The Polemic of the Late Work: Adorno' Hölderlin

Robert Savage

in Language Without Soil

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780823231263
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235360 | DOI:
The Polemic of the Late Work:             Adorno' Hölderlin

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This chapter engages the problem in Theodor W. Adorno's late work—both in Friedrich Hölderlin and as a general problem of aesthetic theory. The chapter explores questions through a selective reading of “Parataxis: On Hölderlin's Late Poetry”. Polemic and rescue, it will be argued, are the twin poles between which “Parataxis” oscillates and that delimit its field of argumentation. Their relationship generates a ferment in which each term passes imperceptibly into the other. On the one hand, the polemic figures a kind of loving hate that mortifies in order to save: no resurrection without the stench of death. In Gnostic terms, the polemic affords a glimpse of divine truth through its absolute negation of the fallen world of the demiurge, anticipating the rescue of the particular in the universal envisaged by Adorno's regulative “utopia of knowledge”.

Keywords: Theodor W. Adorno; Friedrich Hölderlin; theory; poles; parataxis; truth; negation

Chapter.  9917 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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