The Fleeting Promise of Art: Adorno's Aesthetic Theory Revisited

By Peter Uwe Hohendahl

A dialogue of Theodor Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory is sure to seem considerably varied this present day than it's going to have appeared whilst the ebook used to be first released in 1970, or whilst it first seemed in English translation within the Eighties. In The Fleeting Promise of Art, Peter Uwe Hohendahl reexamines Aesthetic Theory in addition to Adorno’s different writings on aesthetics in gentle of the unforeseen go back of the cultured to today’s cultural debates.

Is Adorno’s aesthetic idea nonetheless proper at the present time? Hohendahl solutions this question with an emphatic convinced. As he indicates, a cautious studying of the paintings exposes diversified questions and arguments this present day than it did some time past. through the years Adorno’s obstacle over the destiny of artwork in a past due capitalist society has met with every thing from suspicion to indifference. partly this might be defined by way of relative unfamiliarity with the German dialectical culture in North the USA. Today’s debate is healthier educated, extra multifaceted, and extra faraway from the rapid aftermath of the chilly battle and of the shadow of postmodernism.

Adorno’s insistence at the radical autonomy of the art has a lot to supply modern discussions of paintings and the classy looking for new responses to the pervasive results of a neoliberal artwork marketplace and tradition undefined. Focusing in particular on Adorno’s engagement with literary works, Hohendahl indicates how considerably transformative Adorno’s principles were and the way completely they've got formed present discussions in aesthetics. one of the subject matters he considers are the position of artwork in modernism and postmodernism, the reality claims of artistic endeavors, the functionality of the gruesome in smooth works of art, the precarious worth of the literary culture, and the impressive value of realism for Adorno.

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E. it really is, strictly talking, intersubjective. 2 THE EPHEMERAL AND absolutely the the reality content material of artwork Aesthetic conception was once released in 1970, a yr after Adorno’s demise. first and foremost disregarded or attacked, it has turn into his most generally and thoroughly learn paintings. whereas critics nonetheless disagree in regards to the interpretation of the textual content, there's roughly consensus on its importance because the fruits of Adorno’s oeuvre and its value for the modern aesthetic debate. extra debatable, notwithstanding, is the worth assigned to Adorno’s contribution to the modern dialogue.

Bankruptcy 2, “The Ephemeral and the Absolute,” is worried accurately with the prestige of artwork in overdue modernism, particularly with Adorno’s interpretation of this prestige. the purpose of departure is a studying of Adorno that stresses the continuity from Dialectic of Enlightenment to Aesthetic idea with admire to the centrality of the concept that of cause (Vernunft) and its protection vis-à-vis highbrow and social reification. which means Adorno’s aesthetic thought turns into a traditionally inflected idea of rationality utilized to artwork.

For Adorno the deficiency is as a result Kant’s epistemology regularly, particularly the declare “that truth might be constituted quite often through the interaction of sensuous facts and different types of cognizance, be it both the so-called kinds of ‘perception’ or the so-called express types wherein we represent items” (Ä 320). the topic required for this method is the transcendental topic. within the sphere of paintings, in spite of the fact that, we're not facing a transcendental yet an empirical topic, either at the part of aesthetic creation and reception.

The essay doesn't show yet indicates. still, it truly is as a lot focused on questions of fact because the process. nevertheless, Adorno resists the thought that the essay is an art and stresses the adaptation. The essay allows using strategies and arguments to discover its material. within the related vein the elements of Aesthetic conception stick to their inner common sense with no the imposition of a scientific linear argument. purely during this move, more desirable by way of Adorno’s paratactic variety, can the subject material, particularly the character of aesthetic phenomena, be disclosed.

Still, he doesn't draw the belief that, due to their spiritual nature, the sculptures are a part of an prior part of tradition, which ecu post-Renaissance paintings had left in the back of. In Einstein’s learn African tradition stands aside, other than in formal phrases, particularly within the configuration of house. What does this suggest for the review of the “primitive”? For Einstein you will need to get rid of from the assessment of African sculpture the reproach of aesthetic deficiency, specifically the shortcoming of formal attractiveness.

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