This is a love story, the kind of love story that you can't rent at Blockbuster.
Any one of the aspects of the long, genuine love between the 20th century philosophers Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt is worthy of study and interest. In most love stories, there is one obstacle that keeps people apart, and once that obstacle is lifted, the love goes on boundlessly. In real life, of course, even the truest love often comes out in odd ways, as with the respected friend that you never get romantic feelings for, or the person that drives you mad but never doubt that you would spend the rest of your life with them. That is what real life is like, of course, why real life is not the movies.
The story of Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt, however, is something that has so many unlikely twists and conflicts it couldn't have been dreamed up.
The story of a married man, a professor, seducing one of his teenage students makes an interesting, if tawdry story. That he is not chasing her teenage body, but is instead so in love with her mind that she is part of an epoch making work of thought makes the story less tawdry, but much more interesting.
That these two people would become two of the twentieth century's greatest philosophers, and that their thought and works would become testaments to some of the greatest and most infamous events of the decade, turns a love story into an epic, as we are no longer just dealing with two people, but instead with historical forces.
And when you take the final piece, the fact that Martin Heidegger was a member of the Nazi Party, who enthusiastically believed that Hitler would lead to the spiritual rebirth of the German people (although how long Heidegger kept this belief after actually witnessing Hitler in power is a matter of great debate) and that Hannah Arendt was both a Jew and an ardent socialist and liberal turns the story somewhat evil.
If you read through the biographies and comments on the lives of these two people, you may see some hint of the deep emotional current running between these two people. However, most academic philosophers do not gain their tenure by guessing about the torrid sex lives of philosophers. There is a book by a woman named Elzbieta Ettinger that details the long history of their relationship from the time they met when Hannah was still a freshman at the University of Marburg, up until they were old people, still friends, in the 1970s.
The book communicates well how the two loved each other, how Heidegger was star struck with the being of his young brilliant student, and would continue to see her in this light until and how Arendt always loved Heidegger, even though she knew he was a weasel and a liar.
While I am sure these particular circumstances are not anything that anyone reading this will go through, this love story, never written down since it is a real story, is something that should be studied to see how love can really go.