The central issue of Johannes Climacus is doubt. Probably written between November 1842 and April 1843 but unfinished and published only posthumously, this book was described by Kierkegaard as an attack on modern speculative philosophy by "means of the melancholy irony, which did not consist in any single utterance on the part of Johannes Climacus but in his whole life. . . . Johannes does what we are told to do--he actually doubts everything--he suffers through all the pain of doing that, becomes cunning, almost acquires a bad conscience. When he has gone as far in that direction as he can go and wants to come back, he cannot do so. . . . Now he despairs, his life is wasted, his youth is spent in these deliberations. Life does not acquire any meaning for him, and all this is the fault of philosophy." A note by Kierkegaard suggests how he might have finished the work: "Doubt is conquered not by the system but by faith, just as it is faith that has brought doubt into the world!."
Each work uses as a point of departure Kierkegaard's breaking of his engagement to Regine Olsen--his sacrifice of "that single individual." From this beginning Fear and Trembling becomes an exploration of the faith that transcends the ethical, as in Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac at God's command. This faith, which persists in the face of the absurd, is rewarded finally by the return of all that the faithful one is willing to sacrifice. Repetition discusses the most profound implications of unity of personhood and of identity within change, beginning with the ironic story of a young poet who cannot fulfill the ethical claims of his engagement because of the possible consequences of his marriage. The poet finally despairs of repetition (renewal) in the ethical sphere, as does his advisor and friend Constantius in the aesthetic sphere. The book ends with Constantius' intimation of a third kind of repetition--in the religious sphere.
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.
Walter Lowrie's magnificent translation of these seminal works continues to provide an ideal introduction to Kierkegaard. And, as Gordon Marino argues in a new introduction, these books are as relevant as ever in today's age of anxiety.
The father of existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was a philosopher who could write like an angel. With only a sentence or two, he could plumb the depths of the human spirit. In this collection of some 800 quotations, the reader will find dazzling bon mots next to words of life-changing power. Drawing from the authoritative Princeton editions of Kierkegaard's writings, this book presents a broad selection of his wit and wisdom, as well as a stimulating introduction to his life and work.
Organized by topic, this volume covers notable Kierkegaardian concerns such as anxiety, despair, existence, irony, and the absurd, but also erotic love, the press, busyness, and the comic. Here readers will encounter both well-known quotations ("Life must be understood backward. But then one forgets the other principle, that it must be lived forward") and obscure ones ("Beware false prophets who come to you in wolves' clothing but inwardly are sheep--i.e., the phrasemongers"). Those who spend time in these pages will discover the writer who said, "my grief is my castle," but who also taught that "the best defense against hypocrisy is love."
Illuminating and delightful, this engaging book also provides a substantial portrait of one of the most influential of modern thinkers.Gathers some 800 quotations Drawn from the authoritative Princeton editions of Kierkegaard's writings Includes an introduction, a brief account and timeline of Kierkegaard's life, a guide to further reading, and an index
“Kierkegaard’s great contribution to Western philosophy was to assert, or to reassert with Romantic urgency, that, subjectively speaking, each existence is the center of the universe.” —John Updike, The New Yorker
Harper Perennial Modern Classics presents the rediscovered spiritual writings of Søren Kierkegaard, edited and translated by Oxford theologian George Pattison. Called “the first modernist” by The Guardian and “the father of existentialism” by the New York Times, Kierkegaard left an indelible imprint on existential writers from Sartre and Camus to Kafka and Derrida. In works like Fear and Trembling, Sickness unto Death, and Either/Or, he by famously articulated that all meaning is rooted in subjective experience—but the devotional essays that Patterson reveals in Spiritual Writings will forever change our understanding of the great philosopher, uncovering the spiritual foundations beneath his secularist philosophy.