En 1967, Theodor Adorno tient une conférence à l'université de Vienne, à l'invitation de l'Union des étudiants socialistes d'Autriche, sur la remontée de l'extrême-droite en Allemagne, et notamment l'ascension inquiétante d'un parti, le NPD, qui a toutes les apparences du néonazisme et manquera de peu son entrée au Bundestag allemand deux ans plus tard.
Transcrit d'après un enregistrement, cet essai inédit a les avantages d'un texte pour partie improvisé : un style direct et très accessible. Adorno y recense les « trucs » auxquels recourt le discours d'extrême-droite, et qui ressemblent à ceux qui reviennent actuellement en vogue sur les réseaux sociaux : la volonté de mêler tous les problèmes dans une accumulation de faits invérifiables ; la « méthode du salami », ou le fait de découper, dans un complexe de réalités, une réalité particulière sur laquelle on concentre le débat ; l'utilisation d'arguments absurdes, etc.
En somme, Adorno décrivait en 1967, à peu de choses près, une réalité proche de celle de nombreux pays européens aujourd'hui.
Sa conclusion est un appel à l'intelligence et au combat : refusant de pronostiquer l'avenir de ces mouvements, Adorno rappelle que « la manière dont ces choses évolueront, et la responsabilité de cette évolution, tiennent en dernière instance à nous-mêmes».
« Une anticipation qui tient du rêve » : c'est en ces termes qu'Adorno caractérisait rétrospectivement ses premiers écrits philosophiques. Contemporains du livre sur Kierkegaard (1933), « L'actualité de la philosophie », « L'idée d'histoire de la nature » et les « Thèses sur le langage du philosophe » font ressortir l'unité et la continuité de cette pensée dont ils marquent le coup d'envoi. Témoignage essentiel sur la situation de la philosophie en Allemagne à la veille du nazisme, ces trois textes montrent Adorno aux prises avec Husserl, Heidegger, Lukács, à la recherche d'une nouvelle pensée de l'histoire et de la société qui permette à la philosophie de répondre à la crise de l'idéalisme et à la menace de liquidation que les progrès des sciences font peser sur elle. Profondément marqué par la lecture de Benjamin, le contre-programme que formule Adorno constitue également une sorte de « discours de la méthode » qui fixe le cadre théorique où se déploieront tous ses travaux à venir, jusqu'à la Dialectique négative et la Théorie esthétique.
Nouvelle édition revue et augmentée de Jacques-Olivier Bégot
"Dreams are as black as death."
-Theodor W. Adorno
Adorno was fascinated by his dreams and wrote them down throughout his life. He envisaged publishing a collection of them although in the event no more than a few appeared in his lifetime. Dream Notes offers a selection of Adornos writings on dreams that span the last twenty-five years of his life. Readers of Adorno who are accustomed to high-powered reflections on philosophy, music and culture may well find them disconcerting: they provide an amazingly frank and uninhibited account of his inner desires, guilt feelings and anxieties. Brothel scenes, torture and executions figure prominently. They are presented straightforwardly, at face value. No attempt is made to interpret them, to relate them to the events of his life, to psychoanalyse them, or to establish any connections with the principal themes of his philosophy. Are they fiction, autobiography or an attempt to capture a pre-rational, quasi-mythic state of consciousness? No clear answer can be given. Taken together they provide a highly consistent picture of a dimension of experience that is normally ignored, one that rounds out and deepens our knowledge of Adorno while retaining something of the enigmatic quality that energized his own thought.
Beethoven is a classic study of the composer's music, written by one of the most important thinkers of our time. Throughout his life, Adorno wrote extensive notes, essay fragments and aides-memoires on the subject of Beethoven's music. This book brings together all of Beethoven's music in relation to the society in which he lived.
Adorno identifies three periods in Beethoven's work, arguing that the thematic unity of the first and second periods begins to break down in the third. Adorno follows this progressive disintegration of organic unity in the classical music of Beethoven and his contemporaries, linking it with the rationality and monopolistic nature of modern society.
Beethoven will be welcomed by students and researchers in a wide range of disciplines - philosophy, sociology, music and history - and by anyone interested in the life of the composer.
Kant is a pivotal thinker in Adorno's intellectual world. Yet although he wrote monographs on Hegel, Husserl and Kierkegaard, the closest he came to an extended discussion of Kant are two lecture courses, one concentrating on the Critique of Pure Reason and the other on the Critique of Practical Reason. This new volume by Adorno comprises his lectures on the former.
