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Hannah Arendt: she couldn’t stop chuckling

A new book about Hannah Arendt reveals the playful side of one of the 20th century's most celebrated thinkers

For Hannah Arendt politics was essentially a creative activity in which citizens are free to resolve their differences through negotiation. © Fred Stein/DPA/Press Association Images

At first glance, Marie Luise Knott’s study of Hannah Arendt looks slight, even frivolous. Instead of weighing in on the big Arendtian topics—totalitarianism, revolution and anti-Semitism—Knott prefers to dally with side-issues such as the waywardness of translation, the ambiguity of…

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