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Each volume of this series of companions to major philosophers

contains specially commissioned essays by an international team of


scholars, together with a substantial bibliography, and will serve as
a reference work for students and nonspecialists. One aim of the se-
ries is to dispel the intimidation such readers often feel when faced
with work of a difficult and challenging thinker.
Few thinkers have been so consistently misunderstood as Soren
Kierkegaard (1813-1855). Amongst the many myths that have at-
tached themselves to his work is the belief that Kierkegaard was an
irrationalist who denied the value of clear and honest thinking. The
truth is that Kierkegaard did deny the power of reason to uncover
universal and objective truth in matters of value, but in the current
philosophical climate there is nothing irrational about that.
The contributors to this companion probe the full depth of Kier-
kegaard's thought, revealing its distinctive subtlety. The topics cov-
ered include Kierkegaard's views on art and religion, ethics and
psychology, theology and politics, and knowledge and virtue. Much
attention is devoted to the pervasive influence of Kierkegaard on
twentieth-century philosophy and theology.
New readers will find this the most convenient and accessible
guide to Kierkegaard currently available. Advanced students and
specialists will find a conspectus of recent developments in the in-
terpretation of Kierkegaard.
THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO

KIERKEGAARD
CAMBRIDGE COMPANIONS SERIES
AQUINAS Edited by NORMAN KRETZ MANN and
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The Cambridge Companion to

KIERKEGAARD

Edited by
Alastair Hannay
University of Oslo

and
Gordon D. Marino
St. Olaf College

H'~H' CAMBRIDGE
UNIVERSITY PRESS
Gordon D. Marino gratefully acknowledges the support of the Virginia Foundation
for the Humanities and the American-Scandinavian Foundation. Thanks are also
due to Philip Lickteig and Cynthia Lund for their bibliographic assistance and to
Douglas MacLean, Phd., for his assistance with the index.

PUBLISHED BY THE PRESS SYNDICATE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE


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Transferred to digital printing 2004


To the memory of
Edwin Ellis
CONTENTS

Contributors page ix
Abbreviations xiii
Introduction
ALASTAIR HANNAY and GORDON D. MARINO I

I "Out with It!": The modem breakthrough,


Kierkegaard and Denmark
BRUCE H. KIRMMSE IS
2 The unknown Kierkegaard: Twentieth-century
receptions
ROGER POOLE

3 Art in an age of reflection


GEORGE PATTISON

4 Kierkegaard and Hegel


MEROLD WESTPHAL 101

5 Neither either nor or: The perils of reflexive irony


ANDREW CROSS 12 5

6 Realism and antirealism in Kierkegaard's Concluding


Unscientific Postscript
C. STEPHEN EVANS 154
7 Existence, emotion, and virtue: Classical themes
in Kierkegaard
ROBERT c. ROBERTS 177

8 Faith and the Kierkegaardian leap


M. JAMIE FERREIRA 207

9 Arminian edification: Kierkegaard on grace and


free will
TIMOTHY P. JACKSON 235
vii
viii Contents
10 "Developing" Fear and Trembling
RONALD M. GREEN 257
II Repetition: Getting the world back
EDWARD F. MOONEY 282
12 Anxiety in The Concept of Anxiety
GORDON D. MARINO 308
13 Kierkegaard and the variety of despair
ALASTAIR HANNAY 32 9
14 Kierkegaard/s Christian ethics
PHILIP L. QUINN 349
15 Religious dialectics and Christology
HERMANN DEUSER 376
16 The utilitarian self and the "useless" passion
of faith
KLAUS-M. KODALLE 397
Bibliography 411
Index 4 21
CONTRIBUTORS

ANDREW CROSS, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Univer-


sity of California at Irvine, writes on Kierkegaard and the relations
between ethics, agency, and self-interpretation.
HERMANN DEUSER, Professor of Systematic Theology at the Insti-
tute for Protestant Theology, the Justus Liebig University of Giessen,
is the author of Soren Kierkegaard. Die paradox Dialektik des poli-
tischen Christen (1974t Dialektische Theologie. Studien zu Adomos
Metaphysik und zum Spiitwerk Kierkegaards (1980), and Kierke-
gaard, Die Philosophie des religiosen Schriftstellers (1985), as well as
of numerous articles in philosophy of religion, systematic theology,
and in Kierkegaard studies. He is translator and editor of Charles
S. Peirce, Religionsphilosophische Schriften (1995) and co-editor of
Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook (1996££).
c. STEPHEN EVANS, Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, is
the author of numerous books including Kierkegaard's "Fragments"
and "Postscript," The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith, and
Passionate Reason. He serves on the International Scholarly Com-
mittee that oversees research at the Kierkegaard Research Centre at
the University of Copenhagen.
M. JAMIE FERREIRA, Professor of Religious Studies and Philosophy
at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, is the author of
Doubt and Religious Commitment (1980), Scepticism and Reason-
able Doubt (1986) and Transforming Vision: Imagination and Will in
Kierkegaardian Faith (1991).
RONALD M. GREEN, John Phillips Professor of Religion and Direc-
tor of the Institute of Applied Ethics at Dartmouth College, is the au-
thor of Kierkegaard and Kant: The Hidden Debt (1992), Religious
Reason, and Religion and Moral Reason. He has also written exten-
sively on bioethics and business ethics.

ix
x Contributors
A LAS T A I R HAN NAY, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, the Univer-
sity of Oslo, is the author of Mental Images - a Defence (197 I),
Kierkegaard. The Arguments of the Philosophers (1982, rev. ed. 1991),
and Human Consciousness (1990). He is editor (with Andrew Feen-
berg) of Technology and the Politics of Knowledge (1995), and has
published numerous articles in philosophy of mind, epistemology,
ethics, and Kierkegaard studies. He is also translator of several works
by Kierkegaard in Penguin Classics and is Editor of Inquiry.
TIMOTHY P. JACKSON, Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics in
the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, has published
numerous articles on moral theology and philosophy of religion and
is the author of The Priority of Agape: A Defense of Charity as First
Virtue, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.
BRUCE H. KIRMMSE, Professor of History at Connecticut College
and guest Lecturer at the S0ren Kierkegaard Research Centre at the
University of Copenhagen, is the author of Kierkegaard in Golden
Age Denmark (1990), Encounters with Kierkegaard (1996), and many
other scholarly articles. He is also an editor of Kierkegaardiana.
KLAUS-M. KODALLE, Professor of Philosophy at the University of
Jena, is the author of Thomas Hobbes - Logik der Herrschaft
(1972), Politik als Macht und Mythos, Carl Schmitts Politische
Theologie (1973), Die Eroberung des Nutzlosen (1988) (on Kierke-
gaard), Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Zur Kritik seiner Theologie (1991),
Schockierende Fremdheit, Nachmetaphysische Ethik in der Wei-
marer Wendezeit (1996), and of further books in the areas of Criti-
cal Theory (Frankfurt School), psychoanalysis and religion, philo-
sophy of religion, and political philosophy.
GORDON D. MARINO, Associate Professor of Philosophy and
Curator of the Hong/Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College, is the
author of Kierkegaard in the Present Age (1997), and has written
for both scholarly and popular journals in the areas of ethics and
morality.
EDWARD F. MOONEY, Professor of Philosophy at Sonoma State
University, is the author of Knights of Faith and Resignation: Read-
ing Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling (1991) and Selves in Discord
Contributors xi
and Resolve: Kierkegaard's Moral-Religious Psychology from Ei-
ther/Or to Sickness unto Death (1996).
GEORGE PATTISON, Dean of Chapel at King's College, Cambridge,
is the author of Art, Modernity and Faith (1991), Kierkegaard: The
Aesthetic and the Religious (1992), and of Agnosis: Theology in the
Void (1997). He has edited the collections of Kierkegaard on Art and
Communication (1994) and (with Stephen Shakespeare) Kierke-
gaard: The Self in Society (1997). He has also published numerous ar-
ticles and has broadcast for the BBC, mainly in the fields of art and
religion, and Kierkegaard studies.
ROGER POOLE, Reader in Literary Theory, Department of English
Studies at the University of Nottingham, is the author of Towards
Deep Subjectivity (1972), The Unknown Virginia Woolf (1978, 4th
ed. 1996); with Henrik Stangerup, of Dansemesteren, Sider af Soren
Kierkegaard (1985), A Kierkegaardian Reader: Texts and Narratives
(1989), and The Laughter Is on My Side: An Imaginative Introduc-
tion to Kierkegaard (1989); and of Kierkegaard: The Indirect Com-
munication (1993). His play about Kierkegaard and Regine Olsen, All
Women and Quite a Few Men are Right, has twice been performed
at the Edinburgh Festival.
PHILIP L. QUINN, John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the
University of Notre Dame, is the author of Divine Commands and
Moral Requirements (1978) and is co-editor of A Companion to Phi-
losophy of Religion (1997). He has also published numerous articles
on the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of science.
ROBERT C. ROBERTS, Professor of Philosophy at Wheaton College,
is the author of Faith, Reason and History: Rethinking Kierke-
gaard's Philosophical Fragments (1986) as well as Taking the Word
to Heart: Self and Other in an Age of Therapies (1993).
MEROLD WESTPHAL, Professor of Philosophy at Fordham Univer-
sity, is the author of Kierkegaard's Critique of Reason and Society
and Becoming a Self: A Reading of Kierkegaard's Concluding Un-
scientific Postscript. He has also written two books on Hegel.
ABBREVIATIONS

