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Can One Live After Auschwitz?: A Philosophical Reader Hardcover – May 28, 2003

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Can One Live after Auschwitz? provides a very useful cross-section of Adorno's work on the task of thought after the Holocaust."—The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

"Despite his conviction that no philosophy could presume to approach an event like Auschwitz, this collection of Adorno's essays and aphorisms attests to his extraordinary effort to regard human suffering as the precondition of thought and as the undoing of all claims to totality. Adorno's cultural criticism emerges here as a moral philosophy for a 'world that has outlived its own demise.'"
—Anson Rabinbach, Princeton University

From the Inside Flap

This is a comprehensive collection of readings from the work of Theodor Adorno, one of the most influential German thinkers of the twentieth century.
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.

Product Details

  • Series: Cultural Memory in the Present
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (May 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804731438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804731430
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,122,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Another Amazon reviewer has suggested that this reader would be "... an excellent current selection for beginning Adorno students". This is fairly on the mark with a few comments.

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.
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By A Customer on July 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent current selection for beginning Adorno students. The contents are much more generally useful than the title implies; this is not just a Holocaust-theory reader but a general Adorno selection of some worth. Since there's no other existing Adorno reader (that I know of) with such a broad, accessible, and interesting selection, this might be the one to pick for students not yet acquainted with his work. To me it looks like, for certain fields at least, this could end up being a counterpart to the well-respected "Marx-Engels Reader" as a broad introductory selection.
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