XLVIII (New Series: IV)
Issued: 25th November 2011
Re-established as an international journal: 2008
ISSN: 0014 –1291
Language: English, German
Of Mice and Men: Adorno on Art and the Suffering of Animals
Theodor W. Adorno’s criticism of human beings’ domination of nature is a familiar topic to Adorno scholars. Its connection to the central relationship between art and nature in his aesthetics has, however, been less analysed. In the following paper, I claim that Adorno’s discussion of art’s truth content (Wahrheitsgehalt) is to be understood as art’s ability to give voice to nature (both human and non-human) since it has been subjugated by the growth of civilization. I focus on repressed non-human nature and examine Adorno’s interpretation of Eduard Mörike’s poem ‘Mausfallen-Sprüchlein’ (Mousetrap rhyme). By giving voice to the repressed animal, Mörike’s poem manages to point towards the possibility of a changed relationship between mice and men, between nature and humanity, which is necessary in order to achieve reconciliation amongst humans as well.