This book is the first comprehensive intellectual biography of Max
Horkheimer during the early and middle phases of his life
(1895-1941). Drawing on unexamined new sources, John Abromeit
describes the critical details of Horkheimer's intellectual
development. This study recovers and reconstructs the model of
early Critical Theory that guided the work of the Institute for
Social Research in the 1930s. Horkheimer is remembered primarily as
the co-author of Dialectic of Enlightenment, which he wrote with
Theodor W. Adorno in the early 1940s. But few people realize that
Horkheimer and Adorno did not begin working together seriously
until the late 1930s or that the model of Critical Theory developed
by Horkheimer and Erich Fromm in the late 1920s and early 1930s
differs in crucial ways from Dialectic of Enlightenment. Abromeit
highlights the ways in which Horkheimer's early Critical Theory
remains relevant to contemporary theoretical discussions in a wide
variety of fields.
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