Cover of Regions of Sorrow by Susannah Young-ah Gottlieb
Regions of Sorrow
Anxiety and Messianism in Hannah Arendt and W. H. Auden
Susannah Young-ah Gottlieb


320 pages.
from $35.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804745109
Paperback ISBN: 9780804745116


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W. H. Auden and Hannah Arendt belonged to a generation that experienced the catastrophic events of the mid-twentieth century, and they both sought to respond to the enormity of the novel phenomena they witnessed. Regions of Sorrow explores the remarkable affinity between their works. As incisive exponents and uncompromising proponents of the insuperable condition of plurality, Auden and Arendt give voice to an unexpected and inconspicuous messianism—a messianism in which contingency, frailty, and faultiness are neither rejected nor scorned but celebrated as the indispensable elements of what Auden calls "anxious hope."

Beginning with an examination of Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism and Auden's Age of Anxiety, which both conclude with meditations on Nazi terror, the author turns to an unprecedented presentation of Arendt's Human Condition in terms of Jewish-German messianism, and concludes with Auden's "In Praise of Limestone," which lays out the frail and faulty space in which messianism breaks free from apocalyptic forecasts.

About the author

Susannah Young-ah Gottlieb is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University.

"Regions of Sorrow is full of insights, and anyone interested in [Hannah] Arendt, [W.H.] Auden, or the intellectual and cultural texture of twentieth-century modernity will profit by reading it."

Political Theory