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Body, Mimesis and Childhood in Adorno, Kafka and Freud

MATT F. CONNELL

Defensive and Sympathetic Mimesis in Adornos Aesthetics In biological terms, mimesis refers to the process in which some animals or plants defend themselves by fading into the background through a mimesis of their environment, by copying the features of more dangerous creatures or by simply playing dead until the danger has passed. Predatory reversals are not uncommon, in which dangerous organisms mimic something harmless or camouage themselves in order to dupe their prey. These processes play a role in Adornos critical theory, and his conception of art (Hansen, 1992: 524). Art and critical theory both point out the wolsh essence hiding behind the sheep-like appearance of consumer capitalism, while also defensively mimicking the predatory world they wish to change. Lambert Zuidervaart identies a psychoanalytic twist working in Adornos aesthetic theory: Modern art is virtually an identication with the aggressor, a mimesis of reication (1991: 168). The virtually identies the critical and reective intent of the work. Like Adornos critical theory, arts frozen mimetic snapshots of reality take on its sclerotic features, while yearning for something more exible, a something which glimmers elusively in the childlike possibility of an open relationship between artworks and those who receive them. But modernist art has to mimic death to survive in a hostile world, just as the child eventually has to mimic the rigid adults who cannot cope with his open sensitivities. This accounts both for the melancholy of maturity, and the dark mood of modernism: Works of art acquire life only when they renounce their likeness to the human (Adorno, 1991: 163). For example, Kafka turns his own subjectivity into an object to be dissected,
Body & Society 1998 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi), Vol. 4(4): 6790 [1357034X(199812)4:4;6790;007011]

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beating the social system to it through a conscious literary deployment of mimetic psychological defence mechanisms. These mechanisms blur the boundary between subject and object, and can show up the mark class leaves on everyone maybe even more effectively than abstract Marxist theories of reication and alienation: The subject seeks to break the spell of reication by reifying itself. It prepares to complete the fate which befell it (Adorno, 1981: 270). Using the terminology of Ronald D. Laing, who was intimately familiar with Kafkas work, we could say that Kafkas aesthetically schizoid work petries (Laing, 1965: 469) itself in order to mimetically reveal a world set in stone. To turn oneself into a stone becomes a way of not being turned into a stone by someone else (Laing, 1965: 51). In The Trial, K.s experience of the legal bureaucracy fosters such a withdrawal. When two people chatter with each other about K., who is fainting and trying to nd a way out of the court, K. said nothing, he did not even look up, he suffered the two of them to discuss him as if he were an inanimate object, indeed he actually preferred that (Kafka, 1953: 81). The petried statue, K.s fragile subjectivity, is constructively shattered by Kafka the writer in order to show the dire effect of the world in the patterns created by the rubble. Kafkas mimetic reproduction of horrifying elements of reality is a cunning defence mechanism, like that of the hover y which makes non-violent use of the stripes of the aggressive wasp. We laugh when someone ducks away, scared by a hover y they think is a wasp. This allows an insight into the power of the wasp: the absence of a real danger highlights the intensity of the automatic bodily reaction to the striped stimulus. The unease provoked by Kafkas texts can operate in a similar manner. Safe at home reading our Penguin editions of Kafka, we still share in his acute diagnoses of modern social alienation. Kafka cannot really sting us, but we shrink away anyway. When Kafka read the beginning of The Trial to his friends, he chuckled over the black humour implicit in the situation of enduring a false arrest while a nosy neighbour peeks at you; his friends recoiled at the image of injustice. Expressively mimetic reactions like this recoiling are common in Kafkas texts. Adorno uses Walter Benjamins notion that language develops from the involuntary gestures and expressions of surprise which accompany the shock of the new, to examine the bodily subtext which rages beneath the placid surface of certain speeches in Kafka. Kafkas characters tell us one thing with their words, but reveal another through their postural semaphore code: Gestures often serve as counterpoints to words (Adorno, 1981: 248). This language of gesture is the trace of experiences covered over by signication (Adorno, 1981: 249). Adorno suggests: The experiences sedimented in the gestures will eventually have to be followed

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by interpretation, one which recognises in their mimesis a universal which has been repressed by sound common sense (Adorno, 1981: 249). Those moments when Kafkas protagonists unwisely let themselves go in regressive or childlike actions may be one example, an artistic window into the archaic inheritance repressed by progress and which returns as the uncanny. While ostensibly seeking solutions to their intractable situations, Kafkas harried protagonists periodically collapse into exhausted states, seeking (but only occasionally getting) the rest their bodies crave. This sleep, a symbol of infancy, usually comes at the cost of missing something important perhaps betokening the civilized need to limit the baby-like regression to blissful rest in order to get on. Rest has passed under an obscure taboo. People are often strangely averse to photographs taken while they are asleep, embarrassed at the loss of control, the tender surrender to nature which waking life eschews. In sleep the body adapts itself to nature, snuggling (Adorno, 1998: 152; Jay, 1997: 32) with it like a child in its mothers arms. But grown-ups may be disquieted by such dependencies. Denial renders childlike satisfaction ugly and uncanny to the eyes of those who must usually do without it:
Those blinded by civilization experience their own tabooed mimetic features only in certain gestures and behavior patterns which they encounter in others and which strike them as isolated remnants, as embarrassing rudimentary elements that survive in the rationalized environment. What seems repellently alien is in fact all too familiar: the infectious gestures of direct contacts suppressed by civilization, for instance, touch, soothing, snuggling up, coaxing. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 1812)

Adornos critique of social and psychological development shows how aesthetic cognition rescues natural and childlike potentials lost through the sacrice of mimesis by enlightened maturity. One such potential is the undiluted experience of otherness. The child who dozes against his favourite tree, to wake fascinated by the impress of bark which makes of his skin a human frottage, takes from that tree something quite different to the logging companys cubic metres of lumber. Miriam Hansen explains how:
. . . the concept of mimesis assumes a critical and corrective function vis--vis instrumental rationality and the identifying logic of conceptual language which distances subject from object and represses the non-identity of the latter. Since, however, the historical subjugation of nature has irrevocably transformed nature and sundered its relations with society, mimetic practice can be thought of only in a utopian mode. As a utopian category, mimesis pregures the possibility of a reconciliation with nature, which includes the inner nature of human beings, the body and the unconscious. (Hansen, 1992: 523)

In Adornos theory mimesis becomes, ideally at least, a way of conceiving a non-dominating relationship with otherness. However, the childlike mimetic power of qualitative afnity with otherness only emerges as art, or as what

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Adorno calls an aesthetic comportment towards objectivity, through the action of a mature constructive rationality which takes mimesis beyond mere repetition. Like psychoanalysis, Kafka brings usually unconscious mimetic operations out into the open through a rational intervention, the construction of the work. In order to have a critical force the mimetic impulse must be torn away from its natural immediacy. It has to be consciously sublated through the actions of the ratio it is to shatter in the process, without losing the expressive dimension: art, mimesis driven to the point of self-consciousness, is nevertheless bound up with feeling, with the immediacy of experience; otherwise it would be indistinguishable from science . . . (Adorno, 1997: 259). Adornos aesthetic therefore relies on some of the more primally sensual dimensions of mimesis as a form of bodily sympathy capable of sensing possible afnities between subject and object, subject and subject, and between objects themselves. Adornos very visceral notion gets away from spiritualized conceptions of artistic experience:
Ultimately, aesthetic comportment is to be dened as the capacity to shudder, as if goose bumps were the rst aesthetic image. . . . Consciousness without shudder is reied consciousness. That shudder in which subjectivity stirs without yet being subjectivity is the act of being touched by the other. Aesthetic comportment assimilates itself to that other rather than subordinating it. Such a constitutive relation of the subject to objectivity in aesthetic comportment joins eros and knowledge. (Adorno, 1997: 331)

