The Utopian Function of Art and Literature
These essays in aesthetics by the philosopher Ernst Bloch belong to the tradition of cultural criticism represented by Georg Lukács, Theodor Adorno, and Walter Benjamin. Bloch's fascination with art as a reflection of both social realities and human dreams is evident in them. Whether he is discussing architecture or detective novels, the theme that drives the work is always the same - the striving for "something better," for a "homeland" that is more socially aware, more humane, more just.The book opens with an illuminating discussion between Bloch and Adorno on the meaning of utopia; then follow 12 essays written between 1930 and 1973, on topics as diverse as aesthetic theory, genres such as music, painting, theater, film, opera, poetry, and the novel, and perhaps most important, popular culture in the form of fairy tales, detective stories, and dime novels. Ernst Bloch (1885-1977) was a profoundly original and unorthodox philosopher, social theorist, and cultural critic. The MIT Press has previously published his Natural Law and Human Dignity and his magnum opus, The Principle of Hope. The Utopian Function of Art and Literature is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.