Thought-Images: Frankfurt School Writers' Reflections from Damaged Life

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In this book, Gerhard Richter explores the aesthetic and political ramifications of the literary genre of the Denkbild, or thought-image, as it was employed by four major German-Jewish writers and philosophers of the first half of the twentieth century: Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, and Siegfried Kracauer. The Denkbild is a poetic mode of writing, a brief snapshot-in-prose that stages the interrelation of literary, philosophical, political, and cultural insights. Richter's careful analysis of the linguistic characteristics of this mode of writing sheds new light on pivotal concerns of modernity, including the fractured cityscape, philosophical problems of modern music, the experience of exiled homelessness, and the disaster of Auschwitz. Thought-Images not only reorients our understanding of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory in important ways but also establishes significant links between these writers and contemporary French thinkers such as Jacques Derrida.