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Unlimited goodwill. Suspension of the compulsive anxiety complex. The beautiful "character" unfolds. All of those present become comically iridescent. At the same time one is pervaded by their aura.

Walter Benjamin

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Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (Origin of German Tragic Drama 1928). A completed manuscript which Benjamin had carried in his suitcase disappeared after his death and has not been recovered. In 1917 he transferred to the University of Bern; there he met Ernst Bloch and Dora Sophie Pollak (née Kellner) (1890–1964) whom he later married.

His turn to Marxism in the 1930s was partly due to the influence of Bertolt Brecht whose critical aesthetics developed epic theatre and its Verfremdungseffekt (defamiliarisation alienation). Benjamin committed suicide in Portbou at the French–Spanish border while attempting to escape from the Nazis. Combining elements of German idealism or Romanticism Historical Materialism and Jewish mysticism Benjamin made enduring and influential contributions to aesthetic theory and Western Marxism and is associated with the Frankfurt School.

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