Hannah Arendt was once approached by her student Elisabeth Young-Bruehl with a translation Young-Bruehl had done of a phrase by Aristotle. After due consideration of its Latin and German renderings, Arendt remarked, “Ja, well, my dear, it’s not exactly right, but maybe Aristotle would think it more interesting than wrong.” In many ways, these words capture Arendt herself. She was a thinker who translated the German philosophical traditions in which she was tutored—by none ...
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