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RECONCILIATION AND VIOLENCE: HANNAH ARENDT ON HISTORICAL UNDERSTANDING*

  • WASEEM YAQOOB (a1)
Abstract

This essay reconstructs Hannah Arendt's reading of Marx and Hegel in order to elucidate her critique of comprehensive philosophies of history. During the early 1950s Arendt endeavoured to develop a historical epistemology suitable to her then embryonic understanding of political action. Interpretations of her political thought either treat historical narrative as orthogonal to her central theoretical concerns, or focus on the role of “storytelling” in her writing. Both approaches underplay her serious consideration of the problem of historical understanding in the course of an engagement with European Marxism, French existentialism and French interpretations of Hegel. This essay begins with her writings on totalitarianism and her ambiguous relation with Marxism during the 1940s, and then examines her critique of French existentialism before finally turning to her “Totalitarian Elements of Marxism” project in the early 1950s. Reconstructing Arendt's treatment of philosophies of history helps elucidate the themes of violence and the relationship between means and ends in her political thought, and places a concept of history at the centre of her thought.

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For their comments on earlier drafts of this article, I would like to thank Ronald Beiner, Melissa Lane, Samuel Moyn, Christopher Ro, Martin Ruehl and the anonymous readers for Modern Intellectual History. I have also benefited from numerous discussions with Giovanni Menegalle.

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1 While The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) has been taken to exemplify Arendt's historical bent, The Human Condition (1958) has been treated as a move to a form of republicanism in the civic humanist tradition, concerned above all with public speech and action and political freedom. For a discussion of this divide in Arendt scholarship see King, Richard H. and Stone, Dan, “Introduction”, in King, Richard H. and Stone, Dan, eds., Hannah Arendt and the Uses of History: Imperialism, Nation, Race, and Genocide (Oxford, 2007), 1–17, 56.

2 Pivotal in eroding this separation have been the numerous essays collected in King and Stone, Hannah Arendt and the Uses of History; see also Mantena, Karuna, “Genealogies of Catastrophe: Arendt on the Logic and Legacy of Imperialism”, in Benhabib, Seyla, ed., Politics in Dark Times: Encounters with Hannah Arendt (Cambridge, 2010), 83112.

3 Hannah Arendt, “Project: Totalitarian Elements in Marxism” Project Outline (1951), Washington, DC, Library of Congress, Arendt Papers, Box 64 (hereinafter cited as LoC); Hannah Arendt to H. A. Moe, 29 Jan. 1953, LoC/Washington, Box 22, 012641.

4 The chapter on Marx in The Human Condition, for example. Arendt, Hannah, The Human Condition (Chicago, 1998), 79136.

5 For the most comprehensive study of these writings see Canovan, Margaret, Hannah Arendt: A Reinterpretation of Her Political Thought (Cambridge, 1994); See also Parekh, Bhikhu, “Hannah Arendt's Critique of Marx”, in Hill, Melvyn A., ed., Hannah Arendt: The Recovery of the Public World (New York, 1979), 67100.

6 Arendt, Hannah, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York, 1951), 121302; Arendt, “Organized Guilt and Universal Responsibility”, in Arendt, Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954: Formation, Exile, and Totalitarianism, ed. Kohn, Jerome (New York, 2005), 273–83, 131. For the international dimensions of Arendt's thought see Owens, Patricia, Between War and Politics: International Relations and the Thought of Hannah Arendt (Oxford, 2009); Fine, Robert, Political Investigations: Hegel, Marx, Arendt (London, 2001), 151–65.

7 Hannah Arendt, “Concern with Politics in Recent European Philosophical Thought”, in Arendt, Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954, 428–47; Arendt, “Dream and Nightmare”, in ibid., 409–17; Arendt, “Europe and the Atom Bomb”, in ibid., 418–22.

8 Hannah Arendt, “The Impact of Marx” (lecture notes), Washington, DC, Library of Congress, Hannah Arendt Papers, Box 68.

9 For discussions of Arendt's notion of reconciliation see Berkowitz, Roger, “Bearing Logs on Our Shoulders: Reconciliation, Non-reconciliation, and the Building of a Common World”, Theory & Event, 14/1 (2011), at http://muse.jhu.edu, last accessed 21 May 2014; Berkowitz, Roger, “The Angry Jew Has Gotten His Revenge: Hannah Arendt on Revenge and Reconciliation”, Philosophical Topics, 39/2 (2011), 136; Lavi, Shai, “Crimes of Action, Crimes of Thought: Arendt on Reconciliation, Forgiveness, and Judgment”, in Berkowitz, Roger, Keenan, Thomas and Katz, Jeffrey, eds., Thinking in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt on Ethics and Politics (New York, 2009), 230–34; , Daniel and Maier-Katkin, Birgit, “Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger: Calumny and the Politics of Reconciliation”, Human Rights Quarterly, 28/1 (2006), 86119; Schaap, Andrew, “Guilty Subjects and Political Responsibility: Arendt, Jaspers and the Resonance of the ‘German Question’ in Politics of Reconciliation”, Political Studies, 49/4 (2001), 749–66.

