Hannah Arendt’s political theory is often understood to rest on a celebration of action, the memorable words and deeds of named individuals, over against the anonymous processes constitutive of ‘labor’ and ‘society’. Yet at key moments in _The Human Condition_ and _The Origins of Totalitarianism_, Arendt seems to signal a different relationship between political action and anonymity; and she does so in part via citations of the novels of William Faulkner. Using the apparently contradictory notion of ‘anonymous glory’ as a heuristic, this essay reconsiders Arendt’s political thought through readings of the novels she cites, _A Fable_ and _Intruder in the Dust_. The essay argues that, for Arendt, a conception of action adequate to the scale of modern social power must somehow be both indelibly tied to individual deeds and immersed in a processual field that is indifferent to the needs for meaning or purpose or satisfaction that individuals bring to what they do; and that Arendt’s engagement with this problem both complicates the relation of action to its supposed opposites, and makes it more difficult to conceive of action’s recovery as a reliable source of theoretical or political redemption.
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DOI 10.1177/1474885114567344
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References found in this work BETA

On Revolution.E. J. Hobsbawm & Hanna Arendt - 1965 - History and Theory 4 (2):252.
Little Rock’s Social Question.Jill Locke - 2013 - Political Theory 41 (4):533-561.
Liberalism with Honor.Sharon R. Krause - 2002 - Political Theory 31 (4):602-604.

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Invisible Streams: Process-Thinking in Arendt.Ari-Elmeri Hyvönen - 2016 - European Journal of Social Theory 19 (4):538-555.

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