By Andreas Huyssen
Today's problem to the divide among mass tradition and modernism is going by way of the identify of the postmodern. Huyssen argues that postmodernism itself can't be considered as an intensive holiday with the prior, as its creative and political options are indebted to that different pattern in the tradition of modernity - the historic avant garde.
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Extra resources for After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism
47 The predominance of"sound" in Wagner also dissolves the temporal pressures ofharmony. It spatializes musical time, depriving it, as it were, of its historical determinations. 48 These observations about the leitmotiv, the reified order of time and the atomization of musical material lead Adorno to a central point where he affiliates Wagner's composition technique with the mode of production: "It is difficult to avoid the parallel with the quantification of the industrial labor process, its fragmentation into the smallest possible units ...
2. The postulated integration and manipulation of the mass of individual consumers from above into the false totality of the authoritarian state or of the culture industry has its psychoanalytic correlate in the theory of the decay of the ego. " In a more serious vein, the Institute's Studies on Authority and the Family elaborated a theory postulating the objective decline of paternal authority in the bourgeois family. This decline of paternal authority in turn has led to a change in personality type based on conformity to external standards rather than, as in the liberal age, on the internalization of authority.
Contrary to what Fred Jameson has recently argued, Adorno ne ver lost sight of the fact that, ever since their simultaneous emergence in the mid-lgth century, modernism and mass culture have been engaged in a compulsive pas de deux. It indeed never occurred to Adorno to see modernism as anything other than areaction formation to mass culture and commodification, as my later discussion of Adorno's views of Wagner and Schönberg will show. In a famous letter to Benjamin, in which he criticized Benjamin's reproduction essay, he wrote: "Both [modernist art and mass culture] bear the scars of capitalism, both contain elements of change.
After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism by Andreas Huyssen