Advanced Search

Arendt, Hannah.

Burden of Our Time, The.


Inscribed with New Year Wishes
Arendt, Hannah. The Burden of Our Time. London: Secker & Warburg, (1951).
8vo.; black cloth; stamped in gilt; rubbed; sunned; extremities frayed. In a specially made quarter-morocco slipcase.
First English edition of Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism, retitled. A stellar presentation copy, inscribed to Alfred Kazin in German on the first endpaper: Fur Alfred/zur Erinnerung/an das erste Jahrfunft unserer Freundshaft/Hannah/New Year's Eve 1951/52. (For Alfred/in reminiscence of the first lustration of our friendship). Arendt and Kazin must have rang in 1952 together: the first thoughts he records in his diary on New Year's Day are about her and her husband, "Ann, Hannah, Heinrich - more than any other people I have ever known, these live by principle. So that loving them you love the good they love, by which they live (and vis-a-vis which they regard themselves as smaller, as servants)."
Kazin and Arendt met in 1946, when they were seated next to each other at a dinner hosted by Commentary magazine; the "lustration" Arendt refers to is likely this meeting. Kazin was immediately struck by Arendt, noting he was "enthralled. By no means unerotically" by her, and praising, "thinking positively cascades out of her in waves" (Alfred Kazin: A Biography, by Richard Cook, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007, p. 115). In his memoir, New York Jew, Kazin elaborates, "I had never met a woman so reflective, yet so eager and gifted for friendship. She was entrenched in her long formal training as a philosopher, yet was glad to be an outsider, unconventional, solitary in this strange new world" (New York: Knopf, 1978, p. 196).
Their friendship was mutually beneficial; Arendt broadened Kazin's understanding of philosophy, and Kazin used his influence at Yaddo to secure Arendt invitations there. More importantly, he helped her de-Germanize her manuscript for Origins of Totalitarianism:
From her first book in English, The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt was obsessed with genocide and the threat of future holocausts in an 'overpopulated' world. She became vital to my life. Much as I loved her and submitted patiently to an intellectual loneliness that came out as arrogance, it was for the direction of her thinking that I loved her, for the personal insistencies she gained from her comprehension of the European catastrophe. (Kazin, 195)
Kazin and Arendt's friendship is illustrative of a trans-Atlantic intellectual exchange that flourished during the 1940s and 1950s; "[t]he European intellectual émigrés, many of them Jews, held special value and authority for Kazin and for other New York writers and intellectuals during and after the war years" (Cook, p. 84). This inscription is evidence of their poignant relationship.

© 2011-2018 Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc. All Rights Reserved.