Hannah Arendt

Derwent May, Author Penguin Books $4.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-14-008116-9
Novelist and critic May conveys with clarity the complex thinking that earned Arendt great influence over American philosophy and politics and led to her classic works The Origins of Totalitarianism and The Human Condition. He describes her articles for the New Yorker on the Adolf Eichmann trial in the 1960s and how they provoked sharp criticism from New York's Jewish community. May also deftly examines Arendt's early environment and provides insightful glimpses into her personal life. For instance, Arendt's experience in France in the 1930s as a refugee from Nazi Germany was at the core of her later, passionate writing about the desperation of the stateless person in society. He also portrays her independent spirit and gives accounts of her two marriages and several love affairs, including one with Martin Heidegger, the existentialist philosopher and her professor in Germany. Although surprisingly slim, this volume covers a lot of ground. (September)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1986
Release date: 09/01/1986
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