The actions of another, or natural events, or the social environment itself produce sensual echoes in our own physiognomy, affects whose expression gives voice to relationships with otherness forgotten by instrumental reason. Think of the witness who winces when someone else is struck.1 Thrilling at a bolt of lightning or shuddering at the sound of thunder involves the same mechanisms at work in the child who sways back and forth and jumps up and down in an act of identication with the hero they manipulate on the computer screen. Otherness experientially imprints itself on us through mimesis, which thereby registers the hidden voice of the object, just as things speak to children in magical games and fairy tales through the mediation of the similarity-producing mimetic impulse. For Adorno, the projection of the mimetic imprints as expression, especially artistic expression mediated by rational construction, allows mimesis to enrich the object through a subjective articulation of it:
Those whose thought is no more than projection are fools, which artists must not be on any account; those, however, who do not project at all fail to grasp reality and instead repeat and falsify it by crushing out what glimmered however distantly to preanimistic consciousness: the communication of all dispersed particulars with each other. (Adorno, 1997: 330)

Maturity, both phylogenetically and ontogenetically, insists on the renunciation of these capacities, and the child must learn not to confuse itself with its environment,

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just as the sympathetic and qualitatively rich magic of the savage yielded historically to the methods of natural science, which repressively sublimate the mimetic impulse to produce instrumental reason and quantitative rationality. Conversely, Adornos Aesthetic Theory explores the fragmented retention of the better potential of mimesis in art, where mimesis ultimately becomes an imitation of non-sensuous possibilities. This notion, drawn from Benjamin (Nicholsen, 1997), extends to a new level the tentative idea of a mimetic impulse which responds to our material environment using the various senses. Benjamin emphasizes the human capacity for reading similarities between things at an ideational level of cognition, transcending the senses, especially in primitive magic and astrology.
Nature creates similarities. One need only think of mimicry. The highest capacity for producing similarities, however, is mans. His gift of seeing resemblances is nothing other than a rudiment of the powerful compulsion in former times to become and behave like something else. Perhaps there is none of his higher functions in which his mimetic faculty does not play a decisive role. (Benjamin, 1986: 332)

Gunter Gebauer and Christoph Wulf explain:


The term [non-sensuous similarity] designates similarities that are not directly legible but must be decoded, which suggests that the whole cosmos is permeated by similarities, the sense of which is always there to be exposed to minds capable of decoding it in an act of reading. Human being and nature, far from being strictly opposed as subject and object, are bound to each other. The sense of the world is revealed to the individual by way of the individuals adaptation to the world. (1995: 270)

Adorno extends this idea of adaptation to the world to art itself, taking it as a form of almost conscious proto-subjectivity, art as Geist qua accumulated social labour, itself capable of responding mimetically to the world. With a small alteration, Gebauer and Wulfs explication of Benjamin in the last sentence of the above quote can unlock Adornos reading of Kafka. The alteration, changing the sense to nonsense, shows how Kafkas prose adapts itself to a mad world in order to show up that madness: in Kafka, the nonsense of the world is revealed by our petried mimetic adaptations to it. However, art also mimics and thereby preserves what the dominant rationality itself rejects as utopian nonsense: the bodily good life which only persists as a diffuse trace of missed historical possibilities. Art can become the semblance of what is not yet existent, of things not present to our senses (non-sensuous similarity) except through the mediation of the artistic material. This material encodes chances forgotten in more conceptual recollections of human civilization. In this unique sense, mimesis records the negative imprint in the present of a possible positive future which could be developed as a redemption of the repressed possibilities

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of the past. But because art is not really a transcendent subject, arts responses to the world can only be brought alive through a relationship with embodied subjectivity in an encounter between the work and its human audience. Adornos ideal of childlike openness to repressed possibility develops to an adult level in the notion of an open relationship with sexual otherness. This concrete sexual model counters the suspicion that Adornos notion of mimesis is so obscure as to be worthlessly abstract, or that it cannot generate any normative project escaping the exploitative relations it supposedly criticizes. Following Jrgen Habermass scepticism about its usefulness (Hohendahl, 1985: 8, 25), Seyla Benhabib claims that [t]he concept of mimesis is so fuzzy precisely because it cannot suggest a real alternative to relations of domination (Benhabib, 1986: 219). But Adornos sexual model provides a concrete exemplar of the ideal of a nondominating reciprocity between irreducibly different others. That large sensitivity to difference which is the hallmark of the truly humane develops out of the most powerful experience of difference, that of the sexes (Adorno, 1968: 96). Adorno uses his sexual formulation to suggest an ideal mode of contemplative immersion in the elements of an artwork, which are thereby released from their coagulation and allowed to dynamically unfold and come alive through this receptivity in the observer. Observer and observed both become something new, in the same way that lovers transform each other, overcoming xed identity through sexual experience. To spell out what Adorno does not: during lovemaking, human bodies adapt responsively to each other. The incompleteness of each individual, like the incompleteness of each element of the artwork, demands its other:
It is as a result of their own constitution that they go over into their other, nd continuance in it, want to be extinguished in it, and in their demise determine what follows them. This immanent dynamic is, in a sense, a higher-order element of what artworks are. If anywhere, then it is here that aesthetic experience resembles sexual experience, indeed its culmination. The way the beloved image is transformed in this experience, the way rigidication is united with what is most intensely alive, effectively makes the experience the incarnate prototype of aesthetic experience. (Adorno, 1997: 176)

Adornos critique of arid academic art suggests that the urge to become completely consistent kills the diffuse eros of art, and contrasts such art with something more sumptuous: These works are dry, which is in general what results when mimesis withers; according to the doctrine of temperament, Schubert the mimic par excellence would be sanguine, moist (Adorno, 1997: 188). Following Adornos hints towards an erotic aesthetic, I am tempted to make a precarious extrapolation to the type of moistness which really gets the blood owing, taking Adornos comment as an image of sexual lubrication. Obeying the

