Dialectic of Enlightenment is undoubtedly the most influential publication of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Written during the Second World War and circulated privately, it appeared in a printed edition in Amsterdam in 1947. "What we had set out to do," the authors write in the Preface, "was nothing less than to explain why humanity, instead of entering a truly human state, is sinking into a new kind of barbarism." Yet the work goes far beyond a mere critique of contemporary events. Historically remote developments, indeed, the birth of Western history and of subjectivity itself out of the struggle against natural forces, as represented in myths, are connected in a wide arch to the most threatening experiences of the present. The book consists in five chapters, at first glance unconnected, together with a number of shorter notes. The various analyses concern such phenomena as the detachment of science from practical life, formalized morality, the manipulative nature of entertainment culture, and a paranoid behavioral structure, expressed in aggressive anti-Semitism, that marks the limits of enlightenment. The authors perceive a common element in these phenomena, the tendency toward self-destruction of the guiding criteria inherent in enlightenment thought from the beginning. Using historical analyses to elucidate the present, they show, against the background of a prehistory of subjectivity, why the National Socialist terror was not an aberration of modern history but was rooted deeply in the fundamental characteristics of Western civilization. Adorno and Horkheimer see the self-destruction of Western reason as grounded in a historical and fateful dialectic between the domination of external nature and society. They trace enlightenment, which split these spheres apart, back to its mythical roots. Enlightenment and myth, therefore, are not irreconcilable opposites, but dialectically mediated qualities of both real and intellectual life. "Myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology." This paradox is the fundamental thesis of the book. This new translation, based on the text in the complete edition of the works of Max Horkheimer, contains textual variants, commentary upon them, and an editorial discussion of the position of this work in the development of Critical Theory.
|One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society, 2nd Edition|
by Herbert Marcuse (Author), Douglas Kellner (Introduction)
Originally published in 1964, One-Dimensional Man quickly became one of the most important texts in the ensuing decade of radical political change. This second edition, newly introduced by Marcuse scholar Douglas Kellner, presents Marcuse's best-selling work to another generation of readers in the context of contemporary events.
|Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life (Radical Thinkers)|
by Theodor Adorno (Author), E. F. N. Jephcott (Translator)
A reflection on everyday existence in the ‘sphere of consumption of late Capitalism’, this work is Adorno’s literary and philosophical masterpiece.
|The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture (Routledge Classics) (Volume 20)|
by Theodor W. Adorno (Author), J. M. Bernstein (Editor)
The creation of the Frankfurt School of critical theory in the 1920s saw the birth of some of the most exciting and challenging writings of the twentieth century. It is out of this background that the great critic Theodor Adorno emerged. His finest essays are collected here, offering the reader unparalleled insights into Adorno's thoughts on culture. He argued that the culture industry commodified and standardized all art. In turn this suffocated individuality and destroyed critical...
|Illuminations: Essays and Reflections|
by Walter Benjamin (Author), Hannah Arendt (Editor), Harry Zohn (Editor)
Walter Benjamin was one of the most original cultural critics of the twentieth century. Illuminations includes his views on Kafka, with whom he felt a close personal affinity; his studies on Baudelaire and Proust; and his essays on Leskov and on Brecht's Epic Theater. Also included are his penetrating study "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," an enlightening discussion of translation as a literary mode, and Benjamin's theses on the philosophy of...
|History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics|
by Georg Lukács (Author), Rodney Livingstone (Translator)
This is the first time one of the most important of Lukács' early theoretical writings, published in Germany in 1923, has been made available in English. The book consists of a series of essays treating, among other topics, the definition of orthodox Marxism, the question of legality and illegality, Rosa Luxemburg as a Marxist, the changing function of Historic Marxism, class consciousness, and the substantiation and consciousness of the Proletariat.
Writing in 1968, on the occasion...
|Eros and Civilization : A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud|
by Herbert Marcuse (Author)
In this classic work, Herbert Marcuse takes as his starting point Freud's statement that civilization is based on the permanent subjugation of the human instincts, his reconstruction of the prehistory of mankind - to an interpretation of the basic trends of western civilization, stressing the philosophical and sociological implications.
|Aesthetics and Politics (Radical Thinkers)|
by Theodor Adorno (Author), Walter Benjamin (Author), Ernst Bloch (Author), Bertolt Brecht (Author), Georg Lukacs (Author)
No other country and no other period has produced a tradition of major aesthetic debate to compare with that which unfolded in German culture from the 1930s to the 1950s. In Aesthetics and Politics the key texts of the great Marxist controversies over literature and art during these years are assembled in a single volume. They do not form a disparate collection but a continuous, interlinked debate between thinkers who have become giants of twentieth-century intellectual history.
|Aesthetic Theory (Theory and History of Literature)|
by Theodor W. Adorno (Author), Robert Hullot-Kentor (Editor)
Perhaps the most important aesthetics of the twentieth century appears here newly translated, in English that is for the first time faithful to the intricately demanding language of the original German. The culmination of a lifetime of aesthetic investigation, Aesthetic Theory is Theodor W. Adorno's magnum opus, the clarifying lens through which the whole of his work is best viewed, providing a framework within which his other major writings cohere.
|The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society (Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought)|
by Jürgen Habermas (Author)
This is Jürgen Habermas's most concrete historical-sociological book and one of the key contributions to political thought in the postwar period. It will be a revelation to those who have known Habermas only through his theoretical writing to find his later interests in problems of legitimation and communication foreshadowed in this lucid study of the origins, nature, and evolution of public opinion in democratic societies.
|Eclipse of Reason|
by Max Horkheimer (Author)
2013 Reprint of 1947 Edition. Exact facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition Software. "Eclipse of Reason" discusses how the Nazis were able to project their agenda as "reasonable". It is broken into five sections: 1] Means and Ends, 2] Conflicting Panaceas, 3]The Revolt of Nature, 4] The Rise and Decline of the Individual and 5] On the Concept of Philosophy. It also treats the concept of reason within the history of western philosophy.