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Adorno in America Hardcover – March 6, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0816648085 ISBN-10: 0816648085 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (March 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816648085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816648085
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,588,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on July 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Written by David Jenemann (assistant professor of English, University of Vermont) Adorno in America is a biography of German philosopher and cultural critic Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969), who lived in exile in the United States from 1938 to 1953. Drawing upon Adorno's theories and archival materials ranging from Adorno's unpublished writings to FBI files, Jenemann reveals Adorno's experiences in New York and Los Angeles, and proffers not only the Adorno's story, but an evolving perspective on the rise of mass culture and consumerism. An exalting portrait of Adorno as a defender of intellectual democracy, as well as an intriguing portrait of mid-twentieth century cultural shifts, Adorno in America is highly recommended for philosophy and cultural criticism shelves as well as biography shelves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lost Lacanian on May 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On the backcover, Martin Jay has a blurb in which he claims that this book will shock those who see Adorno as an elitist mandarin. Of course, that reputation, which Jay helped establish, comes not so much as a direct result of Adorno's acid criticism of the so-called culture industry but as a misappropriation/misunderstanding of that criticism.

This book delves into a wealth of material--FBI briefs, unfinished manuscripts, radio network publicity brochures, unrealized film scripts--to present a new Adorno; perhaps, an Adorno that was originally intended but ultimately unreleased. This new Adorno--the director's cut, as it were--is much more informed about the interworkings of the culture industry (he and Horkheimer tried to get a film made!) and therefore his criticisms are much more founded and nuanced.

In the first two chapters, Jenemann examines Adorno's radio investigations, much of which was unpublished. But Jenemann does something very important: he puts this unpublished work within its proper context by reading them along with NBC publicity brochures. By contextualizing and historicizing Adorno's ideas, we are given a fuller picture not only of where his critique of radio was coming from, but also his critique of the culture industry and his aesthetic theory as well.

Perhaps, the strangest chapter is on Adorno and Horkheimer's attempt to get a film script turned into a feature. Who among us knew of this! But Jenemann does not stop at the level of a gossip column. Unfortunately, much of the Frankfurt School research today is concerned with their biographical idiosynchracies--as if they are curios from the Cold War era. Rather, Jenemann is able to dialectically synthesize these findings into an entire theory.
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