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Either/or;: A fragment of life, Unknown Binding – 1944


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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: H. Milford, Oxford university press (1944)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007E08RY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,916,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Danish --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Kierkegaard (1813-55) was born in Copenhagen, the youngest of seven children. His childhood was unhappy, clouded by the religious fervour of his father, and the death of his mother, his sisters and two brothers. Educated at the School of Civic Virtue, he went on study theology, liberal arts and science at university, gaining a reputation for his academic brilliance and extravagant social life. He began to criticize Christianity, and in 1841 broke off his engagement to concentrate on his writing. Over the next ten years he produced a flood of works, in particular twelve major philosophical essays, many written under noms de plume. By the end of his life he had become an object of public ridicule, but he is now enjoying increasing acclaim. Alastair Hannay was educated at the Edinburgh Academy, the University of Edinburgh and University College London. In 1961 he became a resident of Norway and is now Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oslo. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

It teaches us that one can't help losing their soul in love, but can help losing themselves.
Rebecca Mothwerwell Swanson
In my opinion the best way is to read his journals first and then come to Either/Or because you might be deceived into believing that these are his opinion.
Abhishek
In any case, I think either/or, though a difficult read, is a very engaging interesting work that deserves your time and attention.
Medusa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Clinton Ebadi on July 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
I mistakenly purchased this without noticing it was abridged. It seems dishonest to only mark this on the back but not the front of the text.
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78 of 84 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
for the most part, it goes without saying that pure philosophy texts make for difficult reading. To a great extent, kierkegaard is no exception. However, I would highly recommend this book for anyone struggling with questions of faith, particularly those involving the relationship between god and man. For me, the most valuable part of the book was the author's clear conflict and passion for the issues. It seemed to me that he was not trying to write as some great philosopher-king trying to bring light to the poor suffering masses, but as a sincerely conflicted human being, down in the trenches with the rest of us, just trying to understand what it all means. In short, although the style may be a little hard to wade through at times, it is a thouroughly thought-provoking and insightful book.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
there is a countervailing advantage this edition offers against the princeton volumes even though its abridged... this is a lighter and smoother English translation. English is not my native language, but I believe many American readers would find the Hong translations as tough-going as I did (even if meticulous). Kierkegaard is already very wordy so this translation is a pain reducer.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Rouse on October 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
This was Kierkegaard's first major work. It consists of two "parts": the first written by an aesthetic fellow named A and the second by an ethical fellow named Judge Vilhelm. The two parts are meant to show us the difference between the aesthetic and ethical modes of life.

The first half, written by the aesthete A, reveals the importance of the interesting to the aesthete. The aesthete is someone who has no higher purpose, but who simply seeks enjoyment. For them the interesting is the highest good, as it is the best road to enjoyment. The worst evil is boredom, so there is an entire chapter about how to avoid boredom by practicing the art of forgetting. There are a few essays about sorrow and the erotic, in which Don Giovanni is held up as the supreme example of the "immediate erotic" (immediate meaning in this case that his enjoyment is entirely in the moment, not in any sort of reflection). A reflects on differing types of sorrow, seeking to find the interesting in them. For the aesthete everything is fair game for finding enjoyment. The section concludes with the famous (or infamous) Diary of a Seducer, in which Johannes the Seducer keeps a diary as he seduces an innocent young woman, whose love he sacrafices at the alter of the interesting.

The second half is by Judge Vilhelm, who is attempting to convert A to the ethical mode of life. Just as A's half focused on the preference of seduction and the erotic to marriage, Vilhelm seeks to justify marriage. Surprisingly, he tries to justify marriage on aesthetic grounds before moving on to discuss the virtues of marriage from the ethical view of life. While A's writing style is witty and sarcastic, Vilhelm's style can be described as nothing short of boring.
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30 of 38 people found the following review helpful By P. Verkhovensky on April 26, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
K./Eremita/... is certainly an amazing and entertaining philosopher, and one should either read everything of his or nothing, I was surprised that the book is not listed as ABRIDGED. The first (and most popular) book is less badly cut, and I'm sure all of the excisions improve the book, if you're serious about K., you might find this a problem. E/O is a two volume work-- good luck finding them, though.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Medusa on September 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
Either/or is two parts in which Kierkegaard used different false names or pseudonyms. The first part discusses the aesthetic or personal experience, where imagination is the most powerful factor of aesthetic pleasure. For the aesthetic, imagination is the only way to break the boredom barrier just as Don Juan avoided repetition of the love act with the same woman in order to break the dullness of repetition. In that way, the aesthetic hunger for pleasure leads to the same void of repetition by seeking a way out of it.
Not to spoil the book for readers, but the last section of the first part of either/or "the diary of the seducer" is a very interesting diary in which the character tries to avoid the climax of a relationship with a woman he desires because of the fear of emptiness in relationships. Imagination to the seducer is the only way to maximize his aesthetic pleasure, while the success of the seduction will definitely end the adventure and the prey should be replaced by a more difficult one.

The second part, which deals with the ethical, or supposedly a higher form of existence, takes the form of letters written by different characters as a response to the first part where reason not seduction is used to defend values, relationships, and the pleasure of having a monogamous soul mate. The argument in this section promises greater fulfillment from devotion to higher morals which ultimately lead to a deeper aesthetic pleasure.

It's widely thought that the discussion of the aesthetic and the ethical is a reflection of Kierkegaard's own confusion, especially after ending his engagement with the love of his life Regine Olsen, just as the seducer of either/or did.
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