Adorno attempts to make Kant's thought comprehensible to students by focusing on what he regards as problematic aspects of Kant's philosophy. Adorno examines his dualism and what he calls the Kantian 'block': the contradictions arising from Kant's resistance to the idealism that his successors, Fichte, Schelling and Hegel, saw as the inevitable outcome of his ideas. But these lectures also provide an accessible introduction to and rationale for Adorno's own philosophy as expounded in Negative Dialectics and his other major writings. Adorno's view of Kant forms an integral part of his own philosophy, since he argues that the way out of the Kantian contradictions is to show the necessity of the dialectical thinking that Kant himself spurned. This in turn enables Adorno to criticize Anglo-Saxon scientistic or positivist thought, as well as the philosophy of existentialism.
This book will be of great interest to those working in philosophy and in social and political thought, and it will be essential reading for anyone interested in the foundations of Adorno's own work.
This volume makes available in English for the first time Adorno's lectures on metaphysics. It provides a unique introduction not only to metaphysics but also to Adorno's own intellectual standpoint, as developed in his major work Negative Dialectics. Metaphysics for Adorno is defined by a central tension between concepts and immediate facts. Adorno traces this dualism back to Aristotle, whom he sees as the founder of metaphysics. In Aristotle it appears as an unresolved tension between form and matter. This basic split, in Adorno's interpretation, runs right through the history of metaphysics. Perhaps not surprisingly, Adorno finds this tension resolved in the Hegelian dialectic. Underlying this dualism is a further dichotomy, which Adorno sees as essential to metaphysics: while it dissolves belief in transcendental worlds by thought, at the same time it seeks to rescue belief in a reality beyond the empirical, again by thought. It is to this profound ambiguity, for Adorno, that the metaphysical tradition owes its greatness. The major part of these lectures, given by Adorno late in his life, is devoted to a critical exposition of Aristotle's thought, focusing on its central ambiguities. In the last lectures, Adorno's attention switches to the question of the relevance of metaphysics today, particularly after the Holocaust. He finds in 'metaphysical experiences', which transcend rational discourse without lapsing into irrationalism, a last precarious refuge of the humane truth to which his own thought always aspired. This volume will be essential reading for anyone interested in Adorno's work and will be a valuable text for students and scholars of philosophy and social theory.
This volume of lectures on aesthetics, given by Adorno in the winter semester of 1958-9, formed the foundation for his later Aesthetic Theory, widely regarded as one of his greatest works. The lectures cover a wide range of topics, from an intense analysis of the work of Georg Lukács to a sustained reflection on the theory of aesthetic experience, from an examination of works by Plato, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard and Benjamin, to a discussion of the latest experiments of John Cage, attesting to the virtuosity and breadth of Adorno's engagement. All the while, Adorno remains deeply connected to his surrounding context, offering us a window onto the artistic, intellectual and political confrontations that shaped life in post-war Germany. This volume will appeal to a broad range of students and scholars in the humanities and social sciences, as well as anyone interested in the development of critical theory.
'My dears: this is but a brief note to welcome you to the new world, where you are now no longer all too far away from us. ` So begins Adorno's letter to his parents in May 1939, welcoming them to Cuba where they had just arrived after fleeing from Nazi Germany at the last minute. At the end of 1939 his parents moved again to Florida and then to New York, where they lived from August 1940 until the end of their lives. It is only with Adorno's move to California at the end of 1941 that his letters to his parents start arriving once more, reporting on work and living conditions as well as on friends, acquaintances and the Hollywood stars of his time. One finds reports of his collaborations with Max Horkheimer, Thomas Mann and Hanns Eisler alongside accounts of parties, clowning around with Charlie Chaplin, and ill-fated love affairs. But the letters also show his constant longing for Europe: Adorno already began to think about his return as soon as the USA entered the war. Adorno's letters to his parents - surely the most open and direct letters he ever wrote - not only afford the reader a glimpse of the experiences that gave rise to the famous Minima Moralia, but also show Adorno from a previously unknown, very personal side. They end with the first reports from the ravaged Frankfurt to his mother - who remained in New York - and from Amorbach, Adorno's childhood paradise
Despite all of humanity's failures, futile efforts and wrong turnings in the past, Adorno did not let himself be persuaded that we are doomed to suffer a bleak future for ever. One of the factors that prevented him from identifying a definitive plan for the future course of history was his feelings of solidarity with the victims and losers. As for the future, the course of events was to remain open-ended; instead of finality, he remained committed to a Hlderlin-like openness. This trace of the messianic has what he called the colour of the concrete as opposed to mere abstract possibility. Early in the 1960s Adorno gave four courses of lectures on the road leading to Negative Dialectics, his magnum opus of 1966. The second of these was concerned with the topics of history and freedom. In terms of content, these lectures represented an early version of the chapters in Negative Dialectics devoted to Kant and Hegel. In formal terms, these were improvised lectures that permit us to glimpse a philosophical work in progress. The text published here gives us an overview of all the themes and motifs of Adorno's philosophy of history: the key notion of the domination of nature, his criticism of the existentialist concept of a historicity without history and, finally, his opposition to the traditional idea of truth as something permanent, unchanging and ahistorical.
