hits counter Thinking Without a Banister: Essays in Understanding, 1953-1975 - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Thinking Without a Banister: Essays in Understanding, 1953-1975

Availability: Ready to download

From one of the most significant political theorists of the twentieth century—a collection of essays, lectures, speeches, reviews, and interviews published in the last twenty years of her life, but never, until now, compiled in book form. Beginning in 1951 with the publication of Origins of Totalitarianism, until her death in 1975, Hannah Arendt wrote all of her seminal wor From one of the most significant political theorists of the twentieth century—a collection of essays, lectures, speeches, reviews, and interviews published in the last twenty years of her life, but never, until now, compiled in book form. Beginning in 1951 with the publication of Origins of Totalitarianism, until her death in 1975, Hannah Arendt wrote all of her seminal works, including The Human Condition, Eichmann in Jerusalem, On Revolution, and The Life of the Mind. At the same time, she was contributing essays, reviews, and editorials to numerous publications and participating in recorded conversations, interviews, and public discussions. Now, for the first time, these various shorter texts—all of them published within her lifetime—are gathered together in a single volume that makes clear the remarkable range of her preoccupations and passions.  EDITED AND WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY JEROME KOHN 


Compare

From one of the most significant political theorists of the twentieth century—a collection of essays, lectures, speeches, reviews, and interviews published in the last twenty years of her life, but never, until now, compiled in book form. Beginning in 1951 with the publication of Origins of Totalitarianism, until her death in 1975, Hannah Arendt wrote all of her seminal wor From one of the most significant political theorists of the twentieth century—a collection of essays, lectures, speeches, reviews, and interviews published in the last twenty years of her life, but never, until now, compiled in book form. Beginning in 1951 with the publication of Origins of Totalitarianism, until her death in 1975, Hannah Arendt wrote all of her seminal works, including The Human Condition, Eichmann in Jerusalem, On Revolution, and The Life of the Mind. At the same time, she was contributing essays, reviews, and editorials to numerous publications and participating in recorded conversations, interviews, and public discussions. Now, for the first time, these various shorter texts—all of them published within her lifetime—are gathered together in a single volume that makes clear the remarkable range of her preoccupations and passions.  EDITED AND WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY JEROME KOHN 

