Soren Kierkegaard: A Biography

Soren Kierkegaard: A Biography

By: Joakim Garff (author), Bruce H. Kirmmse (translator)Paperback

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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." Soren 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 fiancee 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.

About Author

Joakim Garff is Associate Professor at the Soren Kierkegaard Research Center at the University of Copenhagen. He is the author of numerous books and articles and is the coeditor of a project to publish definitive new Danish-language editions of all of Kierkegaard's writings. Bruce H. Kirmmse is Professor of History at Connecticut College. His previous works include "Kierkegaard in Golden Age Denmark" and "Encounters with Kierkegaard" (Princeton). He is the chairman of the editorial board of "Kierkegaard's Journals and Notebooks" (Princeton, forthcoming).


Maps xiii Preface xvii Foreword to the English-Language Edition xxiii Translator's Preface and Acknowledgments xxv Part One: 1813-1834 The Little Fork 7 Warping 12 Soren Sock 17 Two Weddings and a Fire 22 Studiosus Severinus 26 Alma Mater 29 Underground Copenhagen 32 The Black Sheep 37 1835 The Still Voices of the Dead 47 The Summer of 1835 in Gilleleje 50 "To Find the Idea for Which I Am Willing to Live and Die" 56 1836 <\P> "A Somersault into the Siberia of Freedom of the Press" 60 Within the Heibergs' Charmed Circle 67 Studiosus Faustus 74 The Battle between the Old and the New Soap-Cellars 80 Poul Martin Moller 86 "Sketches of Moral Nature"-Affectation and Self-Deception 89 "Backstage Practice" 95 1837 <\P> Storm and Stress? 102 Maria 111 Bringing Gloom to Rented Rooms 115 "Dear Emil!! You, My Friend, the Only One" 118 Reading Binge 122 1838 <\P> "There Is an Indescribable Joy" 126 Death of a Merchant 128 "The Great Earthquake" 131 From the Papers of One Still Living 138 1839 <\P> The Rich Young Man 147 The Translator 150 "My Reading for the Examinations Is the Longest Parenthesis" 152 A Dandy on a Pilgrimage 154 Part Two: 1840 <\P> Regine-in Memoriam 173 Miss O. 175 From the Papers of One Already Dead 178 The Time of Terrors 185 "She Chooses the Shriek, I Choose the Pain" 190 1841 <\P> On the Concept of Irony 192 1842 <\P> Stark Naked in Berlin 199 "The Aesthetic Is Above All My Element" 204 The Incidental Tourist 206 1843 <\P> Either/Or 214 "A Monster of a Book" 218 Literary Exile 224 Spiritual Eroticism 226 Regine's Nod 228 Berlin Again 229 Repetition 232 "Long Live the Post Horn!" 236 To Become Oneself Again Is to Become Someone Else 239 Reality Intervenes 243 1:50 247 The Retracted Text 248 Fear and Trembling 252 Abraham and the Knife: Agnete and Farinelli 258 "A Crevice through Which the Infinite Peeped Out" 261 1844 <\P> The Concept of Anxiety 266 Captivating Anxiety-Pages from a Seducer's Textbook 270 The Seduction's Diary 277 Oh, to Write a Preface 281 Reviews 284 Israel Levin 288 "Come Over and See Me for a Bit" 292 To Have Faith Is Always to Expect the Joyous, the Happy, the Good 295 1845 <\P> "Big Enough to Be a Major City" 301 "I Came Close to Dancing with Them" 305 "People Bath" 308 "Yes, of Course, I Am an Aristocrat-" 316 "I Think Grundtvig Is Nonsense" 318 Kierkegaard in Church 325 "People Think I'm a Hack Writer" 332 Stages on Life's Way 337 The Inserted Passages 340 Writing Samples 353 Exit Heiberg 357 Postscript: Kierkegaard 361 Part Three: 1846 <\P> Victor Eremita's Admirers 375 The Corsair-"A Devil of a Paper" 376 Comic Composition and Goldschmidt's Flashy Jacket 379 "I Am a Jew. What Am I Doing among You?" 382 Malice in a Macintosh: Peder Ludvig Moller 386 "A Visit to Soro" 390 "Would Only That I Might Soon Appear in The Corsair" 393 The Corsair's Salvo 395 Moller's Postscript to Kierkegaard's Postscript 402 Admiration and Envy: When One Word Leads to Another 405 The Squint-Eyed Hunchback 408 The Great Reversal 411 "The School of Abuse" 414 The Neighbors across the Way 418 "S. Kjerkegaard and His Reviewers" 422 "This Sweat-Soaked, Stifling Cloak of Mush That Is the Body" 428 The Bull of Phalaris 431 "What Does the Physician Really Know?" 434 "For I Have Loved My Melancholia" 437 Adolph Peter Adler 440 The Book on Adler 444 "Confusion-Making of the Highest Order" 446 Saint Paul and Carpetmaker Hansen 448 Exaltation: 7-14-21; 7-14-21; 7-14-21 450 "The Sensual Pleasure of Productivity" 452 Graphomania 457 Rad. Valerianae 460 1847 <\P> "Perhaps You Would Also Like Me to Listen to Your Brain Beating?" 