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Hegelian command to surrender to the object, Adorno suggests that the proper attitude to an artwork, as to a lover, is an attitude which seeks to complete the beloved, not to get something out of them: The spectator must not project what transpires in himself on to the artwork in order to nd himself conrmed, uplifted, and satised in it, but must, on the contrary, relinquish himself to the artwork, assimilate himself to it, and fulll the work in its own terms (Adorno, 1997: 275).2 The artistic pursuit of a free association between subject and object attempts consciously to develop a cultured erotic relation between particulars, Adornos sexually pregnant utopia. Adorno even manages to nd glimmers of an erotic utopia through careful attention to Kafkas negative portrayal of erotic degradation (Adorno, 1981: 2634). In The Castle, K.s aversion to intercourse, his fear of a choking loss of identity, is akin to the bourgeois fear of moistness manifested in dry art. But K.s aversion is countered by a childlike pull towards a maternal closeness with the other. This split between the affectionate and sensual currents of love in Kafka yearns for something else, and this yearning is also a gure for an open and non-dominating union between art and life, between spirit and matter. But the split cannot be idealistically unied by literature if it persists materially. These motifs of splitting and (blocked) reconciliation are a pervasive feature of Adornos theory, and ultimately they all derive from Adornos complex considerations of the human attempt to wrest a subjective identity from the smothering bosom of natural immediacy. What has been given up remains supremely attractive. For Adorno, the pull of the repressed elements of mimesis is a deeply ambiguous one, the source both of hidden potentials for human development through a non-dominating relationship with the alien, and inhuman regression to a sadistically projective mimesis of mimesis which wants to achieve harmony with the alien by destroying it or forcing it to become like the self. If one witness sympathetically inches at the sight of violence, another may sadistically thrill, identifying with the aggressor. Mimesis has a double character (Hansen, 1992: 48). Adorno therefore problematizes the simple celebration of mimesis, as well as narratives of progress based on its mastery. His analysis shows how the repression of mimesis may simply result in its distorted return as a barbarous eruption of bloody nature expressed through dominating relations between people, such as those promoted by fascism (Jay, 1997: 35, 41). The Dark Side of Mimetic Rebellion In Elements of Anti-Semitism: The Limits of Enlightenment (1986: 168208), Adorno and Horkheimer conrm their Freudianism by showing that the return of

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repressed mimesis is not in itself progressive. The process of repression imposes a complex distortion on the atrophied mimetic impulses of the ego-weak modern individual. The distorted mimetic impulse seeks covert forms of discharge, rendering individuals susceptible to the manipulations of authoritarian irrationalism, which offer potential outlets for the thwarted libido. Adorno and Horkheimer do not hesitate to call these outlets infantile, showing that they do not simply romanticize childhood as a state of purely receptive or sympathetic mimesis. If art retains something of the wonderingly open side of childlike cognition, then fascism is a repetition of the closed and violent tantrum of the childish bully: In Fascism the nightmare of childhood has come true (Adorno, 1978a: 193). In anti-Semitic authoritarianism of the type focused on by Adorno and Horkheimer, rigidly conformist defences against the lure of what has been renounced operate through a falsely projective hatred of those who, either really or only in the mind of the projector, have not made similar renunciations:
No matter what the Jews as such may be like, their image, as that of the defeated people, has the features to which totalitarian domination must be completely hostile: happiness without power, wages without work, a home without frontiers, religion without myth. These characteristics are hated by the rulers because the ruled secretly long to possess them. The rulers are only safe as long as the people they rule turn their longed-for goals into hated forms of evil. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 199)

The hatred is prescribed as a substitute-formation for the desire. The cunning but psychologically isolated Nazi who celebrates an ideological image of the closeknit Aryan family while dreaming of submitting his grandmother to the euthanasia programme, accuses the Jews of clannish scheming and baby-eating. False projection is conceptualized by Adorno as being a type of substitute mimesis (King, 1997: 2745). Mimicking mimesis (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 185) produces an illusion of similarity between the inner world of the authoritarian subject and the outer world of reality, by overwhelming reality with a solipsistically subjective structure. As a mad equivalent of a God-like feeling of total creative power, this becomes a hollow mockery of the Jewish divinity. The quasimythic unity is a parody of the truly reconciled state, for which it refuses to wait:
This is the negative aspect of reconciliation. Reconciliation is the highest notion of Judaism, and expectation is its whole meaning. The paranoiac reaction arises from inability to expect. The anti-Semites try to realize their negative absolute by their own power, and change the world into the hell which they always thought it was. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 199)

The paranoid mental process supports the technological domination of nature and reverses the mimetic impulse: Mimesis imitates the environment, but false projection makes the environment like itself (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 187). The project of technological control, pursued so vigorously by the Nazis,

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partially sublimates the death instincts and suppresses the sympathetic-erotic side of mimesis. The yearning to give up the effort of separation from mother earth, a phylogenetic repetition of the childs eroticized wish to return to the womb, threatens humanitys new-found freedom from natural ties. These tabooed desires constantly seek expression. This is one meaning ascribed by Adorno and Horkheimer (1986; Held, 1980: 4017) to those episodes of the Odyssey in which Odysseus, having controlled himself, has to control the regressive mimetic tendencies of his unruly crew in order to ensure their continued capacity to labour for him. The oarsmen seek uncivilized bliss on the island of the lotus-eaters, become swine, and nally die as a result of their inability to spare the sacred cattle of the sun god. In these acts the crew fail in the basic task of civilization, that of deferring gratication, instead freely submitting to their mimetic desire to return to a state of nature. This regressive desire is ultimately satised absolutely through death, the instinctual goal of the shadowy Thanatos. Adorno and Horkheimers examination of anti-Semitism shifts the analytical focus onto the question of what happens to these desires in a later historical period in which the yoke of civilization, represented by Odysseus, has been carried longer and ts better. The modern individual still yearns to throw it off, as is made clear in the constant worries, voiced by the industrial and political elite and those psychologically identied with them, about the lazy, immoral and primitive tendencies of the masses, who endanger their capacity for labour in the unrestrained pursuit of gratication, through sex, drugs and criminal violence. Those who express these worries most loudly are often the potential supporters of fascism, as Adornos F-Scale demonstrates. Their worry is a negative trace of their own desire to join in the transgression of civilized norms. Authoritarian political systems allow such a transgression by inviting the conformist to attack those identied as immoral (Pecora, 1991: 1225). This dialectic is developed using an obscure discussion of idiosyncrasy: The old answer of all the anti-Semites is an appeal to idiosyncrasy (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 179). This remains hazy until one considers Freuds theory of organ pleasure (Laplanche and Pontalis, 1988: 2901), according to which each part of the body is capable of generating an independent erotic urge and physical reaction based on the pursuit of gratication in a direct response to the external situation. We are all familiar with the folk-psychological notion of someone being ruled by their stomach or genitals, and the term idiosyncrasy is generally used to describe the particular instinctual dispositions which seem to characterize individuals. The tummy which rumbles at the smell of food embarrasses the ego. Adorno and Horkheimer use the concept to cover other automatically mimetic physical responses to nature:

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In idiosyncrasy, individual organs escape from the control of the subject, and independently obey fundamental biological stimuli. The ego which experiences such reactions for instance cutaneous or muscular torpor, or stiffness of joints is not wholly in control of itself. For a few moments these reactions effect an adaptation to circumambient, motionless nature. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 180)

