From hades to heimat: Quo usque tandem? The travels and travails of critical theory

Samuel Weber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In their book, Dialectics of Enlightenment, written during the Second World War in their exile in the U. S. , Adorno and Horkheimer portray Ulysses in the Odyssey as the exemplar)' Western figure. Focusing on an event that occurs as he takes his revenge not just upon the suitors but upon the women who collalxi rated with them, the authors raise the question of just what a return home can mean in the Western tradition. They emphasize the violence involved in reclaiming one's "property," as Ulysses' son, Telemachus, executes the women in the most brutal fashion. This allows the author to discuss the form in which this violent event is narrated as an implicit critique on the brutality deing described. This essay examines the ambiguous status of mortality in the interpretation of Adorno and Horkheimer. and in their conception of their Dialectic of Enlightenment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-190
Number of pages10
JournalTheoretical Studies in Literature and Art
Volume41
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 30 2020

Keywords

  • Heimat
  • Homecoming
  • Mortality
  • Ulysses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology

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