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Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography Paperback – April 23, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Kierkegaard, first and foremost, was a writer, and Garff never lets us lose sight of how impressive his subject's achievements were (the amount he produced in the 1840s boggles the mind). All of SK's major works are discussed as well as his lesser known writings. The major events of SK's life are also dealt with in detail--his dour father and difficult brother, the relationship with Regine, and the disastrous sparring he did with "The Corsair." At some points, Garff must speculate on his subject's private world.Read more ›
As Garff states in his preface, biographies of Kierkegaard are few and far between. Even in his native Danish language, 'biographies of Kierkegaard that have appeared since Georg Brandes' critical portrait was published in 1877 can easily be counted on the fingers of one hand.' Part of this was Kierkegaard's own stated desire that readers read his works, not into his person, and he often published under pseudonyms. However, this is an ironic situation, Garff writes, because Kierkegaard puts so much of himself into his writing that there are definite autobiographical elements. Israel Levin, Kierkegaard's secretary for many years, also recognised the paradoxical situation in dealing with a Kierkegaard biography - 'this is a life so full of contradictions that it will be difficult to get to the bottom of his character.'
One of the things Garff should be credited for is not trying to force a particular paradigm or interpretation on Kierkegaard. We don't discover 'Kierkegaard the existentialist' or 'Kierkegaard the religious rebel' or other such personas here - rather, these elements and more are all interwoven into Garff's text to show a complex and not always comprehensible figure.Read more ›
Herr! gieb uns blöde Augen (Lord, give us weak eyes)
für Dinge, die nichts taugen, (for things that do not matter)
und Augen voller Klarheit (and eyes full of clarity)
in alle deine Wahrheit! (in all your truth!)
Kierkegaard prefaced his work The Sickness Unto Death with this prayer-poem.
Although a wild diversity of interpreters from existentialism to deconstructionism has claimed Kierkegaard as their own, and although SK's personality and complex oeuvre present any biographer with an extraordinarily difficult task, Garff shows that he is rightly understood as an artist-poet whose focus was distinctly and deliberately religious. He treats the reader to large doses of SK himself, and reviews all his major writings and journals, focusing on Kierkegaard's life and not really his thought. In this sense he treats Kierkegaard personally rather than intellectually or theologically. He starts with his early years, and proceeds year by year.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I thought this was an intellectual biography. it is not. I confess I was unable --unwilling, really--to read the entire book after leafing through it. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Orson Welles
Great insight into one of the greatest minds to ever walk the planet. So much of what is sourced to CS Lewis, Tillich, Wittgenstein, and the list goes on... Read morePublished 18 months ago by TJ
Joakim Garff is Associate Professor at the Soren Kierkegaard Research Center in the University of Copenhagen. Read morePublished on January 9, 2013 by Steven H Propp
The author is so pathetic that the only "achievement" in his career will be a sad attempt at cutting down a truly brilliant philosopher and writer.Published on January 31, 2012 by Conor
Given the nature of the subject, it would have been surprising if Garff's biography were not incredibly interesting. Read morePublished on February 25, 2011 by Matthew Lefavor
No matter what readers think about the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard, they will no doubt have a different opinion of the man after reading this book. Read morePublished on October 10, 2009 by Dr. Lee D. Carlson
this is a perfect book. i can only imagine how wonderfully garff's danish version reads--and even moreso, fantasize what kierkegaard's original danish prose reads like--but... Read morePublished on December 30, 2008 by larry gags