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Arendt Studies

Volume 4, 2020

Richard H. King
Pages 17-30

Margaret Canovan and Hannah Arendt

Professor Margaret Canovan wrote two studies of the work of German-Jewish émigré political theorist, Hannah Arendt (1906-75). The first, The Political Thought of Hannah Arendt, appeared in 1974, while Hannah Arendt: A Reinterpretation of Her Political Thought was published in 1992. Both were intended for the Anglophone world, especially the US and Great Britain, although Arendt’s reception was more favorable in America where she settled in 1941 than in the UK. An historian of political thought at Keele University, UK, Canovan was ideal to bring Arendt to a general academic audience not to aim at a highly specialized readership deeply grounded in German thought. Though Canovan emphasized the conservative dimensions of Arendt’s thought, her conclusion was, finally, that Arendt’s political thought was a form of modern “republicanism” not an argument for inherited political traditions or a plea for New Left radicalism. It was a plea for pluralism, as it were.