463 The Press: "The Government's Filth Machine" 471 To Travel Is to Write--and Vice Versa 474 "The Air Bath" 476 Either and Or 479 Regine Schlegel 484 "A People's Government Is the True Image of Hell" 486 "This Is the Idea of the Religious" 490 "100,000 Rumbling Nonhumans" 492 "Perhaps the Alarm Will Be Sounded in the Camp and I Will Be the Manhandled Victim" 495 "You Are Expecting a Tyrant, While I Am Expecting a Martyr" 498 God Hates Pyramids 500 Liberty, Equality, and Mercy 502 From the Financial Papers of One Still Living 505 Money in Books 508 "Year after Year, at My Own Expense" 513 Part Four: 1848 <\P> Extravagance in the Service of the Idea 531 "Copenhagen Is a Very Filthy Town" 535 The Sickness unto Death 540 "To Poetize God into Something a Bit Different" 542 "The Poetry of Eternity" 545 To Publish or Not to Publish 548 The Point of View for My Work as an Author 550 "What Hasn't This Pen Been Capable of ... ?" 554 "But Then, of Course, I Cannot Say'I' " 556 In Charge of His Own Posthumous Reputation 562 "My Father Died-Then I Got Another Father in His Place" 565 "I Am Regarded as a Kind of Englishman, a Half-Mad Eccentric" 569 1849 <\P> Dedications and a Rebuff 574 Martensen's Dogmatics 576 A Sunday in the Athenaeum 580 Rasmus Nielsen 582 Fredrika Bremer's Report Card 589 Kierkegaard's Dream 593 The Sealed Letter to Mr. and Mrs. Schlegel 597 "Come Again Another Time" 602 Jakob Peter Mynster 604 "When I Look at Mynster-" 619 Two Ethical-Religious Essays 626 The Will to Powerlessness 627 The Ventriloquist Who Said "I" 630 The Poet of Martyrdom: The Martyrdom of the Poet 632 "Dr. Exstaticus" 636 1850 <\P> Eight Ways Not to Say Good-Bye 642 Moving Days 646 Practice in Christianity 650 "Blasphemous Toying with What Is Holy" 654 The Idiot God-and His Times 656 The Voices of the Scandalized 659 "And Why, Then, This Concealment?" 662 1851 <\P> "That Line about Goldschmidt Was Fateful" 668 Kierkegaard in the Citadel Church 673 Fan Mail 675 The Dedication to Regine 679 A Theological Village Idiot 680 1852 <\P> "She Came Walking as if from the Lime Kiln" 684 The Final Apartment 689 1853 <\P> A Life in the Underworld 692 Nielsen: A Demonic Scoundrel 698 "One Day I Saw the Corpse Bus Come" 700 "The Prices Must Be Jacked Up in the Salon" 702 S. A. versus A. S. 707 "Christianity Is the Invention of Satan" 714 Part Five: 1854 <\P> The Death of a Witness to the Truth 727 "-That Is How a Witness to the Truth is Buried!" 732 "To Bring About a Catastrophe" 733 "A Devil of a Witness to the Truth" 734 1855 <\P> "My Opponent Is a Glob of Snot" 740 Virginie and Regine-to Lose What Is Most Precious 745 "Quite Simply: I Want Honesty" 746 "Therefore, Take the Pseudonymity Away" 749 The Moment 752 "Then That Poet Suddenly Transformed Himself" 754 Out with Inwardness! 757 "The Pastor-That Epitome of Nonsense Cloaked in Long Robes!" 758 The Death of God 764 Grundtvig's Rejoinder 766 "Pastor P. Chr. Kierkegaard, Lic. Theol., My Brother" 769 "In a Theater, It Happened That" 771 "Come Listen, Brilliant Bastard Son" 775 "You Dine with the Swine" 780 Patient No. 2067 781 Postmortem 793 A Little Corpse with Nowhere to Go 794 The Will, the Auctions, and a Psychopathic Missionary 799 The Papers No One Wanted 805 Peter Christian's Misery 807 The Woman among the Graves 810 Illustration Credits 815 Notes 817 Bibliography 845 Index 855

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780691127880
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 896
  • ID: 9780691127880
  • weight: 936
  • ISBN10: 0691127883
  • translations: English
  • language of text: English

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