Literature as Resistance: Hannah Arendt on Storytelling

  • Dirk de Schutter


In The Origins of Totalitarianism Hannah Arendt expresses her distrust of literature, in Eichmann in Jerusalem she unequivocally states that one man will always be left alive to tell the story. What accounts for this development and change of view? Yet, Arendt will never overcome her lack o confidence in literature and will always stick to the difference between storytelling and fabricating fiction. The fictional character of totalitarian regimes is mirrored by the totalitarian character of fiction. That explains why telling the truth can become an act of dissidence. Arendt’s warning to the reader is to beware of believing those who corrupt language and who are alienated from the world.


Political Regime Factual Truth Small Thing Totalitarian Regime Mass Society 
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Copyright information

© Gaye Williams Ortiz and Clara A. B. Joseph 2006

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  • Dirk de Schutter

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