Things Beyond Resemblance: Collected Essays on Theodor W. Adorno (Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts)
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Theodor W. Adorno was a major twentieth-century philosopher and social critic whose writings on oppositional culture in art, music, and literature increasingly stand at the center of contemporary intellectual debate. In this excellent collection, Robert Hullot-Kentor, widely regarded as the most distinguished American translator and commentator on Adorno, gathers together sixteen essays he has written about the philosopher over the past twenty years.
The opening essay, "Origin Is the Goal," pursues Adorno's thesis of the dialectic of enlightenment to better understand the urgent social and political situation of the United States. "Back to Adorno" examines Adorno's idea that sacrifice is the primordial form of human domination; "Second Salvage" reconstructs Adorno's unfinished study of the transformation of music in radio transmission; and "What Is Mechanical Reproduction" revisits Adorno's criticism of Walter Benjamin. Further essays cover a broad range of topics: Adorno's affinities with Wallace Stevens and Nabokov, his complex relationship with Kierkegaard and psychoanalysis, and his critical study of popular music.
Many of these essays have been revised, with new material added that emphasizes the relevance of Adorno's thought to the United States today. Things Beyond Resemblance is a timely and richly analytical collection crucial to the study of critical theory, aesthetics, continental philosophy, and Adorno.
from the mythic powers” (Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 46 [translation modified]). 37. Ibid., p. 48 (translation modified). 38. Ibid., p. 79 (translation modified). 39. “Knowledge . . . can now become the dissolution of domination,” ibid, p. 42. 40. Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 461. 41. Ibid. 42. G. W. F. Hegel, Encyklopaedie, vol. 8, in Theorie Werkausgabe (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1971–1978), p. 265. 43. G. W. F. Hegel, Reason in History,
essay dynamic, with similar results. The essay is distinguished from art in that the medium of its attempt to be the full experience of its object is conceptual and it is distinguished from science in that it produces knowledge that is more than subjective definition. As these aspects of the essay are differentiated, a tension in the concept develops: the essay is not only opposed to science, as immanent criticism it shares a conceptual medium with science. But because the essay refuses to
means of any social psychology that would presuppose some kind of harmoniously nested Parsonian arrangement of human spheres. This is why, Adorno held, psychoanalytic approaches are seen to fail most perceptibly when they seek to understand the genuine barbarians of history who arrive on the hour to take over the reigns of nations in crisis—even of those countries that are so preoccupied with the tit for tat of buying and selling that they are only with the greatest intermittence aware of their
Tiedemann—the founding director of the Theodor W. Adorno-Archiv, now emeritus, and the editor of Adorno’s Collected Writings—was already driving south from Frankfurt for an extended stay, across borders, in the Dolomiti. It is worth wondering how these stories may be related. If readers could be encouraged to take sides here, some might insist—in this year of intense Frankfurt biographical research (three new biographies of Adorno were published in 2003 with more of the same forthcoming)—that
women to hear Beethoven symphonies, read Milton, or meditate appreciatively on Raphael’s Madonnas. Culture itself had entered into such opposition to the real conditions of life that it could no longer fulfill its age-old hope of humanizing the individual. Adorno was aware that these observations, though in some regard they took up where Tocqueville left off, were in their extremity of formulation unprecedented. No one had previously considered that the nature of the person could be so