Criticism

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By Steven Helmling

Adorno's Poetics of Critique is a serious examine of the Marxist culture-critic Theodor W. Adorno, a founding member of the Frankfurt institution and extensively appeared this present day as its such a lot extraordinary exponent.
Steven Helmling is centrally focused on Adorno's notoriously tough writing, a characteristic such a lot commentators recognize in basic terms to set it apart so as to an expository account of 'what Adorno is saying'. in contrast, Adorno's advanced writing is the relevant concentration of this research, along with special research of Adorno's most complicated texts, particularly his most renowned and complex paintings, co-authored with Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment.
Helmling argues that Adorno's key motifs - dialectic, thought, negation, immanent critique, constellation - are prescriptions now not in simple terms for severe considering, but in addition for severe writing. For Adorno the efficacy of critique is conditioned on how the writing of critique is written. either in thought and in perform, Adorno urges a 'poetics of critique' that's each piece as serious as the rest in his 'critical theory.

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And in what is undoubtedly his most-remembered and oftenest-quoted utterance—‘To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric’ (P 34)—Adorno might seem to be putting a limit to the argument, by citing an atrocity that threatens to beggar all affect, indeed, all expression—which would have to mean, all critique as well. For surely Adorno’s anxiety in the question of poetry after Auschwitz encompasses anxiety about the continuance of critique and philosophy after Auschwitz as well—a way of putting it that helps uncover the utopian wishfulness in the famous assertion that ‘Philosophy lives on because the moment to realize it was missed’ (ND 3).

That [after Auschwitz] one must write poems, in keeping with Hegel’s statement in his Aesthetics that as long as there is an awareness of suffering among human beings there must also be art as the objective form of that awareness. . [The question whether one can write poetry after Auschwitz should rather be] the question whether one can live after Auschwitz. . Since it concerns the possibility of any affirmation of life, this question cannot be evaded. . any thought which is not measured by this standard, which does not assimilate it theoretically, simply pushes aside at the outset that which thought should address—so that it really cannot be called a thought at all (MCP 110–1; cf.

The ‘contest of faculties’ was protracted and often covert, but the outcome was increasingly clear. For the losers (philosophy, religion, art), the defeat was supposed to be made more palatable by a sequestration that allowed each a client-reign in its own proper, scrupulously circumscribed domain. This Enlightenment regime tolerates aesthetic discourses as specialized disciplines on condition that they renounce their claim to ‘truth’; by the same token, the truth-discourses of science offer as condition (almost as guarantee) of their truth-value their principled refusal of any affective voltage.

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