Main content

Hannah Arendt

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas of Hannah Arendt who examined totalitarianism and politics and, when covering the Eichmann trial, explored 'the banality of evil'.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt. She developed many of her ideas in response to the rise of totalitarianism in the C20th, partly informed by her own experience as a Jew in Nazi Germany before her escape to France and then America. She wanted to understand how politics had taken such a disastrous turn and, drawing on ideas of Greek philosophers as well as her peers, what might be done to create a better political life. Often unsettling, she wrote of 'the banality of evil' when covering the trial of Eichmann, one of the organisers of the Holocaust.


Lyndsey Stonebridge
Professor of Modern Literature and History at the University of East Anglia

Frisbee Sheffield
Lecturer in Philosophy at Girton College, University of Cambridge


Robert Eaglestone
Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway, University London

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Thu 2 Feb 2017 21:30


Robert Eaglestone, Professor of Contemporary Literature and Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London. 

Frisbee Sheffield, Lecturer in Philosophy at Girton College, University of Cambridge

Lyndsey Stonebridge, Professor of Modern Literature and History at the University of East Anglia

The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College

The Hannah Arendt Papers - Library of Congress

Hannah Arendt’s Refugee History by Lyndsey Stonebridge – UEA Refugee History site



Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (first published 1951; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973)

Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (University of Chicago Press, 1958)

Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future (first published 1961; Penguin, 2006)

Hannah Arendt, On Revolution (first published, 1963; Penguin, 2009)

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (first published 1963; Penguin, 2006)

Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind (Harcourt, 1978)

Hannah Arendt (ed. Peter Baehr), The Portable Hannah Arendt (Penguin, 2003)

Hannah Arendt (ed. Jerome Kohn), Responsibility and Judgment (Schocken Books, 2005)

S. Aschheim (ed.), Hannah Arendt in Jerusalem (University of California Press, 2001)

S. Benhabib, The Reluctant Modernism of Hannah Arendt (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2003)

S. Benhabib (ed.), Politics in Dark Times: Encounters with Hannah Arendt (Cambridge University Press, 2010)

R. Bernstein, Hannah Arendt and the Jewish Question (Polity Press, 1996)

P. Birmingham, Hannah Arendt and Human Rights: The Predicament of Common Responsibility (Indiana University Press, 2006)

L. Bradshaw, Acting and Thinking: The Political Thought of Hannah Arendt (University of Toronto Press, 1989)

M. Canovan, Hannah Arendt: A Reinterpretation of Her Political Thought (Cambridge University Press, 1992)

L. Disch, Hannah Arendt and the Limits of Philosophy (Cornell University Press, 1994)

P. Hansen, Hannah Arendt: Politics, History and Citizenship (Polity Press, 1993)

M. Hill (ed.), Hannah Arendt: The Recovery of the Public World (St. Martin's Press, 1979)

L. Hinchman and S. Hinchman (eds.), Hannah Arendt: Critical Essays (State University of New York Press, 1994)

B. Parekh, Hannah Arendt and the Search for a New Political Philosophy (Macmillan, 1981)

J. Ring, The Political Consequences of Thinking (State University of New York Press, 1997)

D. Villa, Politics, Philosophy, Terror: Essays on the Thought of Hannah Arendt (Princeton University Press, 1999)

D. Villa (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Hannah Arendt (Cambridge University Press, 2000)

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World, (first published 1982; Yale University Press, 2004)

Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Why Arendt Matters (Yale University Press, 2006)


Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Lyndsey Stonebridge
Interviewed Guest Frisbee Sheffield
Interviewed Guest Robert Eaglestone
Producer Simon Tillotson


Featured in...

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

If you’re new to In Our Time, this is a good place to start.

The Matter of the North

Melvyn Bragg explores the pivotal role of England's north in shaping modern Britain.

In Our Time podcasts

Every episode of In Our Time is available to download.

Arts and Ideas podcast

Download the best of Radio 3's Free Thinking programme.