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By David Jenemann

“For these prone to brush aside Adorno’s tackle the United States because the uncomprehending condescension of a mandarin elitist, David Jenemann’s most excellent new publication will come as a impolite awakening. Exploiting a wealth of recent resources, he persuasively exhibits the intensity of Adorno’s engagement with the tradition and the complexity of his response to it.” —Martin Jay, Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of heritage, collage of California, Berkeley

 

The German thinker and cultural critic Theodor W. Adorno was once one of many towering highbrow figures of the 20 th century, and among 1938 and 1953 he lived in exile within the usa. within the first in-depth account of this era of Adorno’s existence, David Jenemann examines Adorno’s war of words with the burgeoning American “culture undefined” and casts new gentle on Adorno’s writings concerning the mass media. opposite to the commonly held belief—even between his defenders—that Adorno used to be disconnected from the USA and disdained its tradition, Jenemann finds that Adorno was once an energetic and engaged player in cultural and highbrow lifestyles in the course of those years.

 

From the time he first arrived in long island in 1938 to paintings for the Princeton Radio examine venture, exploring the effect of radio on American society and the maturing advertising and marketing recommendations of the nationwide radio networks, Adorno used to be devoted to realizing the technological and social impression of renowned artwork within the usa. Adorno carried those pursuits with him to Hollywood, the place he and Max Horkheimer tried to make a movie for his or her reports in Prejudice venture and the place he befriended Thomas Mann and helped him craft his well-known novel Doctor Faustus. Shuttling among insightful readings of Adorno’s theories and a wealthy physique of archival materials—including unpublished writings and FBI files—Jenemann paints a portrait of Adorno’s years in ny and la and tells the cultural heritage of an the United States coming to grips with its quickly evolving mass culture.

 

Adorno in America eloquently and persuasively argues for a extra advanced, extra intimate dating among Adorno and American society than has ever been formerly stated. What emerges is not just a picture of an highbrow in exile, yet eventually a rediscovery of Adorno as a powerful defender of an important and clever democracy.

 

David Jenemann is assistant professor of English on the college of Vermont.

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