Read The Stars Down to Earth and Other Essays on the Irrational in Culture (Routledge Classics) by Theodor W. Adorno Free Online
Book Title: The Stars Down to Earth and Other Essays on the Irrational in Culture (Routledge Classics)|
The author of the book: Theodor W. Adorno
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Date of issue: December 21st 1994
ISBN 13: 9780415105682
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 413 KB
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The essays collected here offer an analysis of the irrational dimensions of modern culture which is both timely and disturbing in the 1990s. Adorno's ideas are relevant to the understanding of phenomena as apparently diverse as astrology and "New Age" cults, the power of neo-fascist propaganda and the re-emergence of anti-Semitism, and the psychological basis of popular culture. The longest essay, "The Stars Down To Earth" offers a content analysis of the astrology column in a 1950s Los Angeles newspaper. Adorno argues that the column promotes psychological dependency and social conformism in much the same way as fascist propaganda. He maintains that the same principles operate in the mainstream products of "the culture industry." The three shorter papers illuminate different aspects of Adorno's argument: the relation of occultism to orthodox modern thought, the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism, and the "psycho-technic" rhetoric of fascist propaganda. Stephen Crook's introduction critically reviews Adorno's argument and offers an assessment of its contemporary relevance. Taken together, these essays offer an astringent antidote to any facile optimism about the democratic and pluralist character of postmodern popular culture. Adorno identifies an irrationalist dynamic which implicates the most enlightened and emancipated elements of contemporary culture. His unsettling arguments demand the attention of anyone interested in popular culture, critical theory, racism, and authoritarian politics.
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Read information about the authorTheodor Wiesengrund Adorno was one of the most important philosophers and social critics in Germany after World War II. Although less well known among anglophone philosophers than his contemporary Hans-Georg Gadamer, Adorno had even greater influence on scholars and intellectuals in postwar Germany. In the 1960s he was the most prominent challenger to both Sir Karl Popper's philosophy of science and Martin Heidegger's philosophy of existence. Jürgen Habermas, Germany's foremost social philosopher after 1970, was Adorno's student and assistant. The scope of Adorno's influence stems from the interdisciplinary character of his research and of the Frankfurt School to which he belonged. It also stems from the thoroughness with which he examined Western philosophical traditions, especially from Kant onward, and the radicalness to his critique of contemporary Western society. He was a seminal social philosopher and a leading member of the first generation of Critical Theory.
Unreliable translations hampered the initial reception of Adorno's published work in English speaking countries. Since the 1990s, however, better translations have appeared, along with newly translated lectures and other posthumous works that are still being published. These materials not only facilitate an emerging assessment of his work in epistemology and ethics but also strengthen an already advanced reception of his work in aesthetics and cultural theory.