A Precarious Happiness
A strikingly original account of Theodor Adorno's work as a critique animated by happiness.

"Gordon's confidently gripping and persistently subtle interpretation brings a new tone to the debate about Adorno's negativism."--Jürgen Habermas

Theodor Adorno is often portrayed as a totalizing negativist, a scowling contrarian who looked upon modern society with despair. Peter E. Gordon thinks we have this wrong: if Adorno is uncompromising in his critique, it is because he sees in modernity an unfulfilled possibility of human flourishing. In a damaged world, Gordon argues, all happiness is likewise damaged but not wholly absent. Through a comprehensive rereading of Adorno's work, A Precarious Happiness recovers Adorno's commitment to traces of happiness--fragments of the good amid the bad. Ultimately, Gordon argues that social criticism, while exposing falsehoods, must also cast a vision for an unrealized better world.

Publication Date: 
January 4, 2024