Dawn and Decline (index)


Max Horkheimer, index to Dawn & Decline consisting of two parts written between 1926-1931 and 1950-1969 the first part originally published under the pseudonym Heinrich Regius as Dammerung, Notizen in Deutschland 1926-1931 (1934), the second part appears to be unpublished in Germany(?).

Max Horkheimer,  Dawn and Decline – Notes 1926-1931 and 1950-1969, (Trans. Michael Shaw), New York: Seabury Press, 1978.

Horkheimer wrote of the first section:

They were written down during periods of rest from a demanding piece of work, and the author did not take the time to polish them. This is also the reason they do not constitute an orderly sequence. They contain repetitions and even some contradictions. Yet the themes explored provide a kind of unity. They critically examine and re-examine the meaning of concepts such as metaphysics, character, morality, personality and the value the human being had during that phase of capitalism. Since they predate the final victory of National Socialism, they deal with a world that has become anachronistic since… yet the thoughts of the author who lived his life as an individualist may not be wholly without significance at a later time.

These are often deeply pessimistic entries, but in them a loose form of communist theorising (specifically in terms of melancholy over the failed German revolutions of the 1920s) which advances positions almost completely  unrelated or even opposed to those Horkheimer took publicly, especially after his assumption of Directorship of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research in 1931. As a kind of  intellectual diary, it is a shadow conversation, we may wonder with whom? In the later section, written between 1959-1960, Horkheimer mentions ‘communization’… ‘the communization of the world’.


Max Horkheimer, ‘Philosophy of History, A Speculation’, Dawn & Decline: Notes 1926-1931 and 1950-1969, Trans. Michael Shaw, New York: The Seabury Press, (1959-1960) 1978, p.189.


About anti

Anthony Iles is currently a doctoral candidate at the School of Art & Design, Middlesex University. A founder member of the Full Unemployment Cinema. A contributing editor with Mute / Metamute since 2005. He is the author, with Josephine Berry-Slater, of the book, No Room to Move: Art and the Regenerate City (Mute Books, London 2011), contributing editor to the recent publications, Anguish Language: writing and crisis (Archive Books, Berlin, 2015), and Look at Hazards, Look at Losses (Mute/Kuda, 2017) and a contributor to Brave New Work: A Reader on Harun Farocki’s Film A New Product. Recent essays have been published in Mute, Radical Philosophy, Rab-Rab: Journal for Political and Formal Inquiries in Art and Logos.
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