The correspondence between Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, which appears here for the first time in its entirety in English translation, must rank among the most significant to have come down to us from that notable age of barbarism, the twentieth century. Benjamin and Adorno formed a uniquely powerful pair. Benjamin, riddle-like in his personality and given to tactical evasion, and Adorno, full of his own importance, alternately support and compete with each other throughout the correspondence, until its imminent tragic end becomes apparent to both writers. Each had met his match, and happily, in the other. This book is the story of an elective affinity. Adorno was the only person who managed to sustain an intimate intellectual relationship with Benjamin for nearly twenty years. No one else, not even Gershom Scholem, coaxed so much out of Benjamin.
The more than one hundred letters in this book will allow readers to trace the developing character of Benjamin's and Adorno's attitudes toward each other and toward their many friends. When this book appeared in German, it caused a sensation because it includes passages previously excised from other German editions of the letters--passages in which the two friends celebrate their own intimacy with frank remarks about other people. Ideas presented elliptically in the theoretical writings are set forth here with much greater clarity. Not least, the letters provide material crucial for understanding the genesis of Benjamin's Arcades Project.
Called “the most important critic of his time” by Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin has only become more influential over the years, as his work has assumed a crucial place in current debates over the interactions of art, culture, and meaning. A “natural and extraordinary talent for letter writing was one of the most captivating facets of his nature,” writes Gershom Scholem in his Foreword to this volume; and Benjamin's correspondence reveals the evolution of some of his most powerful ideas, while also offering an intimate picture of Benjamin himself and the times in which he lived.
Writing at length to Scholem and Theodor Adorno, and exchanging letters with Rainer Maria Rilke, Hannah Arendt, Max Brod, and Bertolt Brecht, Benjamin elaborates on his ideas about metaphor and language. He reflects on literary figures from Kafka to Karl Kraus, and expounds his personal attitudes toward such subjects as Marxism and French national character. Providing an indispensable tool for any scholar wrestling with Benjamin’s work, The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin, 1910–1940 is a revelatory look at the man behind much of the twentieth century’s most significant criticism.
Beginning in 1949, Theodor W. Adorno and other members of the reconstituted Frankfurt Institute for Social Research undertook a massive empirical study of German opinions about the legacies of the Nazis, applying and modifying techniques they had learned during their U.S. exile. They published their results in 1955 as a research monograph edited by Friedrich Pollock. The study's qualitative results are published here for the first time in English as Guilt and Defense, a psychoanalytically informed analysis of the rhetorical and conceptual mechanisms with which postwar Germans most often denied responsibility for the Nazi past. In their editorial introduction, Jeffrey K. Olick and Andrew J. Perrin show how Adorno’s famous 1959 essay “The Meaning of Working through the Past,” is comprehensible only as a conclusion to his long-standing research and as a reaction to the debate it stirred; this volume also includes a critique by psychologist Peter R. Hoffstater as well as Adorno’s rejoinder. This previously little-known debate provides important new perspectives on postwar German political culture, on the dynamics of collective memory, and on Adorno’s intellectual legacies, which have contributed more to empirical social research than has been acknowledged. A companion volume, Group Experiment and Other Writings, will present the first book-length English translation of the Frankfurt Group's conceptual, methodological, and theoretical innovations in public opinion research.
During the occupation of West Germany after the Second World War, the American authorities commissioned polls to assess the values and opinions of ordinary Germans. They concluded that the fascist attitudes of the Nazi era had weakened to a large degree. Theodor W. Adorno and his Frankfurt School colleagues, who returned in 1949 from the United States, were skeptical. They held that standardized polling was an inadequate and superficial method for exploring such questions. In their view, public opinion is not simply an aggregate of individually held opinions, but is fundamentally a public concept, formed through interaction in conversations and with prevailing attitudes and ideas “in the air.” In Group Experiment, edited by Friedrich Pollock, they published their findings on their group discussion experiments that delved deeper into the process of opinion formation. Andrew J. Perrin and Jeffrey K. Olick make a case that these experiments are an important missing link in the ontology and methodology of current social-science survey research.
Mahler: A Musical Physiognomy
Theodor W. Adorno University of Chicago Press, 1992 Library of Congress ML410.M23A5513 1991 | Dewey Decimal 780.924
Theodor W. Adorno goes beyond conventional thematic analysis to gain a more complete understanding of Mahler's music through his character, his social and philosophical background, and his moment in musical history. Adorno examines the composer's works as a continuous and unified development that began with his childhood response to the marches and folk tunes of his native Bohemia.
Since its appearance in 1960 in German, Mahler has established itself as a classic of musical interpretation. Now available in English, the work is presented here in a translation that captures the stylistic brilliance of the original.
Theodor W. Adorno (1903-69), one of the foremost members of the Frankfurt school of critical theory, studied with Alban Berg in Vienna during the late twenties, and was later the director of the Institute of Social Research at the University of Frankfurt from 1956 until his death. His works include Aesthectic Theory, Introduction to the Sociology of Music, The Jargon of Authenticity, Prism, and Philosophy of Modern Music.
Essays by Adorno on art and cinema, available in English for the first time.
In Without Model, Theodor W. Adorno strikingly demonstrates the intellectual range for which he is known. Taking the premise of the title as his guiding principle, that artistic and philosophical thought must eschew preconceptions and instead adapt itself to its time, circumstances, and object, Adorno presents a series of essays reflecting on culture at different levels, from the details of individual products to the social conditions of their production. He shows his more nostalgic side in the childhood reminiscences of ‘Amorbach’, but also his acute sociocultural analysis on the central topic of the culture industry. He criticizes attempts to maintain tradition in music and visual art, arguing against a restorative approach by stressing the modernity and individuality of historical works in the context of their time. In all of these essays, available for the first time in English, Adorno displays the remarkable thinking of one both steeped in tradition and dedicated to seeing beyond it.