This book offers a radically new interpretation of the work of Theodor Adorno. In contrast to the conventional view that Adorno's is in essence a critical philosophy, Yvonne Sherratt systematically traces an utopian thesis that pervades all the major aspects of Adorno's thought. She places Adorno's work in the context of German Idealist and later Marxist and Freudian traditions, and then analyzes his key works to show how the aesthetic, epistemological, psychological, historical and sociological thought interconnect to form an utopian image.
"It is a book which ought to be read not only by scholars and students of critical theory but also of those interested in Adorno who, despite themselves, yearn to describe the glass as being half full." Philosophy in Review
Preface; Abbreviations; General introduction; Prelude to Adorno's Intellectual Tradition: Prelude I: Adorno's intellectual tradition: German philosophy; Prelude II: Adorno's intellectual tradition: Sigmund Freud; Part I. Negative Thesis: The Decline of Enlightenment: 1. The decline of subjectivity: the instincts; 2. The decline of subjectivity: narcissism; 3. The decline of knowledge acquisition; 4. Knowledge acquisition: a negative solution; Part II. Positive Thesis: The Redemption of Enlightenment: 5. The aesthetic: aura; 6. Knowledge acquisition: an aesthetic form; 7. A positive dialectic of knowledge acquisition; 8. A positive dialectic of subjectivity: the instincts; 9. A positive dialectic of subjectivity: the structure of the self; Concluding comments; Bibliography; Index.