A Short Life of Kierkegaard

Princeton University Press
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A small, insignificant-looking intellectual with absurdly long legs, Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was a veritable Hans Christian Andersen caricature of a man. A strange combination of witty cosmopolite and melancholy introvert, he spent years writing under a series of fantastical pseudonyms, lavishing all the splendor of his magnificent mind on a seldom-appreciative world. He had a tragic love affair with a young girl, was dominated by an unforgettable Old Testament father, fought a sensational literary duel with a popular satiric magazine, and died in the midst of a violent quarrel with the state church for which he had once studied theology. Yet this iconoclast produced a number of brilliant books that have profoundly influenced modern thought.

In this classic biography, the celebrated Kierkegaard translator Walter Lowrie presents a charming and warmly appreciative introduction to the life and work of the great Danish writer. Lowrie tells the story of Kierkegaard's emotionally turbulent life with a keen sense of drama and an acute understanding of how his life shaped his thought. The result is a wonderfully informative and entertaining portrait of one of the most important thinkers of the past two centuries. This edition also includes Lowrie's wry essay "How Kierkegaard Got into English," which tells the improbable story of how Lowrie became one of Kierkegaard's principal English translators despite not learning Danish until he was in his 60s, as well as a new introduction by Kierkegaard scholar Alastair Hannay.

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About the author

Walter Lowrie (1868-1959) played a leading role in introducing Kierkegaard to the English-speaking world as his first English-language biographer and the first English translator of more than a dozen volumes of his work.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Apr 21, 2013
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781400845972
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
Biography & Autobiography / Philosophers
History / Modern / 19th Century
Philosophy / History & Surveys / General
Philosophy / Movements / Existentialism
Philosophy / Movements / Phenomenology
Philosophy / Religious
Religion / Philosophy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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"The day will come when not only my writings, but precisely my life--the intriguing secret of all the machinery--will be studied and studied." Søren Kierkegaard's remarkable combination of genius and peculiarity made this a fair if arrogant prediction. But Kierkegaard's life has been notoriously hard to study, so complex was the web of fact and fiction in his work. Joakim Garff's biography of Kierkegaard is thus a landmark achievement. A seamless blend of history, philosophy, and psychological insight, all conveyed with novelistic verve, this is the most comprehensive and penetrating account yet written of the life and works of the enigmatic Dane who changed the course of intellectual history.

Garff portrays Kierkegaard not as the all-controlling impresario behind some of the most important works of modern philosophy and religious thought--books credited with founding existentialism and prefiguring postmodernism--but rather as a man whose writings came to control him. Kierkegaard saw himself as a vessel for his writings, a tool in the hand of God, and eventually as a martyr singled out to call for the end of "Christendom." Garff explores the events and relationships that formed Kierkegaard, including his guilt-ridden relationship with his father, his rivalry with his brother, and his famously tortured relationship with his fiancée Regine Olsen. He recreates the squalor and splendor of Golden Age Copenhagen and the intellectual milieu in which Kierkegaard found himself increasingly embattled and mercilessly caricatured.


Acclaimed as a major cultural event on its publication in Denmark in 2000, this book, here presented in an exceptionally crisp and elegant translation, will be the definitive account of Kierkegaard's life for years to come.

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