„Benjamin describes the revolutionary moment when the past suddenly bursts into the present, as if rising from the grave to rectify the wrongs it suffered at the hands of a banally triumphant progress. Thus Benjamin’s historical materialism implies a capacity to link otherwise separate and distant moments in time through a profound empathy. The empathy takes on a revolutionary character by disrupting the regularity of quotidian temporality. Without this sort of tie to the past, no critical stance in the present is possible.“
— Russell Berman
Fiction Sets You Free: Literature, Liberty and Western Culture (2007), p. 18.