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Theodor W. Adorno

Aspects of Contemporary Right-Wing Radicalism - A Lecture

With an afterword by Volker Weiß

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On the SPIEGEL Bestseller List in July and August 2019

»It is very often the case that convictions and ideologies assume their demonic, their truly destructive nature once they are no longer that substantial in the objective situation.«

»How these things continue, and the responsibility for how they continue, ultimately lies with us.«

About

On 6 April 1967 Theodor W. Adorno gave a lecture at the University of Vienna as a guest of the Socialist Students of Austria, a lecture which, from today’s point of view, is not only of historical interest. Against the backdrop of the rise of the NPD, which in the first two years after its founding in November 1964 had already seen surprising success at the polls, Adorno analyses the goals, resources, and tactics of the new right-wing radicalism of his time. Contrasting it with »old« Nazi-Fascism, he gives a close examination of the reasons for which extreme right-wing movements were finding a positive reception – 20 years after the end of the war – in segments of the population of the Federal Republic.

Since then a lot has changed, but some things have remained the same or even, 50 years on, come back again. And thus Aspects of Contemporary Right-Wing Radicalism reads like a message-in-a-bottle to the future, whose value for our present Volker Weiß presents in his afterword.

The collected works of Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969) are published by Suhrkamp Verlag and have been translated into more than 40 languages.

Praise

»Most of all, Adorno was a great polymath, one of the last exemplars in a long tradition of European thinkers, who constantly transgressed the conventional academic boundaries that separate the disciplines - philosophy from sociology, politics from aesthetics, even music from morality.« Peter E. Gordon, New York Review of Books

»As his striking speech in Vienna from 52 years ago shows, he is still the man of the hour.« The German Times

»It sounds like a form of academic coquetry when Adorno calls his theses ›simple‹ and warns us against premature conclusions. But what does simple mean? In the end, Adorno’s descriptions are extremely dense, and the historian Volker Weiß is correct when, in his cleverly balanced afterword, he indicates that some of these theses remain strikingly evident even today.« Thomas Assheuer, DIE ZEIT

»Taking the more than 50 year-old text into one’s hands, after just a few pages one is shocked at just how actual many of those aspects Adorno singled out are.« Arno Widmann, Frankfurter Rundschau

»Adorno’s 1967 [...] Vienna lecture on aspects of new right-wing radicalism in many ways reads like a commentary on the rise of the AfD.« Georg Dotzauer, Der Tagesspiegel

»What would Adorno say today about so-called right-wing populism? One can give a rather solid answer to this question, for on 6 April 1967 the philosopher held [...] a lecture on aspects of new right-wing radicalism, and, in some cases, his thoughts are astonishingly relevant to today’s situation.« Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

»Amazingly one often has the impression that what’s written here was not thought half a century ago, but just now. [...] in places like [here] you can easily watch Adorno’s dialectic at work.« Jens-Christian Rabe, Süddeutsche Zeitung

»Adorno’s observations on aspects of new right-wing radicalism are not only amazingly topical, but of a subtlety absent in many current publications on the right.« Michael Angele, der Freitag

»No speck of dust has settled on the lines. Propaganda, a perfidious web of lies, is still the essence of right-wing radicalism.« Caroline Fetscher, Der Tagesspiegel

»Indeed, many passages of the lecture read like a direct comment on the methods and ideology of the right-wing politics since 2015. […] At the same time, it is kept so open and pointedly not authoritarian or commanding that nowadays it can be read an invitation to develop its ideas further.« Benjamin Moldenhauer, Der Spiegel

»Theodor W. Adorno gave a lecture about the New Right in 1967. It is surprisingly topical today.« Marc Reichwein, Die Literarische Welt

»Aspects of Contemporary Right-Wing Radicalism is the title of the philosopher’s analysis. It was written in 1967. But it is as though Adorno had written it for us today.« Michael Kluger, Frankfurter Neue Presse

» […] Aspects of Contemporary Right-Wing Radicalism from 1967 impresses with its clarity and analytical societal depth. A priceless asset for everyone wishing to better understand the dynamics of right-wing radicalism and to strengthen democratic culture.« SWR

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Beethoven. Philosophie der Musik/Beethoven (2004)

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

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Die musikalischen Monographien/Mahler (1960)

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Minima Moralia/Minima Moralia (1951)

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