Rowman and Littlefield International

The Aesthetic Ground of Critical Theory

New Readings of Benjamin and Adorno

Edited by Nathan Ross

Publication date:

27 August 2015

Length of book:

232 pages


Rowman & Littlefield International

ISBN-13: 9781783482924

Walter Benjamin and Theodor W. Adorno are considered today to be the two most significant early theorists in founding critical theory. In their works and correspondence, both thinkers turn to art and the aesthetic as a vital way for understanding modern society and developing philosophical methods. This volume of original essays seeks to understand how they influenced each other and disagreed with each other on fundamental questions about art and the aesthetic. The books deals with a variety of key philosophical questions, such as:

  • How does art involve distinctive modes of experience?
  • What is the political significance of modern art?
  • What does aesthetic experience teach us about the limitations of conceptual thought?
  • How is aesthetic experience implicated in the very medium of thought, language?

Ultimately the book presents a systematic argument for the foundational significance of the aesthetic in the development of the early critical theory movement.
The generative and troubled relationship between Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno decisively shaped early Critical Theory, giving rise to some of the most important concepts and issues in modern aesthetics and cultural studies. This insightful collection of essays sheds new light on their relationship – showing why their debates remain highly relevant for politically progressive thought and action.