Analysis Of Theodor Adorno's 'Cultural Criticism And Society'

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“Poetry is an act of peace. Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread.” When poet Pablo Neruda said this, he probably meant that poetry helps people express their desire for peace, even when written in protest (he himself combined politics and poetry to advocate for social change). Many holocaust survivors wrote poetry about their horrific experiences, sometimes protesting what happened to them or begging for peace. Either way, the poetry’s positive impact was not recognized by Theodor Adorno. In his 1949 essay “Cultural Criticism and Society,” he claimed that “to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric.” Adorno later expanded, saying he meant “it is the question whether one can live after Auschwitz.” I think what he meant by the quote was that to exist after Auschwitz and write poetry about the experience is to perpetuate the culture which allowed the events that took place at Auschwitz to happen. In essence, he might have wanted to entirely eradicate the culture which allowed such terrible acts to occur.
Although Adorno makes a point which opens the conversation, a lot of holocaust survivors would disagree with his claim because they write deeply personal poetry about their experience, and they are definitely not trying to perpetuate a culture which abused them and tried to strip them of their dignity as human beings. Also, a shockingly large number of people do not know about the holocaust or believe it ever happened. Thus, Holocaust

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