Correspondence 1926-1969

Overview

The correspondence between Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers begins in 1926, when the twenty-year-old Arendt studied philosophy with Jaspers in Heidelberg. It is interrupted by Arendt's emigration and Jaspers's "inner emigration," and it is resumed immediately after World War II. The initial teacher-student relationship develops into a close friendship, in which Jasper's wife, Gertrud, is soon included and then Arendt's husband, Heinrich Blucher. These letters show not only the way both philosophers lived, thought, ...
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Overview

The correspondence between Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers begins in 1926, when the twenty-year-old Arendt studied philosophy with Jaspers in Heidelberg. It is interrupted by Arendt's emigration and Jaspers's "inner emigration," and it is resumed immediately after World War II. The initial teacher-student relationship develops into a close friendship, in which Jasper's wife, Gertrud, is soon included and then Arendt's husband, Heinrich Blucher. These letters show not only the way both philosophers lived, thought, and worked but also how they experienced the postwar years. Since neither ever dreamed that this correspondence would be published, and each had absolute trust in the other, they reveal themselves here - for the first time - in a personal and spontaneous way. Brilliant, vulnerable, forthright, Arendt speaks about America, her adopted country. About American universities, American politics from McCarthyism to Kennedy, American urban decay. She speaks about Germany, the country she left: its anti-Semitism, its guilt for the Holocaust, its politics. And about Israel, which she always supported as a Jew but also criticized, especially in her controversial book about the trial and execution of Adolf Eichmann in 1961. In his dialogue with Arendt, the thoughtful, generous, concerned Jaspers considers the question of the German essence, and of the Jewish character. He speaks about philosophers past and present - Spinoza, Heidegger. About old age and retirement. Corrupt journalism. Suicide. Man's future on this planet. Here is a fascinating dialogue between a woman and a man, a Jew and a German, a questioner and a visionary, both uncompromising in their examination of our troubled century.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The voluminous correspondence between political philosopher Arendt and German existentialist Jaspers, who taught her philosophy in Heidelberg, is a study in contrasts. Jaspers mistrusts his ``stale fame'' and postwar respectability after years of official neglect. Arendt, a refugee from Hitler's Germany, feels alone and stateless in New York, yet is determined to live ``on the fringes of society.'' Jaspers idealizes the United States as a model for a united Europe. Arendt is acutely critical of McCarthy-era abuses, the disintegration of America's cities and schools and the authoritarian drift of mass society. Jaspers, whose wife was Jewish, engages Arendt in opinionated, heartfelt dialogues on the Holocaust, German resistance to Hitler, the Eichmann trial, Marx, Spinoza, Israeli politics, JFK, the atomic bomb and the Vietnam war, among other topics. In a clash of titans, the two close friends spar and confide in each other in this rich, kinetic correspondence spanning the middle decades of the century. Kohler, a retired professor of German, is literary executor of Arendt's estate; Saner, a Swiss philosophy professor, is executor of Jaspers's. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This treasure trove of letters dates from 1926, when Arendt was Jaspers's student, to Jaspers's death in 1969. The correspondents, both academics, both philosophers, both German-born, hashed out world affairs and differences of perception: She was a Jew and emigree to the United States, while he remained optimistic about the ``German character'' into the war years, although he eventually moved to Switzerland. This is a book for all students of 20th-century history, politics, and Western philosophy. The notes amplify a text that is already essentially colored by necessary details. A volume that many readers will want, as well as need, for years to come.-- Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., Cal.
Booknews
The correspondence between Arendt (1906-1975) and Jaspers (1883-1969) begins in 1926, when Arendt studied philosophy with Jaspers in Heidelberg. It is interrupted by Arendt's emigration and Jaspers's "inner emigration," and it is resumed immediately after WWII. The letters show not only the way both philosophers lived, thought, and worked, but also how they experienced the postwar years. Edited with an introduction by Lotte Kohler and Hans Saner. Translated from the original German edition of 1985 (R. Piper GmbH & Co. KG, Munich). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156225991
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 11/18/1993
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 848
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 2.00 (d)

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