Hannah Arendt and the German-Jewish Experience
Hannah Arendt still makes people angry. Her writings on the modern German-Jewish experience are deliberately challenging—and sometimes shocking—to an audience used to thinking of the Jewish people as the victims of history. Visible Spaces is the most ambitious attempt to date to explore the origins and implications of Arendt's political thought. Dagmar Barnouw, an admiring yet critical reader, draws extensively on unpublished archival materials relating to the Jewish experience in modern Germany and its influence on Arendt's political philosophy. Arendt's work is discussed chronologically, from Origins of Totalitarianism to The Human Condition and the unfinished Life of the Mind. Barnouw also offers a challenging reassessment of Arendt's well-known report on the Eichman trial. The result is an insightful study of Arendt's thought in its complex historical context.
About the Author
Dagmar Barnouw is a professor of German and comparative literature at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Her books include Weimar Intellectuals and the Threat of Modernity and Critical Realism: History, Photography, and the Work of Siegfried Kracauer, the latter available from Johns Hopkins.
This book opens up new and interesting sources for the assessment of Hannah Arendt's writings.
Barnouw demonstrates an impressive amount of familiarity with Arendt and the departure point of all her thinking; as a German Jew—and a woman, Barnouw constantly reminds us—Arendt would remain indebted to the German intellectual culture in which she was educated while witnessing the Holocaust at the same time.
An independent and critical study by a German intellectual. It is an important contribution to a new German-Jewish dialogue.
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