Aesthetic Theory (Athlone Contemporary European Thinkers) by Theodor W. Adorno

By Theodor W. Adorno

In his "Philosophy of contemporary Music", Theodor W. Adorno analyzes what he known as "radical music" and discusses intimately the cutting edge paintings of Mahler, of Schoenberg and his disciples, and the early compositions of Stravinsky. As in all his writings, Adorno brings a big selection of cultural and social issues to undergo on those topics, in order that person musical works are noticeable of their broadest political and sociological atmosphere. while, the ebook is still a examine of the works themselves, and as such is a vintage research of great twentieth century track. released for the 1st time in Germany in 1948, "Philosophy of recent Music" is a made from Adorno's exile within the usa, the place he wrote it whereas nationwide Socialism fell in his ecu fatherland.

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Nothing remains of the autonomy of art—that artworks should be considered better than they consider themselves to be arouses indignation in culture customers—other than the fetish character of the commodity, regression to the archaic fetishism in the origin of art: To this extent the contemporary attitude to art is regressive. What is consumed is the abstract being-for-other of the cultural commodities, though without their actually being for others; by serving the customers, they themselves are betrayed.

Where it deciphers the social character that speaks from a work and in which on many occasions the character of its author is manifest, psychoanalysis furnishes the concrete mediating links between the structure of artworks and the social structure. But psychoanalysis too casts a spell related to idealism, that of an absolutely subjective sign system denoting subjective instinctual impulses. It unlocks phenomena, but falls short of the phenomenon of art. Psychoanalysis treats artworks as nothing but facts, yet it neglects their own objectivity, their inner consistency, their level of form, their critical impulse, their relation to nonpsychical reality, and, finally, their idea of truth.

The force of the old presses toward the new, without which the old cannot be fulfilled. Yet the moment this is invoked, artistic practice and its manifestations become suspect; the old that it claims to safeguard usually disavows the specificity of the work; aesthetic reflection, however, is not indifferent to the entwinement of the old and new. The old has refuge only at the vanguard of the new: in the gaps, not in continuity. Schoenberg's simple motto— If you do not seek, you will not find—is a watchword of the new; whatever fails to honor it in the context of the artwork becomes a deficiency; not least among the aesthetic abilities is the capacity, in the process of the work's production, to sound for residual constraints; through the new, critique—the refusal—becomes an objective element of art itself.

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