Jephcott Translator. Adorno's literary and philosophical masterpiece, built from aphorisms and reflections. A reflection on everyday existence in the 'sphere of consumption of late Capitalism', this work is Adorno's literary and philosophical masterpiece. Built from aphorisms and reflections, he shifts in register from personal experience to the most general theoretical problems. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.
Published October 1st by Verso first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Minima Moralia , please sign up. The book offers critiques of everything from Ibsen to writing hints.
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Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Dec 04, Nick Ramsey rated it it was amazing.
Flashes of wisdom in an age of chaos
Imagine your grandfather complaining about how the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. Then, imagine that your grandfather is the most well-read and erudite German bro. That's what this book is. Jan 12, Geoff rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. Perhaps the great book of the oncoming Trump era. Adorno's depth of observation, critical analysis, and disgust at late-capitalist culture reads as a cry from the least false oracles of Delphi. His intellect burns ultra-bright, spouts of water on a magnesium fire. Aphorism as razor to drain the infection, but where are the willing nurses?
The entire work could be quoted, but who's listening? A few will take heed as humanity passes on sedate, confused, uninvolved, happy, dumb, unflowering, swolle Perhaps the great book of the oncoming Trump era. A few will take heed as humanity passes on sedate, confused, uninvolved, happy, dumb, unflowering, swollen and mute with delusion into the graveyard of potential.
View all 8 comments. Oct 12, Szplug rated it really liked it.
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Well, that wasn't easy. This is a strange book, one in which the removed tone of the text belies the personal sources from whence it was derived, and whose elegantly difficult style and aethereal buoyancy prevent it from succumbing to the chthonic gravity of postwar stodginess and cracked dais condemnation.
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Well-nigh every sentence can stand alone as an object to be admired and marveled over for its aesthetic grace, though its nonporous exterior and taut configuration repels the casual effort to Well, that wasn't easy. Well-nigh every sentence can stand alone as an object to be admired and marveled over for its aesthetic grace, though its nonporous exterior and taut configuration repels the casual effort to penetrate its meaning, its essential positional importance to the message Adorno is rather haughtily attempting to convey.
And the gist of the latter, as far as I can discern, reveals a broken—and seemingly irreparable—Western society on the receiving end of a sometimes ethereal, ofttimes caustic analysis from an observer who finds the entirety of modernity's state-of-affairs to be a rebarbative theater of the absurd and the damaged—one that has entrapped its audience and offers no alternative for these sallow-visaged members but to try and find a comfortable position in which to view the parade of empty performances, to sense the very air being made oily with commodification, fizzy from the soda carbonation, with the gaudy and cacophonous set pieces underlain by the structural duress of having the invisible energies of the atom threaten to slip their seeds in an annihilatory flowering.
Poor Adorno: imagine believing that you were witnessing the crystallization of an abhorred economic system into an overwhelmingly triumphant and dominant cultural meme, even as its philosophical antithesis, the collective egalitarianism of socialist theory, was hardening into something terribly corrupt and malignant of its own; and that, even as you espied and set to paper the manipulations, internal stresses, and absurd manifestations of this tyrannical power backed by the threat and allure of nuclear Armageddon, you knew your pessimistic finger-pointing would be utterly subsumed in the efficiently spreading and gaudily regnant noise; that you would be yet another Cassandra whose coolly impassioned warnings were met with either a blank stare, a dismissive furrowing of the brow, or—worst of all—belching, cackling, elbow-aimed laughter as the channel you were declaiming from was changed.
This precisely distributed blanket of mordant flakes may, on occasion, move the reader to wish to seek out the bucket-tipper on high and deliver unto him a swift kick in the ass—but such urges are fleeting, and mood prevails; and if that mood inclines for difficult dispensations from an erudite and saturnine elite then you will continue to keep your arms outspread and shiver in the bleak arctic chill of Adorno's disapproval. View all 9 comments. Jul 29, Hadrian rated it really liked it Shelves: german , essays , society-culture-anthropology-etc , philosophy , nonfiction.
A languorous howl of despair and anger - but who would not feel these things in the ashes of Germany ?
