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Papers and Journals: A Selection Paperback – November 1, 1996
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Original Language: Danish
About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My favourite book of all time. The best of Kierkegaard, the most quotable, an excellent view of his philosophy as it grows and changes throughout his life. An intimate look. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Dani DeMeter
In his short life Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1814-1855) wrote over seven thousand pages of papers and journal entries, enough writing to fill an entire bookshelf. Read morePublished on December 22, 2013 by Glenn Russell
Papers and Journals: A Selection
selected and translated by Alastair Hannay
(Hamondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1996) 683 pages
(ISBN:... Read more