Volume 4, 2020
Friendship and Metaphor
Thinking and Writing in Hannah Arendt’s Denktagebuch and Letters
In this paper, I identify and distinguish different modes of thinking at work in Hannah Arendt’s Denktagebuch and letters. In the Denktagebuch, her thinking is dialogical, as she engages with herself in a dialogue of thought, while her writing is a product of poetic thinking. In the letters, her dialogical thinking is not only with herself, but with friends and correspondents, and poetic thinking takes the form of the material letter itself. Arendt engages in a dialogue of thought both with herself, who is a friend, and her correspondents, who are also friends. Arendt’s personal writings, that is, her letters and her Denktagebuch reveal a close relationship between private, solitary thinking, and thinking and writing that appear in public.