The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture

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Psychology Press, 2001 - Social Science - 210 pages
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Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956) was 58 years old when he took up photography. He had been a professor at the Bauhaus for almost a decade, and had enjoyed widespread success as a comic artist and painter. Ever open to new pursuits, and inspired by the works of his photographer sons Lux and Andreas and the experimental photography of his Dessau neighbor Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Feininger took up the camera in 1928 and began to explore a variety of avant-garde techniques. This painter of crystalline architectures and landscapes left a legacy of fascinating unsettling images of shop window mannequins and reflections, nocturnal photographs using double exposures and other works. This is the first publication devoted to this little-known body of work. Examining about 70 original prints, it also relates Feininger's photography to the rest of his extensive oeuvre.

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User Review  - kant1066 - LibraryThing

More a collection of related essays and less a book with a coherent, unified message, this is a set of nine essays on a variety of topics. I’ll list them here just to give the reader some idea of the ... Read full review

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User Review  - Mandarinate - LibraryThing

I had high hopes for this book by a leader of the so-called Frankfurt School, but it is written so abstrusely as to be barely comprehensible. I gather from other sources that Adorno believed that our ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Theodor W. Adorno is the progenitor of critical theory, a central figure in aesthetics, and the century's foremost philosopher of music. He was born and educated in Frankfurt, Germany. After completing his Ph.D. in philosophy, he went to Vienna, where he studied composition with Alban Berg. He soon was bitterly disappointed with his own lack of talent and turned to musicology. In 1928 Adorno returned to Frankfurt to join the Institute for Social Research, commonly known as The Frankfurt School. At first a privately endowed center for Marxist studies, the school was merged with Frankfort's university under Adorno's directorship in the 1950s. As a refugee from Nazi Germany during World War II, Adorno lived for several years in Los Angeles before returning to Frankfurt. Much of his most significant work was produced at that time. Critics find Adorno's aesthetics to be rich in insight, even when they disagree with its broad conclusions. Although Adorno was hostile to jazz and popular music, he advanced the cause of contemporary music by writing seminal studies of many key composers. To the distress of some of his admirers, he remained pessimistic about the prospects for art in mass society. Adorno was a neo-Marxist who believed that the only hope for democracy was to be found in an interpretation of Marxism opposed to both positivism and dogmatic materialism. His opposition to positivisim and advocacy of a method of dialectics grounded in critical rationalism propelled him into intellectual conflict with Georg Hegel, Martin Heidegger, and Heideggerian hermeneutics.

J. M. Bernstein is University Distinguished Professor of philosophy at the New School for Social Research. He is the author of many books, including "Adorno: Disenchantment and Ethics", "Against Voluptuous Bodies: Adorno's Late Modernism and the Meaning of Painting", and "Recovering Ethical Life: JUrgen Habermas and the Future of Critical Theory".

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