Adorno, T.W. (1933) Kierkegaard. Konstruktion des Ästhetischen, Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr; trans.
Hullot-Kentor, Kierkegaard: Construction of the Aesthetic, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1989.
(This is Adorno’s first major work, and it includes all the major themes – the critique of existentialism as abstract, the role of aesthetics, the thematics of sacrifice – that will come to dominate his thought. The introduction to the translation by Hullot-Kentor is helpful.)
Adorno, T.W. and Horkheimer, M. (1947) Dialektik der Aufklärung, Amsterdam: Querido; trans.
Cumming, Dialectic of Enlightenment, London: Allen Lane and New York: Herder & Herder, 1972.
(This is the founding document of first-generation Critical Theory in which the critique of instrumental reason comes to displace the critique of political economy. It includes Adorno’s famous treatment of Odysseus as already enacting the Enlightenment sacrifice of the particular to the universal, and his analysis of the culture industry.)
Adorno, T.W. (1949) Philosophie der neuen Musik, Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr; trans.
Mitchell and W.
Blomster, Philosophy of Modern Music, Sheed & Ward, 1973.
(Adorno’s classic defence of Arnold Schoenberg’s twelve-tone system as the high point of musical modernism. Its conception of modern music was the crucial source for Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus.)
Adorno, T.W. (1951) Minima Moralia. Reflexion aus dem Beschädigten Leben, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp; trans.
Jephcott, Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life, London: New Left Books, 1974.
(One hundred and fifty-three dazzling aphorisms, in which Adorno reflects on the vanishing of concrete, individual experience in modern, bourgeois society. Its fluent mixture of philosophy and cultural criticism makes it the most accessible of Adorno’s works.)
Adorno, T.W. (1956) Zur Metakritik der Erkenntnistheorie. Studien über Husserl und die phänomenologischen Antinomien, Stuttgart: Kohlhammer; trans.
Domingo, Against Epistemology: A Metacritique, Studies in Husserl and the Phenomenological Antinomies, Oxford: Blackwell, 1982.
(A dense reading of Husserl’s phenomenology, with the emphasis on the inevitable abstractness of the phenomenological method, and hence its loss of the very concreteness it seeks.)
Adorno, T.W. (1957) ‘Sociology and Empirical Research’, in T.W.
et al., Der Positivismusstreit in der deutschen Soziologie, Neuwied and Berlin: Luchterhand, 1969; trans.
Adey and D.
Frisby, The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology, London: Heinemann, 1970.
(Includes essays by Popper, Habermas, Dahrendorf, Harald Pilot and Hans Albert, among others. The translation also includes a review of the original by Popper, and a helpful introduction by David Frisby.)
Adorno, T.W. (1963) Drei Studien zu Hegel, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp; trans.
Nicholsen, Hegel: Three Studies, Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT Press, 1993.
(These very essayistic explorations of Hegel elaborate the competing ideals of rationality in dialectical and deductive thinking.)
Adorno, T.W. (1964) Jargon der Eigentlichkeit. zur deutschen Ideologie, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp; trans.
Tarnowski and F.
Will, Jargon of Authenticity, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973.
(Adorno’s fiercely critical account of Martin Heidegger’s existentialism as abstract and ahistorical.)
Adorno, T.W. (1966) Negative Dialektik, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp; trans.
Ashton, Negative Dialectics, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973.
(This work pursues an immanent critique of the idealism of Kant and Hegel as the vehicle for a critique of modern instrumental reason. It contains Adorno’s most sustained arguments concerning the nature of human conceptuality, and his famous reflections on the meaning of philosophy ‘after Auschwitz’.)
Adorno, T.W. (1970) Ästhetische Theorie, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp; trans.
Hullot-Kentor, Aesthetic Theory, London: Athlone Press, and Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
(Arguably this is the premier work of twentieth-century philosophical aesthetics and the philosophy of art. Transforming the central concepts of modern aesthetics accordingly, Adorno contends that the works of high modernism model a suppressed conception of human rationality that challenges that of Enlightenment rationalism.)
Adorno, T.W. (1992) ‘The Curious Realist: On Siegfried Kracauer’, in Notes to Literature, trans.
Nicholson, New York: Columbia University Press.
(Adorno’s account of the thought and influence of his early tutor.)