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Other titles in the Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics series:
Reflections on Literature and Culture Reflections on Literature and Culture (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics)by Hannah Arendt
Synopses & Reviews
As one of the foremost public intellectuals of the twentieth century, Hannah Arendt is well known for her writings on political philosophy. Less familiar are her significant contributions to cultural and literary criticism. This edition brings together for the first time Arendts reflections on literature and culture. The essays include previously unpublished and untranslated material drawn from half a century of engagement with the works of European and American authors, poets, journalists, and literary critics, including such diverse figures as Proust, Melville, Auden, and Brecht.
Intended for a wide readership, this volume has the potential to change our view of Arendt by introducing her not only as one of the leading political theorists of her generation, but also as a serious, committed, and highly original literary and cultural critic. Gottliebs introduction ties the work together, showing how Arendt developed a form of literary and cultural analysis that is entirely her own.
"The late German-Jewish political theorist Arendt returned repeatedly in her work to the effects and proper uses of power and authority. This career-spanning collection of essays will reinforce for any reader that these preoccupations followed her even into literary criticism, as when she discusses Rilke's Duino Elegies in terms of religion and the search for God. Literature and culture are defined broadly, as the volume includes essays on novelists and poets like Proust, Kipling and Auden, as well as political theorists and economists. Pieces written in German were translated by different people, which renders Arendt's style somewhat harder to assess than those written in English, where the author's dry wit as well as her erudition are evident, as when she writes, in 'The Jew as Pariah': 'when it comes to claiming its own in the field of European arts and letters, the attitude of the Jewish people may best be described as one of reckless magnanimity. With a grand gesture and without a murmur of protest it has calmly allowed the credit for its great writers to go to other peoples, itself receiving in return... the doubtful privilege of being acclaimed father of every notorious swindler and mountebank.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Gottlieb (English and comparative literary studies, Northwestern U.) gathers together into one volume most of the writings on literature and culture produced by celebrated political theorist and philosopher Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), all of which, Gottlieb contends, converge in varied ways around the problem of "finding the words that would praise the world without imagining that this praise will somehow glorify the poet as well." Most of the essays are either reviews of individual works or retrospective appreciations of other writers, examples including Rainier Maria Rilke, Franz Kafka, Stefan Zweig, Hans Hagen, Herman Broch, Rudyard Kipling, Randall Jarrell, Bertolt Brecht, W.H. Auden, and Isak Dinesen. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This edition brings together for the first time Arendts reflections on literature and culture. The essays include previously unpublished and untranslated material drawn from half a century of engagement with the works of European and American authors, poets, journalists, and literary critics, including such diverse figures as Proust, Melville, Auden, and Brecht.
This is the first volume in any language that collects Hannah Arendt's remarkable series of essays and notes on literary figures and cultural questions.
About the Author
Susannah Young-ah Gottlieb is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University, where she is currently the Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English. She is the author of Regions of Sorrow: Anxiety and Messianism in Hannah Arendt and W.H. Auden (Stanford, 2003).
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