Hannah Arendt and the key to being a 21st-century cosmopolitan

Arendt_archive_1-071113James McAuley at Aeon Magazine:

In the US, Arendt was rewarded handsomely for her intellect and tenacity, becoming a bestselling author published by the most prestigious trade presses as well as the first woman appointed to a professorship at Princeton. She also enjoyed a celebrity presence at the University of Chicago and the New School in New York, the stages on which she fashioned herself an eminence in the republic of letters. This is how she appears in Margarethe von Trotta’s 2012 biopic: a dowager queen of Riverside Drive, sparring with pundits such as Norman Podhoretz and Kurt Blumenfeld by day and entertaining authors such as Mary McCarthy and Philip Rahv by night. Add wine, cigarettes and scandal, and this Arendt becomes a kind of monument, the avatar for a bygone era when the literary feud was still a line in the sand, and the personal was not merely political, but ideological.

But there is more to Arendt’s unsettled legacy than glamour, controversy and a provocative set of historical and philosophical interpretations. Forty years after her death, perhaps the most enduring contribution of this decidedly 20th-century thinker is her thinking about a cosmopolitanism suited to the challenges of the 21st century she’d never see.

more here.