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By David Jenemann

“For these prone to brush aside Adorno’s tackle the United States because the uncomprehending condescension of a mandarin elitist, David Jenemann’s ideal new booklet will come as a impolite awakening. Exploiting a wealth of recent resources, he persuasively exhibits the intensity of Adorno’s engagement with the tradition and the complexity of his response to it.” —Martin Jay, Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of historical past, college of California, Berkeley

 

The German thinker and cultural critic Theodor W. Adorno was once one of many towering highbrow figures of the 20th 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 lifestyles, David Jenemann examines Adorno’s disagreement with the burgeoning American “culture undefined” and casts new mild 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 US and disdained its tradition, Jenemann finds that Adorno was once an lively 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 learn undertaking, exploring the effect of radio on American society and the maturing advertising innovations of the nationwide radio networks, Adorno used to be devoted to realizing the technological and social impression of well known paintings 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 reviews in Prejudice undertaking 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 Shuttling among insightful readings of Adorno’s theories and a wealthy physique of archival materials—including unpublished writings and FBI files—Jenemann paints a portrait of Adorno’s years in big apple and la and tells the cultural historical past of an the USA coming to grips with its swiftly evolving mass culture.

 

Adorno in America eloquently and persuasively argues for a extra advanced, extra intimate courting among Adorno and American society than has ever been formerly said. What emerges is not just a picture of an highbrow in exile, yet finally a rediscovery of Adorno as a powerful defender of an essential and clever democracy.

 

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

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Adorno in America by David Jenemann


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