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Theodor W. Adorno

Aesthetic Theory

Edited by Gretel Adorno and Rolf Tiedemann
(German title: Ästhetische Theorie)
ca. 571 pages
Paperback
1973
Theodor W. Adorno
Foto: Theodor W. Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno was born on September 11, 1903 in Frankfurt am Main and died on August 6, 1969 from the consequences of a heart attack while on vacation in Visp/Valais. From 1921 to 1923 he studied Philosophy, Sociology and Musicology in Frankfurt and obtained his doctorate in 1924 with a thesis on »Transcendence of the Material and Noematic in Husserl’s Phenomenology«. He became friends with Siegfried Kracauer in his school days and later with Max Horkheimer and Walter Benjamin during their years at university. Alongside them, Adorno is one of the most important representatives of the »Frankfurt School«, which emerged from the Institute for Social Research at the Goethe University Frankfurt. The collected works of Theodor W. Adorno are published by Suhrkamp Verlag and have been translated into more than 40 languages.

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About

The »Aesthetic Theory« is Adorno’s last major work which was close to completion when he died. It is considered one of his main workds and was undoubtedly planned as such by Adorno: Aesthetic Theory, along with Negative Dialectics and another moral-philosophical work, was meant to demonstrate what Adorno – as he said – had to »put into the balance«.

Praise

»Aesthetic Theory is Adorno’s late magnum opus and among the most significant works on aesthetics of the twentieth century. It is the highly crafted product of a career dedicated to thinking about art as a crucial feature of modernity. Not only does it rework Adorno’s previous research around new categories – specifically mimesis – but, in an extension of his preoccupation with the problem of philosophical presentation, it offers a radical restructuring of the philosophical text. Most explicitly, Aesthetic Theory is an attempt to establish why and how it is through modern autonomous art that truth and freedom are to be revealed in developed capitalist societies.« Radical Philosophy

»Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory, originally published in 1973 […], appears at an extremely propitious moment in the development of art history and cultural studies. Adorno’s tract is densely written, yet philosophically expansive, aesthetics, at once negative and positive. Adorno’s text again recalls the writings of some of the authors and composers he liked most – Stephane Mallarme, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Arnold Schoenberg, and Alban Berg. Like them, Adorno rejected strict linearity in thought and motif, preferring instead to construct his compositions by means of circuits of reference, allusion, and repetition. Like their best works, Aesthetic Theory contains the stubborn insight-rarely offered by cultural critics today – that redemption may be glimpsed only by means of the most difficult and determined artistic ciphers of negation.« Art Journal

Other publications

Aspekte des neuen Rechtsradikalismus/Aspects of Contemporary Right-Wing Radicalism (2019)

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»Der liebe Gott wohnt im Detail« Briefwechsel 1939-1969/»The good Lord lives in the details« (2015)

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Briefe und Briefwechsel/Correspondence 1923-1966 (2008)

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Traumprotokolle/Dream Protocols (2005)

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Zu einer Theorie der musikalischen Reproduktion/Towards a Theory of Musical Reproduction (2005)

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Beethoven. Philosophie der Musik/Beethoven (2004)

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Gesammelte Schriften in 20 Bänden/Collected Writings in 20 Volumes (1997)

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Nachgelassene Schriften. Abteilung I: Fragment gebliebene Schriften/Posthumous Writings (1994)

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Philosophie der neuen Musik/Philosophy of Modern Music (1987)

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Philosophische Terminologie/Philosophical Terminology (1974)

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Philosophische Terminologie/Philosophical Terminology (1973)

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Gesammelte Schriften in 20 Bänden/Hegel (1963)

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Die musikalischen Monographien/Mahler (1960)

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Minima Moralia/Minima Moralia (1951)

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