C The Crisis [and a Crisis} in the Life of an Actress


CA The Concept of Anxiety
CD Christian Discourses
CI The Concept of Irony with Continual Reference
to Socrates
CUP Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical
Fragments (volumes I and 2)
EOI Either/Or I
EO II Either/Or II
EOh Either/Or (Hannay)
EPW Early Polemical Writings
EUD Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses
FT Fear and Trembling
FTh Fear and Trembling (Hannay)
JP Journals and Papers (followed by volume and page or by
entry number)
KAUC Kierkegaard's Attack upon "Christendom"
OAR On Authority and Revelation
Pap. S0ren Kierkegaards Papirer
PC Practice in Christianity
PF Philosophical Fragments
PV The Point of View for My Work as an Author
R Repetition
SLW Stages on Life's Way
SUD The Sickness unto Death
SUDh The Sickness unto Death (Hannay)
SV Samlede Vcerker (superscripts denote edition)
UDVS Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits

References to the works of Kierkegaard are to the Hannay and Hong


translations, with the following exceptions: C (trans. Crites, 1967),
CD (trans. Lowrie, 1940), KAUC (trans. Lowrie, 1944), OAR (trans.
Lowrie, 1955), and PV (trans. Lowrie, 1939).

xiii
THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO

KIERKEGAARD
ALASTAIR
ALASTAIR H A N N A Y AND
HANNAY AND GORDON
GORDON D.
D. MARINO
MARINO

Introduction
Introduction

Myths attach
Myths attach rather
rather easily
easily to
to some
some thinkers,
thinkers, especially
especially to to those
those
who like
who Hegel are
like Hegel are hard
hard to
to read
read or
or like
like Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard hard hard to to place.
place.
Such myths
Such myths areare often
often based
based onon hearsay
hearsay or or aa superficial
superficial reading
reading of of the
the
texts. One
texts. One lingering
lingering mythmyth about
about Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard is is that
that he he is
is anan irra-
irra-
tionalist in
tionalist in some
some sense
sense that
that denies
denies thethe value
value ofof clear
clear andand honest
honest
thinking. Kierkegaard
thinking. Kierkegaard did did deny
deny the
the ability
ability of of reasoned
reasoned thought
thought to to ar-
ar-
rive at
rive at universal
universal and and objective
objective truth
truth on on matters
matters of of value,
value, but today
but today
that is
that is considered
considered quitequite rational. This collection
rational. This collection of of previously
previously un- un-
published
published essaysessays isis offered
offered as
as proof
proof of of how
how wrong
wrong it it is
is to
to suppose
suppose
that if
that if Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's philosophical
philosophical starstar isis in
in the
the ascendant,
ascendant, as as it
it now
now
is, things
is, must be
things must going badly
be going badly with
with philosophy.
philosophy.
Besides this
Besides general myth,
this general myth, though owing as
though owing as much
much to to them
them as as they
they
to it, are
to it, are the
the particular myths -- of
particular myths of Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's uncontrolled
uncontrolled pre- pre-
dilection for
dilection for paradox,
paradox, aa delight
delight inin exaggeration,
exaggeration, and and his his writer's
writer's
weakness for
weakness for rhetoric
rhetoric overover perspicuity
perspicuity -- mythsmyths thatthat havehave ledled in in
their turn
their turn toto superficial
superficial renditions
renditions of of the
the ideas
ideas and
and to to failures
failures to to de-
de-
tect consistency
tect consistency or or development
development in in his
his multiauthored
multiauthored production.
production.
More than
More than with
with any
any other
other recent
recent thinker,
thinker, and and for
for good
good or or ill,
ill, the
the re-
re-
ception of
ception of Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's work work hashas carried
carried the the subjective
subjective stamp stamp of of
the receiver's
the receiver's ownown preferences.
preferences. So So much
much so so that
that one
one might
might wellwell ask
ask
if Kierkegaard
if Kierkegaard has has notnot so
so much
much enjoyed
enjoyed as as "suffered"
"suffered" his his several
several
renaissances.
renaissances.
Emanuel Hirsch,
Emanuel Hirsch, whose
whose influential
influential German
German translations
translations reflectreflect
personal political
personal political leanings,
leanings, tried
tried to
to weave
weave Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard into into the
the tan-
tan-
gled web
gled web of of an
an existence
existence theology
theology adapted
adapted to to National Socialism.
National Socialism.
Herbert Marcuse,
Herbert Marcuse, the the revisionary
revisionary Marxist,
Marxist, detected
detected in in Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard
the makings
the makings of of aa deeply
deeply rooted
rooted social
social theory,
theory, while
while his his Frankfurt
Frankfurt
School colleague
School colleague Theodor
Theodor Adorno
Adorno saw saw in in Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard aa fellowfellow cam-
cam-

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


22 T H E CAMBRIDGE
THE C A M B R I D G E COMPANION
C O M P A N I O N TO
T O KIERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

paigner against the


paigner against the tyranny
tyranny of of the
the concept
concept over over thethe particular.
particular. TheThe
criticisms these
criticisms these twotwo leveled
leveled at at Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's focus focus on on religion
religion andand
the individual
the individual are are nevertheless
nevertheless hamperedhampered by by narrowly focused vi-
narrowly focused vi-
sions of
sions of their
their own.
own. Besides
Besides Hirsch,
Hirsch, Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was was heralded
heralded by by
many other theologians.
many other theologians. Attempts
Attempts to see in
to see in him
him the
the provider
provider of of aa
radical Christian apologetic
radical Christian apologetic set set in in motion
motion yet another school
yet another school of of in-
in-
terpretation.
terpretation. But But hehe was also eagerly
was also eagerly read read in in Max
Max Weber's circle and
Weber's circle and
welcomed
welcomed by agnostic and
by agnostic and atheistic
atheistic thinkers
thinkers of of widely diverging
widely diverging
political
political views. Heidegger's debt
views. Heidegger's debt is is still
still to
to bebe measured,
measured, but Kierke-
but Kierke-
gaard's influence
gaard's influence on on the foremost Marxist
the foremost Marxist intellectual
intellectual of of the cen-
the cen-
tury
tury isis well
well recorded. Though later
recorded. Though later in in life
life Lukacs
Lukacs criticized
criticized thethe
"self-mortifying subjectivism"
"self-mortifying subjectivism" of of Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's critique
critique of of Hegel,
Hegel, in in
his youth
his youth he he had
had held
held Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard in in an
an esteem
esteem thatthat bordered
bordered on on
hero w0rship.II As
hero worship. As for
for yet
yet another
another dominant
dominant twentieth-century
twentieth-century tra- tra-
dition, analytical
dition, analytical philosophy
philosophy of of language,
language, it it is
is no
no news
news that
that its
its
leading twentieth-century
leading twentieth-century exponent exponent also also felt
felt the
the impact
impact of of Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard's thought.
gaard's thought. Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein once once described
described Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard as as the
the
nineteenth century's
nineteenth century's mostmost profound
profound thinker.thinker.
This chameleon-like
This chameleon-like quality quality of of the
the Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard reception
reception can can be,
be,
and has
and has been,
been, blamed
blamed on on Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard himself, himself, on on his
his resort
resort toto pseu-
pseu-
donymity and
donymity and onon the
the variety
variety of of his
his themes
themes and and writing
writing styles;
styles; one
one
gets the
gets the impression
impression that that behind
behind the the writings
writings no no one
one inin particular
particular is is
at home.
at home. Others,
Others, and and notnot only
only those
those likelike Barthes
Barthes and and Foucault
Foucault who who
proclaim "the
proclaim "the death
death of of the
the author,"
author," would would find find inin this,
this, on
on the
the con-
con-
trary, aa reason
trary, reason for for praising
praising thethe writings.
writings. Thus Thus postmodern
postmodern perspec-
perspec-
tivism provides
tivism provides yet yet another
another illustration
illustration of of the
the versatile
versatile tenacity
tenacity of of
Kierkegaard's appeal,
Kierkegaard's appeal, bringing
bringing aa very very broad
broad but but perhaps
perhaps precisely
precisely on on
that account
that account stillstill limited
limited perspective
perspective of of its
its own
own to to bear
bear onon the
the var-
var-
ied texture
ied texture of of Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's writings
writings and and on on the
the many
many levels
levels of of
meaning they
meaning they cancan bebe made
made to to disclose.
disclose.
Given the
Given the huge
huge spanspan dividing
dividing this this newest
newest of of renewals
renewals and and
straightforwardly theological
straightforwardly theological readings
readings of of Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, it it is
is surely
surely
opportune to
opportune to look
look again
again and
and carefully
carefully into as as well
well as as at the texts.
at the texts.
Although some
Although some may may take
take the
the width
width of of the
the welcome
welcome Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard has has
enjoyed to
enjoyed to be
be aa reliable
reliable indication
indication of of the
the perennial topicality of
perennial topicality of his
his
writings, the
writings, the sheer
sheer heterogeneity
heterogeneity of of the
the banners
banners under which the
under which the re-
re-
ception has
ception occurred does
has occurred does suggest
suggest that that justice
justice hashas still
still to
to be done
be done
and that
and that aa vast
vast middle
middle ground
ground may may still
still be waiting to
be waiting to be charted and
be charted and
reclaimed.
reclaimed.

