Hannah Arendt and Karl Marx: On Totalitarianism and the Tradition of Western Political Thought

Hannah Arendt and Karl Marx: On Totalitarianism and the Tradition of Western Political Thought

by Tama Weisman
     
 

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Hannah Arendt and Karl Marx: On Totalitarianism and the Tradition of Western Political Thought is the first book to examine Hannah Arendt’s unpublished writings on Marx in their totality and as the unified project Arendt originally intended. In 1952, after the publication of The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt began work on the project

Overview

Hannah Arendt and Karl Marx: On Totalitarianism and the Tradition of Western Political Thought is the first book to examine Hannah Arendt’s unpublished writings on Marx in their totality and as the unified project Arendt originally intended. In 1952, after the publication of The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt began work on the project “Totalitarian Elements in Marxism.” First conceived of as a companion to The Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt neither completed this project, nor its subsequent revision, “Marx and the Tradition of Western Political Thought.” Filling in many of the gaps in our understanding of the trajectory of Arendt’s thought from the time she published Origins in 1948 to the publication of The Human Condition in 1958, Tama Weisman traces and evaluates the development of Arendt’s thought on Marx, how his thought could be used toward totalitarian ends, and his place in the tradition of Western political thought.

Although highly critical of much of Arendt’s reading of Marx, Hannah Arendt and Karl Marx advances a persuasive critique of Marx implied but never developed in Arendt’s Marx project. Drawing on several of Arendt’s more persuasive criticisms of Marx in combination with her evaluation of the tradition of Western political thought, Weisman makes a compelling case for the charge that when Marx left philosophy to change the world, he paved the way for the loss of our sense of awe and wonder in philosophical, political, and worldly experience.

Editorial Reviews

Karin Fry
“Tama Weisman’s book is the long awaited analysis of Arendt and Marx. It carefully explains Arendt’s ambivalent relationship to Marx’s work and how Arendt's lesser known and never finished project on Marx’s work led to the development of some of her key political ideas. Weisman convincingly argues that despite Arendt’s misunderstanding of aspects of Marx’s thought, Arendt’s analysis of Marx helped her critique the political conditions that led to totalitarianism. It is a must for anyone interested in Arendt’s work.”
Norma Claire Moruzzi
“Hannah Arendt and Karl Marx combines archival scholarship and philosophical inquiry to provide a comprehensive exploration of Arendt’s own changing positions in regard to her subject. While making clear that Arendt misread Marx on key points, Weisman convincingly demonstrates how Arendt’s appreciation of his philosophical significance and troublesome originality led to her analysis of ancient Greece and the political values of the democratic polis, and further to her investigations into urgent questions of violence and revolution, and the relations between philosophy, thinking, and politics. Arendt’s deeply ambivalent engagement with Marx has long challenged scholars. This book will inform scholarship from now on, while illuminating the real contribution of Arendt’s resurrection of a tradition of 'the political' in the modern world.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739184042
Publisher:
Lexington Books
Publication date:
11/08/2013
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
180
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

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Meet the Author

Tama Weisman is associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois.

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