Comments: 13
Excellent! This book made my TBR the other day (I'm pretty sure, based on a status update of yours) -- it just may have advanced by a rung or two. Though I have a feeling I wouldn't much have liked Sartre as a person, either ...

And yes, Heidegger *was* a Nazi.

As an aside, should you ever have the opportunity to see Savyon Liebrecht's play "The Banality of Love" (, run, don't walk to get a ticket.
BrokenTune 7 months ago
Heidegger .... yeeees...he totally was. I never really understood the Heidegger&Arendt thing but reason was probably not much involved in that. ;)
:) That's definitely part of what Liebrecht suggests in her play -- and judging by his love letters (selections from both of their love letters were published at some point), he seems to have had quite an amount of seductive charm (besides, Arendt was considerably younger than him, after all). Though Liebrecht also implies (and there would appear to be some support for that notion) that he started out "merely" a conservative and only evolved into a full-blown Nazi over time -- and there's definitely some philosophical back-and-forth between Arendt and him in the play. (Maybe young, hopeful Arendt even held some initial hope that she would be able to "convert" him to her way of thinking?) Anyway, it seems to have been a case of his seductive effect on her on a number of levels, all operating in conjunction.

Lieberecht's play operates on two separate but interconnected levels, one the actual period of their love affair and the other an interview that a much older Arendt gives to a journalist in New York -- and there's sort of a "bridge" section showing a hypothetical encounter of Arendt and Heidegger at an undefined point after the end of WWII, where she calls him to task ... I don't know if such a thing ever took place, but if it did, I'd have loved to be the fly on the wall!
BrokenTune 7 months ago
The play certainly sounds interesting, an absolutely - it would have been extraordinary to have been able to listen in to a discussion between the two after WWII.

There are just so many questions about both of them that will just never be answered. I certainly can think of a few about Being and Time alone, never mind his role in/support of the Nazi regime and whether the man that is credited with being one of the most influential thinkers of his time really was too naive to notice what was going on around him. I mean, he must have spent a lot of time thinking about the meaning of the same terms like "tradition", "purpose", etc. that were being used as the buzzwords of the party, and he must have seen the policy of exclusion that was being based on it.

Anyway, the play sounds great.
Murder by Death 7 months ago
Ok, you know me - I'm almost guaranteed to forget the MC's name 5 minutes after I finish a book, so this is going to be sketchy ... but

Bakewell definitely leaves little room for doubt about Heidegger's nazism, but spends a reasonable amount of time outlining his non-verbal renunciation of the party (when he left his position at the school) and his contrary refusal to verbally denounce the nazi party. Arendt's efforts to make sense of Heidegger's refusal to clarify his stance, and her sense of frustration and, frankly, betrayal is also discussed, although Arendt probably gets the least amount of page time of all the philosophers, unfortunately. I got the impression it was because she was smart enough to get out of Europe in a timely manner, therefore she was no longer directly involved or influential in the European existentialist movement. (There's a UK philosopher that gets brief mentions too, but b/c he wasn't in EU proper at the time, he's not a major player.)

I also vaguely remember that they did speak at least once, either just before the end of WWII or after - but I might not be right about that. There were definite efforts made by Arendt to find out wtf (my words) Heidegger was thinking, but he never gave her a satisfactory answer - just prevaricated.

I'll definitely file that play name away to keep an eye out for it; it sounds like something, after reading this, I'd want to make a strong effort to see (in spite of not liking Heidegger or his work - I'm intrigued by whether he was stubborn, or naive as Arendt and one other (forgot his name - surprise!) suggested.
I do hope you get to see it -- or at least, find a printed version of the play somewhere. And btw, Liebrecht absolutely did her homework, because that final face-off between the two reflects exactly this ... his prevarication and her resulting frustration.
Portable Mistletoe 7 months ago
This looks good! my TBR mountain keeps growing.
Murder by Death 7 months ago
I hope you enjoy it! It's dense, but fascinating, and I highly recommend the audio version.
BrokenTune 7 months ago
I'm really looking forward to that one. I was hoping to make a start after the Jopson book, but I just picked up a load from the library ... so maybe next month?
It's an area of philosophy that I'm rather partial to. :)
BrokenTune 7 months ago
Btw, does Karl Jaspers make an appearance in the book? (I can't look it up as I have the audiobook...)
Murder by Death 7 months ago
Yes! He does! and he was another of my 'favorites' but while he has a definite presence in the book, he didn't get as much focus as Sartre, de Beauvoir, Heidegger and Husserl. Or if he did, it was short and lost in a traffic jam; there are definitely parts of this I want to revisit in the print copy - a few areas that were particularly dense that require more attention than I could give while driving.
BrokenTune 7 months ago
I have a soft spot for Jaspers, but he is not mentioned often as most of the focus goes to Heidegger. Jaspers was also corresponding with Arendt a lot, and they seem to have agreed with each other a lot (from what I remember).
I agree that it's a pity that both Jaspers and Arendt don't get more space. Still ... definitely a book to look into.