10 Hannah Arendt, “Understanding and Politics”, in Arendt, Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954, 307–27, 287.

11 Scott, Joanna Vecchiarelli, “Storytelling”, History and Theory, 50/2 (2011), 203–9; Cotkin, George, “Illuminating Evil: Hannah Arendt and Moral History”, Modern Intellectual History, 4/3 (2007), 463–90; Wilkinson, Lynn R., “Hannah Arendt on Isak Dinesen: Between Storytelling and Theory”, Comparative Literature, 56/1 (2004), 7798; Disch, Lisa J., “More Truth than Fact: Storytelling as Critical Understanding in the Writings of Hannah Arendt”, Political Theory, 21/4 (1993), 665–94; Benhabib, Seyla, “Hannah Arendt and the Redemptive Power of Narrative”, Social Research, 57/1 (1990), 167–96; Curthoys, Ned, “Hannah Arendt and the Politics of Narrative”, Journal of Narrative Theory 32, 3 (2002), 348–70; Evers, Kai, “The Holes of Oblivion: Arendt and Benjamin on Storytelling in the Age of Totalitarian Destruction”, Telos, 132 (2005), 109–20; Herzog, Annabel, “Illuminating Inheritance: Benjamin's Influence on Arendt's Political Storytelling”, Philosophy & Social Criticism, 26/5 (2000), 127.

12 For a rare discussion of Arendt in a French context see Isaac, Jeffrey C., Arendt, Camus and Modern Rebellion (London, 1992), 82–3; another exception to this is Ned Curthoys's discussion of Arendt's critique of violence in the context of debates among French intellectuals about the French–Algerian war. See Ned Curthoys, “The Refractory Legacy of Algerian Decolonization: Revisiting Arendt on Violence”, in King and Stone, Hannah Arendt and the Uses of History, 109–29.

13 Arendt, Hannah, On Violence (New York, 1970); Arendt, “Home to Roost”, in Arendt, Responsibility and Judgment, ed. Jerome Kohn (New York, 2009), 258–76; Owens, Between War and Politics, 150.

14 Even in late 1947, Arendt still referred to Origins as “her imperialism book”. Hannah Arendt to Karl Jaspers, 4 Sept. 1947, in Köhler, Lotte and Saner, Hans, eds., Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers: Correspondence: 1926–1969, trans. Rita and Robert Kimber (New York, 1992), 96–9; Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth, Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World (London, 1983), 203. Arendt used the term “subterranean” in the preface to the first edition of Origins. See Arendt, Origins, ix.

15 Arendt, Hannah, “Race-Thinking before Racism”, Review of Politics, 6/1 (1944), 3673; Arendt, “Power Politics Triumphs”, in Arendt, Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954, 156–7; Arendt, , “Imperialism, Nationalism, Chauvinism”, Review of Politics, 7/4 (1945), 441–63; Arendt, “Expansion and the Philosophy of Power”, Sewanee Review (1946), 601–16; Arendt, Origins, 267–302.

16 Arendt, “Imperialism, Nationalism, Chauvinism”, 450; Arendt, “Expansion and the Philosophy of Power”, 604–16.

17 Arendt, “Imperialism, Nationalism, Chauvinism”, 441–2.

18 Arendt, Hannah, The Origins of Totalitarianism, trans. Ashton, E. B., 3rd edn (London, 1967), 328, 124, 126, 135; Mantena, “Genealogies of Catastrophe”.

19 Arendt, Origins, 148–9, 168, 308; Hilferding, Rudolf, Finance Capital: A Study of the Latest Phase of Capitalist Development, ed. Bottomore, T. B., trans. Watnick, Morris and Gordon, Sam (London, 1910); Luxemburg, Rosa, The Accumulation of Capital (London, 1913); Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (New York, 1916). For a discussion of Arendt's debts to other thinkers in Origins see Söllner, Alfons, “Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism in Its Original Context”, European Journal of Political Theory, 3/2 (2004), 230–5. While adopting its general tenor in Origins, Arendt in fact took little interest in the details of the Marxist analysis of imperialism. See Tsao, Roy T., “The Three Phases of Arendt's Theory of Totalitarianism”, Social Research, 69/2 (2002), 579619, 583.

