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Biography of Theodor w. Adorno

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News of an outdated September 11, 1903
August 6, 1969

Who is: Theodor w. Adorno


Sociologist, philosopher, musicologist and German Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno was born on 11 September 1903 in Frankfurt am Main. The only child of a Jewish wine merchant, signing its first written with the surname of his mother, Maria Adorno, a Catholic singer còrse sources and, before that, the Genoese. The Hebrew name of the father is so abbreviated in a W.

Introduced by her mother to the study of music, and Siegfried Kracauer, a family friend very cultured and erudite, to classical German philosophy, Adorno, he graduated in philosophy in 1924 with a dissertation on the phenomenology of Husserl.

The first article of the young philosopher is dedicated to Expressionism, unexpectedly seduced by violent and intense language of the Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg, one of the most prominent exponents of that artistic movement. Adorno goes then to Vienna to study with him, making himself a "follower" of his circle, the same that bear the famous "Second Viennese School". The main aim of these artists was to undermine the rules underlying the tonal music (i.e. the rules that inform the entire Western music), in the conviction that the extreme chromaticism that had arrived earlier composers (an "inclined plane" triggered by Wagner), had led to the beaches that were exceeded. In some ways, a process which in their view was "natural" and not revolutionary, as it generally tends to believe even today (and it would be enough to go re-read, to convince you of this, Webern's writings).

The major contribution to overcoming this will be just what made by Schoenberg that initially reached a kind of writing "a-", the tonal method of composition called "Twelve-tone", a sort of "Communism of the twelve sounds" or "emancipation of the dissonance" expressions of the same composer.

Adorno, in his non-fiction production and controversy, will always be a strong supporter of this new music, totally opposed by the public and by the critics.

Paradigm, in this sense, the text of the 1949 called "the philosophy of new music".

Adorno is that tragic cultural climate that marks the transition from the old conception of the world to mass society, which was developing its tables of values, autonomous anchored without doubt the fundamental rules of the languages of the past, but simplified to the utmost and emptied of all its contents.

In 1931 Adorno becomes free Docent at the University of Frankfurt, where he taught until forced-because of the rise of Nazism-to emigrate to Paris, England and finally in the United States.

In 1950 he returned to Frankfurt where he teaches philosophy and sociology and directs the Institute for social research.

Multifaceted personality, many cultural interests, left a very original contribution in all fields in which he exercised his outstanding ability and speculative dialectics. The philosophy and music are in summary the fundamental passions, passions that condense in the "dialectic of enlightenment," written in 1947 in collaboration with the other great exponent of so-called "Frankfurt School", i.e. Max Horkheimer.

The two miserable here in the most refined point critique of Western culture of the twentieth century, by making a reflection about the way Western society has transformed its potential for emancipation and devoting a substantial part of the work to a theoretical study on the "anti-Semitic" question (who preferred expression to that confusing "the Jewish question").

The sharpness of this philosophical look would be that in the community of exiled Germans will try to translate into an empirical investigation this analysis that wove Freudianism and Marxism. Thus the publication of a series of collective volumes entitled "studies in prejudice".

Equally fundamental in the cosmetic field are "unfinished aesthetic theory" and the "negative dialectic". The first text highlights the subtle dialectic relationship between art and social reality, while the second is an inspiring attempt to update the Hegelian legacy.

The spectacular Adorno's intelligence is also exercised in shrewd aphorisms, published in that real "cult" that bears the title Minima moralia "(1947), the debtor, for the paradoxical and bright streak running through it, to the distinguished history of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. But along with "beauty" Nietzschean, in that text that lays down with force in history before and after the great Nazi slaughter, shines through the mourning for the tragic events of Europe at the time.

Eager to resume teaching German students, the philosopher is as mentioned in the last few years back in Germany, convinced that the mother tongue is the most suitable instrument to express his thoughts. Watch the democratic reconstruction of the country, puts aside anti-bourgeois tones of youth and takes away his writings from circulation more influenced by Marxism.

When explodes on 68 he referred, Adorno shows if annoyed, widely reciprocated later by obtuse "revolutionaries".

The following year, after yet another claim, turns away from the University. Dies of heartbreak after a few days in Visp, Switzerland, August 6, 1969.

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