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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 generally seemed this day as its such a lot great exponent.
Steven Helmling is centrally interested in Adorno's notoriously tough writing, a characteristic such a lot commentators recognize purely to set it apart which will an expository account of 'what Adorno is saying'. in contrast, Adorno's advanced writing is the imperative concentration of this research, consisting of particular research of Adorno's most complicated texts, specifically his most renowned and complex paintings, co-authored with Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment.
Helmling argues that Adorno's key motifs - dialectic, proposal, negation, immanent critique, constellation - are prescriptions now not basically for serious pondering, but in addition for serious writing. For Adorno the efficacy of critique is conditioned on how the writing of critique is written. either in idea and in perform, Adorno urges a 'poetics of critique' that's each piece as severe as anything in his 'critical theory.

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The task of music as art thus enters into a parallel relationship to the task of social theory. . solutions offered by music in this process stand equal to theories (EM 393). But the premise is put more globally in many places—as in the 1961 essay, ‘Opinion Delusion Society’: The moment called cathexis in psychology, thought’s affective investment in the object, is not extrinsic to thought, not merely psychological, but rather the condition of its truth. Where cathexis atrophies, intelligence becomes stultified (CM 109).

To undo this, critique must incur an affective labor along with its other burdens. ‘The need to lend a voice to suffering’, writes Adorno, ‘is the condition of all truth’ (ND 17–18), a premise that rejoins affect and concept, feeling and thinking, to enact Adorno’s dialectical protest against the separation of these categories—these domains of experience—in Western culture. For Adorno, ‘the labor of the concept’ itself involves laboring to uncover, focus, articulate, and express its chronically repressed or distorted, fetishized or reified affective elements.

All such exaltations of strength and tragic heroism Adorno disdains as imaginary consolations; his own ideation tends rather to abjection—and not as the willed asceticism diagnosed by Nietzsche, but as the burden imposed on us by history will we or nill we, the social trauma critique shares, and suffers, and which it can only attempt, however impossibly, to work through: Unquestionably, one who submits to the dialectical discipline has to pay dearly in the qualitative variety of experience. Still, in the administered world Cathecting Philosophy 25 the impoverishment of experience by dialectics, which outrages healthy opinion, proves appropriate to the monotony of that world.

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