Hannah Arendt (Alexander Lectures Series): Life Is a Narrative

Overview

In this volume, based on the series of Alexander Lectures she delivered at the University of Toronto, Julia Kristeva explores the philosophical aspects of Hannah Arendt's work: her understanding of such concepts as language, self, body, political space, and life. Kristeva's aim is to clarify contradictions in Arendt's thought as well as correct misapprehensions about her political and philosophical views.

The first two chapters describe how Arendt followed an original conception...

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Overview

In this volume, based on the series of Alexander Lectures she delivered at the University of Toronto, Julia Kristeva explores the philosophical aspects of Hannah Arendt's work: her understanding of such concepts as language, self, body, political space, and life. Kristeva's aim is to clarify contradictions in Arendt's thought as well as correct misapprehensions about her political and philosophical views.

The first two chapters describe how Arendt followed an original conception of human narrative, such that life, action, and even thought, are only human when they can be narrated and thus shared with other persons who, through the evocation of memory, complete the story and make history into a condensed sign, into a revelation of the 'who.' The third chapter concentrates on Arendt's work in relation to her twentieth-century contemporaries, especially Isak Dinesen, Brecht, Kafka, and Nathalie Sarraute. In the last two chapters, on the body and the Kantian concept of judgment, Kristeva offers a subtle critical exploration of Arendt's ignoring of the world of the unconscious opened up by psychoanalysis, an exploration that, paradoxically, reveals the political force of Arendt's acceptance of herself as woman and Jew.

Kristeva's account of Arendt's 'philosophy of narrative' is clear, coherent, forceful, and often impassioned. Much has been written in North America about Arendt's political work, but little about her more philosophical endeavours. Hannah Arendt: Life Is a Narrative makes a compelling case that Arendt may be the twentieth century's only true political philosopher.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Kristeva (language & literature, Universit<'e> Paris) explores the philosophical aspects of Arendt's works, in particular her understanding of such concepts as language, self, body, political space, and life. The book is based on the series of Alexander Lectures Kristeva delivered at the U. of Toronto. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802035219
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 1/13/2001
  • Series: Alexander Lectures Series
  • Pages: 104
  • Product dimensions: 5.77 (w) x 8.79 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Julia Kristeva is Director, Ecole Doctoral: Langues, Littératures et Civilisations, Université Paris 7 - Denis Diderot, France.
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Table of Contents

Preface
1 Life Is a Story 1
2 Arendt and Aristotle: An Apologia for Narration 11
3 Narrating the Twentieth Century 31
4 'Who' and the Body 53
5 Judgment 73
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