Correspondence, 1939 - 1969
Correspondence, 1939 - 1969
Edited by Asaf Angermann
Translated by Sebastian Truskolaski, Paula Schwebel
Theodor W. Adorno and Gerhard Scholem met in New York on the cusp of the 20th century’s descent into the Holocaust, whose consequences and chaotic aftermath they would relentlessly submit to the analytic scrutiny borne of their prolific correspondence. Appearing in English for the first time, this complete collection of their letters lays bare a friendship and intellectual partnership upon which the scars of modernity are writ large.

This volume is an extraordinary collaborative document not just because of the authors’ astute appraisal of the turbulent political times in which they lived but also because they grapple with the tensions sparked off by the unprecedented converging of Jewish mysticism and contemporary philosophy. Both humble but in fact able commentators on the specialisms of the other, in the course of their epistolary relationship Adorno and Scholem repeatedly demonstrate the enrichment potential of cross-disciplinary discussion.  But what makes this volume particularly rewarding is that it documents the tender unfolding of a deep and enduring friendship between two of the greatest German-Jewish thinkers of the 20th century.  As their 30-year correspondence attests, the nexus of their friendship was twofold: on the one hand, their respective friendships with Walter Benjamin, and on the other, their at times fraught belonging to the German-Jewish community.

This volume will be of great value to students and scholars of the Frankfurt School, Kabbalah and Jewish Studies and to anyone interested in 20th-century history and culture.
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More Info
  • July 2021
  • 520 pages
  • 152 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $45.00
  • 9781509510450
About the Author
Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969), a prominent member of the Frankfurt School, was one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century in the areas of social theory, philosophy and aesthetics.

Gerschom Scholem (1897-1982), was an influential Jewish philosopher and first Professor of Jewish Mysticism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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"Gershom Scholem and Theodor W. Adorno were an odd couple: the first a Zionist and scholar of Kabbalah, the second a half-Jewish, neo-Marxist philosopher who returned to Germany after the war.  Yet their surprising thirty-year friendship, wonderfully expressed in this correspondence, reveals the broad horizons of these two towering intellectuals of the twentieth century."
David Biale, Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor, UC Davis

"Brought together by their mutual regard for Walter Benjamin and shared grief at his death, Scholem, the Zionist scholar of Jewish mysticism, and Adorno, the Marxist exponent of negative dialectics, began an unlikely, yet increasingly intense epistolary friendship. Scrupulously annotated and masterfully introduced by Asaf Angermann, their letters open a window letting in the twilight glow of a once vibrant German-Jewish culture before its passing into history."
Professor Martin Jay, University of California

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