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Modernism and the Frankfurt School

Tyrus Miller

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Provides a single-volume introduction to the important connection of Frankfurt School thought and modernist culture

Tyrus Miller's book offers readers a focused introduction to the Frankfurt School's important attempts to relate the social, political, and philosophical conditions of modernity to innovations in twentieth-century art, literature, and culture. The book pursues this interaction of modernity and modernist aesthetics in a two-sided, dialectical approach. Not only, Miller suggests, can the Frankfurt School's penetrating critical analyses of the phenomena of modernity help us develop more nuanced, historically informed and contextually sensitive analyses of modernist culture; but also, modernist culture provides a field of problems, examples, and practices that intimately affected the formation of the Frankfurt School's theoretical ideas.

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1. Modernism, Modernity, and the Demand for Interdisciplinarity
2. Walter Benjamin
3. Theodor Adorno
4. Herbert Marcuse
5. The New Wave: Modernism and Modernity in the Later Frankfurt School.

About the Author

Tyrus Miller is Professor, Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies in the Department of Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


This book is masterful in the economy of its summaries, paraphrases, and analyses of the principal contributors to the School, in the scope of its references and allusions to context, and in its insights into the historicity of the School's development in the different locales and phases through which the School passed over the course of its evolution. Miller has a gift for grasping the heart of the matter of any complex argument or performance.

- Hayden White

While the Frankfurt school shaped the concept of "modernism", it also got stuck between "high art" and "mass culture". Modernism and the Frankfurt School audaciously reframes the critical discussion. It engages with literature, music, the visual arts and the theater, to highlight modernism’s "turbulent now" with unrivaled brilliance and intelligence.

- Jean-Michel Rabaté, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania

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