The control of nature starts within the self, in the egos struggle to overcome the bodys automatic reactions. Freud mentions the childs efforts to gain control over his own limbs (1991b: 127). The conquest of nature within must pre-date conquest without. Dragging ones body to work can feel like a battle with elemental forces, and these theories suggest that in a sense, it is. In Freudo-Marxist terms, the individual struggle to defer the gratication of immediate organ pleasure is also a world-historical down-payment on a future free from such deferment, a world which would free bodily needs from automatism. When needs can be met, they are able to creatively transform themselves in a dialectic of development opening up something qualitatively new. But under late capitalism, this end has been forgotten. The deeper layers of the battle are eventually rendered unconscious: In the bourgeois mode of production, the indelible mimetic heritage of all practical experience is consigned to oblivion. The pitiless prohibition of regression becomes mere fate; the denial is now so complete that it is no longer conscious (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 181). When the deferral seems endless, the struggle is harder, and any reminder of a different way of proceeding becomes a terrible threat:
Every other person who doesnt know his place must be forced back within his proper connes those of unrestricted terror. Anyone who seeks refuge must be prevented from nding it; those who express ideas which all long for, peace, a home, freedom the nomads and players have always been refused a homeland. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 183)

Modern societies still resentfully criminalize nomads, while paradoxically refusing to allow them to settle anywhere nice. The expressive masks of the wandering players and the caricature of exaggerated Jewish facial features are both reminders of the direct mimetic response to nature. At rst, Adorno and Horkheimer leave open the question phantasy or reality? of the status of various elements of the Western image of the Jew. They try to produce dialectical theory without deciding in advance whether Jews have biological characteristics, socially produced characteristics or no characteristics at all. In this, they are rather like the vacillating low scorers on the F-Scale, who self-consciously wrestle with their perceptions and their political ideologies, unsure whether it is politically correct to believe in Jewish traits. But in the end, unsurprisingly, a social dialectic wins out. If the Jews have envied and hated mimetic characteristics, they are not natural, but they have been around a long time, as defensive psycho-physical

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expressions mimetically written into the archaic inheritance and physiognomy of the dominated:
. . . undisciplined mimicry is the brand of the old form of domination, engraved in the living substance of the dominated and passed down by a process of unconscious imitation in infancy from generation to generation, from the down-at-heel Jew to the rich banker. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 182)

In an earlier draft for a Research Project on Anti-Semitism, this idea of the mimetic inheritance of socially provoked racial characteristics is set out in more detail, underlining the importance attached to gestures and unconscious reactions in Adornos readings of literature. It amounts to a quasi-Lamarckian theory of racial differentiation through childhood imitation:
. . . the greatest impression on the infant is made not by the meaning of the words but by the expression, the voice, the movements of the parents. The soul of learning is imitation. The childs faculty of imitating the expressions of adults is exceedingly subtle. He observes the most unnoticeable and subtle shades of their gestures. Thus it happens that inclinations, skills, anxieties which have long lost their real meaning leave their mark on the faces and the behavior of later generations. The development of this theory in detail can contribute not merely to a refutation of the race theory but to a positive replacement of it. (Adorno, 1994: 155)

The defensively expressive mimesis characteristic of the oppressed provokes those seeking to renounce mimesis altogether, whose wrath instead idiosyncratically copies it. Adorno says that to persecute someone is the negative form of love, in that the object is similarly invested with libido (Adorno et al., 1982: 303). Adorno provides enigmatic and fragmentary insights into the shadowy union of sadism and masochism which produces a horrible identity between torturer and victim, who are indistinguishable in their grimace (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 182). These terrible grimaces are forms of idiosyncrasy: perhaps under the huge pressure of the situation psychological discharge and a degree of mental mastery over the experience is made through the expressions. The victim is forced into the role of natural object, and then hated for their closeness to nature. The aggressor gets close to what he condemns in himself through his projective persecution of the other, and his control is an illusion brought at the victims expense. An illusion, because although he controls the victims body, he has surrendered to the worst in his own, the dark side of mimesis. Once the heady ush of violence is over, the sight of the wretched victims body produces disgusted rage. Violence is even inamed by the marks which violence has left on them (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 183). The snarl mimics the cry so the attacker can imagine his actions have been justiably provoked, in a ghastly institutional repetition of the old lie told by the grown-up to the child: This is going to hurt me more than its going to hurt you. His domination of the other nally repeats the pure unsublimated awfulness of natural law

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at the level of human relations, even if the torturer (like the authoritarian parent) thinks he is working in the service of higher things. The social manipulation of such impulses on a grand scale allows the organization of idiosyncratically compulsive reactions to service political goals:
The mental energy harnessed by political anti-Semitism is this rationalized idiosyncrasy. All the pretexts over which the Fhrer and his followers reach agreement, imply surrender to the mimetic attraction without any open infringement of the reality principle honorably, so to speak. They cannot stand the Jews yet imitate them. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 183)

The mimesis of mimesis which tempts the technocratically paranoid fascist consciousness is explicated along Freudian lines in Adorno and Horkheimers discussion of the relation of the sense of smell to the progress of civilization. They add a unique twist by adding in a consideration of perhaps the most basic antiSemitic stereotype: that of the big-nosed Jew. Smell is presented by Adorno and Horkheimer as the most mimetic of the senses:
The multifarious nuances of the sense of smell embody the archetypal longing for the lower forms of existence, for direct unication with circumambient nature, with the earth and mud. Of all the senses, that of smell which is attracted without objectifying bears clearest witness to the urge to lose oneself in and become the other. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 184)

The stereotype of the big nose is deployed by anti-Semites as part of the notion that the Jews are a sensual and hedonistic race, but a secret envy3 a classic reaction-formation lies at the heart of this image. The idea that the Jews are a form of pollution to be fumigated out of existence is a distorted wish to breathe the heady air the anti-Semite imagines the Jew greedily sucks in with their oversized nostrils. An old joke puts it like this: Why do Jews have big noses? Because air is free. Adorno lets us turn such jokes against their originators: As a despised and despising characteristic, the mimetic function is enjoyed craftily. Anyone who seeks out bad smells, in order to destroy them, may imitate snifng to his hearts content, taking unrationalized pleasure in the experience (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 184). The fascist bloodhound snifng out the deviants has the biggest nose of all. By appealing to the dark side of the mimetic faculty through organized idiosyncrasies such as the education of children to sniff out their Jewloving relatives, fascism seeks to make the rebellion of suppressed nature against domination directly useful to domination (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 185). This manipulative use of repressed impulses may be represented most obviously by Adolf Hitlers pseudo-impassioned gesticulations, a horribly uncanny repetition of the tantrum maintained by the wily child who could perhaps control it but instead willingly surrenders. A less extreme, but probably more crucial, type of rationalized idiosyncrasy is organized laughter (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 184), of which the antiSemitic comedy of fascist propaganda is one form. The passive laughter fostered

