to pose this riddle of awakening
July 6, 2006 5:45 AM   Subscribe

Unless you read Danish, there have been few primary texts by Søren Kierkegaard on the internet. I've always blamed the gentle tyranny of the Hong family, who control the English translations. But this site has begun supplying full texts: Fear and Trembling, The Sickness unto Death, The Concept of Anxiety, even the mammoth Philosophical Fragments!
posted by anotherpanacea (27 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
By the way, Kierkegaard is pronounced Keer-ka-gore.

Too bad there's no Works of Love yet:

"If it is true--as conceited shrewdness, proud of not being deceived, thinks--that one should believe nothing which he cannot see by means of his physical eyes, then first and foremost one ought to give up believing in love. If one did this and did it out of fear of being deceived, would not one then be deceived? [...] To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity. For usually... when there is talk about being deceived in love the one deceived is still related to love, and the deception is simply that it is not present where it was thought to be; but one who is self-deceived has locked himself out and continues to lock himself out from love."

posted by anotherpanacea at 5:46 AM on July 6, 2006

I hate to do this, but I absolutely cannot read any philosophy without setting aside a few hours of quiet time, so can someone explain to me briefly what his contribution was so I can decide whether I want to read this?
posted by empath at 5:49 AM on July 6, 2006

From wikipedia: Kierkegaard "is generally recognized as the first existentialist philosopher. He bridged the gap that existed between Hegelian philosophy and what was to become Existentialism. Kierkegaard strongly criticized both the Hegelian philosophy of his time, and what he saw as the empty formalities of the Danish church. Much of his work deals with religious problems such as the nature of faith, the institution of the Christian Church, Christian ethics and theology, and the emotions and feelings of individuals when faced with existential choices. Because of this, Kierkegaard's work is sometimes characterized as Christian existentialism and existential psychology. "
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:52 AM on July 6, 2006

I read dutch, and it doesn't help me much. You mean Danish… More famous works (translated) online is always a good thing though.
posted by fvw at 5:57 AM on July 6, 2006

emapth-Look again at those book titles and tell me you don't want to read them. Sickness unto death? Indeed!
posted by OmieWise at 5:58 AM on July 6, 2006

Was it Kierkegaard, or Dick Van Patten who said, 'If you label me, you negate me'?

posted by antifuse at 6:02 AM on July 6, 2006

So what.
posted by LowDog at 6:05 AM on July 6, 2006

anotherpanacea: just say that Kierkegaard's texts have been translated into Dutch & posted on the intarwebs. It's unlikely that anybody will catch you out.

everybody else: forget the above.

posted by UbuRoivas at 6:16 AM on July 6, 2006

anotherpanacea: I didn't intend to be snarky. The site's a great find. I only wish I could comprehend what he's saying.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 6:27 AM on July 6, 2006

Thanks for these! Fear and Trembling has long been one of my favorites -- its one of the most poetic, thought-provoking, hopeful, and complete definitions of faith I have read.

For any interested in Buddhism, a similar use of faith seems to be at work in one of my favorite Japanese Buddhist writings: the Tannisho.
posted by cubby at 6:31 AM on July 6, 2006

I hope they soon have Either-Or.
posted by The Castle at 6:39 AM on July 6, 2006

I changed Dutch to Danish in the FPP. Also, I have to mention that I attended the wedding of a lovely couple this weekend who met because both of their profiles on Friendster mentioned Kierkegaard. They said it was fairly difficult trying to find an appropriate reading for the ceremony.
posted by jessamyn at 6:43 AM on July 6, 2006

Thanks jess!
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:45 AM on July 6, 2006

"Kierkegaard's last words were: 'Sweep me up.'" (A wonderful and haunting quote from the end of Waking Life)
posted by Eideteker at 7:05 AM on July 6, 2006

"When one views the historical roles of the religions on their journey through the world," Kierkegaard asserts boldly in 1839, "the relationship is as follows: Christianity is the actual proprietor who sits in the carriage; Judaism is the coach-man; Muhammadanism is a groom, who does not sit with the coachman, but behind."

Hong looks up, stunned at the apparent smoking gun, hermeneutically speaking. He agrees the only way to read the passage is, "Sorry, Islam, but you are tertiary, whether you like it or not."


By the way, Kierkegaard is pronounced Keer-ka-gore.

More proof that the Danes can't even pronounce their own language properly.
posted by three blind mice at 7:06 AM on July 6, 2006

Kierkegaard's battle with the Danish gossip broadsheet The Corsair is one of the great trollbait moments of the 19th century. (Lest anyone think that the internet invented the flame war.) Rising to provocation of some crude caricatures of his clothes and mannerisms, K. wrote: "To my contemporaries my significance depends on my trousers; it may be that to a later era my significance will also depend a little on my writings."
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:15 AM on July 6, 2006

Plato is my favorite Roman philosopher.
posted by bardic at 8:17 AM on July 6, 2006

Jeg hvil gerne har r&#0248d gr&#0248d med fl&#0248de.
posted by LordSludge at 8:44 AM on July 6, 2006

(D'oh, insta-preview strikes again!)
posted by LordSludge at 8:45 AM on July 6, 2006

I eat Danish.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:05 AM on July 6, 2006

I've been looking for Kierkegaard online without luck. Thanks!
posted by honeydew at 10:19 AM on July 6, 2006

More proof that the Danes can't even pronounce their own language properly.

OR: Your favorite philosopher's native language sucks.
posted by Eideteker at 1:09 PM on July 6, 2006

If 'patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel,' then Kierkegaard is the last refuge of the Christian fleeing loss of faith, but not, as it generally turns out, a very secure refuge.
posted by jamjam at 3:23 PM on July 6, 2006

jamjam- I've been meaning to come back and comment on your remarkably convoluted Kierkegaard callout. Sorry for the delay.

Basically, Kierkegaard's importance for a)phenomenologists like Husserl and Heidegger and b)existentialists seems to mitigate his obvious utility for Christian apologists. It's not like he's defending anything that's recognizably Christian in Christendom: his model looks pretty non-institutional.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:29 PM on July 8, 2006

Trivia: aa=å and Danes can use both but in some cases they prefer the old fashioned aa, like in Aalborg (Ålborg). See wikilink: "In Danish and Norwegian languages, "Aa" is considered equivalent to "Å", in as much as "Aa" is the old spelling, and a fully functional transcription for "Å" when using a foreign typewriter."
/nit-picking derail
posted by dabitch at 1:58 PM on July 8, 2006

I have nothing against Christian Apologetics, anotherpanacea; I think they're almost always worth paying attention to, and Kierkegaard's are among the most highly developed we have.

The flight to Kierkegaard is a thing I've observed in friends half a dozen times. I was surprised by it, and thought people might be interested-- and I thought readers who were as amazed as I was by the dense thickets of his prose might be relieved to consider whether their significance was more in their intrinsic meaning, or in the shelter they provided.
posted by jamjam at 3:47 PM on July 9, 2006

jamjam- it's the notion that K. provides 'shelter' that I find interesting. In truth, it'd be a pretty damning indictment of his work, because his non-pseudonymous essays all describe a project of risk and reward, like the 'leap of faith' celebrated by his pseudonym Johannes de Silento. Comfort and shelter were the province of the stultifying Danish church, at least for K. Hegel's Christianity was the comfortable, quotidian one, grounded in obvious ethical principles and freed from doubt through the unification of substance and spirit. That's the Christianity that, in my reading, Kierkegaard despised. So either I'm reading him wrong, or your Christians friends are.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:33 PM on July 9, 2006

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