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The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Gershom Scholem

Hannah Arendt and Gershom Scholem

The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Gershom Scholem

Hannah Arendt and Gershom Scholem

Translated by Anthony David
336 pages | 18 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2017
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226924519 Published November 2017
E-book $45.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226487618 Published November 2017

Few people thought as deeply or incisively about Germany, Jewish identity, and the Holocaust as Hannah Arendt and Gershom Scholem. And, as this landmark volume reveals, much of that thinking was developed in dialogue, through more than two decades of correspondence.
            Arendt and Scholem met in 1932 in Berlin and quickly bonded over their mutual admiration for and friendship with Walter Benjamin. They began exchanging letters in 1939, and their lively correspondence continued until 1963, when Scholem’s vehement disagreement with Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem led to a rupture that would last until Arendt’s death a dozen years later. The years of their friendship, however, yielded a remarkably rich bounty of letters: together, they try to come to terms with being both German and Jewish, the place and legacy of Germany before and after the Holocaust, the question of what it means to be Jewish in a post-Holocaust world, and more. Walter Benjamin is a constant presence, as his life and tragic death are emblematic of the very questions that preoccupied the pair. Like any collection of letters, however, the book also has its share of lighter moments: accounts of travels, gossipy dinner parties, and the quotidian details that make up life even in the shadow of war and loss.
            In a world that continues to struggle with questions of nationalism, identity, and difference, Arendt and Scholem remain crucial thinkers. This volume offers us a way to see them, and the development of their thought, anew.
 

Contents

Introduction: “Why Have We Been Spared?” by Marie Luise Knott

Part One: The Letters
Part Two: Documents
Hannah Arendt, Five Reports from Germany
Editorial Note
Document One: Field Report No. 12
Document Two: Field Report No. 15
Document Three: Field Report No. 16
Document Four: Field Report No. 18
Document Five: Final Report to the JCR Commission

Editorial Remarks
Acknowledgments
Bibliography
Index of Persons
List of Abbreviations

Review Quotes
Steven E. Aschheim, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, on the German edition
“Now that the full correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Gershom Scholem has finally been published, we can begin to understand the contours and dynamics of a relationship that was always complex. These letters illuminate the historical record by placing into context and documenting not only the profound differences between these powerful personalities but also their commonalities, shared activities, interests, and loyalties.”
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