Hannah Arendt: A Reinterpretation of Her Political Thought

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 24, 1994 - History - 298 pages
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Hannah Arendt is one of the most original and controversial thinkers of the twentieth century, and her work has attracted a great deal of criticism and comment. In this major reevaluation, Margaret Canovan makes extensive use of unpublished material to trace the themes of Arendt's mature thought back to their origins in her concern with Nazism and Stalinism, and shows that Arendt has been widely misunderstood because her writings have not been adequately contextualised. Dr. Canovan sheds new and often surprising light on many of the most controversial areas of Arendt's work, including her theory of totalitarianism itself, the links between The Origins of Totalitarianism and The Human Condition, her theory of action, her puzzling and disturbing comments on 'the social question' and on morality in politics, and many other aspects of her work. Arendt's thought turns out to be more complex and more deeply preoccupied with totalitarianism than is generally recognised, but also, paradoxically, to have greater contemporary relevance than might be expected. Dr. Canovan's reinterpretation strengthens Arendt's claim to be regarded as one of the most significant political thinkers of the twentieth century.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Origins of Totalitarianism
7
Totalitarian Elements in Marxism
63
The Human Condition
99
Morals and politics in a posttotalitarian age
155
A new republicanism
201
Philosophy and politics
253
Conclusion
275
Bibliography
282
Index
293
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About the author (1994)

Margaret Canovan is Emeritus Professor of Political Thought at the University of Keele.

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