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Dramma, tragedia, romanzo: Benjamin, Adorno e le forme della Storia




In this essay we investigate the relationship between theatre, novel and philosophy of history in the thinking of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. The key assumption, on which the two critics and philosophers seem to agree, is that a philosophy of history is possible not as a reconstruction of the unfolding of a rational principle, but solely as a connection between aesthetic products. In certain epochs, these gather around a centre, becoming legi- ble as forms. Novel, drama and tragedy thus become not only theatrical and literary genres but, for critical thought, figures in which social and historical relations become manifest and comprehensible. Starting from this assumption, we examine the connection between theatre and novel in Benjamin and Adorno, and analyse the strategic role that these assume in their reading and diagnosis of the past and present.

Author Biographies

Tancredi Gusman

Tancredi Gusman is Assistant Professor at the University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’. Prior to this he was Research Associate at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. From 2017 to 2019, he led the EU Horizon 2020-funded project “Between Evidence and Re- presentation: History of Performance Art Documentation from 1970 to 1977” and was Ma-rie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the International Research Center “Interweaving Performance Cultures,” Freie Universität Berlin. His research focuses on the history of the- atre and performance practices, addressing in particular performance and documentation, German theatre and criticism, and aesthetics and theatre theories. He translated the 2014 Italian edition of Erika Fischer-Lichte’s The Transformative Power of Performance and pu- blished the monograph entitled The Harp and the Sling: Kerr, Ihering, and the German Theatre Criticism from the End of the Nineteenth Century to National Socialism (2016; orig. Italian). Various other work includes assistant director and director, dramaturg and curator for theatres and productions in Switzerland, Germany and France.

Mario Farina

Mario Farina is Assistant Professor in aesthetics at the Iuav University of Venice. He studied at the universities of Pavia, Heidelberg, Cologne and at the University of Eastern Piedmont. He has been a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Florence and has taught at the Aca- demy of Fine Arts of Reggio Calabria and at the Polytechnic of Milan. His work focuses on the aesthetics of classical German philosophy and its reception in the twentieth century, especially in the context of critical theory. He has published studies on Hegel’s aesthetics (Critics, Symbol and History. The Hegelian Determination of Aesthetics. ETS: Pisa 2015) and on Adorno’s aesthetics (Adorno’s Aesthetics as a Literary Theory of Art. Palgrave Macmillan: Cham 2020).




How to Cite

Gusman, T., & Farina, M. (2022). Dramma, tragedia, romanzo: Benjamin, Adorno e le forme della Storia. Status Quaestionis, (22).