I agree with Alex Gelley that Auerbach’s unpacking of figuration is a question of hermeneutics, of the reading and interpreting of historical events, different than Benjamin’s interest in allegory perhaps, but of close enough filiation for them to have perhaps talked about it in Berlin when Benjamin was working on the Trauerspiel book, as they talked about Baroque emblem books during those years. (It might even be that it is in Benjamin’s reading of how the actual emblems of the Baroque worked that we can see similarities. To go into this comparison would make this post too long.) In any case, it is difficult for me to imagine that Auerbach and Benjamin were not participating in the more, well, inclusive, ecumenical – or perhaps better, cross pollinating (and thus mutually contaminating…) – conversations about allegory going on at the time (cf. Warburg, Panofsky, etc.). These are the kinds of conversations that I try to listen in on in Benjamin’s Library, as I state there on p. 12, as part of a project of creating a new ‘horizon of meaning’ for Benjamin’s claims about allegory, redemption, messianism, Ursprung, and so on. Such claims would then be precisely not “utterly idiosyncratic” – although they are often stated in mystifying ways. Braider’s formulation in his post is cunning: “We’re no longer obliged to see things as [Benjamin] did, or to try to see them through some understanding of how he did,” from within his famously “abstruse” system and logic, in other words. Rather, it is (I argue) only from a position outside of his own that Benjamin’s reading of the Baroque made be allowed to make a new kind of sense.