Hannah Arendt: "the human figure as actor and sufferer in the agon of consciousness and reflection"

En esta temporada leo un libro de la colección del New York Review Collection, titulado The Company They Kept: Writers on Unforgettable Friendships, Vol. II, de Robert B. Silver. The Company They Kept edita columnas y ensayos alguna vez publicados en The New York Review of Books por escritores y escritoras destacados, en los que detallan o nos presentan la vida de personajes famosos de la literatura, la filosofía, la política. 
Hannah Arendt (by David Levine).

Se trata de escritores que escribieron sobre sus famosos amigos o amigas, y sus experiencias con éstos. En un ensayo conocemos no solo a quien escribe sino lo que éste o ésta veía y destacaba de esos personajes famosos que nos intrigan y cautivan. Así, tenemos por ejemplo a Isaíah Berlín escribiendo sobre los poetas Pasternak y Anna Akhmatova, a Akhmatova -a su vez- escribiendo sobre Mandelstam, a Philip Roth sobre Iván Klíma, a Hector Bianciotti sobre Jorge Luis Borges y a Mary McCarthy sobre Hannah Arendt.

Para los que nos apasiona -como dice un buen amigo- trazar la arqueología de las ideas y obras de los autores que nos intrigan, este libro es un buen recurso, más bien un gran deleite. Comparto un fragmento de la descripción que hace Mary McCarthy sobre Hannah Arendt. salud!.


"There was more than a touch of great actress in Hannah. The first time I heard her speak in public -nearly thirty years ago, durng a debate- I was reminded of what Bernhardt must have been or Proust's Berma, a magnificent stage diva, which implies a goddess. Perhaps a chthonic goddess, or a fiery one, rather than the airy kind. Unlike other good speakers, she was not at all an orator. She appeared, rather, as a mime, a thespian, enacting a drama of mind, that dialogue of me-and-myself she so often summons up in her writings. Watching her framed in the proscenium arch, we were not far the sacred origins of the theater. What she projected was the human figure as actor and sufferer in the agon of consciousness and reflection, where there are always two, the one who says and the one who replies or questions.


What was theatrical in Hannah was a kind of spontaneous power of being seized by an idea, an emotion, a presentiment, whose vehicle her body then became, like the actor's. And this power of being seized and worked upon, often with a start, widened eyes, "Ach!" (before a picture, a work of architecture, some deed of infamy), set her apart from the rest of us like a high electrical charge. And there was the vibrant springy, dark, short hair, never fully gray, that sometimes from sheer force of energy appeared to stand bolt upright on her head.

I suppose all this must have been part of an unusual physical endowment, whose manifestation in her features and facial gestures was the beauty I spoke of. Hannah is the only person I have ever watched think. She lay motionless on a sofa or a day bed, arms folded behind her head, eyes shut but occasionally opening to stare upward. This lasted -I don't know- from ten minutes to half an hour. Everyone tiptoed past if we had to come into the room in which she lay oblivious" 


-Mary McCarthy, "Hannah Arendt" (1972), en Robert B. Silver, The Company They Kept: Writers on Unforgettable Friendships, Vol. II (2011), páginas 54-55.

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