2 Answers

  1. Full disclosure: I have my own horse in this race, so the text below is written with maximum bias, and may even be in the interests of the secret poetry government.

    So, let's first understand what Adorno had in mind. The translation of “Kulturkritik und Gesellschaft” appeared in Russian for the first time in 2018, that is, 70 years after it was written (speaking of barbarians), and taking into account the original context, Adorno's thesis is approximately as follows::

    After Auschwitz, to continue reproducing the same culture that led us to Auschwitz — and Adorno here did not even mean poetry, but some post-war neoclassicism or “Vier letzte Lieder” by Stauss et al.art means taking part in mass negation, creating conditions in which further criticism of this culture becomes impossible at all, since aesthetics ceases to have any points of intersection with reality. And this is not just about the obvious recent events in Germany (the essay was published from 1949 to 1951), but also about what Adorno managed to observe during the cultural boom in the United States in the 1940s.

    The judgment is quite post-apocalyptic, and especially because Adorno denies post-war culture the ability to auto-diagnose. Reification (Verdinglichung) appears to him as a one-sided and inevitable process, a consequence of the totalization of society, an “open prison” in which the objects of consciousness, relations between people, and people themselves are trivialized to the level of material objects and relations between objects. The apparatus of critical culture is already so much in circulation that it is not even able to describe what is happening, let alone influence it.

    Poetry, as it turned out, did not need this regulation. At least not in German. Adorno himself, in his later works, subjected his propositions to extensive revision, but it is important that the poets themselves-Celan, Bachmann, Levy, Sachs, and others-did not wait for Adorno to do this. Celan and Levi, both of whom were in the camps, wrote that poetry was their primary source of inner support and motivation to survive and tell stories. And maybe, to change the question in the wording of the later Adorno, it is really impossible to live after Auschwitz, but somehow it still works out. Strictly speaking, the visual arts and cinema in Germany performed their tasks no worse — half a century later, we can confidently say that, for example, in visual art, the themes of World War II were best worked out by three Germans: Kiefer, Richter and Beuys.

    Just saying Adorno is very much a survivor's shame. That is, a person who escaped death not by his own merits, but by banal luck, and it is easier for him to imagine that he disappeared in pechy in ' 44, and the rest of his life was just a dream.

    In poetry, in principle, this syndrome is also present to some extent. And if “Todesfuge” written as a kind of primary source, the terrible Brodsky poem “Isaac and Abraham pays tribute to the same Auschwitz simply because without it, this text would be the very barbarism that Adorno wrote about. And this is what most of the permitted post-war Soviet poetry actually was: the unbearable vulgarity of the Buchenwald Alarm is excused only by the fact that this text was the subject of resistance to Soviet anti-Semitism.

    And besides. Poetry cannot be said to have a past or a future. Auschwitz is there in the same way as the Hymn of the Aten, or the wedding songs of Catullus, or the text sewn by Pascal into the jacket from the side of the heart. The fact that they continue to exist there and together with Auschwitz means that Auschwitz does not detract from them. So the Nazis had lost after all.

  2. Poetry in particular, and art in general, does not feed on sweet molasses or pink elephant meat. Poetry, like any art, grows on tears, on pain, on renunciation, on the proximity of death and the choice in favor of life.

    If bees start feeding sugar, they will stop giving honey-a well-known fact.

    Art is, in a sense, the gateway through which pain comes out – so as not to destroy us from within.�

    And there have always been facts of inhumane cruelty in human history, just as there has always been poetry.

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