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Can One Live After Auschwitz?: A Philosophical Reader Hardcover – May 28, 2003
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Anson Rabinbach, Princeton University
From the Inside Flap
What took place in Auschwitz revokes what Adorno termed the “Western legacy of positivity,” the innermost substance of traditional philosophy. The prime task of philosophy then remains to reflect on its own failure, its own complicity in such events. Yet in linking the question of philosophy to historical occurrence, Adorno seems not to have abandoned his paradoxical, life-long hope that philosophy might not be entirely closed to the idea of redemption. He prepares for an altogether different praxis, one no longer conceived in traditionally Marxist terms but rather to be gleaned from “metaphysical experience.”
In this collection, Adorno's literary executor has assembled the definitive introduction to his thinking. Its five sections anatomize the range of Adorno's concerns: “Toward a New Categorical Imperative,” “Damaged Life,” “Administered World, Reified Thought,” “Art, Memory of Suffering,” and “A Philosophy That Keeps Itself Alive.”
A substantial number of Adorno’s writings included appear here in English for the first time. This collection comes with an eloquent introduction from Rolf Tiedemann, the literary executor of Adorno’s work.
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Top Customer Reviews
There is not a lot of material included that is not available elsewhere, and only a scattering of new translations provided specifically for this volume. As such, experienced readers of Adorno may find it a bit superfluous - as I have.
Points of interest include an essay version of "Jargon of Authenticity" which is not available elsewhere (including in the "Gesammelte Schrifen") and an interesting aphorism from "Minima Moralia" that was not included in Jephcott's original Verso translation.
Against it's position as an introduction to Adorno's thought - there is very little provided from the "Dialectic of Enlightenment", and what is included is limited to "Elements of Anti-Semetism". It may be difficult to assimitate this essay without prior exposure to the two excurses of the "Dialectic".
In addition, many of the excerpts from "Notes on Literature" and "Prisms" may be difficult to read without an understanding of the "Dialectic's" critique of the culture industry in light of the critique of enlightenment more generally.
On a technical point, the cover and binding do not seem to be up to containing the 500 plus pages included in this paperback edition.
In all, a reasonable addition to English-language Adorno studies and a good starting point for newcommers determined to penetrate Adorno's frequently daunting writing. Not recommended for seasoned readers of Adorno.