ADORNO, THEODOR W.


ADORNO, THEODOR W.
ADORNO, THEODOR W. (1903–1969), German philosopher, sociologist, composer. As a sociologist (in conjunction with max horkheimer et al.) he developed the Critical Theory of society (the so-called Frankfurt School project) and published treatises in the fields of literary and cultural criticism. As a composer he produced over 30 musical works in various genres. After completing his academic studies in philosophy, psychology, sociology, and musical sciences in Frankfurt/Main in 1925, Adorno took composition lessons with Alban Berg in Vienna – an education he had begun (with Bernhard Sekles) when he was still a high school student. Alongside his studies with Berg he also published numerous musical reviews. In 1931 he qualified as a university professor in philosophy and took up a chair in philosophy at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität of Frankfurt/Main. During this time Adorno was most strongly influenced by walter benjamin and particularly by his notion that language preserves historical truth. When the National Socialists came to power, he was deprived of his chair. Adorno had always considered his Jewish descent (his father was Jewish and Adorno's last name was Wiesengrund-Adorno until his mid-forties) to be unimportant but the race laws introduced by the Nazis made him into an outsider. This turning point in his life and his personal experience of having an outsider status in society generated a politically accentuated intellectualism. In the period 1934–49 he lived as an emigré – initially in England (Oxford) and then in the United States (New York and Los Angeles). During this period he wrote major philosophical and sociological works, most of which were published after his return to Germany (October 1949): The Philosophy of Modern Music (1949), Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), The Authoritarian Personality (1950), Minima Moralia (1951), and Against Epistemology: Meta-Critique – Studies in Husserl and the Phenomenological Antinomics (1956). Teaching philosophy and sociology in the 1960s, Adorno made a name for himself not only as an extremely successful university lecturer and public intellectual but also as the director of the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt, gaining fame for such publications as What Does It Mean: Working Up the Past (1959) and Education after Auschwitz (1967). Adorno's critical stance towards the world and the negativism of his social criticism resulted from his personal experience of sustained horror: Exposure to the monstrous cruelty of the Nazi genocide was the guiding moral force behind his philosophical theory of society and its ultimate source. His intellectuality resided in his ability to maintain the tension between opposing phenomena instead of synthesizing or harmonizing the differences. The individual experience of acknowledging the uniqueness of the Other crystallized into a fundamental concept which Adorno brought to bear in seeking a decent social order: "living one's difference without fear." In the 1960s Adorno published a volume on Gustav Mahler (1960), three volumes of Notes on Literature (1965–68), and his main philosophical opus, Negative Dialectics (1968). During this decade he was given the German Critics' Award for Literature and for his 60th birthday the city of Frankfurt/Main bestowed the Goethe Medal on him. His Aesthetic Theory was published posthumously. In addition to a large number of letters he exchanged with contemporaries, his Complete Works comprise his musical compositions, 20 volumes of collected writings, and the equally comprehensive posthumous writings (Suhrkamp Verlag). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Jay, Adorno (1984); S. Müller-Doohm, Adorno. A Biography, trans. R.Livingstone (2005). (Stefan Müller-Doohm (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Adorno, Theodor — (1903 1969)    social theorist and musicologist; a key associate of Frankfurt s Institut fur Sozialforschung. He was born in Frank furt, where his father was a Jewish wine merchant (born Wiesengrund, Theodor adopted his mother s maiden name,… …   Historical dictionary of Weimar Republik

  • Adorno, Theodor W. — (1903–1969)    Adorno was a key figure in the influential Marxist Frankfurt School, and wrote extensively on a variety of subjects, including several works widely considered to be classics in their fields. Born in Germany, Adorno studied at the… …   Historical dictionary of Marxism

  • Adorno, Theodor W. — (1903–1969) German sociologist and political thinker. Adorno was a leading member of the Frankfurt school, whose general stance he shared. His work belonged mainly to sociology, and was especially concerned with the contradictions and distortions …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Adorno, Theodor — See Critical theory …   History of philosophy

  • Adorno, Theodor — ► (1903 69) Filósofo, sociólogo y musicógrafo alemán. Su pensamiento representa una fuerte crítica de la sociedad occidental y de la filosofía hegeliana. Entre sus obras destacan Dialéctica de la Ilustración (1947), La personalidad autoritaria… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Adorno, Theodor Wiesengrund — ▪ German philosopher and music critic born Sept. 11, 1903, Frankfurt am Main, Ger. died Aug. 6, 1969, Visp, Switz.       German philosopher who also wrote on sociology, psychology, and musicology.       Adorno obtained a degree in philosophy from …   Universalium

  • Adorno, Theodor (Wiesengrund) — (11 sep. 1903, Francfort del Meno, Alemania–6 ago. 1969, Visp, Suiza). Filósofo alemán. Adorno emigró a Inglaterra en 1934 para escapar del nazismo. Vivió diez años en EE.UU. (1938–48) antes de volver a Francfort, donde enseñó y encabezó el… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Adorno, Theodor Wiesengrund — (1903–69)    German philosopher. Adorno was born in Frankfurt am Main. His father was a German Jew and his mother an Italian Catholic. He started his career teaching philosophy at the University of Frankfurt, but moved to England and subsequently …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Adorno, Theodor (Wiesengrund) — born Sept. 11, 1903, Frankfurt am Main, Ger. died Aug. 6, 1969, Visp, Switz. German philosopher. He immigrated to England in 1934 to escape Nazism. He lived for 10 years in the U.S. (1938–48) before returning to Frankfurt, where he taught and… …   Universalium

  • Adorno, Theodor Wiesengrund — (1903 69)    German philosopher and sociologist. He taught at the University of Frankfurt in 1931 and later lived in the US. In 1949 he returned to Germany, where he served as director of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt and… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography


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