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166 the minnesota review which produces its own reversal is in enlightenment itself — in enough enlightenment. His conviction is "that the reification of life does not spring from too much, but rather too little enlightenment." Yet his own work has made it too late for such a position. To have questioned the linear continuity of enlightenment, and to have revealed that even here there is danger, inevitably leads to the insight presented by Walter Benjamin, that enlightenment's opposites, intoxication , dream, the body, also have a dialectical moment. That is, they, conversely, may generate the power of rescue. The inadequate sense of what lies stored up in the way of potential for the emancipation of the subject in this facet of existence accounts for that sad mutual incomprehension which developed between Adorno and many who should have been among his legitimate heirs during the last decade of his life. Where Hegel observed that one had to be in things in order to secure a viewpoint over things, Adorno was too deeply and fastidiously committed to the concept of rationality to enter and discover the power of the rhythmic instant which contradicts continuous reproduction of a negative order. Unlike Benjamin, he argued that if Fascism and progress were antagonistic, all that separated itself from progress must necessarily aid Fascism. Others were not willing to give over so much to the devil. Benjamin, in his record of conversations with Bertold Brecht, speaks of a power which clearly has nothing to do with progress or enlightenment: "a force capable of taking on that of Fascism, indeed a force which springs from abysses of history no less deep than those of Fascism."8 The value of this book on Wagner lies in a task to whose threshold the reader is brought, but into which it has not yet truly pierced. The power of Wagner's vast equivocation with the objective element of music has yet to be tapped for a positive purpose. Adorno's equivocation with this corpus of music reveals something that both his acknowledgement of Wagner's talent, and his dismissal of it, have still left concealed. MARCUS BULLOCK NOTES 'Wassily Kandinsky, "Über die Formfrage," in Der blaue Reiter, (München: Piper, 1965), p. 164. My translations in all quotations other than those from In Search of Wagner. 2Prismen, in Theodor W. Adorno, Gesammelte Schriften, ed. Rolf Tiedemann (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1977), 10.1:22; in English, Prisms, trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber (London: Neville Spearman, 1967), p. 28. 3Prismen, p. 29; Prisms, p. 33. 4Max Horkheimer und Theodor Adorno, Dialektik der Aufklärung (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1969), p. 6; in English, The Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. John Cummings (New York: Herder & Herder, 1972), xvi. 5OAne Leitbild (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1967), p. 99. ^Prismen, p. 17; Prisms, p. 24. 7IWd. 8Walter Benjamin, Versuche über Brecht (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1966), p. 134; in English, Understanding Brecht, trans. Anna Bostock (London: New Left Books, 1973), p. 120. CONTRIBUTORS MICHAEL BEARD teaches in the English Department of the University of North Dakota; his review-essay on Edward Said's Orientalism appeared in Diacritics (Winter 1979). CAROLE BOVE is an Assistant Professor in the French Department of Virginia Polytechnic Institute; at the moment, her main project is a review-essay on the English translation of Kristeva's Desire in Language for boundary 2. MARCUS BULLOCK, Assistant Professor in the German Department at Washington University, has written on representation in literature for Modern Language Notes. In London, JULIA CASTERTON teaches a women's writing course at City University and a basic writing course at the City Literary Institute, shares childcare for a daughter born last year, and writes fiction and poetry. An assistant professor at Occidental College, DANIEL FINEMAN has lectured and published on his interests in philology, literary theory, American fiction, and composi- 167 reviews tion pedagogy, and has made himself into an effective car mechanic to boot. A citizen of Syracuse, STEPHEN GIBSON has poems forthcoming in several other literary magazines, and has recently completed a new book-length collection, 'Mummy Wheat. HUNT HAWKINS' poems have appeared in m.r.'s 10 and 11; presently he is a member of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 166-167
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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