By Hans Robert Jauss

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Nrjgimil negativity in thg_process of their cultural recep tion. of a second change of horizon which agajnjirmjilsjiie-negatiyity of the_first chang_e_whk_h a worF]of art may caus eby its appearance. 7 The "quality of being classical is the paradigm par~exrcllcnce-rrf~the cooption of negativity in traditions of social affirmation. The classical as the "cunning of tradition" corresponds to the "cunning of reason" in Hegel's historical process. Through the change of horizon, cunning brings it about but also veils the fact that the path of the progressive negativity of art imperceptibly passes over into the progressive positivity of tra dition.

If one leaves undecided the question whether a merely "a priori polemical" polemic is not also contradictory, this curious negativity surely defines the work of art only as the object of theoretical reflection, not as a schema of primary aesthetic experience. Regarding the latter, polemics against what exists or the "negation of an objectively binding meaning" (p. 239) is not theonly legitimate social function of art. This does not mean that the affirmative in the practice of the experience of art therefore deserves the taint of a conservative mentality, of the transfiguration of existing relations of domination.

But if one takes literally the principal element in this theory according to which what is social in art can only derive from the determinate negation of a determinate society, a dilemma is created which Adorno himself described in these terms: "This does not mean, of course, that all positive and affirmative works of art-almost the entire store of traditional works —are to be swept away or eagerly defended by the excessively abstract argument that they also are critical and negative because they abruptly contrast with empirical reality.

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