A Good and Dignified Life The Political Advice of Hannah Arendt and Rosa Luxemburg Joke J Hermsen, Brendan Monaghan

The Margellos World Republic of Letters
Publication date:
12 Jul 2022
Yale University Press
160 pages: 197 x 127mm

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A timely and provocative essay about the parallel lives of Rosa Luxemburg and Hannah Arendt and their mission for a more humane society

January 2019 marked the centenary of the murder of Rosa Luxemburg, a Polish‑German revolutionary whose actions provided long-lasting contributions to political philosophy and whose ideas on citizen councils, participative democracy, and imperialist capitalism greatly influenced Hannah Arendt’s life and thought. In this book, Joke J. Hermsen explores the ways in which Luxemburg’s life shaped Arendt’s philosophy, and she investigates how the insights of both Luxemburg and Arendt may help us move toward a more sustainable and just contemporary society.
Hermsen tracks the feminist underpinnings of radical politics in the twentieth century through the lives of these two women; how the tragic ending of Rosa Luxemburg’s life and Arendt’s keen empathy for her legacy provide poignant inspiration. In the end, this book dramatizes the challenges put to us through these women’s works: What is it to be a human being? How do we lead a good and dignified life?

Joke J. Hermsen (b. 1961) is a Dutch writer and philosopher, who studied in Paris and Amsterdam. Brendan Monaghan (b. 1979) grew up in Botswana. After a spell at Amnesty International, he became a translator.