Quasi una Fantasia contains Adorno's own selection from his essays and journalism over more than three decades. In its analytical profundity it can be compared to his Philosophy of Modern Music, but in the range of its topics and the clarity of its arguments it stands alone among Adorno's writings on music. Especially significant is Adorno's "dialectical portrait" of Stravinsky in which he both reconsiders and refines the damning indictment he gave in Philosophy on Modern Music. More unexpectedly, there are moving accounts of earlier works, including Bizet's Carmen and Weber's Der Freischutz, along with an entertainingly caustic "Natural History of the Theatre," which explores the hierarchies of the auditorium, from upper circle to foyer. 'The positive element of kitsch', Adorno remarks, 'lies in the fact that it sets free for a moment the glimmering realization that you have wasted your life.' Yet even while Adorno demolishes 'commodity music' he is sustained by the conviction that music is supremely human because it retains the capacity to speak of inhumanity and to resist it. It is a conviction which reverberates throughout these writings.
For Adorno, music and philosophy were inextricably linked: Quasi una Fantasia will enlarge our understanding of both.
Publisher: Verso Books
Number of pages: 348
Weight: 363 g
Dimensions: 205 x 131 x 19 mm
"This is an extraordinary book ... one of Adorno's most impressive, fecund and elegant works ... It will appeal to anyone who wishes to encounter one of the century's most challenging and provocative social theorists at his most openly enthusiastic."-Times Higher Education Supplement
"A volume of Adorno is equivalent to a whole shelf of books on literature."-Susan Sontag