Vol. 2 | Rahel Varnhagen | Editorial Introduction

Rahel Varnhagen et Goethe

With this essay, Hannah Arendt started to publish texts not written in her native language. About a year after her arrival in Paris, the essay appeared in the Cahiers Juifs, a Zionist journal, edited by David Prato, at the time a rabbi in Alexandria, Egypt. It was Arendt’s only publication in this journal. How she got in touch with the Cahiers Juifs could not be established. The essay was included in the short-lived section “émancipation,” signed by “Hannah Arendt-Stern.”

For this publication, Arendt slightly reworked the middle part of chapter five of the Berliner Fassung, “Assimilation”. Parts read as if translated directly from the German typescript, others were probably checked by a native speaker.1

Barbara Hahn

Haun Saussy supposes that Arendt “considered herself to be writing for fellow German exiles, though in French”; see his “The Refugee Speaks of Parvenus and Their Beautiful Illusions: A Rediscovered 1934 Text by Hannah Arendt”, in: Critical Inquiry, 40 /1 (2013), 1-14, here: 13.