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Minima Moralia, Narcissism and Death, and Jewish Experience in the Art of the Twentieth Century

MINIMA MORALIA IS THEODOR Adorno’s most characteristic work, and has become a classic of critical thinking. It is an examination of subjectivity in a situation of vanishing subjectivity, by means of an aphoristic—quasi-subjective—method. As Adorno writes, “If today the subject is vanishing, aphorisms take upon themselves the duty to consider the evanescent itself as essential:” He is aware of the contradiction in dialectical method this entails: “Dialectical theory, abhorring anything isolated, cannot admit aphorisms as such,” especially those that seem to assume “the mere being-for-itself of subjectivity.” Adorno’s aphorisms, like those of Nietzsche which are their implicit model, make no such assumption, as the subtitle of Minima Moralia indicates: “Reflections from Damaged Life.” Bourgeois society has caused the damage, and is aphoristically recreated as part of the condition for

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