Antinomy of the Double Character of the Artwork
Johns Hopkins University
In my project I examine Theodor W. Adorno’s thesis of the double character of the artwork, as both autonomous and a social fact, in bourgeois society as a ground for addressing a number of constitutive problems in literature, politics, and philosophy of history during the first half of the nineteenth century. I will argue that, according to Adorno in his Ästhetische Theorie, under the commodity condition of bourgeois society, the autonomous artworks, due to the conflict between their self-lawfulness and their social facticity, are necessarily antinomic if they want to meet the conditions for true aesthetic objects. This is a historicophilosophical antinomy the possible resolution of which, as I will show, would necessitate engagement with not only aesthetic but also philosophical, political, and historical categories, simultaneously. For this purpose I will engage with Heinrich von Kleist’s literary construction of the antinomy in Michael Kohlhaas, Hegel’s philosophy of right, and Marx’s philosophy of history.
Omid Mehrgan is a PhD Candidate at the Humanities Center, Johns Hopkins University. In the years prior to his coming to Hopkins, he had been working as translator and teacher in Tehran. He earned his Master in German Studies from the department of German and Romance Languages and Literature (JHU) in 2015.