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Adorno's Positive Dialectic [Paperback]

Yvonne Sherratt
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

August 20, 2007 052103888X 978-0521038881 0
This book offers a radically new interpretation of the work of Theodor Adorno. In contrast to the conventional view that Adorno's is in essence a critical philosophy, Yvonne Sherratt systematically traces an utopian thesis that pervades all the major aspects of Adorno's thought. She places Adorno's work in the context of German Idealist and later Marxist and Freudian traditions, and then analyzes his key works to show how the aesthetic, epistemological, psychological, historical and sociological thought interconnect to form an utopian image.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"It is a book which ought to be read not only by scholars and students of critical theory but also of those interested in Adorno who, despite themselves, yearn to describe the glass as being half full." Philosophy in Review

Book Description

This book offers a radically new interpretation of the work of Theodor Adorno. In contrast to the conventional view that Adorno's is in essence a critical philosophy, Yvonne Sherratt traces systematically a utopian thesis that pervades all the major aspects of Adorno's thought. She places Adorno's work in the context of German Idealist and later Marxist and Freudian traditions, and then analyses his key works to show how the aesthetic, epistemological, psychological, historical and sociological thought interconnect to form a utopian image.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (August 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052103888X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521038881
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 8.9 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,665,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Yvonne Sherratt is a writer and academic. Hitler's Philosophers is her latest book:
`a fascinating, disturbing and necessary book...' JOHN GRAY, INDEPENDENT, LONDON
It is a fascinating subject... Sherratt describes the fatal intersection of politics and ideas during the Nazi era. She draws neat biographical sketches of Heidegger ("Hitler's Superman"), of lesser figures, like Krieck and Bäumler ("Collaborators"), and of Carl Schmitt ("Hitler's Lawmaker"). WALL STREET JOURNAL.
`Her book's strongest contribution is its overview of Hitler's self-conception as the "philosopher-Führer"--his "astonishing" "identification with great German philosophers. ...her accounts--drive the bleak picture home' THE CHRONICLE
`a powerful portrait of collaboration, and corruption.' JOHN CORNWELL, FINANCIAL TIMES, LONDON
`Hitler's Philosophers...is a sobering and disturbing tale', ALASDAIR PALMER, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, LONDON
`The chapters on Jewish German thinkers are...compelling. Her book is a useful reminder of the depths to which supposedly civilised people can sink when confronted with the temptations of power' SUNDAY TIMES, LONDON
`...a moving account of Kurt Huber, mentor to the White Rose resistance movement' GEORGE STEINER, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
`exceptionally well told..., Dr Sherratt provides compelling studies of the philosophers who fled or died rather than play along with Hitler' SIMON HEFFER, STANDPOINT MAGAZINE
`A thoughtful thought-provoking book.' (Timothy W. Ryback, author of Hitler's Private Library: The Books that Shaped his Life).

Yvonne has a PhD from King's College, Cambridge. She is a former fellow of Corpus Christi College and most recently taught at New College, Oxford. She contributes to the BBC History Magazine, History Today and the Times Literary Supplement as well as giving talks at the Southbank Centre and various radio shows. Her previous books include Adorno's Positive Dialectic and Continental Philosophy of Social Science.

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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Precise, no-nonsense analysis of Adorno February 27, 2006
Format:Hardcover
Yvonne Sherratt has applied her knowledge of Freudian theory to come up with an original reading of Adorno's work, that escapes from the rather gloomy impasse of "negative" dialectics without Panglossism, without forcing what Adorno said into a Procrustean bed.

A danger of her schematism, her neat lists of concepts and her diagrammatic approach would be self-application. IF knowledge becomes system, if knowledge becomes schema, and as a result regresses to myth (PowerPoint) and what Adorno called "the conquest of the thing represented by its representation", then isn't Ms. Sherratt's very neatness itself a danger? Is she the student who Adorno asks not to take notes in his lectures on Metaphysics?

Actually, this elementary try-on doesn't work as long as we remember that we're dealing with concepts and not things at the limit of our ability to think, which for Adorno took place INSIDE the arena constituted by our psychology (including instinctual drives) and history itself. As long as we're honest about the meanings of very fuzzy words, such as "id", what we're dealing with is not some representation of idness out of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the shrinks.

Notice by way of illustration that Moderns, or PostModerns, or whoever these wet behind the ear 20-something opinion leaders are these days, speak of the Id or the Ego the speech is like the work of radiological techs. They can't really engage the Id, who in a world of systematically denied instinctual drives is no longer pale and interesting but instead frightening.

Nor can we, in political talk, describe or engage pure "irrationality" which is the operation of the Id, the Ego, or even the super-ego left to itself in a void without the other Stooges of psychology.
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