Prisms, essays in cultural criticism and society, is the work of a critic and scholar who has had a marked influence on contemporary American and German thought. It displays the unusual combination of intellectual depth, scope, and philosophical rigor that Adorno was able to bring to his subjects, whether he was writing about astrology columns in Los Angeles newspapers, the special problems of German academics immigrating to the United States during the Nazi years, or Hegel’s influence on Marx.
In these essays, Adorno explores a variety of topics, ranging from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Kafka’s The Castle to Jazz, Bach, Schoenberg, Proust, Veblen’s theory of conspicuous consumption, museums, Spengler, and more. His writing throughout is knowledgeable, witty, and at times archly opinionated, but revealing a sensitivity to the political, cultural, economic, and aesthetic connections that lie beneath the surfaces of everyday life.
Prisms is included in the series, Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.