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Theodor W. Adorno

»The good Lord lives in the details« - Theodor W. Adorno/Gershom Scholem, Letters 1939-1969

Edited by Asaf Angermann

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»Dear Sir, Teacher of Wisdom and Colleague…«

About

»I really like him and we find that we have an awful lot to say to each other« Gershom Scholem wrote to Walter Benjamin in 1938. With »he« Scholem meant Theodor W. Adorno, the man whom Scholem had recently met in New York. It was to be the beginning of a 30-year-long amicable and intellectual relationship as well as the prelude to a correspondence of more than 200 letters, which impressively documents an entire epoch of German-Jewish intellectual history and is for the first time being published in its entirety.

Biographical details play as much as a role in their extremely intense epistolary relationship as philosophical-theological questions. Adorno shows a great interest in Jewish thought and delivers astute analyses of Scholem’s writings. Scholem for his part comments on Adorno’s latest publications and proves a profound expert of contemporary philosophy. Their discussions revolve around mysticism and dialectic, salvation and messianism, myth and enlightenment, and do not fail to mention Arendt and Marcuse, Heidegger and Bloch, Buber and Lukács. The politics of the day also come up for discussion, for example the situation in the Middle East or the beginnings of the student revolts. The fixed star of their correspondence is, however, their mutual friend Walter Benjamin who, unlike any other figure, represents the inner conflict of German-Jewish intellectuals in the 20th century.

 

»Please do make sure to arrange with the Marxist heavens, in the case that you do not enjoy diplomatic relations with any of the other sky dwellers, sunshine for March 16th.« Scholem to Adorno, 25 February 1966

Praise

»This correspondence is further documentation of one of the finest hours of German-Jewish intellectual history – after the Holocaust. The comments by editor Asaf Angermann, meticulously researched in the Adorno-Archive lead by Jan Philipp Reemtsma, are a reminder of the widely ramified network of relationships between a grand generation of German-Jewish intellectuals – including rivalries and viciousness in this small academic-literary world in which Ernst Bloch and Georg Lukács, Martin Buber and Siegfried Kracauer, Helmuth Plessner, Hannah Arendt and Herbert Marcuse lived next-door to one another.« Jürgen Habermas in DIE ZEIT

Other publications

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

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Briefe und Briefwechsel/Correspondence 1923-1966 (2008)

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Traumprotokolle/Dream Protocols (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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Die musikalischen Monographien/Mahler (1960)

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Minima Moralia/Minima Moralia (1951)

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