30 review for Thinking Without a Banister: Essays in Understanding, 1953-1975

  1. 4 out of 5

    robin friedman

    A Thinker Of Independence And Freedom The American philosopher Richard Bernstein's short recent book "Why Read Hannah Arendt Now" makes a compelling case for the continued importance of Hannah Arendt (1906 -- 1975). Bernstein wrote in summarizing the importance of Arendt's work: "The task she set herself is now our task -- to bear the burden of our century and neither to deny its existence nor submit meekly to its weight. Arendt should be read today because she was so perceptive in comprehending t A Thinker Of Independence And Freedom The American philosopher Richard Bernstein's short recent book "Why Read Hannah Arendt Now" makes a compelling case for the continued importance of Hannah Arendt (1906 -- 1975). Bernstein wrote in summarizing the importance of Arendt's work: "The task she set herself is now our task -- to bear the burden of our century and neither to deny its existence nor submit meekly to its weight. Arendt should be read today because she was so perceptive in comprehending the dangers that still confront us and warned us about becoming indifferent or cynical. She urged us to take responsibility for our political destinies. She taught us that we have the capacity to act in concert, to initiate, to begin, to strive to make freedom a worldly reality." (Bernstein, 120 --121) Bernstein's study moved me to revisit Arendt in her own words in this new (2018) collection of her writings "Thinking Without a Banister: Essays in Understanding 1953 -- 1975" edited and introduced by the noted Arendt scholar, Jerome Kohn. This book is lengthy and difficult and includes many selections from essays, reviews, interviews, and notes. Some of the content will be familiar to students of Arendt but much of the material is made available in this book for the first time. The book can be read as offering Arendt's own running commentary on her work and thought from 1953 until her death. The first thing I relearned from this book was the difference between reading a summary of a philosopher's thought, even one that is unusually succinct and well-informed, and struggling with the thinker's own words. While Bernstein brought me to read Arendt, the selections in this book give a much broader and deeper view of her concerns than any introduction could do. Arendt's writing is also extremely difficult to follow, particularly for readers more comfortable with the style of philosophical or political writing practiced in the United States during most of the second half of the twentieth century. Another important matter I learned from this book is that Arendt didn't teach any doctrine or system. She would describe herself as a thinker more than as a systematic philosopher. Readers looking for a political philosophy on the lines of John Rawls' famous book "A Theory of Justice", for example, will not find it in Arendt. I also think that reading Arendt out of concern for a particular political leader for whom one may have a well-founded dislike, such as President Trump, may have some benefit but is mostly misguided. Arendt wrote a great deal about political issues of her day and her opinions often provoked controversy. But as stated many times in this book, her main goal was to encourage independence of thought and to get her readers to think for themselves. The title of this book says a great deal. The title suggests that Arendt shared the non-foundational character of, for example, American pragmatism, but it goes further. In a 1972 academic conference devoted to her work in which she actively participated, Arendt described her approach as "thinking without a banister". She explained: "as you go up and down the stairs you can always hold on to the banister so you don't fall down. But we have lost this banister. That is the way I tell it to myself. And that is indeed what I try to do". (p. 473) Arendt was referring to the "death of metaphysics" and the end of certitudes based upon philosophy or religion that she learned from, among other places, her teacher Martin Heidegger as indicated in her famous essay, included in this volume, "Heidegger at Eighty". With the end of theological support for political or other thought, especially the demise of belief in Hell, Arendt believed serious thinkers needed to fall back upon themselves and their own experiences. It takes some time in this book to get a sense of the relationship between Arendt's political and her more broadly philosophical thought. I think she saw herself as disengaged from politics and from political activism in favor of a contemplative, solitary life of reflection. She thought this type of reflection was important for understanding politics and for forming independent and thoughtful judgment basic to the life of freedom. Arendt found thought basically a lonely activity but she thought of politics as the essence of communal activity and as a place for the development of human freedom. In politics, citizens developed their views, which could be markedly different from one another's and worked to reach understanding and a course of action. The life of free individuals took place in the political sphere. Arendt found the life of freedom a rare thing in human history and always under threat. She took her understanding of human freedom primarily from her beloved ancient Greeks and their polis. But she found it elsewhere as well. I was deeply impressed in reading this book by the love this emigre highly Germanic thinker developed for her adopted country, the United States. In many places in this collection, Arendt discusses with great insight the American Revolution and the formation of American Constitutionalism. She repeatedly compares the American Revolution and the State and Federal constitutional development with the broader but ultimately failed and bloodbath revolution in France and elsewhere. She found that with their economic and educational success, the colonists could make a successful revolution that did not necessarily involve the need to overcome pervasive and rampant poverty, in contrast to the situation in France. Arendt has many praiseworthy and insightful things to say about two of the Founders: John Adams and to a slightly lesser extent Thomas Jefferson. There is much to be learned both from Arendt's love for the United States and from her discussions of American constitutionalism. I found Arendt a wonderfully independent free-spirited mind who will repay reading now or at any time. I was grateful to Bernstein's book for returning me to explore Arendt's own writings. Arendt can be deeply exasperating, but there is much to be learned and treasured from engaging with her work. Robin Friedman

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amber Manning

    I always like Arendt but this collection is so much more accessible than her other stuff that I really enjoyed reading it for fun. Some of the essays are from lectures, some are transcripts of speeches, some are responses to other authors, and some are just essays; I like seeing her transition for different genres without ever losing what makes her genuinely Arendt (although I suspect she'd hate that statement). The very short "On the Human Condition" coalesces some of her more erudite and tange I always like Arendt but this collection is so much more accessible than her other stuff that I really enjoyed reading it for fun. Some of the essays are from lectures, some are transcripts of speeches, some are responses to other authors, and some are just essays; I like seeing her transition for different genres without ever losing what makes her genuinely Arendt (although I suspect she'd hate that statement). The very short "On the Human Condition" coalesces some of her more erudite and tangential work on memory in a way that made sense to me. The best part of this book is, in my opinion, her tribute to Auden because she manages to show genuine love for him without fawning over a constructed fantasy of the man. She writes, of her friend, "His confidence never left him, because it was not acquired by comparison with others, or by winning a race in competition; it was natural--interconnected, but not identical, with his enormous ability to do with language, and do quickly, whatever he pleased" (527). I wonder if in some way, she's also saying as much about herself...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Antonio Delgado

    Arguably, Arendt is one of the greatest thinkers. This second volume to Essays in Undertaking , mostly with unpublished work, expands our critical thinking and reminds us how dangerous and necessary the task of thinking is. Its publication comes at a particular moment when lies and not thinking are a threat, again, to humanity.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    I guess I just really don't like philosophy. Nothing is succinct. Each of these essays could have been pages shorter and the point still would have gotten across. I feel like this whenever I have to real philosophy. I'm impatient and was very bored. I guess I just really don't like philosophy. Nothing is succinct. Each of these essays could have been pages shorter and the point still would have gotten across. I feel like this whenever I have to real philosophy. I'm impatient and was very bored.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Linda Brunner