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Introduction
Introduction 33
Writing of
Writing of himself
himself Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was was reminded
reminded of of what
what he he had
had once
once
written pseudonymously
written pseudonymously about about Socrates
Socrates (see(see the
the epigraph
epigraph to to Bruce
Bruce
H. Kirmmse's
H. Kirmmse's essay),essay), that
that "his
"his whole
whole lifelife was
was aa personal
personal preoccupa-
preoccupa-
tion with
tion with himself,
himself, and and then
then guidance
guidance comes comes along
along and and adds
adds some-
some-
thing world-historical
thing world-historical to to it."2
it."" This
This waswas Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's own own per-per-
spective on
spective on his
his life
life in
in retrospect.
retrospect. He He came
came to to believe that he
believe that he had
had had
had
aa religious
religious mission
mission from from thethe start.
start. The
The first
first part
part ofof the
the description
description
seems fitting
seems fitting enough,
enough, but but howhow far far Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's own own life
life contained
contained
anything that
anything that might
might attract
attract aa biographer
biographer lookinglooking for for aa "world-
"world-
historical" dimension
historical" dimension is is less
less clear.
clear. With
With regard
regard to to the
the influence
influence of of
his writings,
his writings, however,
however, history
history has has certainly
certainly proved Kierkegaard
proved Kierkegaard
right.
right.
Apart from
Apart from fourfour visits
visits toto Berlin
Berlin andand aa trip
trip to
to his family roots
his family roots inin
Jutland, Kierkegaard's short life (like Kafka he lived
Jutland, Kierkegaard's short life (like Kafka he lived to be only forty- to be only forty-
two) was
two) was spent
spent entirely
entirely in in and
and around
around Copenhagen,
Copenhagen, aa city city with
with at at
the time
the time aa population
population of of little
little over
over oneone hundred thousand. He
hundred thousand. He was
was
born there on
born there on 5 MayMay r8r3,
1813, thethe year
year being
being thatthat which
which also also saw
saw thethe
birth
birth of of Richard
Richard Wagner
Wagner and and of of the
the father
father of of Nietzsche, Wagner's
Nietzsche, Wagner's
youthful admirer-to-be
youthful admirer-to-be and and later
later critic.
critic. Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was was born eight
born eight
years before
years Dostoevsky and
before Dostoevsky and five
five years
years before Marx. Among
before Marx. Among the the
thinkers who
thinkers who were
were to to influence
influence him, Hamann and
him, Hamann and Lessing
Lessing had died
had died
aa generation
generation earlier,
earlier, Hegel
Hegel waswas forty-three
forty-three and and was
was to to die
die inin Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard's first
gaard's first year
year asas aa student.
student. Schelling,
Schelling, whosewhose famous
famous lectures
lectures in in
Berlin in
Berlin in r84r
1841 Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard attended
attended alongalong withwith many others who
many others who
were to
were to influence
influence the the course
course of of European
European culture,
culture, including
including Marx,
Marx,
was thirty-eight.
was thirty-eight.
The early
The early years
years inin Copenhagen
Copenhagen were were marked
marked by forced proximity
by forced proximity
to aa deeply
to deeply religious
religious father
father who who had had retired
retired fromfrom business
business before
before
Smen was
S0ren was born
born and and byby thethe deaths
deaths before
before he he reached
reached the the age
age ofof
twenty-one of
twenty-one of his
his mother
mother and and five
five ofof the
the family
family of of seven
seven of of which
which
he
he was
was thethe youngest. Kierkegaard spent
youngest. Kierkegaard spent tenten years
years at at the
the university
university
before completing his
before completing dissertation On
his dissertation On thethe Concept
Concept of of Irony with
Irony with
Continual Reference
Continual Reference to to Socrates (1841)~in
Socrates (r84r), in preparation,
preparation, it it seemed,
seemed,
for aa career
for career in in the
the Church.
Church. His His second
second majormajor workwork EitherlOr (1843)
Either/Or (r843)
marked aa postponement
marked postponement of of that
that career
career andand waswas the
the fruit
fruit of
of aa fateful
fateful
decision. In
decision. In r84r
1841 he he broke
broke off off his
his engagement
engagement after after one
one year
year to to
Regine Olsen,
Regine Olsen, andand there
there followed
followed aa period
period of of intense
intense creativity
creativity thatthat
lasted during
lasted during and and after
after aa four-month
four-month trip trip toto Berlin,
Berlin, ostensibly
ostensibly to to
hear Schelling's
hear Schelling's lectures.
lectures. TheThe publication
publication of of EitherlOr
Either/Or in in February
February

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4 T H E CAMBRIDGE
THE C A M B R I D G E COMPANION
C O M P A N I O N TO
T O KIERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

1843 (the
r843 (the manuscript
manuscript was
was completed
completed in
in November 1842) was
November r842) was fol-
fol-
lowed in
lowed in October
October of of the
the same
same year
year by
by two
two slimmer
slimmer volumes,
volumes, Repe- Repe-
tition and
tition and Fear and Trembling
Fear and Trembling (both (both written
written for for the
the most
most part part on
on aa
second visit
second visit to
to Berlin
Berlin following
following the the publication
publication of of EitherlOr).
Either/Or). All All
these works
these works maymay be said to
be said to express
express thethe author's
author's "personal
"personal preoccu-
preoccu-
pation with himself,"
pation with himself," in in that
that they
they take
take up up the
the question
question of of the
the sta-
sta-
tus of
tus of the
the "exception"
"exception" in in society
society with
with respect
respect to to aa problem
problem that that
Judge William
Judge William in in EitherlOr
Either/Or calls calls "realizing
"realizing the the universal."
universal." In In Fear
Fear
and Trembling
and Trembling this this problem
problem is is grasped
grasped first
first ofof all
all in
in terms
terms of of ethi-
ethi-
cal participation,
cal participation, but the theme
but the theme reappears
reappears soon soon after
after inin Stages
Stages onon
Life's
Life's Way (1845)~
Way (r845), with aa religious
with religious perspective
perspective broughtbrought moremore sharply
sharply
into focus.
into focus. Prior
Prior toto that
that work,
work, however,
however, in in June
June r844,
1844, andand within
within
days of
days of each
each other,
other, there
there had had appeared
appeared two two books
books introducing
introducing new new
topics, Philosophical
topics, Philosophical Fragments
Fragments and and The The Concept
Concept of of Anxiety
Anxiety (or (or
Dread). The former,
Dread). The former, raising
raising whatwhat seems
seems on on the
the surface
surface to to bebe an
an epis-
epis-
temological question,
temological question, subtly
subtly distinguishes
distinguishes aa ChristianChristian notion notion of of
knowledge from
knowledge from that
that ofof the
the philosophical
philosophical tradition
tradition fromfrom Socrates
Socrates to to
Hegel, aa theme
Hegel, theme elaborated
elaborated at at much
much greater
greater length
length in in Concluding
Concluding
Unscientific Postscript
Unscientific Postscript to to the
the Philosophical
Philosophical Fragments
Fragments (r846). (1846).On On
the other
the other hand,
hand, The Concept of
The Concept of Anxiety
Anxiety is is an
an examination
examination of of the
the
psychological
psychological background
background to to the
the experience
experience of of sin
sin and
and contains
contains
Kierkegaard's seminal
Kierkegaard's seminal account
account of of anxiety
anxiety (Angest)
(Angest) in in the
the face
face ofof
"nothing."
"nothing."
Alongside this
Alongside this already
already impressive
impressive and and entirely
entirely pseudonymous
pseudonymous
production, Kierkegaard had
production, Kierkegaard had also
also published
published in in parallel twenty-one
parallel twenty-one
"edifying" (opbyggelige,
"edifying" (opbyggelige, also also translated
translated "upbuilding")
"upbuilding") discourses,
discourses,
signed works,
signed works, some
some of of them
them appearing
appearing simultaneously
simultaneously with with works
works
written under
written under pseudonyms.
pseudonyms. As its full
As its full title
title indicates,
indicates, Postscript
Postscript
was intended
was intended to to "conclude"
"conclude" Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's authorial
authorial career.
career. How-How-
ever, in
ever, in the
the guise
guise ofof one
one of of his
his pseudonyms
pseudonyms (Frater (Frater Taciturnus,
Taciturnus, in in
this case),
this case), Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard provoked
provoked aa feud feud with
with aa satiric
satiric weekly,
weekly, The The
Corsair, which
Corsair, instead of
which instead of responding
responding to to the
the pseudonym
pseudonym turned turned fe-fe-
rociously on
rociously on Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard himself.
himself. TheThe affair
affair had
had aa deep
deep and and lasting
lasting
effect on
effect on Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's relationship
relationship with with his fellow citizens
his fellow citizens on on all
all
social levels.
social levels.
Partly, it
Partly, it seems,
seems, to avoid giving
to avoid giving the impression that
the impression that persecution
persecution
by
by aa weekly
weekly had forced his
had forced his hand,
hand, Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard decided decided to abandon
to abandon
whatever
whatever plans
plans hehe had formed for
had formed for giving
giving up authorship and
up authorship and becom-
becom-
ing aa cleric.
ing cleric. In
In 1847
r847 he he published
published Edifying
Edifying Discourses
Discourses in in Different
Different

