Kierkegaard’s Early Polemical Writings

Well I have started out with a pretty healthy pace on the Kierkegaard reading finishing the first volume last night.  The volume is of course relatively short and much less demanding than what I will be tackling.  The volume is primarily a composition journalistic debate, an extended review of his school mate Hans Christian Andersen and then a fragmented play exploring various philosophical modes.

Most of the content was not particularly engaging, though the critical review of Andersen definitely had its moments.  Kierkegaard basically charges Andersen of an inability to allow his life to be invested in the process of writing but rather “he has utilized [writing] in a purely external manner.  If we now add to this the temptation to produce instead of developing himself, to hide an inner emptiness under motley pictures, to let himself be absorbed in generation without any reproduction . . . then it will certainly not surprise us that, instead of carrying through his reflection, he on the contrary encloses himself in a very small space of it” (74).

Kierkegaard goes on charge Andersen of lacking a ‘life-view’ which he defines as follows,

A life-view is more than a quintessence or a sum of propositions maintained in its abstract neutrality; it is more than experience, which as such is always fragmentary.  It is, namely, the transubstantiation of experience; it is an unshakable certainty in oneself won from all experience, whether this has oriented itself only in all worldly relationships (a purely human standpoint, Stoicism, for example), by which means it keeps itself from contact with a deeper experience – or whether in its heavenward direction (the religious) it has found therein the center as much for its heavenly as its earthly existence, has won the true Christian conviction “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, no principalities, nor powers, nor the present, nor the future, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation will be able separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” . . . A life-view if really providence in the novel; it is its deeper unity, which make the novel have the center of gravity in itself.  A life-view frees it from being arbitrary or purposeless, since the purpose if immanently present everywhere in the work of art. (76, 81)

I just finished SK’s introduction to The Concept of Irony it looks to be both educational philosophically and engaging in terms of SK’s intellectual development.

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