The psychoanalytic dimension of Adorno's critical theory

Connell, M.F., 1997. The psychoanalytic dimension of Adorno's critical theory. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Adorno's theory of the philosophical constellation, in which no approach is privileged, demands that more attention be given to his use of psychoanalysis. The best understood dimension of Adorno's use of Freudian theory is his critique of authoritarian irrationalism, especially anti-Semitism, but the themes at work in that critique play a deeper role in his philosophy and literary criticism. A subtle concern with childhood experiences of pleasure and disappointment emerges as crucial in Adorno's critical theory, and I elucidate this concern by reference to Adorno's reading of Proust. I apply this psychoanalytic framework to a detailed examination of Adorno's Freudo-Marxist reading of Kafka. This literary model allows a further clarification of the role of psychoanalysis in Adorno's theory, because it connects with the theme of Adorno's Jewish identity. The messianic moment of Adorno's work shows the unique contribution psychoanalysis makes to his concept of utopia. Adorno's theory of mimesis can also be understood in new ways by focusing on its psychoanalytic dimension. Freudian theories of comic and regressive mimesis operate in complex ways in Dialectic of Enlightenment and Aesthetic Theory. I supplement my reading of Adorno's psychoanalysis with reference to the work of Nietzsche, because this helps to clarify Adorno's constellational approach to dialectical theory. Adorno's reading of Freud is strongly influenced by Nietzschean genealogy, as I demonstrate with regard to Adorno's critique of authoritarian resentment.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Connell, M.F.
Date: 1997
ISBN: 9781369313031
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 28 Aug 2020 13:29
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2023 09:57

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