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by the culture industry is another. These forms of laughter level the subversive element of mimesis embedded in mirth, by putting it into the service of social domination. But laughter is a way of escaping the civilized bounds of the ego and superego, and the energies channelled by this discharge mechanism can work for reective critique as well as for unconscious conformity. The double character of mimesis dogs the task of recovering laughter for critical purposes. But recover it we must: Adorno makes the point that without the recovery of a playful innocence achieved through the reconnection with the Other in oneself, one cannot become a human being capable of nonviolative relations to the Other (Cornell, 1992: 14; and for more on play see Baines, 1992: 35873). Ideational Mimetics in Comedy and Critique Freuds theory of the comic (1991a: 239302), especially his notion of ideational mimetics (1991a: 252) can unpack elements of Adornos philosophical adoption of blackly comic Kafkaesque tropes. Freuds theory decodes the mechanism by which pleasure is produced through the automatic mental mimicry and judgement of comic movements by their observer. We empathize with the other, but distance ourselves as well. If someone trips up, we compare their poor performance with the better (read, more grown-up) effort we imagine we might have made. Their botched movement is more wasteful of energy than our own imagined grace, and we note the difference in expenditure. This difference is burned off in superior laughter to prevent it provoking conscious memories of our own childhood ungainliness. But the pre-conscious judgement relies on that memory:
I laugh at a difference in expenditure between another person and myself, every time I rediscover the child in him. Or, put more exactly, the complete comparison which leads to the comic would run: That is how he does it I do it in another way he does it as I used to do it as a child. Thus the laughter would always apply to the comparison between the adults ego and the childs ego. (Freud, 1991a: 289)

Children eagerly enjoy this type of Schadenfreude (Youve fallen down, I havent (Freud, 1991a: 289)) as soon as they can distance themselves from their proximity to those even younger. They laugh at what would have once made them cry, in a defence against identication with the fall guy. These ideational mimetics have a physical dimension, adding to the visceral element of Adornos notion of mimesis. Freud suggests that the formation of an idea or image of external events involves comparative memories of ones own previous nervous innervations of the physical motor apparatus during movement. The memory surfaces bodily, as a sublimated repetition: if I see someone lift their arm, faint impulses stir in my own (Freud, 1991a: 2514). The identication of this mechanism is a contribution towards an explanation of the bodily sympathetic

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element of language, thought and emotion. This inner bodily mimicry of the other explains the depth of the competing pulls of comedy: towards feeling the others pain, and distancing oneself from it through repudiation. When applied to Adornos Kafka, this Freudian angle on the concept of mimesis acts as a corrective to readings of Adorno which seek undialectically to portray his position as being either pro- or anti-mimesis. Usually, Adorno is seen as being pro-mimesis. This is the weak spot of Gebauer and Wulfs book on mimesis, which rather neglects the dark side. However, some take the opposite tack: Jamie Owen Daniel describes Adorno as arguably the twentieth-centurys principal theorist of anti-mimetic art (1992: 26). Both sides are true. For example, if read through Adornos aesthetic, the bodily transformations enacted in grisly detail in The Metamorphosis and In the Penal Colony (Kafka, 1988) illuminate the Janus-face of the human capacity for mimesis: one side expresses sympathetic communication, the other mocking superiority. Faced with the forced closeness to nature exhibited by the bodies of both Gregor the beetle and the harrows victim, different characters and narratively constructed reader positions respond (or invite response) in ways representative of the different varieties of mimesis under discussion here. In The Metamorphosis, all the characters, Gregor included, struggle with their civilized disgust at his degraded state. This disgust is a disgust at what they were once attracted by (Adorno, 1981: 255). Like the beetle, children are drawn by the scabrous and decayed. Gregors father and employer both respond with the irritated and authoritarian anger of men in control of themselves who secretly want to copy the neurotics gain: working no more. Their anger is an idiosyncratic mimesis of mimesis, a substitute for Gregors evolutionary regression. Gregors sister responds to his transformation with sympathetic compassion tinged with mythic fear, but her position in the family is promoted by Gregors decay. The story ends with her positively inverted mimesis of Gregors metamorphosis, the change of puberty that makes of her a lithe young woman. The aged female servant treats Gregor the beetle with the cheerfully indifferent professionalism common in care-worn care-workers, reducing the aficted to the status of just another bit of nature to be dealt with in the course of the days alienated labour. In In the Penal Colony, the harrows bloody inscription on the body of its victim can be taken as a coercive parody of the bodys mimetic adaptation to the environment, a coded image of Kafka himself as a sort of recording surface into which the sins of the world are etched. Like Kafkas readers, the explorer is torn between sympathetic identication with the victim, and a defensive adoption of the detached gaze of the scientic colonial observer. The fanatical ofcer clearly exhibits the fascistic mimesis of mimesis in his sado-masochistic desire to share

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the rened death he believes the harrow bestows on its victims. His grimace really does become one with his victims, but he fails to reach the peace he wishes for. All these reactions play out contrasting elements of the mimetic capacities involved in both sympathy and sadism, and Kafkas trick is to manipulate the reader into contradictory identications with all the perspectives offered. So, the nal mimetic relationship exemplied by Kafkas work is his own constellation of the mimetic reactions with a constructive rationality allowing for the intensication of expression by forcing it on his readers, not conning it to his characters. He invites a mimetic response through the bewitching form of his texts. This uses a radical juxtaposition of perspectives, sometimes taking the form of pitting the open why? of the childlike innocent against the moribund system of the grown-ups. At several points in Kafkas novels a bewildered K. is chided and laughed at by ofcials or well-adjusted citizens for his infantile questions about the opaque structures and horrid facts of life within which he is entangled. A Kafkaesque passage in Negative Dialectics similarly connects infantile questions about death and decay to the unshrinking gaze philosophy needs to sense the importance of the gruesome material that, as part of culture, it usually evades: the crude suffering of the body in an unfair world, which for Adorno is exemplied by Auschwitz. Children are instinctive materialists who
. . . sense some of this in the fascination that issues from the ayers zone, from carcasses, from the repulsively sweet odor of putrefaction, and from the opprobrious terms used for that zone. The unconscious power of that realm may be as great as that of infantile sexuality; the two intermingle in the anal xation, but they are scarcely the same. An unconscious knowledge whispers to the child what is repressed by civilized education; this is what matters, says the whispering voice. And the wretched physical existence strikes a spark in the supreme interest that is scarcely less repressed; it kindles a What is that? and Where is it going? The man who managed to recall what used to strike him in the words dung hill and pig sty might be closer to absolute knowledge than Hegels chapter in which readers are promised such knowledge only to have it withheld with a superior mien. (Adorno, 1990: 366)

Adorno has a real gift for producing philosophy from such ephemera. The whispering bodily voice talks to adults through dark literature. As a materialist critique of Hegels smug closure of his grand metaphysical system, this passage is devastating. Adornos materialism is in this instance more Freudian than Marxist, and this approach to loosening the hold of reality is taken to its artistic zenith by Kafkas black humour. Adornos recollection of the unsurpassed hilarity of toilet humour is forced on the reader during a discussion of the complicity of culture with the concentration camp. Adorno refers to Bertolt Brechts observation that the mansion of culture is built of dogshit (Adorno, 1990: 366; Jay, 1984: 19). By making us laugh dirtily during a passage on the camps dedicated to racial purity, Adorno produces a