    I became interested in Ms. Arendt's work after seeing a film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDO5u... about her. She was a German Jew/intellectual that lived in Europe during the war for the most part although at one point escaped to France and was thrown into a camp there later escaping to the U.S. I was especially interested in her essays on freedom and the abuses of power given her history so I cherry picked through the book. Here a question and answer during a 1973 interview that has timeles I became interested in Ms. Arendt's work after seeing a film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDO5u... about her. She was a German Jew/intellectual that lived in Europe during the war for the most part although at one point escaped to France and was thrown into a camp there later escaping to the U.S. I was especially interested in her essays on freedom and the abuses of power given her history so I cherry picked through the book. Here a question and answer during a 1973 interview that has timeless relevance: Errara: Why do you think we are seeing the emergence of a whole literature that, when it comes to Nazism, for instance, often describes its leaders and their crimes in a novelistic way and tries to humanize them, and thereby indirectly to justify them? Do you think that publications of this kind are purely commercial, or do they have a deeper significance. Arendt: I think this literature has the significance that it shows what happens once can happen again, and this, I believe, is entirely true. Look here, tyranny was discovered very early in human history, and identified very early as inimical to political life. Still, it has never in any way prevented a tyrant from becoming a tyrant. It did not prevent Nero, and it did not prevent Caligula. And the cases of Nero and Caligula have not prevented a much nearer example of what the massive intrusion of criminality into political processes means for human life.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    Hannah Arendt's brilliance is obvious and well-known, especially following her monumental work, "The Origins of Totalitarianism." This collection of essays -- some long, some quite brief -- ranges widely over her published material following that seminal work's publication. As is the case in all such collections, some essays are really fascinating while others -- either because of my personal preferences or, in some cases, because they are now quite dated -- less so. Arendt was one of the prophets Hannah Arendt's brilliance is obvious and well-known, especially following her monumental work, "The Origins of Totalitarianism." This collection of essays -- some long, some quite brief -- ranges widely over her published material following that seminal work's publication. As is the case in all such collections, some essays are really fascinating while others -- either because of my personal preferences or, in some cases, because they are now quite dated -- less so. Arendt was one of the prophets of our time, and she well knew -- as we have apparently forgotten -- that the impulses leading to the rise of demagogues, and the eagerness of many citizens to welcome them are hardly limited to just "some kinds" of countries, let alone to "the past." Their danger is ever-present, as our world is sadly learning anew.

  7. 4 out of 5

    'Izzat Radzi

    Some of the essay I disagree with her leaning (or not leaning to) like on the topic of Cold War and Nuclear. Some other is in dire need of more readings. I skipped one essay (The Possessed) as I haven't read it from Dostoevsky Some of the essay I disagree with her leaning (or not leaning to) like on the topic of Cold War and Nuclear. Some other is in dire need of more readings. I skipped one essay (The Possessed) as I haven't read it from Dostoevsky

  8. 4 out of 5

    Harriet Brown

    Thinking Without a Banister Thinking Without a Banister by Hannah Arendt is a magnificent book. She was a Great Philosopher. I highly recommend this book

  9. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    Read selections to get the flavor of Arendt's writing and lecture style. Read selections to get the flavor of Arendt's writing and lecture style.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Robert Bob

    Simple fact : People no longer believe in "hell" It's certainly one of the most decisive changes of the 20th century Simple fact : People no longer believe in "hell" It's certainly one of the most decisive changes of the 20th century

