Hope and the Lessons of Experience
First impressions notwithstanding, hope is not quite as ubiquitous in Benjamin as one might think. Moreover, it is difficult to disentangle from related notions such as salvation/rescue, escape among others. The lecture addresses these problems by focussing on the fact that Benjamin's notion of hope is not oriented towards the future but the past. With this shift to the past, the idea of experience gains importance. Reading early texts such as "The Life of Students" and "On the Program of a Coming Philosophy" up to and including the essay on Goethe's "Elective Affinities" the paper hopes to shed some light on early Benjamin's conception of hope.
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science