Adorno: A Biography by Stefan Müller-Doohm

By Stefan Müller-Doohm

'Even the biographical person is a social category', wrote Adorno. 'It can purely be outlined in a dwelling context including others.' during this significant new biography, Stefan Muller-Doohm turns this maxim again on Adorno himself and offers a wealthy and entire account of the existence and paintings of 1 of the main outstanding minds of the 20th century.

This authoritative biography levels around the complete of Adorno's existence and profession, from his early life and scholar years to his years in emigration within the usa and his go back to postwar Germany. while, Muller-Doohm examines the complete diversity of Adorno's writings on philosophy, sociology, literary concept, song idea and cultural feedback. Drawing on an array of resources from Adorno's own correspondence with Horkheimer, Benjamin, Berg, Marcuse, Kracauer and Mann to interviews, notes and either released and unpublished writings, Muller-Doohm situates Adorno's contributions within the context of his occasions and offers a wealthy and balanced appraisal of his importance within the twentieth Century as a complete.

Muller-Doohm's transparent prose succeeds in making obtainable one of the most advanced parts of Adorno's idea. This remarkable biography could be the usual paintings on Adorno for future years.

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The cosmopolitan wine-merchant was not yet thirty when he made up his mind after a lengthy stay in London to settle down and marry. This was all the easier as his sister Alice Betty (1873–1935) had set him a good example by making an excellent match the year before. She became the wife of Paul Epstein, a mathematician and subsequently professor of mathematics in Strasbourg. He was the son of a well-respected, cultivated middle-class family in Frankfurt. The couple had four children, one of whom later became a musicologist and another a historian.

Later, they moved to Württemberg, where Benedict died at the early age of sixty. His youngest child, Fanni, who was born in 1846, married in Würzburg in 1867 and subsequently emigrated with her husband to the United States. There is no doubt that the eldest of the three siblings fared better. At the age of thirty, David Theodor married Caroline Mayer (1846–94), a banker’s daughter from Worms. The marriage resulted in the birth of six children, three boys and three girls, although one of the girls lived for only two years.

18 There was a huge gulf between the circumstances of these Jews and the elegant lifestyle of the Frankfurt Westend with which the Adornos identified, even though they did not live there. This sense of belonging to a relatively affluent and socially elevated stratum of society was very marked in the case of Oscar Alexander Wiesengrund, the successful businessman. As Peter von Haselberg remembers him, ‘he was a short, slim, determined man. ’19 Within the family what his father represented for Adorno was a form of individualism that was typical of the commercial ethos of the city, an individualism based on private means and experience of the world.

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