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dramatic estrangement effect of his own. Undiminished experience always jars. The idea is to use the infantile fascination with death to prompt awareness of the division within ourselves between a mimetic empathy for suffering that, given its ubiquity, could destroy happiness forever, and a sadistic/self-preserving drive that allows us to enjoy ourselves despite, or even because of, the suffering of others. The warring dynamics of infantile drives towards identication with, and jealousy of, others are important primal models for these reactions. Adornos perception of the Janus-face of mimesis validates Freuds conviction that the theory of ideational mimetics potentially has an application beyond the sphere of wit (Freud, 1991a: 2534). Freuds analysis of comic mimicry and his general speculations on the origin and function of the capacity for laughter clarify Adornos opposed notions of rationalized and critical idiosyncrasy, by showing how adult laughter is a compensation for childhood disappointment:
. . . the euphoria which we endeavour to reach by these means is nothing other than the mood of a period of life in which we were accustomed to deal with our psychical work in general with a small expenditure of energy the mood of our childhood, when we were ignorant of the comic, when we were incapable of jokes and when we had no need of humour to make us feel happy in our life. (Freud, 1991a: 302)

Childlike navet is funny in its credulity, and childlike expectations in an adult provoke worldly-wise condemnations of silliness. The charge of silliness is often levelled at any hint of a concept of utopia. This relates to Adornos interest in the disappointments of childhood. Freud says that:
In most of the instances which seem comic to an adult a child would probably feel only disappointment. We might, however, take the childs power of blissful expectation and credulity as a basis for understanding how we appear to ourselves comic as a child when we meet with a comic disappointment. (Freud, 1991a: 292)

Unwrapping a trick present which turns out to be an empty box would upset a child, who might respond with the violent movements of a tantrum, mimicking what they would like to do to the perpetrator. An adult might share the same initial response but, inured to the harsh ways of the world and versed in the ritual for converting the spastic and idiosyncratic motions of angry protest into the conforming laughter of self-depreciating humour which allows others to enjoy a comic spectacle, might shortly laugh at her or himself. The ego inates itself and laughs at the infantile part of the self as a defence against the narcissistic wound: I am too big (too ne) to be distressed by these things (Freud, 1991a: 299). Those who learn to take their own disappointments with a forced smile may be irritated at anything less in others. Oppressed people are always targeted by the accusation that they have a chip on their shoulder, and patted on the back if they can accept

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insult with good humour, displaying the socially organized masochism vital to the smooth running of the system. Any protest against inequity could provoke violent comedy, or in the wrong social circumstances, simply violence. Pogroms are passed off as justied idiosyncrasies, as understandable physical expressions of those who feel hard done by, pushed too far by the economic tricks of the Elders of Zion. This is a horribly grown-up and cynical use of the empathic gut reactions of young radicals, whose sense that the world plays unfair tricks is channelled by the propagandist who takes it seriously while betraying its better side. In terms of the history of childhood, the petulant rebellions and depressive moods of adolescents not yet ready to accept the demands of modern adulthood, and still willing to claim a special insight into what really matters, come in for an especially knowing form of grown-up laughter. Ask a teenager, while they still know everything, as the cutting joke goes. In such comedy, it is the adult who imagines he knows everything. Adorno discerns such a tendency in conformist psychoanalysis. In the section of his essay Sociology and Psychology devoted to a discussion of Authoritarianism and Anna Freud (Adorno, 1968: 913), Adorno shows how Anna Freud tries to praise the degree of social empathy in precocious but immature young people, but instead ends up condemning their idealism and self-centred non-conformity. Adorno writes:
With such judgements psychoanalysis, which once set out to break the power of the father image, rmly takes the side of the fathers, who either smile at the childrens high-faluting ideas with a droop at the corner of their mouth or else rely on life to teach them whats what, and who consider it more important to earn money than get silly ideas into ones head. (Adorno, 1968: 92)

Adornos defence of the silly, impractical and self-centred adolescent with intellectual pretensions against the pragmatic adults who manage to smile while frowning is of course a defence of himself. An idiosyncratic combination of serious and childlike behaviour was part of Adornos personality as well as his work:
This dialectic of pessimism was opaque to a whole group of people who worked with Adorno at the Institute for Social Research, and who commented often on how strange it was how someone who wrote like that, who worked with such intense seriousness, could at other times be so albern (silly, absurd). (Hullot-Kentor, 1989: 11; see also Daniel, 1992)

Adornos use of childlike silliness shows that there is a side to laughter other than its organized and manipulated form. This side of Adornos critical theory and personality wrestles with the intellectual dilemma identied in Minima Moralia: to become one more grown-up, or to remain a child (1978a: 133). This concern counters gloomy stereotypes of Adornos work, such as those (Wilke, 1990) which by focusing only on Adornos critique of the dark side of laughter undialectically

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portray him as being fearfully anti-laughter. Robert Hullot-Kentor has claried one textual reason for this sort of neglect of Adornos playful side, through his correction of the standard English translation of Dialectic of Enlightenment. In a key passage, Adorno and Horkheimer are explicating the expiatory comedy offered to the gods in the cunning puns of the prophecies recounted in The Odyssey. The double meanings demand reection before providing the comic release. This is obscured in the current translation which says of this reection through laughter blind nature becomes aware of itself as it is, and thereby surrenders itself to the power of destruction (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 77). Hullot-Kentor points out: If reection were the catalyst of destructiveness, the whole of Adornos thought would be senseless. Adorno in fact wrote the opposite: in the self-consciousness of its laughter blind nature gives up its destructive force. (1989: 278). This self-conscious laughter becomes a higher-order laughter about laughter (Adorno, 1992: 252), intended not for the characters, but for the gods and the audience. It is a dialectical promise of freedom: Laughter is marked by the guilt of subjectivity, but in the suspension of law which it indicates it also points beyond thralldom (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 778). Adorno hints that this is the kind of self-conscious humour painfully produced by Kafka (Adorno, 1992: 252). The playful side of Adorno relies on a similarly dark use of exaggeration, overstatement, irony (Rose, 1978: 1626) and chiasmus, which sober critics often want to dismiss as a dialectical excess. Adorno says:
As a corrective to the total rule of method, philosophy contains a playful element which the traditional view of it as a science would like to exorcise. . . . The un-nave thinker knows how far he remains from the object of his thinking, and yet he must always talk as if he had it entirely. This brings him to the point of clowning. He must not deny his clownish traits, least of all since they alone can give him hope for what is denied him. Philosophy is the most serious of things, but then again it is not all that serious. . . . To represent the mimesis it supplanted, the concept has no other way than to adopt something mimetic in its own conduct, without abandoning itself. (Adorno, 1990: 14)

Adorno plays the theoretical buffoon to make us think seriously. Writing such as Adornos combination of comments on the Shoah with remarks on toilet humour diverts the energy that usually seeks discharge through laughter into other channels, using some of the mechanisms of play to draw us in. This conceptual judo uses the force of the idiosyncrasy it seeks to free from organized irrationalism. In judo, as in immanent critique, the energy of the attacking move is used to defeat it. The idiosyncrasy must be elevated into a concept and become aware of its own futility (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 17980). Whereas aggressive anti-Semitic jokes or violent actions act out an unreectively idiosyncratic mimesis of mimesis, artists and critical theorists must work through their idiosyncratic reactions to the world as material for social reection (Whitebook,

