A1 Journal article (refereed)
Days of the Cavemen? : Adorno, Spengler, and the Anatomy of Caesarism (2021)


Immanen, M. (2021). Days of the Cavemen? : Adorno, Spengler, and the Anatomy of Caesarism. New German Critique, 48(2), 177-204. https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-8989316


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Publication details

All authors or editorsImmanen, Mikko

Journal or seriesNew German Critique

ISSN0094-033X

eISSN1558-1462

Publication year2021

Volume48

Issue number2

Pages range177-204

PublisherDuke University Press

Publication countryUnited States

Publication languageEnglish

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-8989316

Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/78510


Abstract

This article addresses the controversial question of Theodor W. Adorno’s debt to right-wing Zivilisationskritik by a close reading of his essay “Spengler after the Decline” (1950). The article shows that despite Adorno’s harsh polemics against Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West (1918, 1922), he sought to make Spengler’s analysis of Weimar Germany’s undemocratic tendencies—“Caesarism”—serve progressive ends. However, Adorno’s essay was not just an effort at “coming to terms with the past” in Adenauerian West Germany. Reading the essay’s original 1941 version together with Adorno’s correspondence with Max Horkheimer sheds light on Spengler as an overlooked key (next to Max Weber, Sigmund Freud, and Walter Benjamin) to their Dialectic of Enlightenment, written in 1941–44. Adorno’s daring effort to appropriate Spengler’s analysis of Caesarism makes Adorno’s critical theory an asset in understanding today’s authoritarian populism.


Keywordspolitical philosophypolitical historyauthoritarianismpopulismintellectual historycritical theory

Free keywordsAdorno, Theodor; Spengler, Oswald; critical theory; intellectual history; authoritarian populism


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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating3


Last updated on 2024-22-04 at 14:35