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Introduction
Introduction 55
Spirits and
Spirits and thethe substantial
substantial Works Works of of Love, followed in
Love, followed in the
the spring
spring ofof
848 by
r1848 Christian Discourses,
by Christian Discourses, and and inin r1849
849 by The Lilies
by The Lilies of of the
the Field
Field
and the
and the Birds
Birds of of the
the Air and Three
Air and Three Discourses
Discourses at at Communion
Communion on on
Fridays.
Fridays. All All were
were on on explicitly
explicitly Christian
Christian themes themes and and published
published
under his
under his own
own name,
name, though
though in in r847
1847he he briefly returned to
briefly returned to the
the "aes-
"aes-
thetic" genre
thetic" genre in in aa feuilleton essay entitled
feuilleton essay entitled TheThe Crisis
Crisis [and
[and aa Crisis]
Crisis]
in the
in the Life
Life ofof an
an Actress. During this
Actress. During this time
time Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard had had financial
financial
problems, frequently changed
problems, frequently changed apartments,
apartments, and and became increasingly
became increasingly
concerned about
concerned about his his position
position sub sub specie aeternitatis as
specie aeternitatis as aa writer.
writer. A A
retrospective justification
retrospective justification of of his
his authorship
authorship was was prepared
prepared but with-
but with-
held due
held due to to scruples
scruples aboutabout howhow its its reception
reception mightmight falsify
falsify his own
his own
polemical
polemical position
position as as hehe was
was beginning
beginning to to see
see it
it (the
(the work,
work, TheThe
Point
Point of of View
View of of [for]
[for] My
My Activity [Virksomhed] as
Activity [Virksomhed] as anan Author
Author [the[the
latter Danish
latter Danish term term also also has
has thethe connotation
connotation of of "effectivity";
"effectivity"; the the
Danish "for"
Danish "for" isis sometimes
sometimes translated
translated "for"]"for"] was
was published
published posthu-
posthu-
mously, by
mously, Kierkegaard's elder
by Kierkegaard's elder brother,
brother, in in r856).
1856).
At about
At about the the same
same time time Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was was writing
writing two two works
works
under
under aa newnew pseudonym, Anti-Climacus: The
pseudonym, Anti-Climacus: The Sickness
Sickness untounto Death
Death
(I849)and
(r849) and Practice
Practice in in Christianity
Christianity (r850). These, with
(I85 0). These, with their
their clear
clear
address to
address to the
the world
world around
around him,him, markmark the the intrusion
intrusion of "world-
of aa "world-
historical" dimension.
historical" dimension. Its Its roots
roots maymay be traced to
be traced to aa review Kierke-
review Kierke-
gaard wrote
gaard wrote justjust prior
prior to to publishing
publishing Postscript.
Postscript. The The book reviewed
book reviewed
was entitled
was entitled Two Two Ages,
Ages, andand inin his
his comments
comments Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard bringsbrings to-to-
gether and
gether and develops
develops certain
certain social
social and and political aspects of
political aspects of what
what hadhad
been written in
been written in that
that earlier
earlier pseudonymous
pseudonymous period. These two
period. These two later
later
works, written
works, written during
during and and inin the
the aftermath
aftermath of of the
the r848 upheavals
1848upheavals
in Europe,
in Europe, can can bebe readread against
against the the background
background of of the
the political
political
changes brought
changes brought aboutabout in in Denmark
Denmark at at that
that time.
time. These
These changes
changes in- in-
cluded the
cluded the establishment
establishment of of aa constitutional
constitutional monarchymonarchy and and of of aa
people's church, both
people's church, both of of which
which flew flew in in the
the face
face ofof the
the category
category of of
the "single
the "single individual"
individual" developed
developed by Kierkegaard and
by Kierkegaard and which
which he he
now believed
now believed was was of of critical
critical polemical importance.
polemical importance.
Over the
Over the next
next fewfew years
years little
little was
was to to be
be seen
seen ofof Kierkegaard.
Kierkegaard. His His
relationship with
relationship with the the Church
Church and and itsits higher
higher representatives,
representatives, notablynotably
the primate,
the primate, J. P. Mynster, was
P. Mynster, was becoming increasingly embittered,
becoming increasingly embittered,
but the conflict
but the conflict waswas not not public. Kierkegaard appears
public. Kierkegaard appears to to have
have been
been
biding
biding hishis time
time until
until thethe appropriate
appropriate occasion
occasion for for launching
launching an an all-
all-
out attack
out attack on on the
the Church.
Church. That That occasion
occasion was was provided
provided by the death
by the death
of Mynster
of Mynster in in r854
1854and and anan address
address by his successor,
by his successor, Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's

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66 T H E CAMBRIDGE
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C O M P A N I O N TO KIERKEGAARD

former tutor
former tutor H.H. 1. Martensen, in
L. Martensen, in which
which thethe late
late bishop
bishop waswas referred
referred
to as
to as aa "witness
"witness to to the
the truth."
truth." Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, however,
however, stillstill anxious
anxious
that his
that own polemic
his own should not
polemic should not be confused with
be confused with those
those ofof others,
others,
held back
held back forfor almost
almost aa year
year before
before unleashing
unleashing the the assault.
assault. When
When it it
came, he
came, he spent
spent thethe remainder
remainder of of his
his inheritance
inheritance underwriting
underwriting the the
publication
publication of of his
his own
own polemical
polemical broadsheet,
broadsheet, The The Moment (or (or
Instant).
Instant). ThisThis went
went through
through ninenine issues
issues before Kierkegaard col-
before Kierkegaard col-
lapsed one
lapsed one dayday in
in the
the street.
street. HeHe died
died in
in aa hospital
hospital somesome six
six weeks
weeks
later, probably
later, probably of of aa lung
lung infection.
infection. He He was
was forty-two
forty-two years
years old.
old. On
On
his sickbed
his sickbed he he confided
confided to to Emil
Emil Boesen,
Boesen, his
his friend
friend from
from boyhood,
boyhood, in- in-
deed by
deed that time
by that time his
his only
only friend,
friend, now
now aa pastor
pastor andand the
the only
only mem-
mem-
ber
ber ofof the
the Church
Church he he would
would see,see, including
including his his own
own brother, that his
brother, that his
life had
life had been
been aa "great
"great andand toto others
others unknown
unknown and and incomprehensible
incomprehensible
suffering." It
suffering." It had
had looked
looked likelike "pride
"pride andand vanity"
vanity" but "wasn't" that.
but "wasn't" that.
Kierkegaard said
Kierkegaard said he
he regretted
regretted not not having married and
having married and taken
taken on on anan
official position.
official position. HisHis funeral
funeral waswas the occasion of
the occasion of aa demonstration,
demonstration,
led by
led by his
his nephew
nephew who who waswas an an early
early supporter
supporter and and who
who protested
protested at at
the Church's
the Church's insistence
insistence on on officiating
officiating atat the
the committal
committal proceedings,
proceedings,
contrary to
contrary to the
the deceased's
deceased's express
express wishes.
wishes.
In aa historical
In historical andand biographical
biographical perspective, certain occurrences
perspective, certain occurrences
before
before and and after
after Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's death death reveal
reveal hishis relationship
relationship to to his
his
family and
family and country.
country. In In "Out
"Out with
with It!:
It!: The
The Modern
Modern Breakthrough,
Breakthrough,
Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark,"
Denmark," Bruce Bruce H. H. Kirmmse
Kirmmse connects
connects these
these oc-oc-
currences with
currences with Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's constant
constant intellectual
intellectual preoccupation
preoccupation
with the
with the concept
concept of of authority
authority andand with
with his
his personal struggle to
personal struggle to find
find
aa voice
voice within
within his family and
his family and in
in the
the Copenhagen
Copenhagen of of his time. There
his time. There
is no
is denying Kierkegaard's
no denying Kierkegaard's special
special psychological
psychological makeup.makeup. Indeed,
Indeed,
so special
so special that
that during
during thethe heyday
heyday of of psychoanalysis
psychoanalysis it it was
was fashion-
fashion-
able to
able to reduce
reduce Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's thoughtthought to to its
its psychological
psychological back- back-
ground, as
ground, as though
though there
there was
was nothing
nothing moremore to to his
his writings
writings thanthan thethe
workings of
workings of aa melancholic
melancholic mind. mind. Although
Although such such reductive
reductive readings
readings
are too
are too narrow,
narrow, personal
personal themes
themes are are clearly
clearly atat work.
work. OneOne ofof these
these isis
the
the profound impact of
profound impact of his father on
his father on his life and
his life and works, acknowl-
works, acknowl-
edged by
edged by Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard in in many
many ways
ways and and onon numerous occasions.
numerous occasions.
Kirmmse's
Kirmmse's essay essay presents
presents more more than
than aa glimpse
glimpse of of this complicated
this complicated
relationship, but also of the neglected but strife-ridden relationship
relationship, but also of the neglected but strife-ridden relationship
between
between Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard and and his elder brother.
his elder brother. Kirmmse's
Kirmmse's essay essay fills
fills
this latter gap
this latter gap and
and also
also offers
offers suggestions
suggestions concerning
concerning the influence
the influence

