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This book is the first to tell in detail the story of the passionate and secret love affair between two of the most prominent philosophers of the twentieth century, Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger. Drawing on their previously unknown correspondence, Elzbieta Ettinger describes a relationship that lasted for more than half a century, a relationship that...
This book is the first to tell in detail the story of the passionate and secret love affair between two of the most prominent philosophers of the twentieth century, Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger. Drawing on their previously unknown correspondence, Elzbieta Ettinger describes a relationship that lasted for more than half a century, a relationship that sheds startling light on both individuals, challenging our image of Heidegger as an austere and abstract thinker and of Arendt as a consummately independent and self-assured personality. Arendt and Heidegger met in 1924 at the University of Marburg, when Arendt, an eighteen-year-old German Jew, became a student of Heidegger, a thirty-five-year-old married man. They were lovers for about four years; separated for almost twenty years, during which time Heidegger became a Nazi and Arendt emigrated to the United States and involved herself with issues of political theory and philosophy; resumed their relationship in 1950 and in spite of its complexities remained close friends until Arendt's death in 1975. Ettinger provides engrossing details of this strange and tormented relationship. She shows how Heidegger used Arendt but also influenced her thought, how Arendt struggled to forgive Heidegger for his prominent involvement with the Nazis, and how Heidegger's love for Arendt and fascination with Nazism can be linked to his romantic predisposition. A dramatic love story and a revealing look at the emotional lives of two intellectual giants, the book will fascinate anyone interested in the complexities of the human psyche.
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