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Kierkegaard. Konstruktion des Ästhetischen.


Tübingen, Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1933. Lex 8vo. Orig. blue full cloth with black lettering to spine and front board. Light sunning to upper part of front board. A very nice and clean copy. (8), 165 pp. ¶ The uncommon first edition of Adorno's first major work (the rewritten version of his Habilitation, which he handed in in 1931), his seminal "Kierkegaard"-work, which challenges Kierkegaard as well as the entire tradition of existentialism, played an important role in the formation of the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School, and continues to influence and excite readers to this day. The work constitutes the foundation for all of Adorno's later writings, as it contains first formulations of and hints at almost all themes that he pursues later on.

"This brief book, perhaps the most accessible of Adorno's works available in English, contains the kernel of almost all the themes he developed in later writings. Kierkegaard is likely to be as controversial now as when it first appeared in Germany in the thirties: Adorno's interpretation of Kierkegaard is intriguing if not generally accepted, and some readers may not recognize Adorno's Kierkegaard as the Kierkegaard they thought they knew. " ("Academic Library Book Review" - review of the English translation of 1989).

This important book, which appeared in German book shops in February 1933, was that which established Adorno's reputation. The work was very controversial, also at the time of its appearance, as the sentiments expressed in it went directly against that of the time, which in Germany was philosophically characterized by a revival of Kierkegaard's thought, due to such thinkers as Heidegger, Jaspers, Barth, and Tillich (by whom Adorno had written his Habilitation). Kierkegaard might have been Adorno's nominal target with this book, but he actually set out to get the entire existential tradition and probably had Heidegger as his secondary target as well as the entire German manifestation of existentialism. As such, the work came to profoundly influence the Frankfurt School as well as numerous later thinkers, having not yet lost its actuality.

The important and influential German philosopher and sociologist, Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund Adorno (1903 - 1969), was a leading member of the Frankfurt School, together with e.g. Horkheimer, Benjamin, and Habermas. He taught philosophy at the university of Frankfurt, but as a Jew, his teaching position was taken from him in 1933. He went to Oxford to teach, and in 1938 he emigrated to America, where he was the leader of several sociological projects in both New York and Los Angeles. Together with Horkheimer he wrote the theoretical manifest of the Frankfurt School, the "Dialektik der Aufklärung". In 1949 he returned to Frankfurt, where he became professor of philosophy and sociology.

"Theodor W. Adorno was one of the most important philosophers and social critics in Germany after World War II. Although less well known among anglophone philosophers than his contemporary Hans-Georg Gadamer, Adorno had even greater influence on scholars and intellectuals in postwar Germany. In the 1960s he was the most prominent challenger to both Sir Karl Popper's philosophy of science and Martin Heidegger's philosophy of existence. Jürgen Habermas, Germany's foremost social philosopher after 1970, was Adorno's student and assistant. The scope of Adorno's influence stems from the interdisciplinary character of his research and of the Frankfurt School to which he belonged. It also stems from the thoroughness with which he examined Western philosophical traditions, especially from Kant onward, and the radicalness to his critique of contemporary Western society. He was a seminal social philosopher and a leading member of the first generation of Critical Theory." (SEP).

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