By Detlev Claussen
He was once famously adversarial to biography as a literary shape. And but this lifetime of Adorno by means of considered one of his final scholars is way greater than literary in its accomplishments, giving us our first transparent examine how the fellow and his second met to create “critical theory.” An intimate photo of the critical twentieth-century transatlantic highbrow, the publication is additionally a window at the cultural ferment of Adorno’s day—and its ongoing significance in our own.
The biography starts on the shining second of the German bourgeoisie, in a global ruled by way of liberals prepared to increase citizenship to refugees fleeing pogroms in japanese Europe. Detlev Claussen follows Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno (1903–1969) from his privileged existence as a cherished prodigy to his highbrow coming of age in Weimar Germany and Vienna; from his exile throughout the Nazi years, first to England, then to the U.S., to his emergence because the Adorno we all know now within the possibly not-so-unlikely atmosphere of la. There in 1943 along with his collaborator Max Horkheimer, Adorno constructed severe conception, whose key insight—that to be entertained is to provide one’s consent—helped outline the highbrow panorama of the 20th century.
In shooting the guy in his complicated relationships with a few of the century’s best minds—including, between others, Arnold Schoenberg, Walter Benjamin, Thomas Mann, Siegfried Kracauer, Georg Lukács, Hannah Arendt, and Bertolt Brecht—Claussen unearths how a lot we now have but to benefit from Theodor Adorno, and what kind of his lifestyles can let us know approximately ourselves and our time.
By analyzing Adorno's existence via a circle of modernist partners who ended up dispersed worldwide, Detlev Claussen increases the query of no matter if biography will be written in any respect below the damaged stipulations of modernity. In his descriptions of German-Jewish lives, Claussen exhibits the complexities of dwelling within the shadow of Auschwitz, and undermines the crude myths and interpretations that experience occasionally plagued scholarship of Adorno and his milieu. (Lydia Goehr, Columbia University)
Writing as a sympathetic admirer instead of as an interloper or critic, Claussen strikes the reader via his narrative the way in which a great novelist does. He has essentially mastered Adorno's tricky writings and is splendidly answerable for his subject's highbrow and private milieu. His prose is energetic and unburdened by way of technical jargon. Even for a veteran Adorno observer, this outstanding e-book includes many new findings and revisions of traditional knowledge. (Martin Jay, collage of California, Berkeley)
This dependent translation of Claussen's 2003 biography of his instructor offers the 1st glimpse of the intensity of Adorno's lifestyles and suggestion. In masterful strokes, Claussen strains Adorno's lifestyles and paintings from his middle-class Jewish youth in Frankfurt and Vienna and his college paintings on Kierkegaard to his friendships with Walter Benjamin and Thomas Mann, between others, and his later highbrow partnership with Horkheimer. Weaving in colourful excerpts of Adorno's writings, Claussen demonstrates the centrality of song and aesthetics to the thinker and gives clean insights into his lifestyles. due to its intensity and thoroughness, this lovingly crafted examine will more than likely develop into the definitive portrait of Adorno, and it's also a charming portrait of the quite transferring occasions, from Weimar to the Nazi regime, by which Adorno handed. (Publishers Weekly (starred assessment) 2008-02-11)
Claussen, a scholar of Adorno's, has written what has been hailed as the most effective books on its famously recalcitrant topic. (Brian Sholis Bookforum 2008-04-01)
Claussen is a journalist in addition to a tutorial, and his ability at revealing the narrative tale of a existence, in addition to the theoretical underpinnings either influencing and encouraged via that lifestyles, demonstrates the interweaving attainable among his personal disciplines...Claussen chooses to bare the person via putting him inside of a foreground of his highbrow and cultural friends, who integrated Walter Benjamin, Thomas Mann, Max Horkheimer, and Bertolt Brecht, a cohort compelled via the 20 th century's political and social upheavals to dwell peripatetic lives. Richly special and skillfully translated. (Francisca Goldsmith Library magazine 2008-03-01)
Fascinating...The neatest thing approximately Mr. Claussen's e-book is how it is helping us to appreciate the extremities of Adorno's event, which gave upward push to such wish and such melancholy. (Adam Kirsch manhattan sunlight 2008-04-09)
Detlev Claussen's biography of Adorno is a awesome fulfillment. relevant to the luck of this publication is the truth that its writer isn't really completely a biographer yet is usually a distinctive sociologist and social theorist, and he's capable of establish and reply to all of the problems that Adorno poses...In its entirety, this can be a impressive e-book that movingly disentangles and items jointly hugely complicated family of private, historic, and highbrow existence. it really is tough to visualize how biography should be extra profitable in analyzing theoretical life or the way it might extra effectively elucidate concept in such a lot of of its formative dimensions. (Chris Thornhill occasions better schooling complement 2008-04-10)
A former scholar of Adorno's, Mr. Claussen is on intimate phrases with the past due master's paintings, specially his correspondence with compatriots akin to Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht and Walter Benjamin. (Thomas Meaney Wall highway magazine 2008-04-18)
[A] magisterial biography...As a pupil of Adorno's in the course of the '60s, Claussen, who teaches sociology on the collage of Hanover, is familiar with his mentor's philosophy, in addition to his personality, in detail. (Richard Wolin Bookforum 2008-06-01)
Claussen is illuminating on his subject’s politics, cultural history, historic context, musicology, highbrow liaisons and reflections at the tradition industry...Theodor Adorno: One final Genius is a strenuously highbrow biography, the one kind the grasp himself may well simply have licensed, during which the naked evidence of his lifestyles constantly come to us interwoven with old currents and philosophical wrangles. (Terry Eagleton London evaluation of Books 2008-06-19)
Claussen fantastically examines each element of Adorno’s existence and occupation, digging like an investigative reporter into “Teddy’s” family members with Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, and different well-known contemporaries and associates, clarifying the Frankfurt School’s evolving ethos, and zeroing in on Adorno’s awkward relation to his Jewishness. (Carlin Romano Chronicle of upper schooling 2008-06-20)
As Detlev Claussen's densely textured biography proves again and again, the conflicts and rapprochements among generations have been as necessary to Adorno's own and highbrow improvement as was once his chronic experience of exile. (Brian Dillon Irish occasions 2008-07-26)