the Trauerspiel book as “an allegory of modern German’s blocked path to redemption?” If so, how literally are we supposed to take redemption?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.