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Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess

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3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  64 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
She was, Hannah Arendt wrote, "my closest friend, though she has been dead for some hundred years." Born in Berlin in 1771 as the daughter of a Jewish merchant, Rahel Varnhagen would come to host one of the most prominent salons of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Arendt discovered her writings some time in the mid-1920s, and soon began to reimagine Rahe ...more
Paperback, 388 pages
Published March 2nd 2000 by Johns Hopkins University Press (first published December 1st 1958)
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Sandra Matteotti
Jun 10, 2013 Sandra Matteotti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rahel Varnhagen: Ein Rätsel, ein Monstrum und ein Paradox

"Was mich interessierte, war lediglich, Rahels Lebensgeschichte so nachzuerzählen, wie sie selbst sie hätte erzählen können. Warm sie selbst sich, im Unterschied zu dem, was andere über sie sagten, für ausserordentlich hielt, hat sie in nahezu jeder Epoche ihres Lebens in sich gleichbleibenden Wendungen und Bildern, die alle das umschreiben sollten, was sie unter Schicksal verstand, zum Ausdruck gebracht."

Hannah Arendt erzählt die Lebensg
...more
Aubry
Oct 19, 2011 Aubry rated it really liked it
Was given 3 days to read this book AND write an essay by my grad school professors. Was not thrilled. Surprisingly enough, I finished the book in a day and actually went over the page limit on my essay. Arendt uses Varnhagen's life as a Zionist criticism of Jewish assimilation into German society. She ended up recanting this pov later in life, but the book still stands as a wonderful work--the beginnings of my Arendt obsession.
Philip Jenks
Aug 21, 2008 Philip Jenks rated it it was amazing
underrated.

the wild part, among so much - which hey it's way different than the other arendts - is the dream sequence with its outright rejection of interpreting dreams in "Night and Day" and then right into the most splendid dream interpretation sequence. most innovative of Arendt's? why have mosts?
Mark Valentine
Feb 14, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it really liked it
One of the most unusual biographies I have ever read, Arendt's account of a minor notable in Germany has intrigued me. She wrote most of the manuscript after leaving Nazi Germany without her passport--first fleeing to Paris, then being shipped to Gurs, then escaping the Concentration Camp to Switzerland and obtaining a Visa to the U. S. where she finished the final two chapters and published it in 1958. In other words, it took her nearly 20 years to publish this medium-sized biography.

What made
...more
Pascal Christeller
Jan 07, 2016 Pascal Christeller rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favourite books right now. Beautiful piece of work.
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Hannah Arendt (1906–1975) was one of the most influential political philosophers of the twentieth century. Born into a German-Jewish family, she was forced to leave Germany in 1933 and lived in Paris for the next eight years, working for a number of Jewish refugee organisations. In 1941 she immigrated to the United States and soon became part of a lively intellectual circle in New York. She held a ...more
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“Loving life is easy when you are abroad. Where no one knows you and you hold your life in your hands all alone, you are more master of yourself than at any other time” 128 likes
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