As an exile in America during the War, Theodor Adorno grew acquainted with the fundamentals of empirical social research, something which would shape the work he undertook in the early 1950s as co-director of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research. Yet he also became increasingly aware of the `fetishism of method' in sociology, and saw the serious limitations of theoretical work based solely on empirical findings.In this lecture course given in 1964, Adorno develops a critique of both sociology and philosophy, emphasizing that theoretical work requires a specific mediation between the two disciplines. Adorno advocates a philosophical approach to social theory that challenges the drive towards uniformity and a lack of ambiguity, highlighting instead the fruitfulness of experience, in all its messy complexity, for critical social analysis. At the same time, he shows how philosophy must also realise that it requires sociology if it is to avoid falling for the old idealistic illusion that the totality of real conditions can be grasped through thought alone.Masterfully bringing together philosophical and empirical approaches to an understanding of society, these lectures from one of the most important social thinkers of the 20th century will be of great interest to students and scholars in philosophy, sociology and the social sciences generally.
This volume makes Adorno's lectures on the problems of moral philosophy available for the first time to English-speaking readers. It is one of several volumes of Adorno's unpublished writings which are currently being published in Germany, and which will be published in translation by Polity.
The book is organized around an account of Kant's moral theory, and introduces most of the central topics of Adorno's far more difficult work Negative Dialectics. He examines concepts such as the primacy of practical reason, the relation between freedom and experience, and the desubstantialization of moral thought. These and other concepts are discussed in an accessible and entertaining style which is very different from the rest of Adorno's published work.
Problems of Moral Philosophy will be an important resource for scholars drawing on Adorno's thought, and its nature as a lecture course makes it a very useful and accessible introduction for students to Adorno's ideas about moral philosophy. It will be of great interest to those working in philosophy and in social and political thought.
On 6 April 1967, at the invitation of the Socialist Students of Austria at the University of Vienna, Theodor W. Adorno gave a lecture which is not merely of historical interest.
Against the background of the rise of the National Democratic Party of Germany, which had enjoyed remarkable electoral success in the first two years after its formation in November 1964, Adorno analysed the goals, resources and tactics of the new right-wing nationalism of this time. Contrasting it with the `old' fascism of the Nazis, Adorno gave particular attention to the ways in which far-right movements elicited enthusiastic support in sections of the West German population, 20 years after the war had ended.
Much has changed since then, but some elements have remained the same or resurfaced in new forms, 50 years later. Adorno's penetrating analysis of the sources of right-wing radicalism is as relevant today as it was five decades ago. It is a prescient message to future generations who find themselves embroiled once again in a struggle against a resurgent nationalism and right-wing extremism.
Fleeing the Nazis, Theodor W. Adorno lived in New York City as a refugee from 1938 until 1941. During these years, he was intensively involved in a study of how the recently developed techniques for the nation-wide transmission of music over radio were transforming the perception of music itself. This broad ranging radio research was conceived as nothing less than an investigation, partly empirical, of Walter Benjamin's speculative claims for the emancipatory potential of art in the age of its mechanical reproduction. The results of Adorno's project set him decisively at odds with Benjamin's theses and at the same time became the body of thinking that formed the basis for Adornos own aesthetics in his Philosophy of New Music.
