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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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"By its εποχη from the empirical world, new art ceases to be fantastic." (Adorno, Theodor W. Aesthetic Theory. Edited by Gretel Adorno and Rolf Tiedemann. Translated by Robert Hullot-Kentor. London: Continuum, 2004. p. 25.)

εποχη in contemporary Greek = age/epoch

This seems problematic. Neither "by its age" nor "by its epoch" make sense and what seems to be implied is that new art has totally renounced any connection to the empirical and so is not fantastic because it is not attempting to portray the un-empirical as if it were empirical. In this case, αποχή (abstinence) would be the correct term. My thanks to Yorgos Maragos for this suggestion.

In the course of following this up, I had assumed some fault on Adorno's part. The original German for this passage reads: "Durch εποχη von der empirischen Welt hört die neue Kunst auf, phantastisch zu sein" thus the error was not in translation. (Adorno, Theodor W. Gesammelte Schriften. Vol. 7. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1970. p. 36.)

I then looked at the prior translation and found the following:

"Modern art ceases to be fantastic by virtue of its époché towards the empirical world." (Adorno, Theodor W. Aesthetic Theory. Edited by Gretel Adorno and Rolf Tiedemann. Translated by C. Lenhardt. London: Routledge, 1984. p. 28.)

This led to a moment of wincing for me. Epoché would be far better translated as "suspension". Ancient Greek. Philosophical terms. Not the same as contemporary Greek.

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