Theodor Adorno

Theodor Adorno

Theodor Adorno

Theodor Adorno

Synopsis

The range of Adorno's achievement, and the depth of his insights, is breathtaking and daunting. His work on literary, artistic, and musical forms, his devastating indictment of modern industrial society, and his profound grasp of Western culture from Homer to Hollywood have made him one of the most significant figures in twentieth-century thought.

As one of the main philosophers of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory, Adorno's influence on literary theory, cultural studies, and philosophical aesthetics has been immense. His wide-ranging authorship is significant also to continental philosophy, political theory, art criticism, and musicology. Key ideas discussed in this guide include:

  • art and aesthetics
  • fun and free time
  • nature and reason
  • things, thoughts and being right

This Routledge Critical Thinkers guide will equip readers with the tools required to critically interpret Adorno's major works, whilst also introducing readers to his interpretation of classical German philosophy and his relationship to the most significant of his contemporaries.

Excerpt

The books in this series offer introductions to major critical thinkers who have influenced literary studies and the humanities. The Routledge Critical Thinkers series provides the books you can turn to first when a new name or concept appears in your studies.

Each book will equip you to approach a key thinker’s original texts by explaining her or his key ideas, putting them into context and, perhaps most importantly, showing you why this thinker is considered to be significant. The emphasis is on concise, clearly written guides which do not presuppose a specialist knowledge. Although the focus is on particular figures, the series stresses that no critical thinker ever existed in a vacuum but, instead, emerged from a broader intellectual, cultural and social history. Finally, these books will act as a bridge between you and the thinker’s original texts: not replacing them but rather complementing what she or he wrote.

These books are necessary for a number of reasons. In his 1997 autobiography, Not Entitled, the literary critic Frank Kermode wrote of a time in the 1960s:

On beautiful summer lawns, young people lay together all night, recovering
from their daytime exertions and listening to a troupe of Balinese musicians.
Under their blankets or their sleeping bags, they would chat drowsily about
the gurus of the time … What they repeated was largely hearsay; hence
my lunchtime suggestion, quite impromptu, for a series of short, very

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