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Introduction
Introduction 77
of Kierkegaard's
of Kierkegaard's filial filial and
and fraternal
fraternal relationships
relationships on on his
his final
final assault
assault
on Christendom.
on Christendom.
Roger Poole
Roger Poole records
records the the influence
influence of of Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard upon upon others.
others. HisHis
"The Unknown
"The Unknown Kierkegaard:
Kierkegaard: Twentieth-Century
Twentieth-Century Receptions" Receptions" sur- sur-
veys the
veys the full
full spectrum
spectrum of of Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's impactimpact on on twentieth-century
twentieth-century
thought. Calling
thought. Calling to to mind
mind what what was was referred
referred to to above
above as as the
the
chameleon-like character
chameleon-like character of of the
the reception,
reception, Poole Poole observes
observes that that
thinkers who
thinkers who "fall"fall under
under Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's sway" sway" do do soso forfor their
their ownown
reasons, something
reasons, something that that might
might alsoalso bebe said
said of of those
those who who reject
reject him,
him,
as in
as in the
the dismissive
dismissive treatment
treatment of of Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard in in Denmark
Denmark with with
which Poole
which Poole begins.
begins. Among
Among those those Poole
Poole mentions
mentions who who for for their
their own
own
reasons welcomed
reasons welcomed Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard are are Jaspers,
Jaspers, Heidegger,
Heidegger, Bonhoeffer,
Bonhoeffer,
and Sartre
and Sartre (who(who "existentialized"
"existentialized" Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard though though declined
declined to to
own to
own to any
any debt).
debt). Through
Through Heidegger
Heidegger Poole Poole also
also traces
traces Derrida's
Derrida's
debt to
debt to Kierkegaard.
Kierkegaard. In In aa Derridian
Derridian spirit,spirit, Poole
Poole believes
believes the the
chameleon-like nature
chameleon-like nature of of the
the reception
reception is is in
in an
an important
important respect respect aa
good thing,
good thing, since
since Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard intended
intended that that his
his works
works be be received
received by by
individuals. The
individuals. The survey
survey is is therefore
therefore "critical"
"critical" in in the
the sense
sense that
that it it
takes to
takes to task
task those
those whowho attempt
attempt to to fit
fit Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard into into anyany "overar-
"overar-
ching-scheme." The
ching-scheme." The extent
extent to to which
which this this criticism
criticism is is justified,
justified, andand
if so
if so to
to whom
whom it it applies,
applies, is is something
something individual
individual readersreaders may may wish
wish
to judge
to judge forfor themselves.
themselves. Poole Poole also
also considers
considers the the important
important effect effect ofof
interpretation on
interpretation on translation,
translation, whichwhich in in thethe case
case of of the
the British
British andand
American reception's
American reception's initially
initially "blunt"
"blunt" reading
reading led led to to aa need
need to to re-
re-
discover Kierkegaard
discover Kierkegaard the the writer,
writer, which,
which, once once done,
done, belatedly
belatedly al- al-
lowed the
lowed the tools
tools of of literary
literary criticism
criticism to to bebe applied.
applied. Poole Poole notes
notes
how excesses
how excesses in in the
the deconstructionist
deconstructionist turn turn have
have donedone Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard aa
disservice but
disservice but finds
finds an an approach
approach to to the
the texts
texts through
through their their literary
literary
form truer
form truer to to Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard than than the
the attempts
attempts of of theologians
theologians and and phi-
phi-
losophers at
losophers at aa systematic
systematic reconstruction
reconstruction that that ignores
ignores the the poly-
poly-
pseudonymity and
pseudonymity and stylistic
stylistic variety.
variety. NotNot onlyonly truer
truer butbut more
more aptapt for
for
giving the
giving the right
right kind
kind ofof answer
answer to to the
the question,
question, How How shouldshould we we read
read
Kierkegaard here
Kierkegaard here and
and now?
now?
Perhaps there
Perhaps there areare several
several right
right kinds
kinds of of answer,
answer, depending
depending on on the
the
there and
there and then
then of of the
the provenance
provenance of of the
the text
text inin question.
question. In In the
the later,
later,
more "world-historical"
more "world-historical" phase, phase, Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's writing writing certainly
certainly ac- ac-
quired definable
quired definable historical
historical targets.
targets. The
The question
question may may thenthen be be not
not soso
much how
much how to read the
to read the texts
texts asas what
what cancan be be derived
derived from from them.
them. By By

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88 C A M B R I D G E COMPANION
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THE C O M P A N I O N TO
T O KIERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

placing one
placing one of of Kierkegaard!s
Kierkegaard's most most central
central concerns
concerns in in its
its local
local con-
con-
text, George
text! George Pattison's
Pattison's "Art "Art inin an
an Age
Age of of Reflection"
Reflection" providesprovides an an op-
op-
portunity to
portunity to reflect
reflect on on just that question.
just that question. No No theme
theme recursrecurs moremore
consistently and
consistently and problematically
problematically in in Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard than than "the "the aes-
aes-
thetic," and
thetic," and no no oneone had
had moremore influence
influence on on Kierkegaard!s
Kierkegaard's under- under-
standing of
standing of art
art than
than the the Danish
Danish writer
writer and and critic
critic J. 1. Heiberg.
L. Heiberg.
Pattison discusses
Pattison discusses this this influence
influence in in the
the light
light of of aa coherent
coherent philoso-
philoso-
phy of
phy of art
art toto be
be found
found in in Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard that that provides
provides criteria
criteria for for the
the
evaluation of
evaluation of art
art works
works and and aa basis
basis for
for aa critique
critique of of art
art as
as such.
such.
Central to
Central to that
that critique
critique is is the
the notion
notion of of the
the limited
limited role role ofof the
the aes-
aes-
thetic in
thetic in the
the psychological
psychological development
development of of the
the individual.
individual. Pattison
Pattison
discusses Kierkegaard!s
discusses Kierkegaard's diagnosis
diagnosis of of his
his time
time as as aa reflective
reflective age, age, an
an
age without
age without passion,
passion, in in which
which havehave been
been lost
lost not
not only
only thethe immedi-
immedi-
acy required
acy required of of great
great art
art butbut also
also the
the conditions
conditions for for aa religious
religious un- un-
derstanding that
derstanding that allows
allows us us to
to see
see that
that what
what currently
currently counts counts as as
Christianity is
Christianity is aa form
form of of aestheticism.
aestheticism. He He also
also notes
notes that
that despite
despite thethe
narrow scope
narrow scope thatthat Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard accorded
accorded art, art, he
he has
has been
been embraced
embraced
by modern
by modern artistsartists who,
who, as as Pattison
Pattison explains!
explains, are are attracted
attracted to to Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard because
gaard because of of the
the tension
tension in in his works.
his works.
There is
There is aa continuing
continuing debate debate on on the
the extent
extent of of Hegel's
Hegel's influence
influence on on
the early
the early Kierkegaard. Whatever the
Kierkegaard. Whatever the outcome
outcome of of this
this debate,
debate, there
there isis
no doubt
no doubt that that thethe early
early pseudonymous
pseudonymous authorship,
authorship, notably notably Con- Con-
cluding Unscientific
cluding Unscientific Postscript, contains aa stinging
Postscript, contains stinging and and often
often satir-
satir-
ical attack
ical attack uponupon HegelHegel and and his
his Danish
Danish epigones.
epigones. In In "Kierkegaard
"Kierkegaard
and Hegel,n
and Hegel," Merold
Merold Westphal
Westphal explores
explores several
several points
points of of contact
contact be- be-
tween the
tween the twotwo thinkers.
thinkers. Regarding
Regarding one one issue,
issue, to to bebe revisited
revisited in in
Andrew Cross!s
Andrew Cross's essay!
essay, Westphal
Westphal notes notes that
that for
for different
different reasons
reasons bothboth
Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Hegel
Hegel believed
believed thatthat irony!
irony, considered
considered as as anan exis-
exis-
tence posture!
tence posture, had had toto be
be overcome.
overcome. In In anan examination
examination of of Fear and
Fear and
Trembling Westphal
Trembling Westphal arguesargues thatthat the
the issue
issue forfor Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was: was: ei-ei-
ther Hegel
ther Hegel or or Abraham!
Abraham, speculative
speculative philosophy
philosophy or or faith.
faith. Finally,
Finally,
Westphal, in
Westphal! in examining
examining the the epistemology
epistemology of of Concluding
Concluding Unscien- Unscien-
tific Postscript,
tific Postscript, offersoffers aa detailed
detailed analysis
analysis of of Kierkegaard!s
Kierkegaard's critiquecritique of of
Hegel's quest
Hegel!s quest for for Absolute
Absolute Knowledge.
Knowledge. Of Of particular
particular interest
interest herehere isis
the fact
the fact that
that Westphal
Westphal relates
relates Kierkegaard!s
Kierkegaard's epistemological
epistemological critique critique
of speculative
of speculative idealism
idealism to to his
his ethico-religious
ethico-religious critique
critique of of the
the same.
same.
As Westphal's
As Westphal's essay essay reveals,
reveals, notnot only
only is is Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard an an ironical
ironical
thinker, irony
thinker! irony is is aa recurrent
recurrent topictopic ofof his
his thought.
thought. AndrewAndrew Cross Cross
("Neither Either
("Neither Either Nor Nor Or:
Or: TheThe Perils
Perils of
of Reflexive
Reflexive Irony")
Irony") scrutinizes
scrutinizes

