Adorno's poetics of critique by Steven Helmling

By Steven Helmling

Adorno's Poetics of Critique is a severe learn of the Marxist culture-critic Theodor W. Adorno, a founding member of the Frankfurt institution and broadly appeared this day as its so much remarkable exponent.
Steven Helmling is centrally eager about Adorno's notoriously tricky writing, a function so much commentators recognize purely to set it apart so that it will an expository account of 'what Adorno is saying'. against this, Adorno's complicated writing is the valuable concentration of this examine, along with special research of Adorno's most intricate texts, particularly his most renowned and complex paintings, co-authored with Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment.
Helmling argues that Adorno's key motifs - dialectic, thought, negation, immanent critique, constellation - are prescriptions now not in basic terms for serious pondering, but in addition for severe writing. For Adorno the efficacy of critique is conditioned on how the writing of critique is written. either in idea and in perform, Adorno urges a 'poetics of critique' that's every piece as severe as the rest in his 'critical theory.

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Extra resources for Adorno's poetics of critique

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Philosophy always relates to tendencies and does not consist of statements of fact. . it could equally well be said . . that [after Auschwitz] one must write poems, in keeping with Hegel’s statement in his Aesthetics that as long as there is an awareness of suffering among human beings there must also be art as the objective form of that awareness. . [The question whether one can write poetry after Auschwitz should rather be] the question whether one can live after Auschwitz. . Since it concerns the possibility of any affirmation of life, this question cannot be evaded.

We might call this Adorno’s ‘after-Auschwitz’ imperative, except that in Adorno’s work this critical affect long pre-dates Auschwitz—not to mention that Adorno wrote his two most poignant books (Minima Moralia and Dialectic of Enlightenment) literally ‘during-Auschwitz’. Dialectic of Enlightenment scorns the official optimisms of modernity’s ideological cheerleaders—from the ‘revolutionary’ scenario of the orthodox Stalinist left, through the meliorist grand narrative of liberalism, to the apocalyptic fantasias of fascism—since it was the pursuit of these diversely ideological happy endings that unleashed so much horror.

Indeed, given the implication of sugar in the development of the Atlantic slave trade, the American plantation system, the development of banking, credit, and other fiduciary devices in the inauguration of capitalism, I would expect Adorno to urge that the concept of sugar, however sweet the taste of the white cube you put in your coffee, must be very bitter indeed to the critical intelligence mindful to constellate the concept, including the brutal history, with the sensual and quotidian spatio-temporality of your mocha latte.

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