Adorno and Proust on the recovery of experience

Critical Horizons 8 (2):169-185 (2007)
Abstract
I argue in this paper that a recovery of the cognitive role of the experiencing subject is the common theme uniting Theodor Adorno's philosophy and Marcel Proust's literary project. This shared commitment is evidenced by the importance given by both thinkers to the expressive dimension of language in relation to its social function as a vehicle for communication. Furthermore, I argue that Adorno and Proust conceive of language's expressive dimension as the expression of suffering. However, whereas, for Proust, this means the private suffering of the artist transforming itself into a work of art, for Adorno it means suffering that is rooted in sociohistorical conditions. It is this thesis, I suggest, that enables Adorno to employ the recovery of the experiencing subject as a form of social criticism.
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