Earlier this year, Samantha Rose Hill, who has been working on a book about Hannah Arendt, tweeted,

"I just finished reading Sartre's Les Mots—and was so disgusted that I was almost tempted to review this piece of highly complicated lying."
Hannah Arendt on Jean-Paul Sartre:
"(…) It reminds me of what I heard recent scholarship has unearthed about Rousseau—he did not have five children at the orphanage for the simple reason that he was impotent, which I think is most likely. Sartre's case is precisely the same: You tell seemingly outrageous 'truths' with a great show of sincerity in order to hide the better what actually happened. I am wondering how he will explain or tell his sort of 'truth' with respect to the unpleasant fact that he did not participate in the resistance, in fact never lifted a finger. (…)"

(The bottom part of the above quote is transcribed from an image embedded in the tweet.)

The tone of the comment suggests that this is from a letter, possibly from Arendt's correspondence with Mary McCarthy, who later became Arendt's literary executor. Can the above quote be dated?

1 Answer 1


Yes it can be dated:

The quote comes from Arendt's letter to McCarthy of Christmas 1964 and can be found on page 172 of their published correspondence 'Between Friends', published by Harcourt Brace in 1995.

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