Stefan Muller-Doohm: Adorno (Paperback, 2005, Polity Press) 4 stars

Extremely thorough biography

4 stars

This is a long and thorough biography of Adorno that works well as an introduction to his philosophy. I feel like I learned a lot. The more theoretical passages went over my head, but I think the mind still retains something even of texts that are several levels too difficult. It's not a waste of time to read them, more or less attentively. I'm side-eyeing the biographer for conservative intuitions and misogyny. I'm especially surprised at his seeming lack of curiosity towards Gretel Adorno, who by his own account played a major part in TWA's writing process. Why does the biographer feel the need to tell us all about TWA's grandfather, several of his intellectual friends, etc, but next to nothing about who his wife was? Before reading this biography I felt unequipped to read any work of Adorno on my own - now I feel equipped for a few of them. Besides that, I also learned some German history, especially the post-war period. That's an excellent outcome, so I am glad I read this book. One issue I had is with the translation. I would have much rather read this in German. The translation is subpar - just a head's up for people who have the choice I didn't get.