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1995: 2612). Freud suggests comedy protects releases of libido from critical reection and appropriation, in order to burn them off as laughter. Such yields of comic pleasure must be isolated from reection: Whatever brings a psychical process into connection with others operates against the discharge of the surplus cathexis and puts it to some other use; whatever isolates a psychical act encourages discharge (Freud, 1991a: 289). Adornos critical theory seeks to combine these processes. Adorno constellates playful and witty textual pleasures with reective considerations and painful topics, making another use of the discharge by shattering its isolation. Freuds intriguing analysis of comedy as a symptom of the forced renunciation of childhood pleasures has it that we can laugh at what we once hoped for only by forgetting that this is why we laugh at childlike disappointment. Adorno makes laughter tail off by reminding us of the pain of the renunciations and forgettings which lie behind humour: after Auschwitz . . . lighthearted art is no longer conceivable (Adorno, 1992: 251). This way of approaching Adornos work claries the importance of a psychoanalytic framework in his critique of the substitute gratications offered by the culture industry, which produce the terrible laughter of the apathetic spectator, as well as the more actively barbaric anti-Semitic laughter. The infantile play of the culture industry has scarcely more than the name in common with the productivity of children (Adorno, 1978b: 2956). The childish laughter of the culture industry, which draws its strength from an identication with the grown-up power of conformity, can be contrasted with the childlike laughter at outwitting that power. Safe in its special places, the child chuckles along with nature, free from the demand to spring from it. The organized pleasures marketed so heavily to an ever-younger audience colonize such openness with substitutes:
Conciliatory laughter is heard as the echo of an escape from power; the wrong kind overcomes fear by capitulating to the forces which are to be feared. It is the echo of power as something inescapable. Fun is a medicinal bath. The pleasure industry never fails to prescribe it. It makes laughter the instrument of the fraud practised on happiness. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 140)

In a short section of Aesthetic Theory, The Mimetic and the Ridiculous, Adorno tries to outwit organized laughter by rescuing a critical role for the ridiculous in art, akin to his defence of philosophical play. Reection is the key: The ridiculous, as a barbaric residuum of something alien to form, misres in art if art fails to reect and shape it. If it remains on the level of the childish and is taken for such, it merges with the calculated fun of the culture industry (Adorno, 1997: 119). Yet Adorno states that he prefers the self-conscious childlikeness of Mozarts Magic Flute to the grave metaphysics of Wagners Ring. Adornos willingness to be condemned as childish for daring to hold on to the childlike is the mark of artistic maturity:

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In its clownishness, art consolingly recollects prehistory in the primordial world of animals. Apes in the zoo together perform what resembles clown routines. The collusion of children with clowns is a collusion with art, which adults drive out of them just as they drive out their collusion with animals. Human beings have not succeeded in so thoroughly repressing their likeness to animals that they are unable in an instant to recapture it and be ooded with joy; the language of little children and animals seems to be the same. (Adorno, 1997: 119)

This idea of mimetic communication between child and animal is an image of reconciliation with nature, and Adornos insistence that adults can still recall such afnities provides a foothold for critical art on the polished monolith of consumer entertainment. These ideas in Adorno are the type of thoughts that prompt an unease which may be understood using the idea that mimetic closeness is under a taboo. Drucilla Cornell says the closeness is soft and tender (1992: 34). Such words are nowadays more shocking than the banal repetitions of trendy transgressivism. It takes a brave theorist to talk of tenderness in philosophy, which raises its puzzled eyebrows, even when sympathetic to the aim of putting the love back into the love of wisdom. For example, C. Fred Alford, like Benhabib, reproduces Habermass inuential worry about the ineffable character of the concept of mimesis:
Mimesis, says Habermas, implies a snuggling (anschmiegen), imitative, highly sympathetic relationship, one which when applied to nature is little more than a cipher. That is, it is extremely unclear what sort of actual relationship to nature could give mimesis content, unless one thinks in terms of hugging ones housepet and the like. Mimesis appears to be an impulse without an appropriate object. (Alford, 1985: 186)

That Alfords rather throwaway unless comes so close to Adornos remarks on the ridiculous in art shows that he is actually along the right lines with the childlike image of hugging a pet. Adorno takes the nave image of children playing with animals to a hesitant zenith in a daring and difcult interpretation of a rhyme of Eduard Mrikes. This shows the block in the way of the reconciliation by nding its image only in its violent denial. The mimetic impulse is precisely an impulse without a proper object, because of our split from nature. The Mousetrap Rhyme seems on the surface to be a sadistic identication with what civilized custom has done to an animal disdained as a parasite (Adorno, 1997: 123). The rhyme ends with the humans and their cat pouncing on the trapped mouse:
And careful for your little tail! After dinner we will sing After dinner we will spring And make a little dance: Swish, Swish! My old cat will probably be dancing with. (Mrike, in Adorno, 1997: 124)

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However, Adorno nds a critical twist in this apparent identication with the aggressor, suggesting that the poetic form transcends the socially conditioned ritual by surrendering to it in a way that renders its misery self-evident (Adorno, 1997: 124). In terms of the ideas worked through in this article, we could add that the description of the grim nale as a dance introduces an incongruous expressive-cum-comic moment. It must be a sympathetic mimesis of the mouses deaththroes, the childs sorrow at what civilization dictates for the mouse, latent within his conformist taunt. For a moment, Adorno allows a utopian vision to are up behind the grim comedy of the dance of death: the involuntarily friendly image of child, cat and mouse dancing, the two animals on their hind legs (Adorno, 1997: 124). This childlike evocation of reconciliation afrms Alfords questioning comment about pets. The artistic mimesis of the mouses death produces an afterimage of freedom prompted by a childlike identication with its last movements,4 recalling Adornos invocation of the childs sense for the importance of the ayers zone. In the death struggle of the creature, at the opposite pole from freedom, freedom still shines out irresistibly as the thwarted destiny of matter (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 183). This painfully produced afterimage is the illuminating side of mimesis, whereas the fascist execution of social vermin produces no alternative to the ritualized slaughter it takes from the realm of the fairy tale and makes unreectively real on an almost unimaginable scale. And yet we must deal with the suspicion that a covert sensation mordant satisfaction secured through the beautiful presentation of a closure of possibility which tries ironically to insist on openness graties a hidden dark side to Adornos endorsement of the artistic mimesis of death (Connell, forthcoming 1999). The omnipresent dangers of our age perhaps forced Adornos theory to mimic death for so long its joints now risk habituation to this immobilization. The rescuing moment is that Adorno identies with the victims of history as the poem does with the mouse, and Adorno wants us to read his dark corpus the way he reads the rhyme: identifying with the last movements of a body of theory almost killed by modernity, in order to save what life remains. Notes
1. I here rework a quote heard at a conference, along the lines that mimesis is the feeling in ones own knees when witnessing another forced to theirs. I have a feeling the original source was Robert Hullot-Kentor. Extreme versions of such identicatory blurs of the selfother boundary are classied/psychopathologized by clinical psychoanalysis as belonging to the phenomena of psychotic states, using the terms appersonation (the belief that one possesses mental or physical characteristics belonging to another) and transitivism (the perception of characteristics really belonging to the self as being features of another) (Freeman, 1988: 713). 2. Rather neglecting this reciprocal element of Adornos formulation, some recent feminist criticism

