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What Hannah Arendt knew about love

The celebrated thinker once wrote that love was the most antipolitical of forces—but she also believed it had the power to change the world

By Peter Salmon  

Arendt would later become famous for her phrase “the banality of evil." Photo: DPA picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

Hannah Arendt was no philosopher—according to Hannah Arendt. She eschewed the title for a number of reasons, not least the failure of philosophy to forewarn against the political times she found herself thrown into, and the moral failure of many of the philosophers with whom she worked and studied. And yet if she is—as she claimed—a political theorist first and foremost, and one who—as others have claimed—is one of the greatest of the 20th century, what is key to her brilliance is precisely that for her, the stakes of her work were human, and the questions to be put,…

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