Adorno on lyric poetry and society

I would like to have time to contemplate this essay by Adorno. Here is some commentary:

The artwork, the lyric poem, is not there either to tell us about the paradoxical nature of being, which is something we need already to have felt in order to recognize and enjoy the paradox in the work. Nor can the artwork solve the contradiction, which is impossible, whether by Hegelian Aufhebung of Spirit, technological progress, theocratic takeover, or communist revolution. Rather, the lyric poem, like other kinds of art but with its special focus on language as both sound and sense, helps us live with our inevitable conflicts and contradictions, by imitating their expression in an attitude of play. In the wit and poignancy of this play, the “lyric subject” is not a subject but its very contrary: the opportunity to tease out the contradictions about subjectivity that bother us all the time, in such a way as to make their contradictory parts appear in an aesthetically pleasing whole, pleasing precisely because of the tensions at work to form its unity. As long as we remain human—that is, able to speak and more or less understand language and to think more or less rationally, and able to reflect upon our actions and to consider their implications—we will continue to need, and to create, lyric poetry, the playful imitation of the voice in which conflicts become paradoxes and things of pain become opportunities for the pleasure of a surprising recognition.

Here is the original text, written in 1957, and I am interested first in page 44.

It is a whole world, and I would like to have figured out Adorno and a few related writers long since.




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