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sandra von Siebenthal

    Das vorliegende Buch beinhaltet zentrale Texte aus Hannah Arendts Schriften sowie Auszüge aus Briefen zu Themen, die Hannah Arendt bewegten und ihre Auseinandersetzung damit zeigen. Das Buch bietet damit eine Einführung in zentrale Gedankengänge, offenbart die klare Strukturiertheit von Hannah Arendts Denken und ihre Genauigkeit bei der Analyse von Zusammenhängen und Verwendung von Begriffen. Denken ohne Geländer ist in fünf Teile gegliedert, von denen der erste die Philosophie allgemein behandel Das vorliegende Buch beinhaltet zentrale Texte aus Hannah Arendts Schriften sowie Auszüge aus Briefen zu Themen, die Hannah Arendt bewegten und ihre Auseinandersetzung damit zeigen. Das Buch bietet damit eine Einführung in zentrale Gedankengänge, offenbart die klare Strukturiertheit von Hannah Arendts Denken und ihre Genauigkeit bei der Analyse von Zusammenhängen und Verwendung von Begriffen. Denken ohne Geländer ist in fünf Teile gegliedert, von denen der erste die Philosophie allgemein behandelt. Es werden Fragen behandelt wie wo wir sind, wenn wir denken, was Denken überhaupt ist und wie es mit der Sprache zusammenhängt. "„Wer das Tiefste gedacht, liebt das Lebendigste“ – weil Denken Lebendigsein ist, so wie Arbeiten Leben ist. Arbeiten – Denken – Lieben sind die drei Modi des schieren Lebens, aus denen nie eine Welt entstehen kann und die daher eigentlich welt-feindlich, anti-politisch sind." Der zweite Teil ist Arendts politischem Denken gewidmet. Der historische Sinn des Politischen liegt, so Arendt, in der Freiheit. Der Staat als Gewaltmonopol ist dazu legitimiert, dieses zu nutzen um dieselbe für seine Bürger zu gewähren – als ein Nicht-beherrscht-Werden und Nicht-Herrschen. In der Gegenwart stellt sich allerdings eher die Frage, ob Politik überhaupt noch Sinn ergebe, was den Erfahrungen von Totalitarismus und Terror geschuldet sei. Die Auseinandersetzung mit den Begriffen Macht, Stärke, Gewalt, Kraft und Terror zeigen Arendts Wertlegung auf präzise Begrifflichkeiten. "Nirgends tritt das selbstzerstörerische Element, das dem Sieg der Gewalt über die Macht innewohnt, schärfer zutage als in der Terrorherrschaft, über deren unheimliche Erfolge und schliessliches Scheitern wir vielleicht besser Bescheid wissen als irgendeine Zeit vor uns. Terror und Gewalt sind nicht dasselbe. Die Terrorherrschaft löst eine Gewaltherrschaft ab, und zwar in den, wie wir wissen, nicht seltenen Fällen, in denen die Gewalt nach Vernichtung aller Gegner nicht abdankt." Der dritte Teil über das politische Handeln widmet sich hauptsächlich der jüdischen Geschichte, der jüdischen Armee, dem Kampf gegen den Antisemitismus und der Eichmann-Kontroverse. Daneben findet sich ihr Artikel zu Little Rock, der Frage nach des gleichberechtigten Schulbesuchs von schwarzen und weissen Kindern in einer Schule in den USA. Im vierten Teil finden sich Texte über die Situation des Menschen und das, was den Menschen als solchen ausmacht an Fühlen und Handeln. Lebensthemen wie die Liebe, Treue, Schmerz und das Alter werden feinfühlig und durchdacht behandelt. "…für die Meinung, dass nur die Liebe die Macht hat zu vergeben, spricht immerhin, dass die Liebe so ausschliesslich auf das Wer-jemand-ist sich richtet, dass sie geneigt sein wird, Vieles und vielleicht Alles zu verzeihen." Den abschliessenden fünften Teil füllen Lebensgeschichten aus. Es finden sich neben Texten zu Rahel Varnhagen, Jaspers und Heidegger Briefausschnitte aus Arendts vielfältigen Briefwechseln mit Heinrich Blücher, Mary McCarthy und Gertrud und Karl Jaspers. "…wie ich auf Deinen Brief gewartet habe, kannst Du Dir gar nicht vorstellen. Das ist das Band, das mir immer wieder klarmacht, dass ich nicht verlorengehen kann. Denn wenn Du nicht da bist, bin ich gleich wieder so verletzbar wie früher." Fazit: Eine breite Zusammenstellung von Texten zu den verschiedensten Themen, die Hannah Arendt in ihrer klaren Art zu denken behandelt hat. Macht Lust auf mehr. Absolut empfehlenswert.

  12. 4 out of 5

    нєνєℓ ¢ανα

    Excellent!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ericpegnam Pegnam

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mupus Maximus

  16. 4 out of 5

    Filipe

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gerardo

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Preston

  20. 4 out of 5

    Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson

  21. 5 out of 5

    Timothy McCluskey

  22. 4 out of 5

    Knopf Books

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gene Bales

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sean Michaelson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rev. Haberer

  26. 4 out of 5

    Samy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

  29. 5 out of 5

    Claire Ziller

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andy C.

    These are old, chronologically, but fresh in terms of insights. Some of the comments on revolution and war in particular are relevant today, even though many were framed in the context of the Cold War, recently passed.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...