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Papers and Journals: A Selection Paperback – November 1, 1996

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Papers and Journals: A Selection + The Diary Of Soren Kierkegaard + Either/Or: A Fragment of Life (Penguin Classics)
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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Danish

About the Author

S¢ren 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.

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (November 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140445897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140445893
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #447,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
Along with an older and somewhat smaller one-volume edition by Alexander Dru (worth seeking out, but very difficult to find), this provides readers of Kierkegaard's works a usable collection of highlights from his massive and exceedingly important JOURNALS AND PAPERS. Although this volume runs to over 700 pages, it does not represent a tenth of the complete edition in Danish.
There are many reasons for someone to read in Kierkegaard's journals. He used his journals for dry runs for many ideas that later cropped up in his various books and discourses. He often presents these ideas in a more straightforward manner than he would in his books. But he also often writes things that he did not intend to be seen by the public in his lifetime. Make no mistake about it: Kierkegaard definitely wrote these journals with the assumption that they would later be read by others in published form. But the knowledge that this would only come after his death freed him from any form of constraint, not that even here he is terribly forthcoming.
Reading the journals is also essential because it is the only way to get a truly balanced picture of his literary career and life. For instance, the caricature of Kierkegaard is of a soul who unhappily engaged in a Quixotic battle with the Danish Lutheran church in the final years of his life. The image is of an unhappy, isolated, tormented soul who never finds his rest. In fact, from the journals we find a person who has achieved a great deal of personal peace and a quiet contentment. This cannot be drawn from the books he published in his lifetime, but only from the journals. For all these reasons, anyone interested in Kierkegaard will profit enormously from these pages.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on May 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
The 'Journals' of Kierkegaard are not simply the testing - ground for many of his ideas and projects, they are the life- record which indicates his mood and feeling. He began them in 1833 when he was twenty, and wrote them to the end of his life. They served in a way as his most important and trusted friend. In them he contemplated important life- decisions. They are an important supplement to his most important works, and contain many of his most original thoughts and aphorisms.

To give a real feeling of the Journals I will quote one of the most famous passages at some length. It was written in 1843.

" . What I really need is to be clear about what I am to do, not what I must know, except in the way knowledge must precede all action. It is a question of understanding my destiny, of seeing what the Deity really wants me to do; the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die. And what use here would it be if I were to discover a so-called objective truth, or if I worked my way through the philosophers' systems and were able to call them all to account on request, point out inconsistencies in every single circle? And what use here would it be to be able to work out a theory of the state, and put all the pieces from so many places into one whole, construct a world which, again, I myself did not inhabit but merely held up for others to see? What use would it be to be able to propound the meaning of Christianity, to explain many separate facts, if it had no deeper meaning for myself and for my life? "

In this passage Kierkegaard contemplates and fleshes out his own life- mission. Note how rich the passage is in the figurative 'as if 'language which so enriched his writing. Note too how the writing despite its somewhat awkward mode of motion makes definite progress towards a wise and turning- point life decision."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By alan on September 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must read in order to understand the very lifeblood of Kierkegaard's philosophy and existence!! Its powerful, very revealing of the character himself in ways that his published books don't portray as clearly. He is very open and definite in his philosophy here and completely reveals his heart and faith. Please get this book even though it may be a long read. It is so worth it. I love how deep Kierkegaard goes in his thinking and how real he is with himself and all of us. He is no thinker to tickle your ears but a master at pricking the very spirit and heart of a person and goes so deep and yet reveals the bigger picture in ways that almost no person has done before or after him. This is a great book to read to understand more fully who the man is and what he believes, which makes all his other works more lively, clear and captivating!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Art on April 6, 2013
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As of of the most influential of Western philosophers, this anthology of selected papers by Kierkegaard is a nice way to wade through the sea of his writing without drowning. One certainly gets a good feel for his zeitgeist, including his views on politics, religion and life in general. Only for the scholarly.
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