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on 5 September 2010
Minima Moralia consists of loosely connected meditations and ponderings on society and culture. Adorno was clearly an incredibly perceptive mind, and these rueful meditations observe how the wider forces of capitalism creep into the minutiae of our lives. Adorno laments the brusque and utilitarian quality of door shutting, the demise of the French brothel, as well as making broader digs at targets like revolutionary communism. Minima Moralia, and this is probably the best compliment you can pay so called critical theory, is a provocative and quite depressing work, showcasing Adorno's seemingly endless disgust toward life in capitalist society. I'd say it ranks with the works of other great provocateurs like Nietzsche and Foucault, doing the Socratic job of making us uncomfortable about how we are living our lives.

Minima Moralia is also a nice companion volume to Adorno and Horkheimer's more widely read "Dialectic of Enlightenment". Adorno's thinking is more relaxed and concrete here, showing his talent for a telling story and a wry observation. You could, rather simplistically, read Minima Moralia as a catalogue of the sort of observations that led to the Dialectic's grand theses about Enlightnement and modern reason. For those like me who found the Dialectic infuriating, this work gives you some insight into what led to Adorno and Horkheimer's rather baffling claims.
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Whilst clearly a brilliant mind, Adorno is not for the faint-hearted, nor is he always above being ridiculous. A reviewer has correctly ascertained that he is a provocateur, but he can also be bone-headed. You have to be, to write "After Auschwitz, no more poetry." What does it mean? Isn't it a trop? This reminds me of Claude Lanzmann's refusal of anything being other than utterly, self-denyingly austere about the Holocaust. An event of undoubted magnitude made them utter remarks that do not bear much scrutiny. This is certainly a gnomic book, full of insights and pithy perceptions and judgements. The besetting sin of this sort of thing - compare Kraus's 'One and a Half Truths', it is in sharp relief - is that like the marvellous Benjamin at his most wilful, he is often hard to understand and occasionally fatuous; he is an obscurantist. He will make you think; he will exasperate you. A brilliant man, have no doubt of that. A tough read, start with 'The Dialectics of Enlightenment. If that is congenial, this should be. Not my cup of tea, I am afraid.
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on 30 October 2015
still a good read after all those years and still current. I love Aforno and I can only recommend it.
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on 31 December 2014
thanks you
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on 11 May 2015
Thank you
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on 26 February 1999
Fragmented genius that distances negativity from nihilism. His innumerable interventions into a gaping spectrum of social praxis reveals another dialectic to the method of this astonishing mind: latent conservatism underpinning prosaic Marxism. Nevertheless, Adorno systematically pre-empts to division of the social-science academy; 'Tough Baby' anticipates the emergence of 'Queer theory'; 'How sickly seem all growing things' provides a valuable introduction to the complex dialectic of the Critical Realists; whilst the continual anti-nazi polemic vis-a-vis Spengler and Carl Schmitt should be compulsory reading for those 'Critical' Legal Scholars hell-bent on the rehabilitation of Schmitt, Heidegger et al.
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