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Adorno, Theodor W.


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631207535.1997.x


(1903–69) German philosopher, musicologist and cultural critic. A prominent member of the F rankfurt school of critical theorists. Alongside Husserl, H eidegger , G adamer , and W ittgenstein , Adorno is one of the most important German-language philosophers of the century. The range and volume of his output is enormous (Adorno, 1970b). It includes studies of central figures in the German philosophical tradition (H egel , Kierkegaard, Husserl, Heidegger), monographs and essays on composers (Wagner, Mahler, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Berg), four volumes of L iterary criticism , a variety of sociological writings, and numerous essays and fragments of cultural criticism. Most significant, however, are three works of outstanding philosophical originality: Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944), cowritten with H orkheimer , Negative Dialectics (1966) and the posthumously published Aesthetic Theory (1970a). Son of an assimilated Jewish wine merchant and a Corsican Catholic mother, who was a professional singer, Adorno's early years were comfortable and precocious. Whereas B enjamin 's childhood provided him with a model of the way frustration gives rise to the power of the wish, Adorno's seems to have furnished him with an experience of fulfillment against which to measure the privations of later life. (Symptomatically, perhaps, Adorno was his mother's name. He exchanged it for his patronymic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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