German philosopher and music critic Theodor Adorno.

Theodor Adorno

(1903 - 1969)

A year after completing his PhD thesis on Edmund Husserl, Theodor Adorno in 1925 studied music with the avant-garde composer Alban Berg, whom he later championed in his early publications. He befriended Max Horkheimer in the early 1930s, becoming associated with the Frankfurt Institute, and later emerged as one of the leading members of the “Frankfurt School” of critical theory, along with Erich Fromm, Herbert Marcuse, and Walter Benjamin.

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“Memory,” wrote the novelist Jean Paul in 1816, “is the only paradise out of which we cannot be driven away.” Critical theorist Theodor Adorno disagreed with his assertion. “Memories cannot be conserved in drawers and pigeonholes,” he wrote in response. “Precisely where they become controllable and objectified, where the subject believes himself entirely sure of them, memories fade like delicate wallpapers in bright sunlight.”

In psychoanalysis nothing is true except the exaggerations.

—Theodor Adorno, 1951

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