I was surprised by how fierce Adorno can be - I've heard horror stories of his impenetrable style. Here, I was surprised, both at the crispness of his style, and the depth of his cultural references. If anyone wants to start with him, here's a place to do so. His barbed aphorisms will remain with you, vicious and snarling, a rabid dog tearing into your leg. This book offers a damning critique A languorous howl of despair and anger - but who would not feel these things in the ashes of Germany ?
This book offers a damning critique of all of society, from fascism to door handles - although, at times it feels like the ramblings of a grumpy old man, who offers not even the hint of a solution, and despairs that all is lost. The theory and practice of despair. Not for everyone. View 2 comments. Adorno is so wonderfully negative and devastating in his attacks on just about everything that there is a certain sense of hopelessness and everything is shit that prevades out of the pages, but within this negativity is an unspoken greatness to what can be great and beautiful.
I have no idea what to say, this book is just great. View all 5 comments. Aug 08, Sebastian rated it really liked it. My thoughts on this from the bottom up are a bit scattered, but the short summary is that if you are reading this and are at all curious about trying Adorno, you should do it.
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I finished. A considerable challenge throughout, but one that I believe was worth the time investment. One last lengthy quote. I My thoughts on this from the bottom up are a bit scattered, but the short summary is that if you are reading this and are at all curious about trying Adorno, you should do it. Its organization also embraces those at war with it by co-ordinating their consciousness to its own. What [intellectuals] subjectively fancy radical, belongs objectively so entirely to the compartment in the pattern reserved for their like, that radicalism is debased to abstract prestige, legitimation for those who know what an intellectual nowadays has to be for and what against.
The good things they opt for have long since been just as accepted, in numbers just as restricted, in their hierarchy of values just as fixed, as those of student fraternities. While they inveigh against official kitsch, their views, like dutiful children, are allowed to partake only of pre-selected nutrition, cliches against cliches.
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On the walls the deceptively faithful colour reproductions of famous Van Goghs like the 'Sunflowers' or the 'Cafe at Arles', on the bookshelf the boiled-down socialism and psycho-analysis and a little sexology for libertines with inhibitions. Every opinion earns the approbation of friends, every argument is known by them beforehand. That all cultural products, even non-conformist ones, have been incorporated into the distribution-mechanisms of large-scale capital, that in the most developed country a product does not bear the imprimatur of mass-production can scarcely reach a reader, view, listner at all, denies deviationary longings their subject matter in advance.
The intellectuals themselves are already so heavily committed to what is endorsed in their isolated sphere, that they no longer desire anything that does not carry the highbrow tag. Ambition aims solely at expertise in the accepted stock-in-trade, hitting on the correct slogan. The outsiderishness of the initiates is an illusion, they are merely biding their time. To see them as renegades is to asseses them too high; they mask mediocre faces with horn-rimmed spectacles betokening 'brilliance', though with plain-glass lenses, soley in order to better themselves in their own eyes and in the general rat-race.
They are already just like the rest. Whew, punishing stuff, right?
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Perhaps hitting a little close to home for me as well. Striving for truly independent thought, tastes, ideas requires a disciplined regime that seems beyond imposing. There's that philistine again Minima Moralia is packed with relentless negativity, intriguing concepts, relatively novel to me perspectives on social and philosophical issues as well as interesting shifts between the very general and the very specific. Often, however, I'm left puzzled, with my head cocked like a dog waiting for a treat, thinking "damn, that's some fine writing but what in the hell is he talking about?
Adorno doesn't want us to be able to follow and understand everything he's writing. Being lucid and familiar makes a writer a banal mediocrity. It's pretty fascinating stuff. He writes: The injunction to practise intellectual honesty usually amounts to sabatoge of thought.
Texts which anxiously undertake to record every step without omission inevitably succumb to banality, and to a monotony related not only to the tension induced in the reader, but to their own substance. Even if we were for once to comply with the questionable directive that the exposition should exactly reproduce the process of thought, this process would be no more a discursive progression from stage to stage than, conversely, knowledge falls from Heaven.