Days of the Cavemen? : Adorno, Spengler, and the Anatomy of Caesarism
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
Published inNew German Critique
© 2021 New German Critique, Inc
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.
PublisherDuke University Press
Publication in research information system
MetadataShow full item record
Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Postdoctoral Researcher, AoF
Showing items with similar title or keywords.
Nivalainen, Markku (University of Jyväskylä, 2018)This dissertation deals with the tragic vision that motivates certain key aspects of Theodor W. Adorno’s philosophy. While in the formative early work, the Dialectic of Enlightenment, co-written with Max Horkheimer, ...
Immanen, Mikko (Eurooppalaisen filosofian seura ry, 2020)
Pekkola, Mika; Huttunen, Rauno (Jyväskylän yliopisto, 2011)
Ihalainen, Pasi; Saarinen, Taina (Routledge, 2019)Historians of political discourse and language policy researchers should join forces to develop methods of textual analysis that help to integrate political and intellectual history. They could do so by focusing their ...
Unknown author (Jyväskylän yliopisto, 1998)