Who's Afraid of the Ivory Tower? A Conversation with Theodor W. Adorno

Gerhard Richter

in Language Without Soil

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780823231263
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235360 | DOI:
Who's Afraid of the Ivory Tower?             A Conversation with Theodor W. Adorno

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Finally, this chapter, an edited and annotated translation of Theodor W. Adorno's seminal 1969 interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel concerning the relationship of Critical Theory to political activism, not only situates Adorno's conversation within the epistemo-political context of its time, but also illustrates Adorno's abiding commitment to an unknowable futurity in which an ethico-political hope lodged in the unsublatable dialectical interplay between thought and action might someday emerge. The erratic traces of this double movement not only name but also enact Adorno's notion of a negative dialectic. The movement of the negative dialectic of failure and promise has strongly marked the reception of the English translations of his writings. After all, Adorno's German, and the thought that it enacts, is rigorously and infamously resistant to translation. His writing is both strange and foreign even in its “original” German.

Keywords: Theodor W. Adorno; interview; Critical Theory; political activism; movement; negative dialectic; translation

Chapter.  4795 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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