Walter Benjamin was one of the most original and important critical voices of the twentieth century, but until now only a few of his writings have been available in English. This volume, the first of three, will at last give readers of English a true sense of the man and the mans' theets of his thought. A separate volume will consist of his book 'The arcades project', the magnum opus of his Paris years. Volume I brings together essays long and short, academic treatises, reviews, fragments, and privately circulated pronouncements. Fully five-sixths of this material has never before been translated into English. The contents begin in 1913, when Benjamin, as an undergraduate in imperial Germany, was president of a radical youth group, and take us through 1926, when he had already begun, with his explorations of the world of mass culture, to emerge as a critical voice in Weimar Germany's most influential journals.