20 Arendt, Hannah, “Imperialism: Road to Suicide”, Commentary, 1 (1946), 2735, 33.

21 See, for example Tony Barta, “On Pain of Extinction: Laws of Nature and History in Darwin, Marx, and Arendt”, in King and Stone, Hannah Arendt and the Uses of History, 87–108; Robert Bernasconi, “When the Real Crime Began: Hannah Arendt's the Origins of Totalitarianism and the Dignity of the Western Philosophical Tradition”, in ibid., 54–67; Mantena, “Genealogies of Catastrophe”.

22 Richard H. King, “On Race and Culture: Hannah Arendt and Her Contemporaries”, in Benhabib, Politics in Dark Times, 113–34, 116.

23 Arendt, Origins, 186, 300.

24 Ibid., 192.

25 Ibid., 171. For a detailed discussion of race and imperialism in Hegel's thought see Bernasconi, Robert, “With What Must the Philosophy of World History Begin? On the Racial Basis of Hegel's Eurocentrism”, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 22/2 (2000), 171201, 190.

26 Arendt, Human Condition, 139–44. For a discussion of these themes see Owens, Between War and Politics, 135–6; Kenneth Frampton, “The Status of Man and the Status of His Objects: A Reading of the Human Condition”, in Hill, Hannah Arendt, 101–30.

27 For discussions of Arendt's notion of barbarism see Canovan, A Reinterpretation, 22, 32–8, 102–10.

28 See for example Hannah Arendt, “The Image of Hell”, in Arendt, Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954, 197–205, 203–4.

29 Arendt's change of emphasis was indicative of a background of radical appropriations of mass-society discourse. Emigré contemporaries such as Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer and Erich Fromm were making similar claims about the roots of fascism during the same period. See Adorno, Theodor W. and Horkheimer, Max, Philosophische Fragmente (New York, 1944); Horkheimer, Max, Eclipse of Reason (Oxford, 1947); Fromm, Erich, The Fear of Freedom (London, 1942). In 1936 in Paris she had joined a discussion group of intellectuals associated with the Frankfurt school. See Marrus, Michael R., “Hannah Arendt and the Dreyfus Affair”, New German Critique, 66 (1995), 147–63, 148.

30 For an exploration of this theme, see Canovan, A Reinterpretation, 11–14.

31 Hannah Arendt, “French Existentialism”, in Arendt, Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954, 188–93, 192–3. Arendt viewed bourgeois society as partly responsible for the rise of totalitarianism. One reviewer of Origins commented, “For Miss Arendt, it is the bourgeoisie, as a class . . . that has become radically evil”. Rieff, Philip, “The Theology of Politics: Reflections on Totalitarianism as the Burden of Our Time (a Review Article)”, Journal of Religion, 32/2 (1952), 119–26, 119. Arendt had met Sartre in New York in 1945, having already crossed paths with him in Paris during the 1930s. Young-Bruehl, Hannah Arendt, 117.

32 Arendt, “French Existentialism”, 192–3, 188–9. Her attitude reflected a conviction that Continental political parties had proved impotent in the face of fascism; see Arendt, Origins, 89–120, 261–3. For more on the political context for “Existentialism is a Humanism” see Baring, Edward, “Humanist Pretensions: Catholics, Communists, and Sartre's Struggle for Existentialism in Postwar France”, Modern Intellectual History, 7/3 (2010), 581609.

33 A chapter from Nausea appeared in the same issue of Partisan Review in which Arendt's piece was published, under the title “The Root of the Chestnut Tree”. Arendt, “French Existentialism”, 189. In his lecture, Sartre had rejected materialisms that led “one to treat every man including oneself . . . as a set of pre-determined reactions”. Sartre, Jean-Paul, Existentialism and Humanism, ed. and trans. Mairet, Philip (London, 1948), 45.

34 Heidegger's most influential discussion of nihilism was presented in his lectures on Nietzsche from the 1930s. However, Arendt's critical discussion of “nihilation” and Being as nothingness in “What Is Existential Philosophy?” in 1946 suggests that his inaugural lecture at the University of Freiburg, “What Is Metaphysics”, which she would have had easier access to, was more prominent in her mind. Heidegger, Martin, Nietzsche: Nihilism, ed. Krell, David Farrell, trans. Capuzzi, Frank A. (London, 1982), iv, 97; Heidegger, “What Is Metaphysics?”, in Heidegger, Pathmarks, ed. William McNeill (Cambridge, 1998), 82–96; Gillespie, Michael Allen, Hegel, Heidegger, and the Ground of History (Chicago, 1984), xivxv, 20; Costea, Bogdan and Amiridis, Kostas, “The Movement of Nihilism as Self-Assertion”, in Hemming, Laurence Paul, Amiridis, Kostas and Costea, Bogdan, eds., The Movement of Nihilism: Heidegger's Thinking after Nietzsche (London, 2011), 8–24, 1416.

