Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt (hän´ä är´ənt), 1906–75, German-American political theorist, b. Hanover, Germany, B.A. Königsberg, 1924, Ph.D. Heidelberg, 1928. In 1925 she met Martin Heidegger, who greatly influenced her thought and who became both her teacher and briefly her lover. Later, in Heidelberg, she became a student of Karl Jaspers, another important influence. A Jew, Arendt fled Germany in 1933, immigrated (1941) to the United States, lived in New York City, and was naturalized in 1950.

As her English improved, Arendt became a regular contributor of articles to leading American journals. Her wartime essays have been collected in The Jewish Writings (2008). Also a successful academic, she became a lecturer and Guggenheim fellow, 1952–53; visiting professor at the Univ. of California at Berkeley, 1955; the first woman appointed to a full professorship at Princeton, 1959; and visiting professor of government at Columbia, 1960. From 1963 to 1967 she was professor at the Univ. of Chicago, and in 1967 she became university professor at the New School for Social Research.

With the publication of Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) her status as a major political thinker was firmly established. In this book she examined the major forms of 20th-century totalitarianism—National Socialism (Nazism) and Communism—and attempted to trace their origins in the anti-Semitism and imperialism of the 19th cent. Her second major American publication, The Human Condition (1958), likewise received wide acclaim. Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963), her analysis of the Nazi war crimes based on observation of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, stirred considerable controversy and became known particularly for her concept of "the banality of evil."

Arendt also served as research director of the Conference on Jewish Relations (1944–46) and executive director of Jewish Cultural Reconstruction, New York City (1949–52). Her other writings include On Revolution (1963), Men in Dark Times (1968), On Violence (1969), and Crises of the Republic (1972).

See L. Kohler and H. Saner, ed., Hannah Arendt–Karl Jaspers: Correspondence, 1926–1969 (tr. by R. and R. Kimber, 1992), C. Brightman, ed., Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy, 1949–1975 (1995), and U. Ludtz, ed., Letters, 1925–1975: Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger (2003); biographies by E. Young-Bruehl (1982) and M.-I. Brudny (2008); E. Ettinger, Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger (1995), D. Villa, Arendt and Heidegger: The Fate of the Political (1995), and R. Wolin, Heidegger's Children (2001); studies by S. J. Whitfield (1980), L. Bradshaw (1989), and H. F. Pitkin (1998).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Hannah Arendt and Political Theory: Challenging the Tradition
Steve Buckler.
Edinburgh University Press, 2011
Thinking in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt on Ethics and Politics
Roger Berkowitz; Jeffrey Katz; Thomas Keenan.
Fordham University Press, 2010
Hannah Arendt's Eichmann Reconsidered
Schotten, Peter.
Modern Age, Vol. 49, No. 2, Spring 2007
Hannah Arendt: A Question of Character
Curthoys, Ned.
New Formations, No. 71, Spring 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Origin and Essence: The Problem of History in Hannah Arendt
Kang, Taran.
Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 74, No. 1, January 2013
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, and the Social Sciences
Peter Baehr.
Stanford University Press, 2010
Arendt and Adorno: Political and Philosophical Investigations
Lars Rensmann; Samir Gandesha.
Stanford University Press, 2012
The Hidden Philosophy of Hannah Arendt
Margaret Betz Hull.
Routledge Curzon, 2002
Arendt and Heidegger: The Fate of the Political
Dana R. Villa.
Princeton University Press, 1996
Politics, Philosophy, Terror: Essays on the Thought of Hannah Arendt
Dana R. Villa.
Princeton University Press, 1999
Feminist Interpretations of Hannah Arendt
Bonnie Honig.
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995
Hannah Arendt: Critical Essays
Sandra K. Hinchman; Lewis P. Hinchman.
State University of New York Press, 1994
Passion and Paradox: Intellectuals Confront the National Question
Joan Cocks.
Princeton University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Imperialism, Self-Determination, and Violence: Rosa Luxemburg, Hannah Arendt, and Frantz Fanon" and Chap. Three "On the Jewish Question: Isaiah Berlin and Hannah Arendt"
Social Theory after the Holocaust
Robert Fine; Charles Turner.
Liverpool University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Hannah Arendt: Politics and Understanding after the Holocaust"
The Political Classics: Green to Dworkin
Murray Forsyth; Maurice Keens-Soper.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Hannah Arendt: The Human Condition"
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