/> Current of Music is the title that Adorno himself gave to this research project. For complex reasons, however, Adorno was not able to bring the several thousands of pages of this massive study, most of it written in English, to a final form prior to leaving New York for California, where he would immediately begin work with Max Horkheimer on the Dialectic of Enlightenment. Robert Hullot-Kentor, the distinguished Adorno scholar, reconstructed Adorno's project for the Adorno Archive in Germany and provides a lengthy and informative introduction to the fragmentary texts collected in this volume.
Current of Music will be widely discussed for the light it throws on the development of Adorno's thought, on his complex relationship with Walter Benjamin, but most of all for the important perspectives it provides on questions of popular culture, the music of industrial entertainment, the history of radio and the social dimensions of the reproduction of art.
A year after the end of the Second World War, the first International Summer Course for New Music took place in the Kranichstein Hunting Lodge, near the city of Darmstadt in Germany. The course, commonly referred to later as the Darmstadt course, was intended to familiarize young composers and musicians with the music that, only a few years earlier, had been denounced as degenerate by the Nazi regime, and it soon developed into one of the most important events in contemporary music. Having returned to Germany in 1949 from exile in the United States, Adorno was a regular participant at Darmstadt from 1950 on. In 1955 he gave a series of lectures on the young Schoenberg, using the latter's work to illustrate the relation between tradition and the avant-garde. Adorno's three double-length lectures on the young Schoenberg, in which he spoke as a passionate advocate for the composer whom Boulez had declared dead, were his first at Darmstadt to be recorded on tape. The relation between tradition and the avant-garde was the leitmotif of the lectures that followed, which continued over the next decade. Adorno also dealt in detail with problems of composition in contemporary music, and he often accompanied his lectures with off-the-cuff musical improvisations. The five lecture courses he gave at Darmstadt between 1955 and 1966 were all recorded and subsequently transcribed, and they are published here for the first time in English. This volume is a unique document on the theory and history of the New Music. It will be of great value to anyone interested in the work of Adorno and critical theory, in German intellectual and cultural history, and in the history of modern music.
This volume comprises Adorno's first lectures specifically dedicated to the subject of the dialectic, a concept which has been key to philosophical debate since classical times. While discussing connections with Plato and Kant, Adorno concentrates on the most systematic development of the dialectic in Hegel's philosophy, and its relationship to Marx, as well as elaborating his own conception of dialectical thinking as a critical response to this tradition. Delivered in the summer semester of 1958, these lectures allow Adorno to explore and probe the significant difficulties and challenges this way of thinking posed within the cultural and intellectual context of the post-war period. In this connection he develops the thesis of a complementary relationship between positivist or functionalist approaches, particularly in the social sciences, as well as calling for the renewal of ontological and metaphysical modes of thought which attempt to transcend the abstractness of modern social experience by appeal to regressive philosophical categories. While providing an account of many central themes of Hegelian thought, he also alludes to a whole range of other philosophical, literary and artistic figures of central importance to his conception of critical theory, notably Walter Benjamin and the idea of a constellation of concepts as the model for an 'open or fractured dialectic' beyond the constraints of method and system. These lectures are seasoned with lively anecdotes and personal recollections which allow the reader to glimpse what has been described as the 'workshop' of Adorno's thought. As such, they provide an ideal entry point for all students and scholars in the humanities and social sciences who are interested in Adorno's work as well as those seeking to understand the nature of dialectical thinking.
This classic book by Theodor W. Adorno anticipates many of the themes that have since become common in contemporary philosophy: the critique of foundationalism, the illusions of idealism and the end of epistemology. It also foreshadows many of the key ideas that were developed by Adorno in his most important philosophical works, including Negative Dialectics.
Against Epistemology is based on a manuscript Adorno originally wrote in Oxford in 1934-37 during his first years in exile and subsequently reworked in Frankfurt in 1955-56. The text was written as a critique of Husserl's phenomenology, but the critique of phenomenology is used as the occasion for a much broader critique of epistemology. Adorno described this as a `metacritique' which blends together the analysis of Husserl's phenomenology as the most advanced instance of the decay of bourgeois idealism with an immanent critique of the tensions and contradictions internal to Husserl's thought. The result is a powerful text which remains one of the most devastating critiques of Husserl's work ever written and which heralded many of the ideas that have become commonplace in contemporary philosophy.
