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By Theodor W. Adorno

The construction of the Frankfurt tuition of severe idea within the Twenties observed the beginning of a few of the main intriguing and demanding writings of the 20th century. it's out of this history that the nice critic Theodor Adorno emerged. His most interesting essays are amassed right here, providing the reader remarkable insights into Adorno's techniques on tradition. He argued that the tradition commodified and standardized all paintings. In flip this suffocated individuality and destroyed severe pondering. on the time, Adorno was once accused of every thing from overreaction to deranged hysteria by means of his many detractors. In today's international, the place even the least cynical of shoppers knows the impression of the media, Adorno's paintings takes on a extra fast value. The tradition Industry is an unrivalled indictment of the banality of mass tradition.

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Extra resources for The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture (Routledge Classics)

Sample text

Haydn’s choice indeed, and not the recklessness of a singer with a golden throat or an instrumentalist of lip-smacking euphony. For those moments entered into great music and were transformed in it; but great music did not dissolve into them. In the multiplicity of stimulus and expression, its greatness is shown as a force for synthesis. Not only does the musical synthesis preserve the unity of appearance and protect it from falling apart into diffuse culinary moments, but in such unity, in the relation of particular moments to an evolving whole, there is also preserved the image of a social condition in which above those particular moments of happiness would be more than mere appearance.

Everywhere it takes over, unnoticed, the deadly sad role that fell to it in the time and the specific situation of the silent films. It is perceived purely as background. If nobody can any longer speak, then certainly nobody can any longer listen. An American specialist in radio advertising, who indeed prefers to make use of the musical medium, has expressed scepticism as to the value of this advertising, because people have learned to deny their attention to what they are hearing even while listening to it.

Perfect, immaculate performance in the latest style preserves the work at the price of its definitive reification. It presents it as already complete from the very first note. The performance sounds like its own phonograph record. The dynamic is so predetermined that there are no longer any tensions at all. The contradictions of the music material are so inexorably resolved in the moment of sound that it never arrives at the synthesis, the self-production of the work, which reveals the meaning of every Beethoven symphony.

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