Download Adorno Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts by Geoff Boucher PDF

By Geoff Boucher

Brushed aside as a depressing elitist who condemned pop culture within the identify of ‘high art’, Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969) is among the such a lot provocative and demanding but least understood of up to date thinkers. This publication attracts on new translations into English to problem this renowned snapshot and re-examines Adorno as a utopian thinker who believed actual paintings may possibly store the world.

Adorno Reframed is not just a finished advent to the reader coming to Adorno for the 1st time via certain dialogue of works of art, novels, movies and tune, yet a huge re-examination of this founding father of the Frankfurt university. motivated by way of Kant, Hegel, Freud, Marx, Nietzche and Kierkegaard, Adorno used to be a searing critic of the formal, reductive rationality of the Enlightenment and of modernity. Unafraid to speak about human nature, undaunted via dogmas concerning cultural development, Adorno enjoyed artwork that hurts, that challenged the existing tradition of the day and resisted the controlled, commodified pseudo-happiness of ‘administered society’. protecting the independence of the flora and fauna and the particularity of the human person, for Adorno actual genuine artwork used to be a defiant refusal to subordinate the materiality of the realm and the lived truth of human task to the imperatives of social totality.

Making his idea available via a wealth of concrete illustrations, many drawn from Adorno himself, Geoffrey Boucher recasts Adorno as a progressive whose anthropological imaginative and prescient of the human situation, feel of subversive irony and profoundly ancient aesthetics defended the integrity of the person opposed to the commodified tradition industries that offer unsatisfying customer ‘happiness’. Grounding Adorno’s social philosophy and aesthetic conception in contextualised research of artists starting from Stockhausen and Kafka to David Lynch and Brett Easton-Ellis, Adorno Reframed takes its topic from interwar modernity into the postmodern and feminist current to ascertain the legacy and effect of Adorno’s radical modernism and his trust that artwork used to be within the bottom line how to focus on, now not break out, fact.

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25 Introduction Germany’s belated modernisation at the turn of the century led to the rapid imposition of urbanisation, commercialisation and industrialisation on the population. Fresh from the horrors of the First World War – a war fought between kings and emperors on behalf of bankers and industrialists – the Expressionists ‘violently opposed the bourgeois ideologies of science and progress’ (Kellner, 1983: 27). They grasped the connection between a technological society, scientific-technical reason and that dehumanisation of everyday life which culminated in mechanised battlefields.

The process of appropriation enables readers to clarify their own experiences and understanding of life and to broaden their own horizons … Through the mediation of realist literature, the soul of the masses is made receptive to an understanding of the great, progressive and democratic epoch of human history. (Lukács, 2007: 56) For Lukács, realist works are deep (not superficial) and complex (not one-dimensional), yet popularly accessible, rather than deliberately difficult works reserved for cultural specialists.

But Adorno is no longer a Marxist, which means that the threat of the liquidation of individuality is not certain to be ‘dialectically’ reversed into a new vision of human flourishing by means of communist revolution. Yet without the perspective of a social alternative, one that can only be glimpsed in the present and which would be betrayed by its articulation as a blueprint, Adorno lacks a normative standard for his penetrating criticisms. Therefore, Adorno retains the Marxist diagnosis, but rejects the Marxist cure.

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