Faculty Video: Walter Benjamin’s The Storyteller

On October 7th, BISR faculty Christine Smallwood, Ajay Singh Chaudhary, Suzanne Schneider, novelist Hermione Hoby, and translator Tess Lewis gathered at the American Folk Art Museum to mark the republication, by NYRB, of Walter Benjamin’s landmark “The Storyteller” essay; and to discuss its meaning and enduring relevancefor modern politics, communication, literature, and sensibility. Questions pondered include: What is communicable experience, and why does Benjamin think we lack it? What does novel-reading do for us? How is knowledge acquired collectively? Is political, cultural, and social fragmentation endemic to “modern” life, and if so, can it be overcome? The event, captured in its entirety on video, is watchable below: