The anthology begins with Kierkegaard's early journal entries and traces the development of his work chronologically to the final The Changelessness of God. The book presents generous selections from all of Kierkegaard's landmark works, including Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, Works of Love, and The Sickness unto Death, and draws new attention to a host of such lesser-known writings as Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions and The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air. The selections are carefully chosen to reflect the unique character of Kierkegaard's work, with its shifting pseudonyms, its complex dialogues, and its potent combination of irony, satire, sermon, polemic, humor, and fiction. We see the esthetic, ethical, and ethical-religious ways of life initially presented as dialogue in two parallel series of pseudonymous and signed works and later in the "second authorship" as direct address. And we see the themes that bind the whole together, in particular Kierkegaard's overarching concern with, in his own words, "What it means to exist; . . . what it means to be a human being."
Together, the selections provide the best available introduction to Kierkegaard's writings and show more completely than any other book why his work, in all its creativity, variety, and power, continues to speak so directly today to so many readers around the world.
Brilliantly synthesizing human insights with Christian dogma, Soren Kierkegaard presented, in 1844, The Concept of Anxiety as a landmark "psychological deliberation," suggesting that our only hope in overcoming anxiety was not through "powder and pills" but by embracing it with open arms. While Kierkegaard's Danish prose is surprisingly rich, previous translations—the most recent in 1980—have marginalized the work with alternately florid or slavishly wooden language. With a vibrancy never seen before in English, Alastair Hannay, the world's foremost Kierkegaard scholar, has finally re-created its natural rhythm, eager that this overlooked classic will be revivified as the seminal work of existentialism and moral psychology that it is.
From The Concept of Anxiety:
"And no Grand Inquisitor has such frightful torments in readiness as has anxiety, and no secret agent knows as cunningly how to attack the suspect in his weakest moment, or to make so seductive the trap in which he will be snared; and no discerning judge understands how to examine, yes, exanimate the accused as does anxiety, which never lets him go, not in diversion, not in noise, not at work, not by day, not by night."