This article considers the concept of cultural landscape (Kulturlandschaft) from Theodor W. Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory, exploring how the philosophy of natural beauty in relation to historical built environments resonates with ideas of musical landscape and experiences of peripatetic listening. If Adorno’s mature thought is marked by the fractured experience of exile, his late evocations of displacement actually echo youthful experiences on holiday—notably, the striking volcanic terrain of a summer vacation in Italy, which is transformed soon thereafter into a reflection on landscape, alienation, and song. Throughout the recurrences of the trope of landscape in Adorno’s writings before Aesthetic Theory, the philosophy of nature and history and experiences of tourism and exile constellate into an aesthetic that contemplates sublimity and kitsch side by side: modernist philosophy as shaped by experiences of music, travel, and landscapes of distance and estrangement.

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