Aesthetic Theory (Theory and History of Literature)

Aesthetic Theory (Theory and History of Literature)

Theodor W. Adorno

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 0816618003

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Perhaps the most important aesthetics of the twentieth century appears here newly translated, in English that is for the first time faithful to the intricately demanding language of the original German. The culmination of a lifetime of aesthetic investigation, Aesthetic Theory is Theodor W. Adorno's magnum opus, the clarifying lens through which the whole of his work is best viewed, providing a framework within which his other major writings cohere.

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psychoanalytic monographs, art should deal affirmatively with the negativity of experience. The negative element is held to be nothing more than the mark of that process of repression that obviously goes into the artwork. For psychoanalysis, artworks are daydreams; it confuses them with documents and displaces them into the mind of a dreamer, while on the other hand, as compensation for the exclusion of the extramental sphere, it reduces artworks to crude thematic material, falling strangely

experimentation is primarily concerned with means and content to leave the world waiting in vain for the ends. What is more, during the last several decades the concept of the experiment has itself become equivocal. If even as late as 1930 experimentation referred to efforts filtered through critical consciousness in opposition to the continuation of unreflected aesthetic practices, in the meantime the concept has acquired the stipulation that a work should have contents that are not foreseeable

This device provided a steady external grip on the book while causing it to collapse internally. For in lieu of any argumentative structure in the text itself, because it contains no homogeneous substance that can be followed from start to finish, the flaring clarity of paragraph indentations only produced a contrast by which the simulated paragraphs appeared murky in their refusal to parse into stages of thesis and evidence. And whereas the paratactical text demands that every sentence undertake

continue to provoke. In conformity with East-bloc politics, a blind eye is turned toward the relation between enlightenment and mass deception.8 Disenchanted technical procedures that dedicate themselves completely to appearances, as what they claim to be, function only too well for the transfiguration of these appearances. The failure of Benjamin's grandly conceived theory of reproduction remains that its bipolar categories make it impossible to distinguish between a conception of art that is

into its language of form what bourgeois society has ostracized, thereby revealing in what has been stigmatized that nature whose suppression is what is truly evil. The perennial indignation, unchanged by the culture industry, over the ugliness of modern art is, despite the pompous ideals sounded, hostile to spirit; it interprets the ugliness, and especially the unpleasing reproaches, literally rather than as a test of the power of spiritualization and as a cipher of the opposition in which this

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