This essay argues that Theodor W. Adorno not only championed the new but was equally attuned to the uses of obsolescence. Burges claims that one lesson of Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life is that the obsolete and the outmoded fashion a “refuge of modernity,” because they harbor forsaken historical possibilities that can be excavated for alternative itineraries to a present in which capitalism has co-opted modernity. This essay ultimately attempts to expose the uses of obsolescence in Minima Moralia, making visible a future for obsolescence in the study of not only Adorno but also the culture of late capitalist modernity, which is too often still seen as, in Fredric Jameson's famous phrase, “bereft of all historicity.” In pursuing this future, Burges hopes to point toward a reinvigorated study of temporality and historicity for twenty-first-century critical theorists.
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Joel Burges; Adorno's Mimeograph: The Uses of Obsolescence in Minima Moralia. New German Critique 1 February 2013; 40 (1 (118)): 65–92. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-1812577
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