35 Arendt, “French Existentialism”, 193.

36 This was also an implication of Heidegger's critical response to Sartre, first published in France in early 1947. Heidegger, Martin, “Letter on Humanism”, in Heidegger, Basic Writings, ed. Krell, David Farrell (San Francisco, 1993). See Rabinbach, Anson, “Heidegger's ‘Letter on Humanism’ as Text and Event”, in Rabinbach, ed., In the Shadow of Catastrophe: German Intellectuals Between Apocalypse and Enlightenment (New York, 1995), 97129; Kleinberg, Ethan, Generation Existential: Heidegger's Philosophy in France, 1927–1961 (Ithaca, NY, 2005), 1112; Gillespie, Hegel, Heidegger, and the Ground of History, 124–5.

37 Hannah Arendt, “What Is Existential Philosophy?”, in Arendt, Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954, 163–87.

38 Ibid., 166. In Origins Arendt stated that “organic naturalistic definitions of peoples” were an “outstanding characteristic” of German historicism. Ibid. Arendt did not use “historicism” to refer only the institutionalized German academic discourses normally associated with the term—she collected Hegel and theorists of decline such as Oswald Spengler under the rubric—her usage fits into a pattern of misappropriations by émigrés in the 1940s seeking to explain Nazism and Stalinism, Karl Popper being the most prominent example. See Karl R. Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, vol. 1, The Spell of Plato, 1st edn (London, 1945).

39 Arendt, “What Is Existential Philosophy?”, 171.

40 Husserl was the key figure she referred to. Arendt, “What Is Existential Philosophy?”, 165. For an excellent survey of Husserl and early phenomenology see Moran, Dermot, Edmund Husserl: Founder of Phenomenology (Cambridge, 2005).

41 Arendt, “What Is Existential Philosophy?”, 166. For more on the issue of secularization in Arendt's thought see Moyn, Samuel, “Hannah Arendt on the Secular”, New German Critique, 35/3 (2008), 7196; Brient, Elizabeth, “Hans Blumenberg and Hannah Arendt on the ‘Unworldly Worldliness’ of the Modern Age”, Journal of the History of Ideas, 61/3 (2000), 513–30.

42 Arendt, “What Is Existential Philosophy?”, 177.

43 Ibid., 187 n. 2. Arendt praised Karl Jaspers's existential theory of “communication” as an alternative to Heidegger's philosophy; ibid., 174.

44 Arendt, “What Is Existential Philosophy?”, n2, 187.

45 Arendt was referring to Sartre's Being and Nothingness (1943). Sartre had used Henri Corbin's translations of Heidegger, which translated Heidegger's Dasein in somewhat anthropocentric and individualist terms as réalité-humaine. Sartre, Jean-Paul, Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology, ed. Warnock, , trans. Hazel E. Barnes (London, 1943); see Kleinberg, Generation Existential, 124, 70, 112–14; Geroulanos, Stefanos, An Atheism That Is Not Humanist Emerges in French Thought (Stanford, CA, 2010), 53; Rabinbach, “Heidegger's ‘Letter on Humanism’ as Text and Event”.

46 Arendt, Origins, 327–31, 442.

47 Ibid., 331.

48 Letter, Martin Heidegger to Hannah Arendt, 6 May 1950, in Ludz, Ursula, ed., Letters: 1925–1975, Hannah Arendt & Martin Heidegger, trans. Shields, Andrew (San Diego, 2004), 85.

49 Arendt, Hannah, Denktagebuch: 1950–1973, vol. 1 (Munich, 2002), 5–7. For commentary on this see Berkowitz, “Bearing Logs on Our Shoulders”.

50 Arendt, Denktagebuch, 7.

51 This refusal was encapsulated in her claim that totalitarianism presented a “radical evil” that could not be understood through conventional moral categories. Arendt, Origins, 459; Arendt, , “[The Origins of Totalitarianism]: A Reply”, Review of Politics, 15/1 (1953), 7684, 78; Young-Bruehl, Hannah Arendt, 261.

52 For the phenomenological aspects of Arendt's approach to politics see Vollrath, Ernst, “Hannah Arendt and the Method of Political Thinking”, Social Research, 44/1 (1977), 160–82;Hinchman, Lewis P. and Hinchman, Sandra K., “In Heidegger's Shadow: Hannah Arendt's Phenomenological Humanism”, Review of Politics, 46/2 (1984), 183211.

53 Arendt, “[The Origins of Totalitarianism]: A Reply”, 78.

54 Ibid., 81.

55 Benjamin's “Theses” would later be published in a volume introduced and edited by Arendt. See Benjamin, Walter, Illuminations: Essays and Reflections, ed. Arendt, Hannah (New York, 1968). For Benjamin's influence on Arendt in general see Curthoys, Ned, “Hannah Arendt and the Politics of Narrative”, Journal of Narrative Theory, 32/3 (2002), 348–70; Evers, Kai, “The Holes of Oblivion: Arendt and Benjamin on Storytelling in the Age of Totalitarian Destruction”, Telos, 132 (2005), 109–20; Herzog, “Illuminating Inheritance”.

56 Arendt, “[The Origins of Totalitarianism]: A Reply”, 78.

57 Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History”, in Benjamin, Illuminations, 253–67, 263.

58 In a short review of an introduction to Wilhelm Dilthey in 1945, Arendt had cautiously praised the method of empathetic projection found in German idealist historiography. Hannah Arendt, “Dilthey as Philosopher and Historian”, in Arendt, Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954, 136–9, 137. For German historical practice in the early twentieth century see Bambach, Charles R., Heidegger, Dilthey and the Crisis of Historicism (Ithaca; London, 1995); Iggers, George G., “Historicism: The History and Meaning of the Term”, Journal of the History of Ideas, 56/1 (1995), 129–52; Loader, Colin T., “German Historicism and Its Crisis”, Journal of Modern History, 48/3 (1976), 85119.

59 Arendt, “[The Origins of Totalitarianism]: A Reply”, 77

60 Arendt, “What Is Existential Philosophy?”, 164.

61 Arendt, “[The Origins of Totalitarianism]: A Reply”, 80.

62 Voegelin had had a piece on the intellectual origins of Marxism published in Review of Politics three years before. Voegelin, Eric, “The Formation of the Marxian Revolutionary Idea”, Review of Politics, 12/3 (1950), 275–302.

63 Arendt, “[The Origins of Totalitarianism]: A Reply”, 81; Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History”, 263.

64 Arendt, “[The Origins of Totalitarianism]: A Reply”, 81.

65 Arendt, “Understanding and Politics”, 307.

66 Ibid., 320. For more on Arendt's “events” see Seyla Benhabib, “Introduction”, in Benhabib, Politics in Dark Times, 1–14, 5.

67 Arendt, “Understanding and Politics”, 320; Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History”, 261.

68 Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History”, 263.

69 Annabel Herzog has suggested that Arendt's reluctance to draw on Benjamin explicitly was due to her assessment of him as fundamentally “apolitical”. Herzog, “Illuminating Inheritance”, 20. It was likely just as much to do with the Marxist aspects of his “Theses”. For more on Benjamin's Marxism see Michael Löwy, Fire Alarm: Reading Walter Benjamin's “On the Concept of History”, trans. Chris Turner (2005), 17–106.

70 Arendt, “Understanding and Politics”, 308.

71 Arendt, Hannah, “From Hegel to Marx”, in Arendt, The Promise of Politics, ed. Kohn, Jerome (New York, 2005), 75; Arendt to H. A. Moe, 29 Jan. 1953, LoC/Washington, Box 22, 012641. For a detailed summary of Arendt's plans for “Totalitarian Elements of Marxism” see Canovan, A Reinterpretation, 63–99.

72 In June 1949 Arendt wrote to Jaspers noting that if an American intellectual was “at odds with Sartre, whom he can't fit into the formulae Stalinist versus anti-Stalinist”, he would invariably declare that Sartre was “a reluctant Stalinist”. Sartre was attempting at the time, with little success, to establish a “third way” between the United States and the Soviet Union through a democratic socialist anti-war grouping named Rassemblement démocratique révolutionnaire (RDR). Hannah Arendt to Karl Jaspers, 3 June 1949, in Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers: Correspondence, 136–7; Isaac, Arendt, Camus and Modern Rebellion, 181–2; Wilkinson, James D., The Intellectual Resistance in Europe (Cambridge, MA, 1981), 101–2.

73 Arendt to Karl Jaspers, 3 June 1949, 137.

74 Arendt, Hannah, “Karl Marx and the Tradition of Western Political Thought”, Social Research, 69/2 (2002), 273319, 275. See, for example, Talmon, J. L., The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy (London, 1951); Talmon, Utopianism and Politics (London, 1957); Popper, Karl R., The Open Society and Its Enemies, vol. 2, The High Tide of Prophecy: Hegel, Marx and the Aftermath (London, 1947), 2.

75 Arendt, “Karl Marx and the Tradition of Western Political Thought”, 277.

76 See Canovan, A Reinterpretation, 63–98.

77 Arendt, Origins, 145. See also Arendt, “Expansion and the Philosophy of Power”.

78 Arendt, “Karl Marx and the Tradition”, 284–91; Arendt, “Ideology and Terror: A Novel Form of Government”, Review of Politics, 15/3 (1953), 323–4; this account was the backdrop to her later political philosophy. See, for example, Arendt, Human Condition, xiii–xiv. For Arendt's emphasis on the Reformation as a foundational moment for modernity see ibid., 66, 248. See also Arendt, , “Society and Culture”, Daedalus, 89/2 (1960), 278–87, 281–2; Arendt, “Tradition and the Modern Age”; Arendt, On Revolution, 22–3, 62–3, 121. For Marx's account of primitive accumulation see Marx, Karl, Capital, vol. 1, A Critique of Political Economy, ed. Engels, Friedrich (London, 1992), 873940.

79 Hannah Arendt, “From Hegel to Marx”, in Arendt, The Promise of Politics, 70–80, 79–80.

80 Arendt, “Karl Marx and the Tradition”, 311.

81 For a useful overview of this trend see Poster, Mark, Existentialist Marxism in Post-war France: From Sartre to Althusser (Princeton, NJ, 1975), 42, 51, 59.

83 Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, Humanisme et terreur: Essai sur le problème communiste (Paris, 1947), 101.

85 Letter, Arendt to Jaspers, 4 March 1951, in Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers: Correspondence, 168; Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich, Marx–Engels Gesamtausgabe, vol. 1 (Berlin, 1932), 266.

86 Hannah Arendt, “Project: Totalitarian Elements in Marxism” (1951), LoC/Washington, Box 64; Arendt, “Karl Marx and the Tradition”, 283–6, 309; Arendt, “Socrates”, in Arendt, The Promise of Politics, 5–39, 37–8. Arendt drew especially on the section “Independence and Dependence Of Self-Consciousness: Lordship and Bondage”, in Hegel, G. W. F., Phenomenology of Spirit (Oxford, 1977), 111–19.

87 For a highly critical Marxist response to Arendt's reading in The Human Condition see Suchting, W. A., “Marx and Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition”, Ethics, 73/1 (1962), 4755; see also Martin Jay, “The Political Existentialism of Hannah Arendt”, in Jay, Permanent Exiles: Essays on the Intellectual Migration from Germany to America (1996), 237–56, 245–7; Parekh, “Hannah Arendt's Critique of Marx”.

88 Hannah Arendt, “Religion and Politics”, in Arendt, Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954, 368–90, 377. For Arendt's take on Engels's “scientific” interpretation of Marx see Arendt, , “The Great Tradition I. Law and Power”, Social Research, 74/3 (2007), 713–26, 720. The texts Arendt drew on were Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich, “Socialism: Utopian and Scientific”, in Marx and Engels, Selected Works, ed. Dutt, Clemens Palme and Adoratskiĭ, Vladimir Viktorovich (New York, 1936), 291–2; Engels, Friedrich, Anti-Dühring: Herr Eugen Dühring's Revolution in Science (New York, 1935).

89 Poster, Existentialist Marxism, 57–71.

90 Arendt, Human Condition, 79–80.

91 Arendt, “Religion and Politics”, 376.

92 Arendt, “Understanding and Politics”, 287.

93 Young-Bruehl, Hannah Arendt, 281.

94 Arendt, “Understanding and Politics”, 322.

95 For Arendt's views on progress in the context of Jewish history see Arendt, Hannah, “The Moral of History”, in Arendt, The Jewish Writings, ed. Kohn, Jerome and Feldman, Ron H. (New York, 2007), 312–16, 313–14

96 In a letter to Jaspers, Arendt wrote, “I cling fanatically to hope for a united Europe”. Hannah Arendt to Karl Jaspers, 4 Oct. 1950, in Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers: Correspondence, 157. For Arendt's thought on international relations see Owens, Between War and Politics; see also Lang, Anthony F. Jr and Williams, John, eds., Hannah Arendt and International Relations: Readings across the Lines (New York, 2005). For Kant's cosmopolitanism see Kant, Immanuel, “Perpetual Peace”, in Beck, Lewis White, ed., Kant: On History (Indianapolis, 1963); Bohman, James and Lutz-Bachmann, Matthias, eds., Perpetual Peace: Essays on Kant's Cosmopolitan Ideal, (Cambridge, MA, 1997).

97 Arendt, Origins, 436. For a brief discussion of this see Tsao, Roy T., “Arendt and the Modern State: Variations on Hegel in the Origins of Totalitarianism”, Review of Politics, 66/1 (2004), 105–38, 132.

98 She feared that a globally organized humanity might choose to democratically “liquidate” certain groups. See Origins, 299.

99 Arendt, “From Hegel to Marx”; Arendt, “The Impact of Marx”, LoC/Washington; Arendt, “Karl Marx and the Tradition of Western Political Thought”, 282–3.

100 Arendt, “From Hegel to Marx”, 76. For the “cunning of reason” see F Hegel, G. W., Lectures on the Philosophy of World History: Introduction, Reason in History, ed. Duncan Forbes, trans. Nisbet, H. B. (Cambridge, 1975), 89. For a discussion of the relationship between reason and history in Hegel see Taylor, Charles, Hegel (Cambridge, 1977), 389428.

101 Arendt, “From Hegel to Marx”, 76.

102 Kojève, Alexandre, Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit, ed. Bloom, Allan, trans. Nichols, James H. (Ithaca, NY, 1969), 37. Ethan Kleinberg has examined Kojève's reading of Hegel in the context of the development of French existential philosophy; see Kleinberg, Generation Existential, 57, 74, 79.

103 Humanisme et terreur comprised essays published between 1946 and 1947 in Les temps modernes. See Carman, Taylor, Merleau-Ponty (New York, 2008), 152. For discussions of the philosophical context see Geroulanos, An Atheism, 215–79; Rabinbach, “Heidegger's ‘Letter on Humanism’ as Text and Event”, 121; Poster, Existentialist Marxism, 159.

104 Carman, Merleau-Ponty, 161–2; Merleau-Ponty, Humanisme et terreur, 153.

105 Merleau-Ponty, Humanisme et terreur, 109.

106 Ibid., 1.

107 Ibid., 102.

108 First published in 1953, “Ideology and Terror” was added to the first German edition of Origins (1955), and then to the second English-language edition, published in 1957. For a discussion of the piece and its relation to Origins see Tsao, “The Three Phases of Arendt's Theory of Totalitarianism”, 604–12.

109 Arendt, “Ideology and Terror”, 326–7.

110 For Marx's account of ideology see Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich, The German Ideology, ed. Arthur, C. J. (London, 2004). For a study of the Frankfurt school's varied uses of ideology see Geuss, Raymond, The Idea of a Critical Theory: Habermas and the Frankfurt School (Cambridge, 1981).

111 Arendt, “Ideology and Terror”, 318.

112 Hannah Arendt, “The Eggs Speak Up”, in Arendt, Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954, 270–84, 283.

113 Hannah Arendt, “Mankind and Terror”, in Arendt, Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954, 297–306, 302–3; Hannah Arendt, “The Ex-communists”, in Arendt, Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954, 391–400, 394–6.

114 Arendt, “Ideology and Terror”, 318, 322–3.

115 Hannah Arendt, “The Aftermath of Nazi Rule: Report from Germany”, in Arendt, Essays in Understanding, 1930–1954, 248–69, 271.

116 She used the example of the American communist and Soviet spy turned anti-communist, Whittaker Chambers. Arendt, “The Ex-communists”, 392.

117 Arendt, “The Eggs Speak Up”, 278.

118 Arendt, “Home to Roost”; Hannah Arendt, “Lying in Politics”, in Arendt, Crises of the Republic (New York, 1972), 3–47, 18, 45–6.

119 Merleau-Ponty, Humanisme et terreur, 165, 153.

120 Hannah Arendt to Heinrich Blücher, 1 May 1952, in Kohler, Lotte, ed., Within Four Walls: The Correspondence between Hannah Arendt and Heinrich Blücher, 1936–1968 (New York, 2000), 162.

121 Arendt, “Concern with Politics”, 438.

122 Ibid., 439.

123 Ronald Aronson, Camus & Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel That Ended It (2004), 1–8.

124 Arendt had referred to Camus in 1946 as “the best man in Europe”, with “great political insight”. Hannah Arendt to Karl Jaspers, 11 Nov. 1946, in Hannah Arendt and Karl Jaspers: Correspondence, 66. In 1952 Arendt sent Camus a letter of support during the controversy over The Rebel, and, in a letter to her husband, pointedly described him as “the best man now in France. He's head and shoulders above the other intellectuals”. Arendt to Heinrich Blücher, 1 May 1952, 162.

125 Arendt differentiated between “Marxists” concerned with alienation and Soviet totalitarians, who sought to make man a “labouring animal” to overcome alienation. Arendt, “Concern with Politics”, 438–9.

126 Ibid., 438.

127 Ibid.

128 Ibid., 440.

129 Ibid., 437.

130 Ibid., 430; For a discussion of pre-war French interest in Hegel see Kelly, Michael, “Hegel in France to 1940: A Bibliographical Essay”, Journal of European Studies, 11/41 (1981), 2952.

131 Arendt, “From Hegel to Marx”, 76.

132 Arendt's library at Bard College contains two heavily annotated copies of Phenomenology of Spirit, in which she places particular emphasis on the sections describing the tragic ethical conflicts found in Antigone. For a discussion of the connections between Arendt and Hegel on tragic narrative see Speight, Allen, “Arendt and Hegel on the Tragic Nature of Action”, Philosophy & Social Criticism, 28/5 (2001), 523–36; see also Kateb, George, Hannah Arendt, Politics, Conscience, Evil (Oxford, 1984), 44 n. 2; Fine, Political Investigations.

133 Hannah Arendt, ‘M. Merleau-Ponty, Humanisme et Terreur’ (1957), Arendt Papers, Box 83, ms. 025300.

134 Arendt, “Concern with Politics”, 430.

135 Ibid., 444.

136 Arendt, “From Hegel to Marx”, 76; Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of World History, 52.

137 Arendt noted that even when the French existentialists adopted Heidegger's notion of Geschichtlichkeit, or “historicity”, they granted it a “much stronger Hegelian flavour” that involved a regress to the older “modern concept of history” exemplified by Marx and Hegel. Arendt, “Concern with Politics”, 433.

138 Ibid., 444.

139 Arendt, “[The Origins of Totalitarianism]: A Reply”, 83.

140 Arendt, “Tradition and the Modern Age”, 21; Arendt, “Karl Marx and the Tradition of Western Political Thought”, 287; Arendt, “Religion and Politics”, 375.

141 Hannah Arendt, Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy (Chicago, 1992). See also her writings collected in Arendt, Responsibility and Judgment. There is an enormous literature on Arendt's concept of judgement. See Marshall, David L., “The Origin and Character of Hannah Arendt's Theory of Judgment”, Political Theory, 38/3 (2010), 367–93; see also Beiner, Ronald and Nedelsky, Jennifer, Judgment, Imagination, and Politics: Themes from Kant and Arendt (Lanham, MD, 2001); Benhabib, Seyla, “Judgment and the Moral Foundations of Politics in Arendt's Thought”, Political Theory, 16/1 (1988), 2951; Deutscher, Max, Judgment after Arendt (Aldershot, 2007); Garsten, Bryan, “The Elusiveness of Arendtian Judgment”, Social Research, 74/4 (2007), 10711108.

142 Pitkin has pointed to a “deep tacit parallelism” between the two. Pitkin, Hanna Fenichel, The Attack of the Blob: Hannah Arendt's Concept of the Social (London, 1998), 140.

143 Arendt, “Karl Marx and the Tradition of Western Political Thought”, 295.

144 For a recent discussion of Arendt's elitism see Brunkhorst, Hauke, “Equality and Elitism in Arendt”, in Villa, Dana, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Hannah Arendt (Cambridge, 2000), 178–98, 196.

145 Martin Jay's criticisms still stand out in this respect. See Martin Jay and Leon Botstein, “Hannah Arendt: Opposing Views”, Partisan Review, 45/3 (1978), 348–68; Jay's critique of Arendt on action and violence has been criticized for its emphasis on existentialism and claim that she employs a vaguely Schmittian decisionism. See Canovan, A Reinterpretation, 131.

146 Arendt, On Violence, 12–13, 20–21, 89–91. See Curthoys, “The Refractory Legacy of Algerian Decolonization: Revisiting Arendt on Violence”; Frazer, Elizabeth and Hutchings, Kimberley, “On Politics and Violence: Arendt contra Fanon”, Contemporary Political Theory, 7/1 (2008), 90–108; Breen, Keith, “Violence and Power: A Critique of Hannah Arendt on ‘The Political’”, Philosophy & Social Criticism, 33/3 (2007), 343–72.

147 Arendt, On Revolution, 12–21, 84–8, 114–15; Arendt, “Tradition and the Modern Age”, 22–4; Arendt, “What Is Authority?”, in Arendt, Between Past and Future: Eight Exercises in Political Thought (New York, 2006) 102–11; Arendt, Human Condition, 263, 26–7.

148 Arendt, On Violence, 89–90.

149 Hannah Arendt, “Breakdown of Authority” (lecture notes) (1953), LoC/Washington, Box 72; Arendt, Hannah, “Authority in the Twentieth Century”, Review of Politics, 18/4 (1956), 403–17; Arendt, “What Is Authority?”. See also Derrida, Jacques, “Force of Law: The Mystical Foundation of Authority”, Cardozo Law Review, 11 (1990), 920–1045, 919; Honig, Bonnie, Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics (New York, 1993).

150 The slaying of Remus by Romulus in the Roman myth of founding, for example. See Jay, “The Political Existentialism of Hannah Arendt”, 248.

151 Shklar, Judith N., “Rethinking the Past”, Social Research, 44/1 (1977), 80–90, 8081.

* For their comments on earlier drafts of this article, I would like to thank Ronald Beiner, Melissa Lane, Samuel Moyn, Christopher Ro, Martin Ruehl and the anonymous readers for Modern Intellectual History. I have also benefited from numerous discussions with Giovanni Menegalle.

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Modern Intellectual History
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