Walter Benjamin, born in 1892 in Berlin, was an important philosopher, literary critic and translator. He studied Philosophy in Freiburg, Munich and Berlin as well as German Literature and Psychology. In 1919 he obtained his Ph.D. in Berne on the subject of "The Concept of Art Criticism in German Romanticism". From 1920 to 1933 he lived and worked as a freelance writer in Berlin. During this time his essay Goethes Wahlverwandtschaften
[Goethe’s Elective Affinities](1924) and the books Einbahnstraße
(title of the English translation: One Way Street)
and Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (
title of the English translation: The Origin of German Tragic Drama)
(1928) were published. In 1933 he emigrated to Paris and continued to write in exile. In 1940 he tried to escape to the USA, and committed suicide when in Spanish Portbou he was threatened with deportation to the Germans.