Unlearning with Hannah Arendt | Granta

Unlearning with Hannah Arendt

Marie Luise Knott

Translated by David Dollenmayer

After observing the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt formulated her controversial concept of the ‘banality of evil’ and asked the question: how can seemingly normal people carry out genocidal acts? She found her answer by focusing on the machinery of Nazi genocide and the organizational capacity of the victims: the Jewish Councils drawing up lists for deportation. The latter proved hugely controversial when the book was first published in serial form in the New Yorker.

Anchoring its discussion in the themes of laughter, translation, forgiveness, and dramatization, this book explores how the iconic political theorist ‘unlearned’ trends and patterns to establish her own theoretical praxis.

  • Published: 06/08/2015
  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781783781133
  • 129x30mm, 192 pages

Reading it is like drinking a very challenging espresso on an empty stomach; it delivers a kick out of all proportion to its size... In this new-old era of religious strife, those words, like many others of Arendt's, have lost none of their potency... Powerful

Marcus Tanner, Independent

Knott presents an uncommonly intimate look at [Arendt's] intellectual processes. Readers...who share Knott's reverence for Arendt will luxuriate in this selection

Booklist

Marie Luise Knott's essays enable the reader to benefit from Arendt, even where you are actually not willing to follow her. It doesn't show her ways of thinking as a fixation of certainties but as a process to dissolve certainties and to systematically forget them

Wolfgang Matz, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The Author

Marie Luise Knott is a journalist, translator, and author living in Berlin. In 1995 she founded the German edition of Le Monde diplomatique and has been its editor-in-chief for the past eleven years. She has written numerous works on art and literature, as well as two important studies of Hannah Arendt.

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The Translator

David Dollenmayer is an emeritus professor of German at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. His translations include works by Rolf Bauerdick, Bertolt Brecht, Elias and Veza Canetti, Peter Stephan Jungk, Michael Kleeberg, Perikles Monioudis, Anna Mitgutsch, Mietek Pemper, and Hansjörg Schertenleib. He is the recipient of the 2008 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize (for Moses Rosenkranz’s Childhood) and the 2010 Translation Prize of the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York (for Michael Köhlmeier’s Idyll with Drowning Dog).

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