By David Jenemann
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 industry” and casts new mild on Adorno’s writings concerning the mass media. opposite to the commonly held belief—even between his defenders—that Adorno used to be disconnected from the United States and disdained its tradition, Jenemann unearths that Adorno used to be an lively and engaged player in cultural and highbrow existence in the course of those years.
From the time he first arrived in long island in 1938 to paintings for the Princeton Radio examine undertaking, exploring the impression of radio on American society and the maturing advertising ideas of the nationwide radio networks, Adorno was once devoted to figuring out the technological and social effect 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 reports in Prejudice venture and the place he befriended Thomas Mann and helped him craft his well-known novel health practitioner 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 Shuttling among insightful readings of Adorno’s theories and a wealthy physique of archival materials—including unpublished writings and FBI files—Jenemann paints a portrait of Adorno’s years in long island and l. a. and tells the cultural background of an the United States coming to grips with its quickly evolving mass culture.
“For these prone to brush off Adorno’s tackle the USA because the uncomprehending condescension of a mandarin elitist, David Jenemann’s well suited new publication will come as a impolite awakening. Exploiting a wealth of latest resources, 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 heritage, college of California, Berkeley
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Extra resources for Adorno in America
24 In addition to what the Institute or Horkheimer could provide Wnancially or Adorno could offer intellectually, Lazarsfeld in turn was able to offer something valuable by hiring Adorno. Together with Horkheimer, 12 The Monster under the Stone Lazarsfeld (with the inXuence of Rockefeller Foundation support not too far in the background) was able to present a compelling reason for Adorno to be granted a visa to the United States, which he received in 1938. ”25 By most accounts, Adorno’s tenure was rocky, and the recent émigré was described as an elitist dilettante in Lazarsfeld’s memoir and elsewhere.
The symptoms of society stand in for their underlying causes. ”3 However, only a few years after “Procrustes” was written, while Adorno was visiting Frankfurt, helping Horkheimer rebuild the Institute of Social Research and paving the way for his eventual full-time return to Germany, a representative from the Rockefeller Foundation made the following observations about Adorno’s methodological interests and ambitions: L[ouis] W[irth] telephoned from the S[ocial] S[cience] R[esearch] C[ouncil] to emphasize his warnings .
6 The “Fetish-Character” essay has a (perhaps deserved) reputation as one of Adorno’s harshest broadsides against the perceived simplicity of American commodity culture. But it is clear from his opening remarks that Adorno reserves as much Wre for the means of measuring—and thereby justifying—audience responses to cultural products as he does for the products themselves. Implicit in his critique of the regression of listening is thus always a condemnation of the type of market research that covers for that regression by citing facts to claim that audiences “like” something and, at the same time, truly know what they like.
Adorno in America by David Jenemann
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