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Language and History in Adorno's Notes to Literature (Studies in Philosophy)

By Ulrich Plass

Plass argues that Adorno’s essays on literature are of prime importance for an realizing of his aesthetics simply because they problem the conceptual barriers of philosophical discourse.

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Bankruptcy 4 as though: Stefan George Alles Vergängliche Ist nur ein Gleichnis. —Goethe1 In Rudolf Borchardt’s favourite foe, Stefan George, Adorno encounters one other early twentieth-century poet whose politics have been outlined via a proudly antithetical, reactionary and elitist stance. whereas George has develop into anything of a interest today—it has definitely been many years seeing that he was once thought of “the strongest guy within the world,”2 and either the fellow and his paintings are as prone to elicit enjoyment as admiration—his identify nonetheless conjures up just like the quintessentially aestheticist and particular poet and prophet,3 “a sleek Socrates who held his disciples with a fascination right away erotic and spiritual,”4 and whose specific circle manifested an absolute refusal to house the banalities of the surface international. Adorno’s fascination with George, despite the fact that, reaches a ways past an curiosity within the nimbus linked to the poet—which, on all bills, is whatever one may still chorus from attempting to revive. five all through his occupation, Adorno time and again grew to become his serious awareness to George, first within the kind of a now misplaced essay on George’s missed prose writings, in 1940 through a evaluation essay at the correspondence among George and Hugo von Hofmannsthal that performed a huge half in his highbrow friendship with Walter Benjamin, who credited Adorno with “having finished this unseasonable and thankless activity, that of ‘saving’ George” (CC 339; BW 429). 6 Like Schönberg and Webern, whom he favorite, Adorno even ventured to set 4 of George’s poems to song. After Benjamin’s loss of life, Adorno established the majority of the argument in his 1957 “Speech On Lyric Poetry and Society” [“Rede über Lyrik und Gesellschaft”] on George’s poetry, putting him in a genealogical line with Goethe and Mörike. His final paintings at the poet bears the straightforward 89 90 Language and historical past in Theodor W. Adorno’s Notes to Literature name “George. ” First offering the textual content as a radio deal with in 1967, Adorno didn't locate the time to show it right into a written essay. After Adorno’s dying in 1969, the editors integrated a transcript of the radio essay within the posthumous fourth quantity of the Notes to Literature, the place it instantly precedes the essay on Borchardt. whereas the textual content on Borchardt serves as an creation to an variation of the latter’s poetry, the piece on George is conceived of as a “virtual” advent to a set of poetry that Adorno by no means edited. 7 If provided to him, he most likely may have welcomed the chance. The essay on George hence stands below the signal of unrealized threat. it truly is exactly the latter that buildings Adorno’s argument on George, either within the essay “George” and within the “Speech On Lyric Poetry and Society. ” i'll the following reflect on either essays jointly, given that their arguments are heavily similar and sometimes overlap. the place invaluable, i'm going to contain references to Adorno’s essay on George’s correspondence with Hofmannsthal, reprinted within the quantity Prisms: Cultural feedback and Society (1955), whose total tenor is extra severe.

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