Monday, December 24, 2018

No Art Was Possible

I'm still reading Simon Leys' collection of essays The Hall of Uselessness in which I found this delightful paragraph (p. 501):
Sometimes it takes a poet to deflate effectively the windy pronouncements of a philosopher. To Theodor Adorno, who declared that, after Auschwitz, no art was possible, Joseph Brodsky replied: "Indeed, not only art, but breakfast as well."
Yes, art has continued on quite well since WWII. What did seem to perish in the gas chambers and concentration camps was the more mystic fantasies of German idealism. And good riddance. I suppose that was what Adorno was mourning.

This might be a good time to re-listen to the String Quartet No. 8 by Shostakovich, a good example of the kind of art still possible after the war. This is the St. Lawrence String Quartet.

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