Chapter

Apologist or Critic?

Dana R. Villa

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/9780520220560.003.0021
Apologist or Critic?

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The fact that Hannah Arendt was Martin Heidegger's student was never a secret. Nor was his philosophy's influence upon her analysis of totalitarianism and her thinking about politics. What was a secret, at least until the publication of Elisabeth Young–Bruehl's biography in 1984, was that she and Heidegger were lovers while Arendt was his student in Marburg during the period from 1924 to 1929. This chapter focuses on the two moments in Arendt's work when Heidegger's philosophical legacy is most strongly and most controversially felt. The first is The Human Condition (1958), generally described as her “most Heideggerian book.” The second is the essay “Martin Heidegger at Eighty,” in which Arendt allegedly exonerates Heidegger of his Nazi involvement. Both texts reveal a far more complicated and critical attitude toward Heidegger than is usually allowed.

Keywords: Hannah Arendt; Martin Heidegger; The Human Condition

Chapter.  5250 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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