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claims that his sexual-aesthetic model is phallocentric (Wilke, 1990; Wilke and Schlipphacke, 1997). That this accusation invokes Luce Irigaray (Wilke, 1990: 134) is interesting, given Adornos own recognition of the importance of sexual difference and his ideal of fullling the other in its own terms. Furthermore, Adornos mention of arid arts fear of the moist suggests a connection with Irigarays elaboration of her notion of the mucous as a development of feminine uidity (Martin, 1998). Irigaray also deploys a certain notion of mimesis. That Adorno and Irigaray both share the project of rescuing from the German philosophical tradition a form of post-Hegelian dialectical critique dedicated to the release of repressed forms of difference suggests the possibility of further fertile interactions, which could perhaps proceed along the lines of Irigarays other critical lovers discourses with male philosophers. That Adornos mention of the moist comes up in relation to a man, Schubert, raises a host of further questions, especially given that the issue of Schuberts sexuality has recently been given critical attention (Edgar, 1998). If the perhaps homosexual Schubert is cast by Adorno in the role of playing out a receptively feminine mimesis as a foil for the masculine operations of Beethovens constructive rationality, then Sabine Wilke and Heidi Schlipphackes objections carry a degree of force despite the need for their dialectical qualication. Those interested in these debates should also consult the work of Andrew Hewitt (1992) and the forthcoming volume of feminist engagements with Adorno (ONeill, forthcoming 1999). 3. Recalling the folk theory, big nose, big dick? 4. This utopian interpretation of the mouses death-throes has its model in Adorno and Horkheimers much earlier interpretation in Dialectic of Enlightenment of a more terrible execution: the seemingly distanced description of the kicking feet of the hanged women in the climatic stages of The Odyssey. . . . Homer prevents us from forgetting the victims, and reveals the unutterable eternal agony of the few seconds in which the women struggle with death (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1986: 80). On my reading, their twitching feet are like those of the mouse.

References
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Adorno, Theodor W. et al. (1982) The Authoritarian Personality. London and New York: W.W. Norton. Alford, C. Fred (1985) Nature and Narcissism: The Frankfurt School, New German Critique 36: 17492. Baines, David (1992) The Inuence of Freudian Psychology on the Critical Theory of T.W. Adorno, M. Horkheimer and H. Marcuse: Possible Problems and Difculties Affecting the Utopian Potential in their Texts, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Nottingham. Benhabib, Seyla (1986) Critique, Norm, and Utopia: A Study of the Foundations of Critical Theory. New York: Columbia University Press. Benjamin, Walter (1986) On the Mimetic Faculty, pp. 3336 in Reections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings, trans. Edmund Jephcott. New York: Schocken. Connell, Matt F. (forthcoming 1999) Through the Eyes of an Articial Angel: Secular Theology in Theodor W. Adornos Freudo-Marxist Reading of Franz Kafka and Walter Benjamin, in Philip Leonard (ed.) Trajectories of Mysticism in Theory and Literature. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Cornell, Drucilla (1992) The Philosophy of the Limit. London and New York: Routledge. Daniel, Jamie Owen (1992) Temporary Shelter: Adornos Exile and the Language of Home, new formations 17: 2635. Edgar, Andrew (1998) Adorno and the Question of Schuberts Sexuality, paper presented to the University of Salford conference The Legacy of the Frankfurt School in Cultural Studies, 31 March1 April 1998. Freeman, Thomas (1988) The Psychoanalyst in Psychiatry. London: Karnac. Freud, Sigmund (1991a) Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Freud, Sigmund (1991b) Instincts and their Vicissitudes, pp. 10538 in On Metapsychology: The Theory of Psychoanalysis. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Gebauer, Gunter and Christoph Wulf (1995) Mimesis: Culture, Art, Society, trans. Don Reneau. Berkeley: University of California Press. Hansen, Miriam (1992) Mass Culture as Hieroglyphic Writing: Adorno, Derrida, Kracauer, New German Critique 56: 4373. Held, David (1980) Introduction to Critical Theory: Horkheimer to Habermas. Cambridge: Polity Press. Hewitt, Andrew (1992) A Feminine Dialectic of Enlightenment? Horkheimer and Adorno Revisited, New German Critique 56: 14370. Hohendahl, Peter U. (1985) The Dialectic of Enlightenment Revisited: Habermas Critique of the Frankfurt School, New German Critique 35: 326. Hullot-Kentor, Robert (1989) Back to Adorno, Telos 81: 529. Jay, Martin (1984) Adorno. London: Fontana. Jay, Martin (1997) Mimesis and Mimetology: Adorno and Lacoue-Labarthe, pp. 2953 in Tom Huhn and Lambert Zuidervaart (eds) The Semblance of Subjectivity: Essays in Adornos Aesthetic Theory. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Kafka, Franz (1953) The Trial, trans. W. Muir and E. Muir. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Kafka, Franz (1988) The Collected Short Stories of Franz Kafka. Harmondsworth: Penguin. King, Richard H. (1997) Modernity and Racism, pp. 26792 in Tim Youngs (ed.) Writing and Race. London and New York: Longman. Laing, Ronald D. (1965) The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Laplanche, J. and J.-B. Pontalis (1988) The Language of Psycho-analysis, trans. D. Nicholson-Smith. London: Karnac. Martin, Alison (1998) Modalities in the Feminine, in Luce Irigaray and the Question of the Divine, unpublished PhD thesis, Nottingham Trent University. Nicholsen, Shierry Weber (1997b) Aesthetic Theorys Mimesis of Walter Benjamin, pp. 13780 in

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Exact Imagination, Late Work: On Adornos Aesthetics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Also pp. 5591 in Tom Huhn and Lambert Zuidervaart (eds) (1997) The Semblance of Subjectivity: Essays in Adornos Aesthetic Theory. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ONeill, Maggie (ed.) (forthcoming 1999) Adorno, Culture, and Feminism. London and Newbury Park: Sage. Pecora, Vincent P. (1991) Nietzsche, Genealogy, Critical Theory, New German Critique 53: 10430. Rose, Gillian (1978) The Melancholy Science: An Introduction to the Thought of Theodor W. Adorno. London and Basingstoke: Macmillan. Whitebook, Joel (1995) Perversion and Utopia: A Study in Psychoanalysis and Critical Theory. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Wilke, Sabine (1990) Torn Halves of an Integral Freedom: Adornos and Benjamins Readings of Mass Culture, pp. 12451 in Ronald Roblin (ed.) The Aesthetics of the Critical Theorists: Studies on Benjamin, Adorno, Marcuse and Habermas. New York and Ontario: The Edwin Mellen Press. Wilke, Sabine and Heidi Schlipphacke (1997) Construction of a Gendered Subject: A Feminist Reading of Adornos Aesthetic Theory, pp. 287308 in Tom Huhn and Lambert Zuidervaart (eds) The Semblance of Subjectivity: Essays in Adornos Aesthetic Theory. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Zuidervaart, Lambert (1991) Adornos Aesthetic Theory: The Redemption of Illusion. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Matt F. Connell teaches at Nottingham Trent University. His publications include the forthcoming Through the Eyes of an Articial Angel: Secular Theology in Theodor W. Adornos Freudo-Marxist Reading of Franz Kafka and Walter Benjamin, in Philip Leonard (ed.), Trajectories of Mysticism in Theory and Literature (Macmillan, 1999).