A Timeline of the Predominant Anglophone Reception of Adorno and Horkheimer’s Critical Theory

Anglo Reception Timeline of the predominant reception of  Adorno and Horkheimer’s Critical Theory

The following timeline represents my attempt to understand how and when the 5 tenets of the predominant reception of Adorno and Horkheimer’s critical theory were developed in the anglophone world.

I take the 5 tenents to be the following:

  1. That Horkheimer and Adorno’s critical theory focused on culture rather than the sciences of economics or politics
  2. That Horkheimer and Adorno had a derivative Lukacsian and humanist interpretation of Marx that eliminated praxis
  3. That Horkheimer and Adorno jettisoned this interpretation of Marx for a transhistorical theory of instrumental reason in Dialectic of Enlightenment
  4. That Adorno’s pessimistic and one-dimensional social theory of the totally administered world eschewed praxis
  5. Consequently, Adorno and Horkheimer’s critical theory marked the dead end of Western Marxism

Rather than simply being true, I believe these tenets developed in the context of new left debates over strategy, Western Marxism, the rise of Habermasian critical theory, and the ensuing convention of understanding the Frankfurt School in terms of generational development.  

(books are simply listed by their titles, articles by the name of the journal they were published in)

1959 – Daniel Bell, The Rediscovery of Alienation

1964 – Merleau Ponty, Sense and Nonsense (Published in France in 1948)

1965 – Fromm (ed), Socialist Humanism

1967 – Lictheim, Adorno TLS article (republished in his from Marx to Hegel collection in 1971)

1969 – Piccone, “Lukacs’s History and Class Consciousness Half a Century Later” (Telos)

1970 – Therborn, The Frankfurt School (NLR), Breines (ed), Critical Interruptions: New Left Perspectives on Herbert Marcuse, Radical America issue on Marcuse, Breines, “Notes on Georg Lukacs’s The Old Culture and the New Culture (Telos), Piccone and Delfini “Marcuse’s Heideggerian Marxism”, Merlau Ponty, “Western Marxism” (Telos)

1971 – Steadman Jones, The Marxism of the Early Lukacs (NLR), Wellmer, Critical Theory of Society (published in Wester Germany in 1969), Arato, “Lukacs’s Path to Marxism”, Schroyer, Review of Wellmer (Telos), Bemi, “Review of Habermas Towards a Rational Society” (Telos), Howard, ‘Review of Jargon of Authenticity ‘

1972 – Howard (ed), The Unknown Dimension, Colleti, From Rousseau to Lenin, Arato, “Lukacs’s Theory of Reification” (Telos), Breines, “Praxis and It’s Theorists: The Impact of Lukacs and Korsch in the 1920s” (Telos), Piccone, “Dialectic and Materialism in Lukacs” (Telos), Schroyer “The Dialectical Foundations of Critical Theory: Jürgen Habermas’ Metatheoretical Investigations” (Telos), Buck-Morrs, “The Dialectic of Theodor W. Adorno” (Telos)

1973 – Jay, Dialectical Imagination, Colletti, Marxism and Hegel, Schroyer, The Critique of Domination, Merleau Ponty, Adventures of the Dialectic (publised in France in 1955), Jay, “Some Recent Developments in Critical Theory” Breines, “Introduction to Horkheimer’s The Authoritarian State” (Telos), Jacoby, “Postcript to Horkheimer’s The Authoritarian State” (Telos), Kellner, “Introduction to On the Philosophical Concept of Labour” [by Marcuse] (Telos), Piccone, “Review of Dialectical Imagination” (Telos)

1974 – “Introduction to Adorno” (Telos) [for publication of theses against occultism and stars down to earth excerpts], Kellner “Review of english translation of the jargon of authenticity” (Telos), Patrick Murray, “Introduction to Krahl The Political Contradictions in Adorno’s Critical Theory” (Telos), Schmidt, “Critical Theory and the Sociology of Knowledg: A response to Martin Jay” (Telos), Jay, “Answer to Crutches vs. Stilts: An Answer to James Schmidt on the Frankfurt School” (Telos), Jacoby, “A Review of Dialectical Imagination” (Theory and Society), 

