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An excellent companion and starting point
on October 10, 2005
Kierkegaard is enjoying something of a revival of late, with many of his works appearing in new editions, and a major new biography available. The English-speaking world has long been aware of Kierkegaard without being very familiar with his work and issues. One might be surprised that Kierkegaard is not better known, since one of his primary focuses upon philosophy is that it begins and ends with the individual - in many ways, he is anti-Hegelian looking for a way of relating existence to the individual, and not to universals.
Kierkegaard was very much a cynic, but still remained a faithful Christian all of his life, if not a faithful adherent to the institution of the church. Kierkegaard was also a satirist and wit, and sometimes it is difficult to discern where that aspect ends and the serious philosophical work begins. He is often considered the first of the Existentialists, but in many ways his work does not quite fit that category.
This collection contains selections from the following major and minor works of Kierkegaard.
* The Journals * Either/Or * Two Edifying Discourses * Fear and Trembling * Repetition * Philosophical Fragments * Stages on Life's Way * Concluding Unscientific Postscript * The Present Age * Edifying Discourses in Various Spirits * Works of Love * The Point of View for My Work as an Author * The Sickness Unto Death * Training in Christianity * Two Discourses at the Communion on Fridays * The Attack Upon Christendom * The Unchangeableness of God
This collection is no mere collection of quotable-quotes or of key passages, but gives generous inclusion of major sections of the works. Kierkegaard did not write in traditional academic or philosophical structure, so some of his writing is difficult to get through. Part personal reflection, part polemic, part analysis, part literary creative flourish - all of these come together in a fascinating way.
Kierkegaard deals with issues of estrangement and alienation, despair, universals and abstractions, individuality and subjectivity. Kierkegaard sees the person as existing in three different levels - the aesthetic, the ethical and the religious. These are inter-related but distinct in many ways; as they involve the breadth of human experience, Kierkegaard is no mere philosopher, but also a sociologist, a psychologist, a theologian, an historian, and much more.
This is an excellent one-volume edition of Kierkegaard's work, from which one may gain much insight. If coupled with the recent biography by Joakim Garff, it is a very handy reference for Kierkegaard's primary texts together with the insightful writing of Garff.