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Grand Hotel Abyss : the lives of the Frankfurt School

by Jeffries, Stuart, 1962-

Format: Print Book 2016
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 2 copies
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 301.01 J38
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  301.01 J38
Unavailable (1)
Location Collection Status
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction CHECKED OUT
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
The Frankfurt Institute of Social Research, founded in 1923, but later moving to the US during the war, were a group of thinkers whose lives and philosophies profoundly, sometimes tragically, reflected and shaped the shattering events of the 20th century. Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, Jurgen Habermas and others have changed not just how we think but what we think about. Stuart Jeffries tells a gripping narrative that bring these thinkers to life, showing how their ideas developed out of their times- from the terrors of Nazi Germany to the blissed-out California of the 1960s.
Grand Hotel Abyss shows us how culture - ideas, music, film, shopping - became the battleground for political struggle. Combining biography, philosophy and storytelling we discover the day to day goings-on in the Institute, how Benjamin had to flee Paris from Nazi soldiers and eventually committed suicide on the Spanish border; the travails of exile for the other thinkers who fled to the United States; what happened when Adorno met Charlie Chaplin in Hollywood; and how Marcuse's The One Dimensional Man become the hippy bible in the 1960s. Both a fascinating portrait of intellectual Europe and a call to revisit a fascinating body of thought that still has much to tell us in an age of social media and consumerism.
Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In his erudite group biography of the thinkers who formed the core of the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research, English journalist Jeffries alternates between revealing the lives of these men and recounting the development of critical theory, the Frankfurt School's most notable contribution to philosophy. Dividing the history of the Frankfurt Institute into decades, Jeffries effectively demonstrates how the school responded to the historical challenges of the 20th century. The school was founded in 1923 as an institute devoted to the application of Marxism as a scientific methodology, and it soon turned its critical eye to the rise of fascism. Although ostensibly Marxist, its members were heterodox and had little faith in the workers' revolution. With few exceptions, they were also pessimists who did little to put their theories into action. After WWII, its thinkers-Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Erich Fromm, et. al.-began to challenge the culture of denial in Germany and the hegemony of post-war capitalism, an effort that, under Jürgen Habermas's direction, turned the Frankfurt Institute into a startlingly pro-democratic institution towards the end of the century. Jeffries writes in lucid prose and offers frequent asides situating these thinkers in modern contexts and issues, but the relevance of these men's work often speaks for itself. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."

Additional Information
Subjects Frankfurt school of sociology -- History.
Critical theory -- History -- 20th century.
Frankfurt school of sociology -- Biography.
Sociologists -- Germany -- Biography.
Philosophers -- Germany -- Biography.
Sociology -- Germany -- History -- 20th century.
Germany -- Intellectual life -- 20th century.
Publisher London :2016
Language English
Description 440 pages ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 393-428) and index.
ISBN 9781784785680
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