Walter Benjamin uses the figure das bucklichte Männlein in four texts, three of which are central to his thinking on and about history, memory, remembrance and messianism. This article argues that this figure, the “hunchbacked dwarf”, is key to understanding Benjamin’s later thinking, seeking to show how the figure is used to visualize problems regarding history, remembrance and politics. The hunchback is at once a destructive and a productive force. Its presence opens for temporal disruption, which in Benjamin’s case connotes directly to the understanding of time and of history. The disruption/remembrance-dialectic is used to problematize the construction of history, its political and theological impeachments, and the possibilities of revolutionary and/or messianic redemption that lie in the perception of history and the attentiveness of the writer of history. Das bucklichte Männlein, I argue, may be understood as a figure opening for a change in the perception of history, and thus in the construction thereof.
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