"THE TROUBLE IS THAT POLITICS HAS BECOME A PROFESSION": PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION FIRST EDITION OF ON REVOLUTION, INSCRIBED BY HANNAH ARENDT TO RENOWNED PHOTOGRAPHER FRED STEIN
ARENDT, Hannah. On Revolution. New York: Viking, 1963. Octavo, original gray and tan cloth, original dust jacket. $4800.
First edition, early printing issued the same year as the first, of this highly influential and "significant moment in Arendt's political thought," a work that focuses on America's "revolutionary spirit," a distinctive presentation/association copy inscribed by her, "To Fred Stein, Cordially, H.A." Photographer Fred Stein, whose 1944 portrait of Arendt is in the Smithsonian, has been honored in retrospectives in New York and Berlin.
Scholar George Kateb asks: "What does it mean to think about politics today in the spirit of Hannah Arendt?" (Thinking in Dark Times, 29). On Revolution is Arendt's "most extensive consideration of modern political action and the nature of constitutional politics… it marks a significant moment in Arendt's political thought." To Arendt, America's Founders offered a paradigm of authentic political action but she qualifies its success. Viewing America's "revolutionary spirit" as its "lost treasure," she suggests its final design "figures as a serious, perhaps even fatal, development for the health of the Republic." Drawing on thinkers from Machiavelli and Sophocles. she examines revolution in political thought from the Greeks to the WWII French resistance, and emphasizes Jefferson's dispute with those who "look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence." She looks to his plan for "elementary councils," which were intended to ensure all could be a genuine "participator in the government of affairs, not merely at an election one day in the year, but every day" (Villa, ed., Cambridge Companion, 14-15). Arendt's true citizens are those with "a commitment to a common world… willing to take responsibility for that world by judging and acting politically" (Schwartz, Arendt's Judgment, 186). Fred Stein photographed Hannah Arendt several times from 1941 to 1966, and his striking 1944 portrait of her is in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. Born the son of a rabbi, he fled Nazi Germany for Paris in the 1930s, where his photographs were exhibited alongside those of Man Ray, Brassai and Kertesz. Again forced to flee the Nazis, he arrived in New York in 1941, and soon became famed for portraits of Arendt, Einstein, Thomas Mann, Chagall and others. His work has been the subject of major retrospectives at New York's International Center of Photography and Berlin's Jewish Museum. Small owner inkstamp.
Book very fresh and crisp; mild toning, light edge-wear to spine of bright dust jacket. A highly desirable near-fine inscribed copy.