• The Dialectical Imagination

     

    Martin Jay.

     

    Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1973. Octavo. Boards slightly bowed, else fine in a white dust wrapper with a smudge on the front. 382 pages. First edition. Near fine.

     

    A history of the Frankfurt School and the Intitute of Social Research, 1923-1950. The definitive study of Germany's great contribution to twentieth century philosophy by Martin Jay, the Berkeley intellectual historian. Essential reading for students of critical theory and Continental philosophy.

     

    "A strained metaphor suggested by Hegel's notion of the spirit returning to itself might seem appropriate here, if not for the crucial fact that the true estrangement of the Frankfurt School did not end with its geographical homecoming. The reintegration of the Institute stressed earlier was never more than a partial and incomplete process. "To write poetry after Auschwitz," Adorno wrote in one of his more bitter moments, "is barbaric." To write social theory and conduct scientific research was more tolerable only if its critical, negative impulse was maintained. For, so the Frankfurt School always insisted, it was only by the refusal to celebrate the present that the possibility might be preserved of a future in which writing poetry would no longer be an act of barbarism."

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