Essays in Understanding

Hannah Arendt, Author, Jerome Kohn, Editor Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $13 (496p) ISBN 978-0-15-172817-6
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.)
Reviewed on: 04/04/1994
Release date: 04/01/1994
Genre: Nonfiction
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