Original scientific paper
Anthropological Prolegomena and Philosophical Fragments of the “Zero Year”: Content Inclinations of the Magic World and the Dialectic of Enlightenment
This paper analyzes several points of convergence, i.e., topics common to the influential books Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno and The Magic World: A Prolegomena to a Story of Magism by Ernesto De Martino. Precisely because they were published in the post-war period, one year apart – in 1947 and 1948 – they were, alongside very few other publications, dubbed as the books of the “zero year” by the Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg. Although the two books were written in the philosophical and the anthropological tradition respectively, there were significant thematic overlaps between them, however, their authors would not give any significant mutual consideration to each other in their ensuing publications. Their common and at the same time differently articulated themes are the concept of myth, magic, enlightenment, and modernity. Content parallelism of these exceptionally influential works is intertwined into a related, but not too tightly connected whole, which underlines the results of their theoretical and empirical research. Alfred Sohn-Rethel’s publication which precedes the two was also considered and correlated with the two books.
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