At the beginning of his career in the 1920s, Adorno sketched a plan to write a major work on the theory of musical reproduction, a task he returned to time and again throughout his career but never completed. The choice of the word reproduction as opposed to interpretation indicates a primary supposition: that there is a clearly defined musical text whose precision exceeds what is visible on the page, and that the performer has the responsibility to reproduce it as accurately as possible, beyond simply playing what is written. This task, according to Adorno, requires a detailed understanding of all musical parameters in their historical context, and his reflections upon this task lead to a fundamental study of the nature of notation and musical sense. In the various notes and texts brought together in Towards a Theory of Musical Reproduction, one finds Adorno constantly circling around an irresolvable paradox: interpretation can only fail the work, yet only through it can musics true essence be captured. While he at times seems more definite in his pronouncement of a musical scores absolute value just as a book is read silently, not aloud his discourse repeatedly displays his inability to cling to that belief. It is this quality of uncertainty in his reflections that truly indicates the scope of the discourse and its continuing relevance to musical thought and practice today.
This volume comprises one of the key lecture courses leading up to the publication in 1966 of Adorno's major work, Negative Dialectics. These lectures focus on developing the concepts critical to the introductory section of that book. They show Adorno as an embattled philosopher defining his own methodology among the prevailing trends of the time. As a critical theorist, he repudiated the worn-out Marxist stereotypes still dominant in the Soviet bloc - he specifically addresses his remarks to students who had escaped from the East in the period leading up to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Influenced as he was by the empirical schools of thought he had encountered in the United States, he nevertheless continued to resist what he saw as their surrender to scientific and mathematical abstraction. However, their influence was potent enough to prevent him from reverting to the traditional idealisms still prevalent in Germany, or to their latest manifestations in the shape of the new ontology of Heidegger and his disciples. Instead, he attempts to define, perhaps more simply and fully than in the final published version, a `negative', i.e. critical, approach to philosophy. Permeating the whole book is Adorno's sense of the overwhelming power of totalizing, dominating systems in the post-Auschwitz world. Intellectual negativity, therefore, commits him to the stubborn defence of individuals - both facts and people - who stubbornly refuse to become integrated into `the administered world'. These lectures reveal Adorno to be a lively and engaging lecturer. He makes serious demands on his listeners but always manages to enliven his arguments with observations on philosophers and writers such as Proust and Brecht and comments on current events. Heavy intellectual artillery is combined with a concern for his students' progress.
Theodor W. Adorno and Siegfried Kracauer were two of the most influential philosophers and cultural critics of the 20th century. While Adorno became the leading intellectual figure of the Frankfurt School, Kracauer's writings on film, photography, literature and the lifestyle of the middle classes opened up a new and distinctive approach to the study of culture and everyday life in modern societies.
This volume brings together for the first time the long-running correspondence between these two major figures of German intellectual culture. As left-wing German Jews who were forced into exile with the rise of Nazism, Adorno and Kracauer shared much in common, but their worldviews were in many ways markedly different. These differences become clear in a correspondence that ranges over a great diversity of topics, from the nature of criticism and the meaning of utopia to the work of their contemporaries, including Bloch, Brecht and Benjamin. Where Kracauer embraced the study of new mass media, above all film, Adorno was much more sceptical. This is borne out in his sharp criticism of Kracauer's study of the composer Offenbach, which Adorno derided as musically illiterate, as well as his later criticism of Kracauer's Theory of Film. Exposing the very different ways that both men were grappling intellectually with the massive transformations of the 20th century, these letters shed fresh light on the principles shaping their work at the same time as they reveal something of the intellectual brilliance and human frailties of these two towering figures of 20th century thought.
This unique volume will be of great value to anyone interested in critical theory and in 20th century intellectual and cultural history.
Adorno was twenty-one years old when he traveled to Vienna in March 1925 to study musical composition with Alban Berg. Twenty years later, Adorno wrote: "how much of my writing will remain is beyond my knowledge or my control, but there is one claim I wish to stake: that I understand the language of birds," It was no less than the desire to learn to speak this language that drew him to Berg. Adorno already knew what he wanted to drew to compose before he went to Berg, and the aim of his stay in Vienna and the following years was to learn to put this knowledge of musical composition into practice.
