The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923-1950 (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism)

The Dialectical Imagination: A History of the Frankfurt School and the Institute of Social Research, 1923-1950 (Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism)

Martin Jay

Language: English

Pages: 382

ISBN: 0520204239

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, Max Horkheimer, Franz Neumann, Theodor Adorno, Leo Lowenthal—the impact of the Frankfurt School on the sociological, political, and cultural thought of the twentieth century has been profound. The Dialectical Imagination is a major history of this monumental cultural and intellectual enterprise during its early years in Germany and in the United States. Martin Jay has provided a substantial new preface for this edition, in which he reflects on the continuing relevance of the work of the Frankfurt School.














superiors. By this time the purge trials were at their height, and like many others, Massing was becoming disenchanted with Stalinist practice. Although discouraged by his wife, he decided to go to the Soviet Union, as he remembers it, out of a sense of honor to announce his break with communism. What began as a two-week visit ended as an eight-month nightmare with no certainty of survival.122 Finally, in 1938, Massing was permitted to leave both Moscow and the Party, but his involvement with

seriously undermined by the composer’s accusation that his ideas had been stolen without attribution; Mann added an explanation to all subsequent editions of the novel.109 Philosophy of Modern Music itself appeared the following year, with a section on Stravinsky written during the war to balance the Schönberg chapters. Later, Adorno was to call the entire work a long excursus on Dialectic of the Enlightenment, which we shall examine in Chapter 8. In the forties Adorno also collaborated with

and published in 1951. Its fragmented, aphoristic style was no accident: to Adorno negation and the truth it precariously preserved could be expressed only in tentative, incomplete ways. Here Critical Theory’s fundamental distrust of systematizing was carried to its extreme. The location of philosophical insight was no longer to be found in abstract, coherent, architectonic systems, as in Hegel’s day, but rather in subjective, private reflection. In his introduction, Adorno emphasized how far he

person until 1938. 174. Benjamin, “Zum gegenwärtigen gesellschaftlichen Standort des französischen Schriftstellers,” ZfS III, 1 (1934). In his discussion of French writers from Barrès to Gide, Benjamin showed his distance from the Leninist strain in Marxist aesthetics. For example, he contended that surrealism, although beginning apolitically with Apollinaire, was moving towards reconciliation with political praxis, in the work of Breton and Aragon (p. 73). 175. Briefe, vol. II, p. 652. 176.

when Hamsun joined Quisling’s collaborators in Norway. This explicit confirmation of the trends Lowenthal had discerned under the surface of Hamsun’s novels was one of the most unambiguous successes of the Institut’s program. It was, in fact, in his treatment of nature that Lowenthal had seen anticipations of Hamsun’s authoritarianism. In later years, Horkheimer and Adorno would call for a reconciliation of man and nature, but, as we shall see, in a way very different from that depicted in

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