By Detlev Claussen
He used to be famously adversarial to biography as a literary shape. And but this lifetime of Adorno via one in every of his final scholars is much 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 indispensable twentieth-century transatlantic highbrow, the booklet is additionally a window at the cultural ferment of Adorno’s day—and its ongoing value in our own.
The biography starts off on the shining second of the German bourgeoisie, in a global ruled through liberals keen to increase citizenship to refugees fleeing pogroms in jap Europe. Detlev Claussen follows Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno (1903–1969) from his privileged lifestyles as a liked prodigy to his highbrow coming of age in Weimar Germany and Vienna; from his exile in the course of the Nazi years, first to England, then to the U.S., to his emergence because the Adorno we all know now within the probably not-so-unlikely surroundings of l. a.. There in 1943 together with his collaborator Max Horkheimer, Adorno built serious conception, whose key insight—that to be entertained is to offer one’s consent—helped outline the highbrow panorama of the 20 th century.
In taking pictures the fellow in his advanced relationships with a few of the century’s most interesting minds—including, between others, Arnold Schoenberg, Walter Benjamin, Thomas Mann, Siegfried Kracauer, Georg Lukács, Hannah Arendt, and Bertolt Brecht—Claussen finds how a lot now we have but to benefit from Theodor Adorno, and what sort of his existence can let us know approximately ourselves and our time.
By analyzing Adorno's existence via a circle of modernist partners who ended up dispersed world wide, Detlev Claussen increases the query of even if biography might be written in any respect lower than the damaged stipulations of modernity. In his descriptions of German-Jewish lives, Claussen indicates 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 intruder or critic, Claussen strikes the reader via his narrative the best way an outstanding novelist does. He has basically mastered Adorno's tough writings and is splendidly in charge of his subject's highbrow and private milieu. His prose is full of life and unburdened via technical jargon. Even for a veteran Adorno observer, this extraordinary ebook 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 presents the 1st glimpse of the intensity of Adorno's existence and proposal. In masterful strokes, Claussen strains Adorno's existence and paintings from his middle-class Jewish adolescence in Frankfurt and Vienna and his collage 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 tune and aesthetics to the thinker and gives clean insights into his lifestyles. because of its intensity and thoroughness, this lovingly crafted learn will most likely turn into the definitive portrait of Adorno, and it's also an enthralling portrait of the enormously moving occasions, from Weimar to the Nazi regime, during which Adorno handed. (Publishers Weekly (starred evaluate) 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 lifestyles, in addition to the theoretical underpinnings either influencing and inspired via that existence, demonstrates the interweaving attainable among his personal disciplines...Claussen chooses to bare the person by means of putting him inside a foreground of his highbrow and cultural friends, who integrated Walter Benjamin, Thomas Mann, Max Horkheimer, and Bertolt Brecht, a cohort compelled via the twentieth century's political and social upheavals to stay peripatetic lives. Richly distinctive and skillfully translated. (Francisca Goldsmith Library magazine 2008-03-01)
Fascinating...The smartest thing approximately Mr. Claussen's e-book is how it is helping us to appreciate the extremities of Adorno's adventure, which gave upward push to such wish and such melancholy. (Adam Kirsch long island sunlight 2008-04-09)
Detlev Claussen's biography of Adorno is a awesome success. vital to the good fortune of this ebook is the truth that its writer isn't really exclusively a biographer yet can also be a exclusive sociologist and social theorist, and he's capable of determine and reply to all the problems that Adorno poses...In its entirety, this can be a very good publication that movingly disentangles and items jointly hugely advanced relatives of non-public, ancient, and highbrow lifestyles. it truly is tricky to visualize how biography will be extra profitable in reading theoretical life or the way it may possibly extra effectively elucidate concept in such a lot of of its formative dimensions. (Chris Thornhill occasions better schooling complement 2008-04-10)
A former pupil of Adorno's, Mr. Claussen is on intimate phrases with the past due master's paintings, in particular his correspondence with compatriots comparable to Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht and Walter Benjamin. (Thomas Meaney Wall highway magazine 2008-04-18)
[A] magisterial biography...As a scholar of Adorno's throughout the '60s, Claussen, who teaches sociology on the collage of Hanover, is aware 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 background, historic context, musicology, highbrow liaisons and reflections at the tradition industry...Theodor Adorno: One final Genius is a strenuously highbrow biography, the single variety the grasp himself may perhaps simply have authorized, within which the naked proof of his existence regularly come to us interwoven with ancient currents and philosophical wrangles. (Terry Eagleton London assessment 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 with Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, and different well-known contemporaries and acquaintances, 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 many times, the conflicts and rapprochements among generations have been as necessary to Adorno's own and highbrow improvement as used to be his continual experience of exile. (Brian Dillon Irish instances 2008-07-26)