By David Jenemann
The German thinker and cultural critic Theodor W. Adorno used to be one of many towering highbrow figures of the 20 th century, and among 1938 and 1953 he lived in exile within the usa. within the first in-depth account of this era of Adorno’s lifestyles, David Jenemann examines Adorno’s disagreement with the burgeoning American “culture industry” and casts new gentle on Adorno’s writings concerning the mass media. opposite to the generally held belief—even between his defenders—that Adorno used to be disconnected from the US and disdained its tradition, Jenemann unearths that Adorno was once an lively and engaged player in cultural and highbrow lifestyles in the course of those years.
From the time he first arrived in manhattan in 1938 to paintings for the Princeton Radio learn venture, exploring the impression of radio on American society and the maturing advertising options of the nationwide radio networks, Adorno was once devoted to figuring out the technological and social impression of renowned paintings within the usa. Adorno carried those pursuits with him to Hollywood, the place he and Max Horkheimer tried to make a movie for his or her reviews in Prejudice undertaking and the place he befriended Thomas Mann and helped him craft his recognized novel health professional Faustus. Shuttling among insightful readings of Adorno’s theories and a wealthy physique of archival materials—including unpublished writings and FBI files—Jenemann paints a portrait of Adorno’s years in manhattan and l. a. and tells the cultural heritage of an the US coming to grips with its speedily evolving mass culture.
“For these vulnerable to brush off Adorno’s tackle the US because the uncomprehending condescension of a mandarin elitist, David Jenemann’s ideal new publication will come as a impolite awakening. Exploiting a wealth of latest resources, he persuasively exhibits the intensity of Adorno’s engagement with the tradition and the complexity of his response to it.” —Martin Jay, Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of background, collage of California, Berkeley
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Additional resources for Adorno in America
The examination of the rise of administrative research provides the springboard for the following three chapters, which take as case studies those forms of aesthetic transmission that Adorno felt “above all” constituted the Americanization of the arts in the wake of fascism: radio, motion pictures, and literature. Adorno’s writings on each of these means of mass communication paint a picture of the arts as increasingly turning their backs on a notion of the free-willed creative individual in favor of a heavily administered network of consumption and control under the guise of a supposedly democratic popular entertainment.
His output— consisting of the long “Memorandum” (161 pages); a study of an NBC musical-education program, “Analytical Study of NBC’s Music Appreciation Hour”; and the massive book Current of Music—went unpublished. The projected PRRP book on music in radio was reduced to one essay printed in Radio Research, 1941 (“The Radio Symphony”), and only two other articles, “A Social Critique of Radio Music” (published in Kenyon Review) and “On Popular Music” (written with George Simpson), the essay that immediately follows Lazarsfeld’s own in volume 9 of Studies in Philosophy and Social Science, saw print while Adorno was in the United States.
When put in the hands of radio networks, movie studios, and television stations, this type of research lends itself to the dehumanization of audiences and the reduction of artworks to their streamlined, surface elements. The examination of the rise of administrative research provides the springboard for the following three chapters, which take as case studies those forms of aesthetic transmission that Adorno felt “above all” constituted the Americanization of the arts in the wake of fascism: radio, motion pictures, and literature.
Adorno in America by David Jenemann