Cover: The Complete Correspondence, 1928-1940, from Harvard University PressCover: The Complete Correspondence, 1928-1940 in PAPERBACK

The Complete Correspondence, 1928-1940

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$48.50 • £38.95 • €43.50

ISBN 9780674006898

Publication Date: 12/07/2001


400 pages

5-7/8 x 9 inches

Not for sale in UK & British Commonwealth (except Canada)

The extensive correspondence between Adorno and Benjamin—now happily available in English—reveals the complexities of their tortured philosophical friendship.—James Miller, The New York Times Book Review

To reconsider the relationship between Theodore Adorno and Walter Benjamin is to reflect on one of the most enduring philosophical friendships of the twentieth century.—Richard Wolin, The New Republic

The publication in English of the BenjaminAdorno correspondence is a welcome event. The friendship of these two intellectuals was a fruitful one, and since the circumstances of their lives enforced long separations, their letters had to bear the weight of a monumental exchange of ideas… The discussion of intellectual theory and practice in that exchange remains of great value for our work in this new century… Reading the relevant sections of The Arcades Project with the Adorno–Benjamin discussions of them in this volume also at hand is an intellectual experience of the very highest order.—David S. Gross, World Literature Today

Aside from the chronicle of an extraordinary friendship lasting 20 years, [this book shows that] it was essentially in dialogue with Adorno—passionate and often adversarial—that Benjamin constructed his materialist view of history.—Peter Philbrook, The Barnes & Noble Review

As each correspondent held the other’s professional opinion in high esteem, both send many pages discussing current research, criticizing each other’s manuscripts, and reviewing the latest academic publications. Their letters help to trace the shaping of such significant projects as Benjamin’s work on Kafka and Baudelaire and Adorno’s on Wagner and jazz, and command respect for their erudition in a wide range of fields, from philosophy to modern culture. As first names eventually replace ‘Herr Wiesengrund’ and ‘Herr Benjamin,’ the letters shed more light on the personalities and daily preoccupations of the two friends… These letters do let Benjamin and Adorno speak eloquently for themselves on many complex issues.Kirkus Reviews

The Complete Correspondence, 1928–1940 is an excellent accompaniment to The Arcades Project since a considerable portion of the correspondence between Adorno and Benjamin included here concerns the work that Benjamin called ‘the theater of all my struggles and all my ideas.’ Originally published in Germany in 1994, the 121 letters included begin in 1928 and allow an intimate look at the two men’s personalities, their philosophical thinking, and their attitudes toward the events, persons, and ideologies of the contemporary world.—Leon H. Brody, Library Journal

The 121 letters in this carefully annotated and beautifully translated volume present a remarkable dialogue between two innovative thinkers. In Paris, Benjamin was living hand-to-mouth, working on his Arcades Project, a penetrating inquiry into the cultural underpinnings of 19th-century Europe. In England at Merton College, Oxford, Adorno was working on a variety of projects, including raising money to keep Benjamin afloat… Adorno was also an exacting reader of Benjamin’s work. He pressed the elusive thinker hard and in illuminating detail on The Arcades Project. Over many of its pages, this correspondence delved deeply into this strange, unfinished masterpiece.Publishers Weekly

The extraordinary and unique qualities of this correspondence stem from the confrontation, in stages, between two of the most intense and energetic minds of the century.—Fredric R. Jameson, Duke University

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Jacket: The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, by Anthony Abraham Jack, from Harvard University Press

Book Club Spotlight: The Privileged Poor

As students around the world deliberate their options for further education, only made more challenging in a pandemic, we’re reminded that getting in is only half the battle. In The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, Anthony Abraham Jack asks how—and why—do disadvantaged students struggle at elite colleges? What can schools can do differently if these students are to thrive? As back to school season begins, we spoke to two university book clubs that read and discussed The Privileged Poor this summer.