Prismatic Thought: Theodor W. Adorno

Prismatic Thought: Theodor W. Adorno

by Peter Uwe Hohendahl
     
 

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A leading figure in the Frankfurt School of philosophers from the 1930s through the time of his death in 1969, Adorno was the author of influential philosophical and sociological works on issues ranging from aesthetics, music history, and mass culture to politics, modern technology, and the Western philosophical tradition.
 
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Overview


A leading figure in the Frankfurt School of philosophers from the 1930s through the time of his death in 1969, Adorno was the author of influential philosophical and sociological works on issues ranging from aesthetics, music history, and mass culture to politics, modern technology, and the Western philosophical tradition.
 
Prismatic Thought is a brilliant tour of Adorno’s work, with special emphasis on his aesthetic writings. Peter Uwe Hohendahl opens with a pair of chapters that considers Adorno’s years of exile in the United States during the Second World War and his return in the early 1950s to a West Germany harrowed by its recent Nazi past and responsibility for the Holocaust. He then examines Adorno’s writings on literature, language, poetry, philosophy, and mass culture in relation to modern history. Throughout the book, Hohendahl argues that Adorno’s work "ultimately resists the desire for systematic order, the search for a grand design that gives meaning to all the individual texts."
 
Prismatic Thought is distinguished by Hohendahl’s sensitivity to the historical and intellectual conditions of Adorno’s time and by his mastery of the myriad Adorno studies of the past twenty-five years. Equally important is his description of Adorno’s relevance to our own age. In the course of situating Adorno in his own era, Hohendahl introduces us to an Adorno who is also our contemporary.

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Editorial Reviews

Shierry Weber Nicholsen

"A richly nuanced reading of some of the crucial ambiguities, multiplicities and internal developments in Adorno’s work."—Shierry Weber Nicholsen, translator of Adorno’s Prisms and Notes to Literature
Library Journal
Hohendahl (German and comparative literature, Cornell Univ.) provides a useful guide to both the development of Adorno's (1903-69) political and aesthetic philosophies and his critical reception in the United States, where he lived during and immediately following World War II. Adorno's Marxism and the unevenness of his scholarly acceptance in different aesthetic spheres-well known in music studies, virtually ignored by American literature scholars-amplify the problem of his writings being difficult to translate well. Hohendahl goes far in giving graduate students and scholars access to diverse aspects of Adorno's work, thus offering the possibility of a latecoming acknowledgement of Adorno as an insightful critic. For academic collections.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., Cal.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803273054
Publisher:
UNP - Nebraska Paperback
Publication date:
04/28/1997
Series:
Modern German Culture and Literature
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
287
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.66(d)

Meet the Author


Peter Uwe Hohendahl is Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Cornell University. His books include Building a National Literature: The Case of Germany, 1830–1870 and The Institution of Criticism. He is editor of A History of German Literary Criticism, 1730–1980 (Nebraska 1988).

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