Chapter

In Search of the Mother Tongue

Liliane Weissberg

in Hannah Arendt in Jerusalem

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780520220560
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923669 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520220560.003.0009
In Search of the Mother Tongue

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This chapter focuses on Arendt's concept of a particular tradition, that of a “German–Jewish literature.” Arendt had a firm understanding of German–Jewish identity, and she conceived of a specific literature that would be able to reflect it. What is the context for this “representation,” however, and what is its nature? What are its consequences for her political theory or her — and our — understanding of literature? These questions are explored by concentrating on Arendt's discussion of three authors, Rahel Varnhagen, Franz Kafka, and Walter Benjamin.

Keywords: German–Jewish identity; Rahel Varnhagen; Franz Kafka; Walter Benjamin

Chapter.  6697 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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