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Introduction 99
Kierkegaard's doctoral
Kierkegaard's doctoral thesis,
thesis, TheThe Concept
Concept of o f Irony
Irony withwith Continual
Continual
Reference
Reference to t o Socrates,
Socrates, and and shows
shows that that the the characteristics
characteristics Kierke-Kierke-
gaard finds
gaard finds in in verbal
verbal irony,
irony, forfor instance
instance the the contradiction
contradiction between between
internal and
internal and external,
external, detachment,
detachment, and and thethe ironist's
ironist's sense
sense of of superi-
superi-
ority, become
ority, features of
become features of what
what somesome of of Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's pseudonyms,
pseudonyms,
especially Johannes
especially Johannes Climacus,
Climacus, were were to to treat
treat as as aa distinctive
distinctive ori-ori-
entation toward
entation toward existence.
existence. In In Concluding
Concluding Unscientific
Unscientific Postscript,
Postscript,
Johannes Climacus
Johannes Climacus arguesargues thatthat irony
irony is is aa transitional
transitional phase between
phase between
the aesthetic
the aesthetic and and ethical
ethical modes
modes of of existence.
existence. Cross Cross contends
contends thatthat
ironists cannot
ironists cannot take take anan ironical
ironical attitude
attitude towardtoward their
their ownown lives,
lives, soso
that for
that for this
this reason
reason andand others,
others, thethe ironical
ironical perspective contains the
perspective contains the
seeds of
seeds of its
its own
own downfall.
downfall. It It is
is aa downfall,
downfall, however,
however, that that from
from aa
Kierkegaardian point
Kierkegaardian point ofof view
view is is not
not to to be regretted.
be regretted.
C. Stephen
C. Stephen Evans Evans ("Realism
("Realism and and Antirealism
Antirealism in in Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's
Concluding Unscientific
Concluding Postscript") begins
Unscientific Postscript") begins by observing that
by observing that con-
con-
temporary Kierkegaard
temporary Kierkegaard scholarship
scholarship is is divided
divided intointo twotwo main
main camps,
camps,
those who
those who read read Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, howeverhowever indirectly,
indirectly, as as making
making truthtruth
claims, and
claims, and those
those who
who see see him
him as as aa proto-poststructuralist,
proto-poststructuralist, aa pre- pre-
cursor of
cursor of Derrida
Derrida and and Lacan.
Lacan. According
According to to the
the latter,
latter, itit is
is aa mistake
mistake
frequently made
frequently made by by bowdlerizing theologians to
bowdlerizing theologians to read
read Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard as as
offering anything
offering anything akin akin to to positive doctrines about
positive doctrines about anything.
anything. EvansEvans
argues that
argues that thisthis conflict
conflict of of interpretation
interpretation can can profitably
profitably be be under-
under-
stood as
stood as aa moment
moment in in the
the realism/antirealism
realism/antirealism debate. debate. Indeed,
Indeed, if if
Evans is
Evans is right,
right, Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard himself
himself is is an
an untapped resource for
untapped resource for par-
par-
ticipants in
ticipants in this
this debate.
debate. AfterAfter offering
offering aa definition
definition of of "realism,"
"realism,"
Evans probes
Evans Postscript, aa text
probes Postscript, text that
that hashas been used to
been used to support
support bothboth
realist and
realist and antirealist
antirealist readings.
readings. Tackling
Tackling aa number number of of passages
passages thatthat
appear to
appear to support
support an an antirealist
antirealist interpretation,
interpretation, Evans Evans forcefully
forcefully ar- ar-
gues that
gues that while
while no no less
less skeptical
skeptical than than Kant Kant about
about our our access
access to to
"things in
"things in themselves,"
themselves," Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard did did believe
believe thatthat through
through the the
"organ" of
"organ" of belief
belief oror faith
faith we we have
have access
access to to other
other realities. Thus, on
realities. Thus, on
Evans's reading,
Evans's reading, Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard both acknowledges the
both acknowledges the limits
limits of of
human knowledge
human knowledge and and affirms
affirms the the realistic
realistic and and independent
independent char- char-
acter of
acter of what
what is is known.
known.
Writing in
Writing in thethe hand
hand of of Johannes
Johannes Climacus,
Climacus, Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard pro- pro-
nounced the
nounced the famous
famous dictum
dictum "subjectivity
"subjectivity is is truth."
truth." While
While the the
source of
source of many
many aa myth,
myth, the the statement
statement indicates
indicates the the enormous
enormous em- em-
phasis that Kierkegaard
phasis that Kierkegaard placed placed on on subjectivity,
subjectivity, inwardness,
inwardness, and and
what can
what can loosely
loosely be referred to
be referred to as
as the
the emotional
emotional life. life. Cross
Cross hashas pro-
pro-

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10 T H E CAMBRIDGE
THE C A M B R I D G E COMPANION
C O M P A N I O N TO
T O KIERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

vided an
vided an analysis
analysis of of one
one form
form of of subjectivity,
subjectivity, namely,
namely, that that ofof the
the
ironical perspective.
ironical perspective. RobertRobert C. C. Roberts
Roberts ("Existence,
("Existence, Emotion,Emotion, and and
Virtue: Classical
Virtue: Classical Themes
Themes in in Kierkegaard")
Kierkegaard") reflectsreflects on on the
the relation
relation
between thought,
between thought, emotion,
emotion, and and character
character in in aa wide
wide range
range of of Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard's writings.
gaard's writings. Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, no no less
less than
than Aristotle,
Aristotle, believed
believed the the
good life
good life to
to be characterized not
be characterized not just
just by action but
by action but byby aa certain
certain qual-
qual-
ity of
ity of feeling.
feeling. Roberts
Roberts shows shows thatthat on on Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's view view our our pas-
pas-
sions are
sions are not
not simply
simply internal
internal modulations
modulations that that wewe passively endure;
passively endure;
quite the
quite the contrary,
contrary, we we areare to
to aa degree
degree responsible
responsible for for how
how we inter-
we inter-
pret ourselves and
pret ourselves and ourour world,
world, an an interpretation
interpretation that that has everything
has everything
to do
to do with
with how
how we we feel.
feel. Moreover,
Moreover, the the patterns
patterns of of our
our thought
thought and and
feelings are
feelings are the
the contours
contours of of ourour character.
character. Finally,
Finally, focusing
focusing on on
Christian Discourses,
Christian Discourses, RobertsRoberts specifies
specifies aa number
number of of distinctively
distinctively
Christian passional
Christian passional dispositions,
dispositions, illustrating
illustrating them,them, in in the
the way
way of of
the psychologist
the psychologist he he isis discussing,
discussing, with with aa rich
rich gallery
gallery of of exemplars
exemplars of of
the various
the various forms
forms of of subjectivity
subjectivity he he has
has extracted
extracted from from thethe writings.
writings.
Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and his
his pseudonyms
pseudonyms make make generous
generous use use ofof the
the image
image
of aa leap
of leap toto describe
describe the the transition
transition to to faith.
faith. Though
Though poststruc-
poststruc-
turalists would
turalists would disagree,
disagree, it it might
might be argued that
be argued that Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was was
consumed with
consumed with the the project
project of of veridically
veridically representing
representing the the inner
inner
transformation from
transformation from unfaith
unfaith to to faith.
faith. In
In her
her study
study of of this
this transfor-
transfor-
mation ("Faith
mation ("Faith and
and thethe Kierkegaardian
Kierkegaardian Leap") Leap") M. M. Jamie
Jamie Ferreira
Ferreira ar-ar-
gues that
gues that the
the idea
idea ofof aa qualitative
qualitative transition
transition is is aa structural
structural element
element
underlying and
underlying and winding
winding its its way
way through
through the the entire
entire authorship.
authorship.
Focusing on
Focusing on Philosophical
Philosophical Fragments
Fragments and and Concluding
Concluding Unscientific
Unscientific
Postscript, Ferreira examines
Postscript, Ferreira examines the the variety
variety of of ways
ways in in which
which the the leap
leap
can be
can be understood, ranging from
understood, ranging from brute one-sided acts
brute one-sided acts ofof will-power
will-power
to an
to an ineffable
ineffable "happening."
"happening." In In the
the process,
process, she she reflects
reflects upon
upon the the im-
im-
portant
portant role attributed to
role attributed to both
both passion
passion andand imagination
imagination in in Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard's account
gaard's account of of religious
religious transformation.
transformation.
Ferreira's essay
Ferreira's essay indicates
indicates that that Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's vision vision of of faith
faith isis
marked by
marked by aa certain
certain tension
tension if if not
not ambivalence.
ambivalence. There There are are texts
texts that
that
invite aa volitionist
invite volitionist reading;
reading; that
that is,is, they
they would
would seem seem to to suggest
suggest thatthat
faith is
faith is conditioned
conditioned by an act
by an act ofof will.
will. There
There are are others,
others, however,
however, in in
which Kierkegaard
which Kierkegaard stresses
stresses that
that it it is
is only
only by the mercy
by the mercy and and grace
grace ofof
God that
God that God
God comes
comes intointo our
our lives.
lives. Timothy
Timothy P. Jackson ("Arminian
P. Jackson ("Arminian
Edification: Kierkegaard
Edification: Kierkegaard on on Grace
Grace and and Free
Free Will")
Will") reads
reads Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard
as rejecting
as rejecting thethe claim
claim thatthat we
we areare saved
saved through
through irresistible
irresistible gracegrace asas
well as
well as any
any "metaphysical
"metaphysical accountaccount that that would
would claim claim compatibility
compatibility