1975 – Schoolman, “Marcuse’es Second Dimension” (Telos), Schmidt “The Concrete Totality and Lukacs’s Concept of Proletarian Bildbunt (Telos), Miller “Review of Legitimation Crisis” (Telos), Jay and Jacoby, “Marxism and Critical Theory” (Theory and Society)

1976 –  Anderson, Considerations on Western Marxism, Schoolman, “Introduction to Marcuse’s On the Problem of the Dialectic (Telos), Shapiro, “Reply to Miller’s Review of Legitimation Crisis” (Telos), Aronowitz, S., Jacoby, R., Piccone, P., & Schroyer, T. (1976). Symposium on Class. (Telos), Piccone, Considerations on Western Marxism. (Telos), 

1977-  Buck Morrs, The Origin of Negative Dialectics, Howard, The Marxian Legacy (revised editions, 2nd edition? 3rd edition 2019), Tarr, The Frankfurt School: The Critical Theories of Marx Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Slater, Origin and Significance of the Frankfurt School: a Marxist Perspective, Jay, “The Concept of Totality in Lukacs and Adorno” (Telos), Jay,  “Further Considerations on Anderson’s Considerations on Western Marxism” (Telos), Arato, A., & Piccone, P. Rethinking Western Marxism: Reply to Martin Jay (Telos), Berman, “Adorno, Marxism, and Art” (Telos), Piccone, “The Changing Function of Critical Theory” (New German Critique), Jacoby, “Review of Slater” (Telos), Jacoby “Reply to Slater and Plautt” (Telos)

1978 – Kolakowski, The Main Currents of Marxism Volume 3: The Breakdown, Arato, Gebhardt (ed.), The Frankfurt School Reader (introduction by Piccone), Piccone, “The Crisis of One-Dimensionality” (Telos)

1979 – Arato and Breines, The Young Lukacs and the Origins of Western Marxism, Agger, Western Marxism: an Introduction, Fetischrift for Habermas (Telos), Honneth, “Communication and Reconciliation Habermas’ Critique of Adorno” (Telos)

1980 – David Held, Introduction to Critical Theory

1981 – Jacoby, Dialectic of Defeat, Benhabib, “Modernity and the Aporias of Critical Theory” (Telos), Piccone, “Introduction to interview with Habermas” (Telos), 

1982 – Bookchin, Finding the Subject: Notes on Whitebook and “Habermas Ltd.” (Telos)

1983, Anderson, In the Tracks of Historical Materialism, 

1984 – Jay, Marxism and Totality and Adorno, Bottomore, The Frankfurt School and It’s Critics

1985 – Dubiel, Theory and Politics: Studies in the development of Critical Theory (published in 1978)

1986 – Benhabib, Critique, Norm, Utopia, Feenberg, Marx, Lukacs, and the Origins of Critical Theory 

1989– Kellner and Bronner (ed) Critical Theory and Society Reader

1991– Hohendahl, Reappraisals: Shifting Alignments in Postwar Critical Theory 

1998 – Brunkhorst, H., & Krockenberger, P. (1998). “Paradigm-core and theory-dynamics in critical social theory: people and programs” 

1994 – Wiggershaus (published in 1986), Bronner Of Critical Theory and its Theorists

1996 – Lowy, Figures of Weberian Marxism

2000 – Joel Anderson, “The Third Generation of the Frankfurt School”

2004 – Cook, Adorno, Habermas and the Search for a Rational Society

2009– Wheatland, The Frankfurt School in Exile

2013 – Abromeit, Max Horkheimer and the Foundations of the Frankfurt School

2014 – Feenburg, The Philosophy of Praxis

2016 – Jay Reason After Eclipse: on Late Critical Theory, Jeffries, Grand Hotel Abyss

2017 – Thompson (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Theory, Zwarg “Half a Heart and Double Zeal: Critical Theory’s Afterlife in the United States” (New German Critique), Pensky, “Third Generation Critical Theory.”

2018 – Arato, “Critical Theory in the United States: Reflections on Four Decades of Reception” 

2020 – Jay Splinter, (ed), Gordon, Hammer, Honneth, The Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School, Prosser, Dialectic of Enlightenment in the Anglosphere


About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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