Negative Dialectics
Negative Dialectics

Summary: Adorno's astonishing masterwork is truly the Capital of the 21st century, the first theoretical document to set micropolitics in motion towards global geopolitics. I created this new version of Adorno's classic text because the existing Ashton translation was riddled with so many basic translating errors as to be virtually unusable in a classroom setting. My new version is far from perfect, but at least gets the philosophical terms right, and hopefully captures a bit more of the incomparable power and beauty of Adorno's original prose. Feel free to quote, cite or otherwise use this translation; just be sure to cite this website as a source.

For those of you who are wondering if a print version is available: this text can only exist on the Internet, as a freeware or copyleft translation. The reason is that the University of Minnesota has the sole rights to publish the English-language translation of Negative Dialectics, and Bob Hullot-Kentor, an extraordinarily gifted translator, is working on a new version, which will, when it comes out, supersede my own version (he's a far better translator than I'll ever be). Since it'll take some time for Bob to finish his version, though, my own rough-and-ready version will have to do for the time being.

Adorno FAQ Click here if you've never heard of Adorno or the Frankfurt School, or are just wondering what the heck all the fuss is about.

Translator's Notes For philologists wondering why certain terms were translated as they were.

Negative Dialectics Keywords For students, key terms and what they mean.

Negative Dialectics Reading Guide For teachers, reading guides and cheat sheet detailing what Adorno does in each section, and why it's relevant to the 21st century.

Adorno as Multinational Marxist For scholars, an essay situating Adorno in the longue duree of history.

Downloads: Each section is downloadable in Adobe PDF format or as a text file. If neither of these options works for you, email me and I can send you a text file directly. Note that the numbered footnotes in the text correspond exactly to Adorno's original notations; the asterisk footnotes in the original text, however, are marked by a number within two asterisks (for example, *7*), which then refers to the list of footnotes gathered at the end of each section (in Adorno's original text, these asterisks referred to footnotes at the bottom of each page, but for the sake of legibility and ease of access I've rendered these in full type). Finally, the page numbers next to the title of each section refer to the original German text in the Suhrkamp Verlag edition of Adorno's collected works (Gesammelten Schriften, Volume 6, Frankfurt am Main (C) 1997). My own annotations, which usually mark out ambiguous philosophical terms or provide some essential explanation, are marked by square brackets. Last but not least, all of the foreign words in Adorno's original text (Italian, French, Latin, Greek) have been translated or given their Latin transliteration, and the specific English phrases Adorno uses have also been marked.

Title of SectionDetailsDownload Options
Introduction(126 KB) Pages 15-66 PDF format   Text format   MSWord
Part I. Relationship to Ontology (170 KB) Pages 67-136 PDF format   Text format   MSWord
Part II. Negative Dialectics: Concept and Categories (163 KB) Pages 137-208PDF format   Text format   MSWord
Part III. Models. Freedom: Metacritique of Practical Reason (206 KB) Pages 209-294PDF format   Text format   MSWord
Part III. Models. World-spirit and Natural History: Excursus on Hegel (138 KB) Pages 295-353 PDF format   Text format   MSWord
Part III. Models. Meditations on Metaphysics (108 KB) Pages 354-400PDF format   Text format   MSWord
Endnotes Pages 403-408PDF format   Text format   MSWord

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