Adorno in America by David Jenemann

By David Jenemann

“For these susceptible to push aside Adorno’s tackle the USA because the uncomprehending condescension of a mandarin elitist, David Jenemann’s best new publication will come as a impolite awakening. Exploiting a wealth of recent assets, he persuasively indicates the intensity of Adorno’s engagement with the tradition and the complexity of his response to it.” —Martin Jay, Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of background, collage of California, Berkeley

 

The German thinker and cultural critic Theodor W. Adorno used to be one of many towering highbrow figures of the 20 th century, and among 1938 and 1953 he lived in exile within the usa. within the first in-depth account of this era of Adorno’s existence, David Jenemann examines Adorno’s disagreement with the burgeoning American “culture undefined” and casts new gentle on Adorno’s writings concerning the mass media. opposite to the generally held belief—even between his defenders—that Adorno was once disconnected from the United States and disdained its tradition, Jenemann finds that Adorno was once an energetic and engaged player in cultural and highbrow lifestyles in the course of those years.

 

From the time he first arrived in ny in 1938 to paintings for the Princeton Radio study venture, exploring the effect of radio on American society and the maturing advertising concepts of the nationwide radio networks, Adorno was once devoted to figuring out the technological and social impact of renowned artwork within the usa. Adorno carried those pursuits with him to Hollywood, the place he and Max Horkheimer tried to make a movie for his or her reports in Prejudice venture and the place he befriended Thomas Mann and helped him craft his well-known novel Doctor Faustus. Shuttling among insightful readings of Adorno’s theories and a wealthy physique of archival materials—including unpublished writings and FBI files—Jenemann paints a portrait of Adorno’s years in manhattan and l. a. and tells the cultural historical past of an the United States coming to grips with its swiftly evolving mass culture.

 

Adorno in America eloquently and persuasively argues for a extra complex, extra intimate courting among Adorno and American society than has ever been formerly said. What emerges isn't just a picture of an highbrow in exile, yet eventually a rediscovery of Adorno as a effective defender of an essential and clever democracy.

 

David Jenemann is assistant professor of English on the collage of Vermont.

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