By Peter Uwe Hohendahl
A dialogue of Theodor Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory is sure to seem considerably varied this day than it is going to have regarded whilst the booklet was once first released in 1970, or while it first seemed in English translation within the Eighties. In The Fleeting Promise of Art, Peter Uwe Hohendahl reexamines Aesthetic Theory besides Adorno’s different writings on aesthetics in mild of the unforeseen go back of the cultured to today’s cultural debates.
Is Adorno’s aesthetic concept nonetheless suitable this present day? Hohendahl solutions this question with an emphatic convinced. As he exhibits, a cautious studying of the paintings exposes various questions and arguments at the present time than it did long ago. through the years Adorno’s drawback over the destiny of paintings in a past due capitalist society has met with every thing from suspicion to indifference. partly this is able to be defined by way of relative unfamiliarity with the German dialectical culture in North the USA. Today’s debate is healthier knowledgeable, extra multifaceted, and extra faraway from the quick 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 provide modern discussions of paintings and the classy looking for new responses to the pervasive results of a neoliberal paintings marketplace and tradition undefined. Focusing particularly on Adorno’s engagement with literary works, Hohendahl indicates how notably transformative Adorno’s rules were and the way completely they've got formed present discussions in aesthetics. one of the themes he considers are the position of artwork in modernism and postmodernism, the reality claims of works of art, the functionality of the gruesome in smooth artistic endeavors, the precarious worth of the literary culture, and the outstanding value of realism for Adorno.
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Additional info for The fleeting promise of art : Adorno's aesthetic theory revisited
This means that Adorno’s aesthetic theory becomes a historically inflected theory of rationality applied to art. The dominant reading of Adorno’s theory is to see it as a means to rescue modern art through the use of determinate negation, which establishes art as a critical counterpoint to social reification. Going against this reading, I explore Adorno’s abandonment of this position in some sections of Aesthetic Theory. This reading is uncomfortable because it threatens the very 22 The Fleeting Promise of Art concept of a meaningful function of art that philosophy is able to elucidate.
In chapter 1 I explore Adorno’s encounter with Kant’s Third Critique, which is reflected both in his repeated lecture courses on aesthetics and in Aesthetic Theory. Yet Adorno’s interest in the Critique of Judgment cannot be isolated from his persistent return to Kant after World War II. While it would be misleading to think of Adorno as a Kantian (in fact, he keeps his distance from the neo-Kantians of the early twentieth century), he assigns Kant a crucial role, not only in the German intellectual tradition but in the development of modern thought tout court.
Briefly stated, Kant’s aesthetic judgment, insofar as it is characterized as disinterested pleasure, lacks the seriousness that autonomous art can claim. In the Third Critique there is no emphatic concept of truth content, which stands at the very center of Aesthetic Theory. Adorno does not consider as sufficient Kant’s attempts to create a link between the artwork and the moral sphere. In this respect he is much closer to Hegel’s notion of semblance. Still, for Adorno Kant’s theory is indispensable because it sets the standard for the analysis of aesthetic phenomena.
The fleeting promise of art : Adorno's aesthetic theory revisited by Peter Uwe Hohendahl