Although Arendt’s oeuvre commences with a book on the concept of love (in Augustin) she never published a book on love. Yet, Arendt’s unwritten book on love does exist; it will be reconstructed from a series of fascinating entries of her Denktagebuch. Whereas Arendt’s early writings on love form a juxtaposition – philosophy (her dissertation) on the one side, private entries often using poetic language (her notebooks) on the other side –, the Denktagebuch, which marks a clear caesura, opens a new thinking space. It provides a space in-between: the possibility of another reflection on love.
The scholarship on love in Arendt’s writing approaches the topic either from an autobiographical viewpoint (with emphasis on her relationship to Heidegger) or examines her philosophy of love systematically, opposing the ‘love of neighbor’ (Nächstenliebe) and the passionate love. The lecture, in contrast, will read Arendt’s writing on love as thinking in transition, at the threshold of experience and thoughts, and as a boundary concept, which changes its shape and character within the dialectics of intimacy and the realm of human affairs.
Sigrid Weigel is professor em. of Literature and Former Director of the Research Centre for Literature and Culture in Berlin. She is a member of Academia Europaea and the Modern Language Association. Weigel has been a visiting professor at Basel, Berkeley, Cincinnati, Harvard, and Stanford. Currently, she is appointed as Permanent Visiting Professor at Princeton University. In 2016 she received the Aby Warburg Prize.
This keynote speech by Sigrid Weigel is part of the Conference The Cryptotheological Legacy of Hannah Arendt, which takes place at the IWM from October 17 to 19.