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By David Jenemann

“For these prone to push aside Adorno’s tackle the US because the uncomprehending condescension of a mandarin elitist, David Jenemann’s wonderful new ebook will come as a impolite awakening. Exploiting a wealth of latest assets, 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

 

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 undefined” and casts new gentle on Adorno’s writings in regards to the mass media. opposite to the generally held belief—even between his defenders—that Adorno used to be disconnected from the US and disdained its tradition, Jenemann unearths that Adorno used to be an lively and engaged player in cultural and highbrow lifestyles in the course of those years.

 

From the time he first arrived in manhattan in 1938 to paintings for the Princeton Radio learn undertaking, exploring the influence of radio on American society and the maturing advertising and marketing ideas of the nationwide radio networks, Adorno used to be devoted to figuring out the technological and social impression of well known artwork 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 recognized novel Doctor 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 Shuttling among insightful readings of Adorno’s theories and a wealthy physique of archival materials—including unpublished writings and FBI files—Jenemann paints a portrait of Adorno’s years in long island and la and tells the cultural historical past of an the USA coming to grips with its swiftly evolving mass culture.

 

Adorno in America eloquently and persuasively argues for a extra complex, extra intimate courting among Adorno and American society than has ever been formerly stated. What emerges isn't just a picture of an highbrow in exile, yet eventually a rediscovery of Adorno as a effective defender of an important and clever democracy.

 

David Jenemann is assistant professor of English on the collage of Vermont.

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