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Correspondence

September 22, 2002

To the editor:

Adam Kirsch is correct (Book Review, Aug. 25) when he tells your readers that Theodor Adorno wrote a book on composing for the films while he was in L.A. during the 1940s.

Kirsch may be the first person in America to state this, because the book (translated) was originally published as "Composing for the Films" by Hanns Eisler (Oxford University Press, l947) and has countless times been described this way--by me, among others.

I did hear rumors, early on, that Adorno had had a hand in writing that book. Also that he withheld his name from the first edition in order not to be associated with Eisler, known to be a Communist. I don't know if this last statement is true, but I do know that in volume 15 of Adorno's collected works, now in print with the Suhrkamp Verlag in Frankfurt, the late Adorno tells us that nine-tenths of that book is his own work and that the late Eisler conceded as much.

Eric Bentley

New York

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