The life and work of Gretel Karplus/Adorno: Her contributions to Frankfurt School theory.
Von Boeckmann, Staci Lynn.
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This dissertation uses the insights of contemporary rhetorical theory and feminist biography to acknowledge the contributions of Gretel Karplus/Adorno to the productivity of her husband, Theodor W. Adorno, of her dear friend, Walter Benjamin, and of the Institute of Social Research. The Introduction presents a review of the challenges confronting such a feminist project, which range from logistical concerns such as the availability of material to issues of prejudice and stereotyping involved with research on "wives." It argues for a rhetorical view of invention that allows for the recognition of women's productivity at the margins of male production. Chapter 1 examines the changes introduced to traditional approaches to the writing of biography by recent feminist scholarship on the writing of women's lives; in particular, the works of Linda Wagner-Martin, Carolyn Heilbron, Phyllis Rose and Mary Catherine Bateson are discussed. Chapter 2 narrates the early life history of Gretel Karplus/Adorno from her birth up to the time of her marriage to Theodor W. Adorno. Chapter 3 is devoted to a discussion of her seven-year correspondence with Walter Benjamin and the various roles she assumed in his life from his entry into exile in March 1933 to his death in 1940. Chapter 4 continues her life narrative with her arrival in the United States in 1938 until her death in 1993.
- OU - Dissertations