His correspondence with Berg, who was soon to be world famous, is partly defined by his engagement with the compositional problems posed for the musical avant-garde by Schoenberg's discovery of the twelve-tone technique, for which Adorno was to become an advocate, not least in Vienna and through Berg. This correspondence documents how he wrote numerous essays on Berg, Webern and Schoenberg during this time, and tried in vain to establish a platform for the Second Viennese School against "moderated modernity" in the journal Anbruch, where he exerted considerable editorial influence. It also shows how much Adorno - continually admonished by Berg to focus only on his musical composition - strove to reconcile his academic duties and his literary and journalistic work with the constant which to do nothing more than compose.
In December 1945 Thomas Mann wrote a famous letter to Adorno in which he formulated the principle of montage adopted in his novel Doctor Faustus. The writer expressly invited the philosopher to consider, with me, how such a work and I mean Leverkhns work could more or less be practically realized. Their close collaboration on questions concerning the character of the fictional composers putatively late works (Adorno produced specific sketches which are included as an appendix to the present volume) effectively laid the basis for a further exchange of letters. The ensuing correspondence between the two men documents a rare encounter of creative tension between literary tradition and aesthetic modernism which would be sustained right up until the novelists death in 1955. In the letters, Thomas Mann openly acknowledged his fascinated reading of Adornos Minima Moralia and commented in detail on the Essay on Wagner, which he was as eager to read as the one in the Book of Revelation consumes a book which tastes as sweet as honey. Adorno in turn offered detailed observations upon and frequently enthusiastic commendations of Manns later writings, such as The Holy Sinner, The Betrayed One and The Confessions of Felix Krull. Their correspondence also touches upon issues of great personal significance, notably the sensitive discussion of the problems of returning from exile to postwar Germany. The letters are extensively annotated and offer the reader detailed notes concerning the writings, events and personalities referred or alluded to in the correspondence.
Adorno's lectures on ontology and dialectics from 1960-61 comprise his most sustained and systematic analysis of Heidegger's philosophy. They also represent a continuation of a project that he shared with Walter Benjamin - `to demolish Heidegger'. Following the publication of the latter's magnum opus Being and Time, and long before his notorious endorsement of Nazism at Freiburg University, both Adorno and Benjamin had already rejected Heidegger's fundamental ontology. After his return to Germany from his exile in the United States, Adorno became Heidegger's principal intellectual adversary, engaging more intensively with his work than with that of any other contemporary philosopher. Adorno regarded Heidegger as an extremely limited thinker and for that reason all the more dangerous. In these lectures, he highlights Heidegger's increasing fixation with the concept of ontology to show that the doctrine of being can only truly be understood through a process of dialectical thinking. Rather than exploiting overt political denunciation, Adorno deftly highlights the connections between Heidegger's philosophy and his political views and, in doing so, offers an alternative plea for enlightenment and rationality. These seminal lectures, in which Adorno dissects the thought of one of the most influential twentieth-century philosophers, will appeal to students and scholars in philosophy and critical theory and throughout the humanities and social sciences.
At first glance, Theodor W. Adorno's critical social theory and Gershom Scholem's scholarship of Jewish mysticism could not seem farther removed from one another. To begin with, they also harbored a mutual hostility. But their first conversations in 1938 New York were the impetus for a profound intellectual friendship that lasted thirty years and produced more than 220 letters. These letters discuss the broadest range of topics in philosophy, religion, history, politics, literature, and the arts - as well as the life and the work of Adorno and Scholem's mutual friend Walter Benjamin. Unfolding with the dramatic tension of a historic novel, the correspondence tells the story of these two intellectuals who faced tragedy, destruction, and loss, but also participated in the efforts to reestablish a just and dignified society after World War II. Scholem immigrated to Palestine before the war and developed his pioneering scholarship of Jewish mysticism before and during the problematic establishment of a Jewish state. Adorno escaped Germany to England, and then to America, returning to Germany in 1949 to participate in the efforts to rebuild and democratize German society. Despite the differences in the lifepaths and worldviews of Adorno and Scholem, their letters are evidence of mutual concern for intellectual truth and hope for a more just society in the wake of historical disaster. The letters reveal for the first time the close philosophical proximity between Adorno's critical theory and Scholem's scholarship of mysticism and messianism. Their correspondence touches on questions of reason and myth, progress and regression, heresy and authority, and the social dimensions of redemption. Above all, their dialogue sheds light on the power of critical, materialistic analysis of history to bring about social change and prevent repetition of the disasters of the past.