The great phantasmagorical season
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This work examines the prose of Bruno Schulz in the light of Walter Benjamin’s theories, - in particular, those pertaining to the specifics of urban life in the time of modernity, which is characterized by such phenomena as dreaming collective and phantasmagoria. These reflect the state of mind affected by a capitalism that shapes the relationships between people and commodity. Walter Benjamin speaks about three urban “Ur-types,” or forms of living: the flâneur, the collector and the prostitute. He also introduces such a category of analysis as the dialectical image, which consists in regarding a phenomenon not in the framework of linear time, but as “dialectics at a standsill,” similar to the (constantly developing) image momentarily arrested by a flash of lightning. I analyze Schulz’s prose and the Benjaminian “urban types” (flâneur, collector, prostitute) in his prose, and focusing on the dialectical images that accompany them. I strive to demonstrate that Schulz, in his prose, reflects the condition of urban modernity despite writing about a small town and not a megapolis, like Benjamin.