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Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life (Radical Thinkers) Paperback – January 17, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


“The best thoughts of a noble and invigorating mind.”—Observer

“A primary intellectual document of this age.”—Sunday Times

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Radical Thinkers
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (January 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844670511
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844670512
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969) was the leading figure of the Frankfurt school of critical theory. He authored more than twenty volumes, including "Negative Dialectics" (1982), "Kierkegaard" (Minnesota, 1989), "Dialectic of Enlightenment" (1975) with Max Horkheimer, and "Aesthetic Theory" (Minnesota, 1997).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Robert Lawrence on June 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Although the Frankfurt School enjoyed some popularity in the US during the 1960s, its greatest writer never gained a following. Read this book and you may understand why: Adorno's thought is dense, allusive, and difficult to assimilate. It assumes quite some background in European, and especially German, intellectual history.
The right reader, however, will find Minima Moralia a tightly written, polished masterpiece. It is essentially a series of aphorisms in the style of Nietzsche. Adorno blends sharp observations about daily life in the 20th century with choice gleanings from philosophy, literature and history. The result is a unique work of cultural criticism that defies characterization or summary.
Almost every sentence of Minima Moralia contains a devastating insight into modern culture. Must reading for anyone who cares about Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, and all related strands of thought.
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98 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Phil on July 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Like Noam Chomsky, Theodor Adorno is one of those thinkers whose exposures of what society keeps hidden are so antithetical to received opinion, that they are either ignored or attacked by those who evade the actual issues at hand. While Chomsky uncovers hypocrisy and deception in international politics, Adorno cuts to the heart of alienated modern subjectivity, exploring the paradoxes and delusions of a world that most people imagine couldn't be otherwise. While his writing always carries a faint glimmer of hope that "things could be different", Adorno is largely pessimistic about the possibility of true freedom and reconciliation (in a Marxist sense) under the often absurd conditions of modern life. Now, this doesn't mean that he subjects "society" to vicious attack. On the contrary (and again, like Chomsky), Adorno speaks with sobriety and erudition. He's not afraid to interogate the customs and habits that are woven into the very fabric of modern institutions, charting their evolution and pointing out the relatively late development of many types of human interaction that are ordinarily dismissed as human nature, if thought of at all.
Adorno's dense, challenging prose can be difficult to digest in large portions. I made the mistake of beginning my exploration of his work with "Aesthetic Theory", which consists of 250 pages of undiluted thought, and no chapter divisions. The aphoristic collection of ruminations that is "Minima Moralia" is a much better introduction to this twists and turns of Adorno's thinking. As always, he uncondescendingly offers faithful transcriptions of his very thought processes, making things both difficult for the lazy reader, and more revealing to attentive readers able to hug the sharp corners at accelerated mental speeds.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful By An Mhuruch on May 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
...when it comes to praising this book. as a european refugee in this country, i feel that adorno's lucidity is almost uncanny. many times i read and reread one page, enjoying and deeply respecting his wisdom and intellectual courage, shocked by his insight. it is not an easy reading and it is mostly painful...but very, very rewarding. i love books more than anything, and i spend all my money and time on them, but until now i have not read anything comparable. the only other book i know of that offers such challenge and such solace is le mythe de sisyphe by camus. by the way, i hope the english translation is good, but i recommend to read it in german.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By FrizzText on August 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Adorno, at first grown up upper-class-protected, became acquainted with the horror only outside the family (his mother was a classical musician). Outside: on the school-yards, pursued and pushed by his peer group, because he always was teacher's darling. Outside: being a Jew walking on Nazi-streets of a pre-Hitler Germany with subtle racial discrimination. They soon would build Auschwitz. The same pattern, which at first as the contempt of mediocre school-gangs came into much too close contact to Adorno, secondly reached more painful intensity in the shape of the ideological constructions and daily realities of the National Socialism in the Third Reich. Though no one had a presentiment of the coming Holocaust, Adorno told, that the exploding of inhumanity did not astound him, after all that he had to suffer in the years before. Adorno fled to the U.S. for political reasons and because his father had Jewish roots. He worked in New York in the "Institute for Social Research". After exile (in the 1950s) Adorno returned to Frankfurt. He soon became a hero of the student revolts of 1968, but unfortunately students prefered a style of discussion and acting (Adorno's lectures were disrupted by bare breast girls), - a style of discussion and acting, which the (latent conservative) upper-class child Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno (called "Teddy" by the students) disliked in the beginning, in the middle and at the end of his life. His literary and philosophical masterpiece MINIMA MORALIA however is a testament of a razor-sharp philosophical mind, using an élitist, brilliantly aphoristic language. He continually followed the principle, that the only method to write nowadays is an essayistic, non-systematic, code word analyzing method, considering the fact, that big mega-philosophies (fascism, marxism ...Read more ›
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