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The Melancholy Science: An Introduction to the Thought of Theodor W. Adorno (European Perspectives) Hardcover – June, 1979

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; 1st edition (June 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231045840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231045841
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,802,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Luca Graziuso and Marina Ross on August 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Gillian Rose was one of the most enigmatic thinkers of postmodernity, although she was avowedly a staunch opponent of the philosophy of anti-rationalism which she recognized in the academic climate of her time. This book is not intended for the lay reader. It was published in 1978 and it is steeped in a Jewish dialectical engagement with proto-Marxism and Modernism. The reviewer above does an excellent job in unveiling the portent latency of the "introdction" and its intimate relationship with thinkers such as Kant, Hegel, Marx, Lukaks, Benjamin and Levinas whose theoretical assumptions and methodologies are presumed as veersed. It bears remembering that when this publication went in print there were only a handful of readers of Adorno and hardly any studies on the founder of the Frankfurt Institute, while he had yet to publish his greatest work. Because of it this should not bear the title "introduction" in the sense of invitation rather it is more of a prelogomena, where ideas are diffused, refracted and intimated. This today remains a book of astounding interest to the scholars of Jewish and proto-modern thought because it expounds the philosophy and the politics of a thinker who has been considered inconsistent and reactionary, subtle but intimidating, against the grain and unconvincing.
Rose was at once captured and horrified by modernity. She rejected the postmodern as diffuse and irresponsible, but she regretted the "broken middle" of modernity and attacked most of the leading thinkers in the Jewish world as being much too enamored of both autonomy and modernity. She used a personal neo-Kantian critique to unmask the naive belief in modernity that most philosophers and, perhaps especially, Jewish philosophers cannot surrender.
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful By RLS on February 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The experience I had with Gillian Rose's _The Melancholy Science_ was generally one of misunderstanding and frustration. The primary complaint I have with the work is that does not serve its purpose as an "introduction" to Adorno's philosophy. Instead, it is geared towards the well-seasoned undergraduate or graduate philosophy/sociology student. While I was interested in philosophy at university, it was not my major and I did not take more than a few courses in it. This hardly provided the foundation for understanding modern, complex texts that make use of the past two milleniums worth of thought. I am, at best, an "armchair philosopher," and this is the position in which I review Rose's work.
Hoping _The Melancholy Science_ would help me better understand the intricacies of a thinker I am currently interested in, I found the exposition on the thought of Adorno to be anything but an introduction. While I was never expecting to have my "hand held" through the inevitably deep ridges of Adorno's thought, my impression was that his main views would be examined in relatively straightforward (that is, somewhat un-academic) language and bring in references to others when necessary.
Rose, however, expects the reader to be relatively familiar with most of Adorno's predecessors: Husserl, Heidegger, Horkheimer, Marx, Nietzsche, Kierkagaard, Benjamin, Lukacs, Weber, etc. and their terminology. This may be an unavoidable form of presentation, since Adorno grounded his philosophy heavily in response to other's thoughts (he seems to have been a reactionary thinker as much as a creative one), but it still strikes me as strange that a book about Adorno features more delineation on the views of others than Adorno.
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