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Essays in Understanding, 1930-1954: Formation, Exile, and Totalitarianism
Few thinkers have addressed the political horrors and ethical complexities of the twentieth century with the insight and passionate intellectual integrity of Hannah Arendt. She was irresistible drawn to the activity of understanding, in an effort to endow historic, political, and cultural events with meaning. Essays in Understanding assembles many of Arendt’s writings from the 1930s, 1940s, and into the 1950s. Included here are illuminating discussions of St. Augustine, existentialism, Kafka, and Kierkegaard: relatively early examinations of Nazism, responsibility and guilt, and the place of religion in the modern world: and her later investigations into the nature of totalitarianism that Arendt set down after The Origins of Totalitarianism was published in 1951. The body of work gathered in this volume gives us a remarkable portrait of Arendt’s developments as a thinker—and confirms why her ideas and judgments remain as provocative and seminal today as they were when she first set them down.From the Trade Paperback edition.read more
This invigorating collection of Arendt's essays, lectures and reviews opens with a 1964 interview in which the noted political scientist and philosopher described her hair-raising escape in 1933 from Nazi Germany to Paris, then New York City. A central theme of these pieces, gathered from Partisan Review , the Nation and elsewhere, is the power of ideology to blind its adherents, whether in the service of Nazi or communist totalitarianism. Arendt (1906-1975) characterizes fascism as an antinationalist global movement inextricably linked to anti-Semitism. Elsewhere, she criticizes Sartre and Camus for nihilistic thinking. This first of three volumes of Arendt's uncollected works includes essays on Kafka's nightmare world, Kierkegaard, Augustine's Confessions as prototype of the modern psychological novel, Berlin cutural salons of the 1790s (which were open to Jewish women and men), the threat of nuclear war and Europe's image of the U.S. as a rootless nation. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved