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 Arendt’s 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 The essays include previously unpublished and untranslated material drawn from half a century of engagement with the works of European and American authors, poets, journalists, and literary critics,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. Gottlieb’s introduction ties the work together, showing how Arendt developed a form of literary and cultural analysis that is entirely her own.