Memento

21 January, 2018 at 20:50 | Posted in Varia | 1 Comment

220px-Minima_Moralia,_German_editionA first​ precaution for writers: in every text, every piece, every paragraph to check whether the central motif stands out clearly enough. Anyone wishing to express something is so carried away by it that he ceases to reflect on it. Too close to his intention, ‘in his thoughts’, he forgets to say what he wants to say.
No improvement is too small or trivial to be worthwhile. Of a hundred alterations each may seem trifling or pedantic by itself; together they can raise the text to a new level …

The thicket is no sacred grove. There is a duty to clarify all difficulties that result merely from esoteric complacency. Between the desire for a compact style adequate to the depth of its subject matter, and the temptation to recondite and pretentious sloven­liness, there is no obvious distinction: suspicious probing is always salutary. Precisely the writer most unwilling to make concessions to drab common sense must guard against draping ideas, in them­selves banal, in the appurtenances of style …

In his text, the writer sets up house. Just as he trundles papers, books, pencils, documents untidily from room to room, he creates the same disorder in his thoughts … For a man who no longer has a homeland, writing becomes a place to live.

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1 Comment

  1. It’s interesting because the early jazz that Adorno elsewhere criticized strikes me as telling stories in the way Adorno advocates for in this passage. In a Louis Armstrong solo, “the central motif stands out clearly” …


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