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Introduction
Introduction I II
I

between determinism and


between determinism and freedom
freedom of of the
the will."
will." As As hishis title
title sug-
sug-
gests, Jackson
gests, Jackson submits
submits that that Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's understanding
understanding of of grace
grace is is
similar to
similar to that
that ofof the
the Dutch
Dutch Reformed
Reformed theologian
theologian Jacob Jacob Arminius
Arminius
( I5 60-I 609))in
(1560-16°9), in that
that both Kierkegaard and
both Kierkegaard and Arminius
Arminius believedbelieved faithfaith
to be
to be aa universally
universally offered
offered gift
gift that
that wewe areare free
free either
either to to accept
accept or or re-
re-
ject.
ject. But But what
what doesdoes Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard mean mean when when he he stresses
stresses repeatedly
repeatedly
that we
that we are
are free?
free? Jackson's
Jackson's essayessay is,is, among
among other other things,
things, aa sustained
sustained
attempt to
attempt to answer
answer thisthis difficult
difficult but important question.
but important question.
Ethico-religious phenomena,
Ethico-religious phenomena, on on Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's view, view, often
often need
need to to
be communicated indirectly.
be communicated indirectly. The The lack
lack of of directness
directness he he bestows
bestows on on
his own
his own writings
writings oblique
oblique method
method of of communication
communication shows shows what what
problems this
problems this can
can give
give rise
rise to
to for
for the
the reader.
reader. Ronald
Ronald M. Green's
M. Green's
""'Developing'
'Developing' Fear and Trembling"
Fear and Trembling" finds finds at at least
least five
five layers
layers of of mean-
mean-
ing in
ing in that
that text.
text. OnOn oneone level,
level, the
the story
story of of Abraham
Abraham is is being
being usedused to to
present
present faithfaith inin all
all its
its primitivity, showing that
primitivity, showing that faith
faith isis not
not aa simple
simple
version of
version of philosophy.
philosophy. Green Green argues
argues thatthat Fear
Fear andand Trembling
Trembling is is also
also
offered as
offered as aa course
course in in the
the psychology
psychology of of religious
religious transformation,
transformation, the the
primary
primary lessonlesson herehere being
being thethe distinction
distinction drawn drawn by by thethe pseudony-
pseudony-
mous author,
mous author, Johannes
Johannes de de silentio,
silentio, between
between the the movement
movement of of infi-
infi-
nite resignation
nite resignation and and the
the movement
movement of of faith.
faith. Other
Other themes
themes include
include aa
commentary on
commentary on the
the relation
relation between
between our our moral
moral duties
duties and and ourour du-du-
ties to
ties to God.
God. Green
Green also
also contends
contends that that there
there is is an
an underlying
underlying messagemessage
about sin,
about sin, grace,
grace, and
and salvation:
salvation: If If God
God cancan forgive
forgive Abraham
Abraham his his mur-
mur-
derous intentions,
derous intentions, surelysurely he he can
can work
work wonders
wonders in in our
our lives
lives too.too.
Finally, Green
Finally, Green illuminates
illuminates the the personal dimension of
personal dimension of Fear
Fear andand Trem-
Trem-
bling with
bling with respect
respect to to Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's relationship
relationship with with hishis father
father and and
his break
his break withwith Regine.
Regine.
appeared on
Repetition appeared on thethe same
same day day as as Fear and Trembling. Trembling.
Written under
Written under the the pseudonym Constantin Constantius,
pseudonym Constantin Constantius, it it remains
remains
one of
one of Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's most most perplexing works. The
perplexing works. The author's
author's concept
concept of of
repetition is
repetition is notoriously
notoriously hard hard to to grasp.
grasp. He He tells
tells us us that
that repetition
repetition is is
recollecting forward,
recollecting forward, that that itit is
is the
the interest
interest of of metaphysics,
metaphysics, but also
but also
that on
that on which
which metaphysics
metaphysics founders.
founders. The The idea
idea of of repetition
repetition is is con-
con-
nected also
nected also with
with repentance,
repentance, atonement,
atonement, and and it it is
is identified
identified with with
eternity. It
eternity. It is
is also
also thethe "watchword
"watchword of of ethics."
ethics." Edward
Edward F. Mooney
F. Mooney
("Repetition:
(" Getting the
Repetition: Getting the World
World Back")
Back") unravels
unravels the the various
various strands
strands
in this
in this tangle
tangle of of meanings
meanings and and argues
argues that,
that, first
first and
and foremost,
foremost, repe- repe-
tition is a form of meaning-acquisition bound
tition is a form of meaning-acquisition bound up with the double up with the double
movement of
movement of giving
giving up and receiving
up and receiving back back the the world.
world. ThisThis brings
brings

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I12
2 T HE C
THE AMBRIDGE C
CAMBRIDGE OMPANION T
COMPANION TOO K IERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

the
the notion
notion of of repetition
repetition into into close
close contact
contact with
with the the topics
topics ofof Fear
Fear
and
and Trembling.
Trembling. Mooney Mooney addresses
addresses an an issue
issue directly
directly addressed
addressed by by
Ferreira
Ferreira and and Jackson,
Jackson, namely,
namely, to to what
what extent,
extent, ifif any,
any, religious
religious trans-
trans-
formation
formation - - understood
understood here here as as repetition
repetition - - isis an
an active
active process,
process,
concluding
concluding that that repetition
repetition is is best
best grasped
grasped as as aa receptive
receptive process
process
rather
rather than
than an an act
act of
of acquisition.
acquisition.
One
One lesson
lesson conveyed
conveyed by by Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's authorship
authorship is is that
that an
an inter-
inter-
est
est in
in leading
leading the the good
good life
life is
is to
to no
no avail
avail unless
unless youyou know
know what
what you you
are
are up
up against
against in in yourself.
yourself. Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's two two depth-psychologically
depth-psychologically
oriented
oriented pseudonyms,
pseudonyms, VigiliusVigilius Haufniensis
Haufniensis and and Anti-Climacus,
Anti-Climacus, re- re-
mind
mind us us that
that while
while anxiety
anxiety and and despair
despair are are indications
indications of of our
our spiri-
spiri-
tual
tual nature,
nature, they they are
are also
also states
states to to be
be overcome.
overcome. In In "Anxiety
"Anxiety in in The
The
Concept
Concept of of Anxiety"
Anxiety" Gordon
Gordon D. D. Marino
Marino summarizes
summarizes some some of of the
the
major
major themes
themes in in that
that workwork (also(also translated
translated as as TheThe Concept
Concept of of
Dread).
Dread). These
These include
include Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's view view of of the
the nature
nature of of psychol-
psychol-
ogy
ogy and
and itsits place
place among
among the sciences, and
the sciences, and ofof the
the role
role played
played byby anx-
anx-
iety
iety inin the
the account
account givengiven of of the
the Fall.
Fall. Marino
Marino then then evaluates
evaluates the the
book's
book's concept
concept of of anxiety
anxiety and and concludes
concludes with some reflections
with some reflections on on
the
the claim
claim that anxiety can
that anxiety can bebe aa resource
resource for for the education of
the education of the
the
spirit.
spirit.
The same two
The same two pseudonyms
pseudonyms all all but
but predicted
predicted that that wewe would
would one one
day come
day come to to understand
understand both anxiety and
both anxiety and despair
despair as as medical condi-
medical condi-
tions to
tions to bebe treated
treated pharmaceutically
pharmaceutically if if necessary.
necessary. Yet, Yet, asas Alastair
Alastair
Hannay explains
Hannay explains ("Kierkegaard
("Kierkegaard and and the the Variety
Variety of of Despair"),
Despair"), to to
think of despair as akin to a clinical depression that we passively
think of despair as akin to a clinical depression that we passively
suffer would
suffer would simplysimply bebe aa manifestation
manifestation of of what
what Anti-Climacus
Anti-Climacus calls calls
"the cunning
"the cunning and and sophistry
sophistry present
present in in all
all despair."
despair." AfterAfter contrasting
contrasting
Kierkegaard's concept
Kierkegaard's concept of of despair
despair withwith Hegel's,
Hegel's, Hannay
Hannay compares
compares the the
presentation of
presentation of despair
despair in EitherlOr with
in Either/Or with thethe systematic
systematic account
account
given in
given The Sickness
in The Sickness untounto Death,
Death, pointing
pointing to to significant
significant similari-
similari-
ties between
ties between the the two.
two. InIn the
the latter
latter work
work the the forms
forms despair
despair assumes,
assumes,
though many
though many and and varied,
varied, allall reduce
reduce to to the
the vain
vain attempt
attempt to to be
be rid
rid ofof
one's self. But what,
one's self. But what, asks
asks Hannay,
Hannay, does does Anti-Climacus
Anti-Climacus mean mean by by this
this
self? Is
self? Is it
it the
the self
self we
we just
just happen
happen to to be,
be, oror is
is itit the
the self
self in
in view
view of of
some hard-to-fulfill
some hard-to-fulfil1 spiritual
spiritual expectation?
expectation? Hannay Hannay defendsdefends thethe lat-
lat-
ter reading,
ter reading, identifies
identifies itsits reference
reference to to Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard himselfhimself andand to to
Danish social
Danish social life,
life, and
and invites
invites the the question,
question, whatwhat in in this
this conception
conception
can be
can be ofof interest
interest to to us
us today?
today?
Whenever Kierkegaard
Whenever Kierkegaard speaksspeaks of of ethico-religious
ethico-religious phenomena,
phenomena, he he

