Cover of Thought-Images by Gerhard Richter
Frankfurt School Writers’ Reflections from Damaged Life
Gerhard Richter


256 pages.
from $30.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804756167
Paperback ISBN: 9780804756174


Excerpts and More

In this book, Gerhard Richter explores the aesthetic and political ramifications of the literary genre of the Denkbild, or thought-image, as it was employed by four major German-Jewish writers and philosophers of the first half of the twentieth century: Theodor W. Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, and Siegfried Kracauer. The Denkbild is a poetic mode of writing, a brief snapshot-in-prose that stages the interrelation of literary, philosophical, political, and cultural insights. Richter's careful analysis of the linguistic characteristics of this mode of writing sheds new light on pivotal concerns of modernity, including the fractured cityscape, philosophical problems of modern music, the experience of exiled homelessness, and the disaster of Auschwitz. Thought-Images not only reorients our understanding of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory in important ways but also establishes significant links between these writers and contemporary French thinkers such as Jacques Derrida.

About the author

Gerhard Richter is Professor of German at the University of

California, Davis, where he also teaches in the Graduate Program in

Critical Theory.

"Richter's truly fresh look at the Frankfurt School writers through the genre of the philosophical miniature of the Denkbild is a stroke of genius. Richter demonstrates how the Denkbild was both a manifestation of a particular shared conception of aesthetics and a genre with which to expand this conception. The book's major accomplishment is to establish a significant connection between the work of the Frankfurt School and contemporary French thinkers, in particular, Deleuze and Derrida."

—Rodolphe Gasché, SUNY Buffalo, author of The Honor of Thinking(Stanford, 2007)

"Masters of the philosophical miniature, Adorno, Benjamin, Bloch, and Kracauer were able to shine light through the smallest cracks in the facade of an increasingly opaque world. Building on their legacy, Gerhard Richter reveals himself to be no less adept at fashioning illuminating thought-images of his own. This collection of

scintillating essays is a welcome addition to the ongoing and still lively reception of Frankfurt School ideas."

—Martin Jay, University of California at Berkeley