Interesting new series from Columbia Press:
Amy Allen, General Editor
New Directions in Critical Theory presents outstanding classic and contemporary texts in the tradition of critical social theory, broadly construed. The series aims to renew and advance the program of critical social theory, with a particular focus on theorizing contemporary struggles around gender, race, sexuality, class, and globalization and their complex interconnections.
Here‘s an interview with the editor about the series.
Long Sunday (long out of action but now back) is doing a reading of Axel Honneth’s new book Pathologies of Reason. The first post (of many, I assume) is up here.
This morning I came across this passage from Adorno‘s introduction to Negative Dialectics:
The un-naive thinker knows how far he remains from the object of his thinking, and yet he must always talk as if he had it entirely. This brings him to the poing ot clowning. He must not deny his clownish traits, least of all since they alone can give him hope for what is denied him. Philosophy is the most serious of things, but then again it is not all that serious.
It’s hard not to think of a certain Slovenian thinker when I read this, but from all accounts, Adorno was not a clown. Harvard UP has published a new book about Adorno by Detlev Claussen entitled Theodor Adorno: One Last Genuis (the HUP website has some exerpts). Here’s the blurb from Harvard University Press:
He was famously hostile to biography as a literary form. And yet this life of Adorno by one of his last students is far more than literary in its accomplishments, giving us our first clear look at how the man and his moment met to create “critical theory.” An intimate picture of the quintessential twentieth-century transatlantic intellectual, the book is also a window on the cultural ferment of Adorno’s day—and its ongoing importance in our own. The biography begins at the shining moment of the German bourgeoisie, in a world dominated by liberals willing to extend citizenship to refugees fleeing pogroms in Eastern Europe. Detlev Claussen follows Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno (1903–1969) from his privileged life as a beloved prodigy to his intellectual coming of age in Weimar Germany and Vienna; from his exile during the Nazi years, first to England, then to the United States, to his emergence as the Adorno we know now in the perhaps not-so-unlikely setting of Los Angeles. There in 1943 with his collaborator Max Horkheimer, Adorno developed critical theory, whose key insight—that to be entertained is to give one’s consent—helped define the intellectual landscape of the twentieth century. In capturing the man in his complex relationships with some of the century’s finest minds—including, among others, Arnold Schoenberg, Walter Benjamin, Thomas Mann, Siegfried Kracauer, Georg Lukács, Hannah Arendt, and Bertolt Brecht—Claussen reveals how much we have yet to learn from Theodor Adorno, and how much his life can tell us about ourselves and our time. Continue reading