Annotated Bibliography

Adorno, Theodor W.  Aesthetic Theory.  Trans. Robert Hullot-Kentor.  Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
Theodor Adorno was a philosopher/social critic associated with the Frankfurt school of thought.  His thoughts are heavily influenced by Marxist thought; in particular Marxist ideas of hegemony.  Adorno’s book on Aesthetics creates a picture of modern society completely consumed by late capitalism to the point that the only method of stepping outside the hegemony is the creation of art (the definition of “art” takes up the majority of the book).  The book disavows a linear view of history and a linear method of explanation, thus it is written in what Adorno calls “paratactics,” or extended aphorisms.  Adorno’s Aesthetics provide a foundation for assessing the how and why of art – and a definition of art – in our-now by demonstrating its unavoidable interconnectedness with material society.  

Acker, Kathy.  Pussy, King of the Pirates.  New York: Grove Press, 1996.  
Kathy Acker was a post-modern writer who experimented with post-structuralist ideas of writing and its lack of meaning.  Her book Pussy King of the Pirates was one of her later works and demonstrates her thematic concerns of constructed identities and the relevance of context in interpretation (she often re-writes or cut-pastes parts of classic literature to question textual centered interpretations).  I plan to use Acker’s book as a testing ground, or interpretive map for my discussion and conclusions on what constitutes art.  

Beckett, Samuel.  Samuel Beckett: The Grove Centenary Edition. Vol. II: Novels.  Ed. Paul Auster.  New York: Grove Press, 2006.
Samuel Beckett was a Nobel Prize winning Irish author who wrote predominantly in French.  Beckett’s work is often cited by Theodor Adorno as an exemplar of what art should strive for: resisting the social structures that create art by denying the dominant conceptions of what art should be while congruently containing “truth content,” or the metaphysical unapproachable space outside hegemony.  Analyzing Beckett’s work, along with Adorno’s opinions of it, will provide a starting point from where to take a discussion of aesthetics.  

Burke, Kenneth.  The Philosophy of Literary Form.  Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1974.  
Kenneth Burke was an American rhetorician, philosopher, and literary thinker.  Having not read this book or any of Burke’s work I will forgo a discussion on its import on my paper.  Gathering information from David Stacey’s discussions I assume Burke will offer another perspective on art, writing, and politics.  

Debord, Guy.  “Society of Spectacle.” Trans. Ken Knabb. 2007. 15 Nov. 2007  <>.  
Guy Debord was a French thinker who was influenced by Marxist thought in terms of material realities.  This is another book (the website is a free-publication of a book published by Rebel Press) that I have only glanced over so at this time do not have a definitive placement of his work in my paper.  However, his interpretation of society can only add to a discussion of art since the premise of my paper is the reciprocal – in an optimistic adjective -  relationship between political/social and aesthetic/creative. 

Horkheimer, Max, and Theodor Adorno.  Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments.  Trans. Edmund Jephcott.  Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002.
Max Horkheimer was a founder of the Frankfurt School of thought and co-wrote this book with Adorno as a way of liberating the working class in Germany.  The book functions under the assumption that only theory will illuminate capitalistic repugnancy for the masses.  As a secondary text it offers incite into Adorno’s ideas of society, capital, and resistance. 

Williams, Joseph M.  Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace.  6th ed.  New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., 2000. 
Joseph Williams is a professor of Literature and Language at the University of Chicago.  Style is a collection of lessons or lectures on how to write and what constitutes writing well.  The book will serve as a style guide for my paper, while also providing an interesting object of analysis in terms of Adorno’s aesthetics.  While apparently detached from a discussion of art, William’s book contains value assumptions on writing and these value assumptions will be addressed if only to demonstrate their presence.