Philosophy of Art, Art of Philosophy: Adorno’s Aesthetic Utopia
This chapter explores Adorno’s aesthetic theory. It looks at his claim that “writing a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric” in its relationship to art’s fragile, double-edged autonomy, and examines his theory of mimesis—a non-conceptual affinity between subject and object that, expelled by identity thinking, has found refuge in art. Through a close reading of Adorno’s reflections on natural beauty, aura, the sublime, and on the not yet fully rationalized child, the chapter examines his intuition that the aesthetic is crucial in any attempt to integrate the nonidentical into reason. Finally, a study of Adorno’s writing style and an excursus on his critique of Heidegger show how Adorno demarcates his own dialectic of form and content from what he views as Heidegger’s self-serving manipulation of the preconceptual.