Aesthetics and Politics in Hannah Arendt

Karin Fry, Georgia Southern University

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Georgia Southern faculty member Prof. Karin Fry wrote this book review essay for Trvor Tchir’s Hannah Arendt’s Theory of Political Action: Daimonic Disclosure of the “Who.”

Trevor Tchir argues that Hannah Arendt's use of the daimon concept helps one to gain insight into how the "who" is disclosed in political action. For Tchir, the daimon is used in aesthetic as well as in transcendent ways. My commentary focuses on various discussions of aesthetics and politics in Arendt's work and on her understanding of the concept of genius in order to illustrate that her position on these matters is not straightforward. It is my view that the overarching argument of Tchir's book would be stronger if first, Arendt's hesitancy with understanding politics aesthetically and if second, her suspicions about the concept of genius were addressed fully.