Peter Murphy and David Roberts. Dialectic of Romanticism. London: Continuum, 2004 [Book review]

2017-05-17T11:26:17Z (GMT) by Robert Savage
In 1942, two exiled German intellectuals held a series of meetings in Los Angeles. The topic of their discussions was the convolution of enlightenment and myth, the origin of the one in the other and the accelerating assimilation of the Other to the One. In the background, all but ignored by the interlocutors, sat a woman taking notes in shorthand. Later, her notes were typed up, revised, elaborated, and sent forth into the world under the title <i>Dialectic of Enlightenment</i>. In the foreword they added to the 1969 edition, the authors downplayed the significance of her contribution: "We jointly dictated lengthy sections; and the vital principle of the <i>Dialectic</i> is the tension between the two intellectual temperaments conjoined in it." No place remains in this marriage of minds for the woman who acted as surrogate for their creation, the empty vessel through which their words flowed and intermingled to the point where they could no longer be traced back to one or the other parent.