Hannah Arendt – Martin Heidegger by Elzbieta Ettinger - review by Frank McLynn

Frank McLynn

A Monster of Egotism too Easily Forgiven

Hannah Arendt – Martin Heidegger

By

Yale University Press 139pp £10.95 order from our bookshop
 

This slim volume is a marvel. In little more than one hundred pages Elzbieta Ettinger, a professor at MIT, sheds more light on the controversial political attitudes of the philosopher Martin Heidegger than Hugo Ott did in the whole of his substantial 1993 political biography. The story she tells is a sad but very human one. The book could well have been subtitled ‘Love Is Blind’.

In 1924 at the University of Marburg the eighteen-year-old German Jew Hannah Arendt fell in love with her philosophy teacher, Martin Heidegger, and became his mistress. It seems clear that for Heidegger it was a purely physical affair, and he acted with consummate ruthlessness, keeping his life rigidly compartmentalised. He

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