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Introduction 13
13
strives to
strives to provide
provide an an account
account consistent
consistent withwith Scripture.
Scripture. NowhereNowhere is is
this more
this more truetrue than
than whenwhen he he and
and his
his pseudonyms articulate what
pseudonyms articulate what hehe
sometimes calls
sometimes calls aa "second"
"second" or or "new
"new ethics,"
ethics," that
that is,is, one
one that
that unlike
unlike
Greek ethics
Greek ethics assumes
assumes and and takes
takes into
into account
account the the sinfulness
sinfulness of of
human beings.
human beings. In In an
an essay
essay that,
that, like
like Ronald
Ronald M. Green's, relates
M. Green's, relates Kier-
Kier-
kegaard to
kegaard to Kant,
Kant, Philip
Philip 1. L. Quinn
Quinn ("Kierkegaard's
("Kierkegaard's Christian
Christian Ethics")
Ethics")
presents
presents some some central
central features
features and and problems confronting Kierke-
problems confronting Kierke-
gaard's ethico-religious
gaard's ethico-religious position. Focusing on
position. Focusing on thethe signed
signed WorksWorks of of
Love and the
Love and the pseudonymous
pseudonymous Practice Practice in in Christianity,
Christianity, Quinn Quinn exam-
exam-
ines Kierkegaard's
ines Kierkegaard's insistence
insistence that that Jesus
Jesus commands
commands us us toto aa nonpref-
nonpref-
erential form
erential form ofof love.
love. Quinn
Quinn explains
explains how how Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard confronts
confronts the the
Kantian objection
Kantian objection that that love,
love, asas aa feeling,
feeling, isis not
not subject
subject to to the
the will
will and
and
so cannot
so cannot be be commanded.
commanded. He He notes
notes that
that Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard took took Chris-
Chris-
tianity to
tianity to call
call not
not forfor the
the admiration
admiration but the imitation
but the imitation of of Christ
Christ and
and
concludes with
concludes with some
some of of Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's observations
observations on on how
how admira-
admira-
tion can
tion can function
function as as aa self-serving
self-serving ethical
ethical evasion.
evasion.
Hermann Deuser's
Hermann Deuser's "Religious
"Religious Dialectics
Dialectics and and Christology"
Christology" exam- exam-
ines Kierkegaard's
ines Kierkegaard's concept concept of of religion.
religion. He He sees
sees it it as
as forged
forged in in re-
re-
sponse to
sponse to Protestant
Protestant (Lutheran)
(Lutheran)Christology,
Christology, Hegelian
Hegelian philosophy,
philosophy,
and Kierkegaard's
and Kierkegaard's personal experience of
personal experience of mid-nineteenth-century
mid-nineteenth-century
European society.
European society. On On Deuser's
Deuser's account
account Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's writing writing is is an
an
attempt both
attempt both to to defend
defend Christianity
Christianity from from itsits cultural
cultural despisers
despisers and and
to present
to present aa faithful
faithful specification
specification of of what
what it it means
means to to be
be aa Christian.
Christian.
Kierkegaard's view
Kierkegaard's view contains
contains aa radicalization
radicalization of of traditional
traditional Chris-
Chris-
tology in
tology in Concluding
Concluding Unscientific
Unscientific Postscript's "paradoxical" Reli-
Postscript's "paradoxical" Reli-
giousness B,
giousness in the
B, in the role
role given
given to to guilt
guilt and
and sinsin inin the
the overcoming
overcoming of of
the epistemological
the epistemological distance distance between
between aa religious
religious interest
interest and and its
its ob-
ob-
ject, and in
ject, and in aa transformation
transformation of of traditional
traditional and and idealist
idealist dialectics
dialectics
into an
into an existential
existential dialectic.
dialectic. Deuser
Deuser is is concerned
concerned throughout
throughout to to
point out how
point out Kierkegaard's polemics
how Kierkegaard's influenced both
polemics influenced both thethe style
style and
and
the content
the content of of his authorship, and
his authorship, and especially
especially the Christology of
the Christology of
Anti-Climacus's
Anti-Climacus's Practice Practice in i n Christianity.
Christianity. In In conclusion
conclusion he he offers
offers aa
Kierkegaardian evaluation
Kierkegaardian evaluation of of the
the prospects
prospects for for and
and liabilities
liabilities of of aa
Christian social
Christian social ethic,
ethic, stressing
stressing thatthat there
there is is nono hint
hint of of an
an anar-
anar-
chistic direction
chistic direction in in Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's concern concern to to keep
keep religion
religion out out ofof
politics.
politics.
The theme
The theme of of the
the separation
separation of of religion
religion from
from politics
politics is is developed
developed
further in
further in Klaus-M.
Klaus-M. Kodalle's
Kodalle's "The "The Utilitarian
Utilitarian Self Self and
and thethe 'Useless'
'Useless'
Passion of
Passion of Faith."
Faith." Kodalle
Kodalle considers
considers Kierkegaardian
Kierkegaardian religiosityreligiosity in in

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


I4
14 T H E CAMBRIDGE
THE C A M B R I D G E COMPANION T O KIERKEGAARD
C O M P A N I O N TO KIERKEGAARD

the light
the light ofof postmodernity's indifference and
postmodernity's indifference and skepticism
skepticism on on the
the oneone
hand and
hand and its
its proneness
proneness to to irrational
irrational religious
religious needs
needs on on the
the other.
other.
The rational
The rational wayway with
with religiosity
religiosity hashas been
been toto reduce
reduce itit to
to its
its socio-
socio-
logical and
logical and psychological functions, but
psychological functions, Kierkegaard's notion
but Kierkegaard's notion of of re-
re-
ligiosity as
ligiosity as (in
(in Kodalle's
Kodalle's term)
term) "absolute
"absolute spiritual
spiritual presence" resists
presence" resists
this reduction.
this reduction. The The very
very attempt
attempt to to capture
capture the
the God-relationship
God-relationship in in
aa utilitarian
utilitarian vocabulary
vocabulary betrays
betrays aa fundamental
fundamental misunderstanding.
misunderstanding.
Kodalle cites,
Kodalle cites, paraphrases,
paraphrases, and and discusses
discusses Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's casecase for
for aa re-
re-
ligiosity that
ligiosity that transcends
transcends the the world
world of of problem-solving strategies.
problem-solving strategies.
The essay
The essay draws
draws together
together many
many themes
themes from
from thethe earlier
earlier essays:
essays: loss
loss
of passion
of (Pattison),loss
passion (Pattison), loss of
of self
self (Hannay),
(Hannay),what what Kodalle
Kodalle terms
terms "the
"the
courage to
courage to be
be powerless,"
powerless," which
which is is also
also integral
integral toto the
the notion
notion of of aa
nonpreferential
nonpreferentia110ve love (Quinn)
(Quinn) as as well
well asas the leap (Ferreira).
the leap (Ferreira).Kodalle
Kodalle
adds to
adds to these
these themes
themes the the built-in
built-in utilitarianism
utilitarianism of of reason,
reason, its
its echo
echo
in the
in the theology
theology of of God's
God's having
having aa "cause"
"cause" thatthat we
we can
can then
then "serve,"
"serve,"
the difficulty
the difficulty of of thinking
thinking against
against the
the utilitarian grain of
utilitarian grain of reason,
reason, the the
pull
pull ofof conformity
conformity and and ofof authority.
authority. Reverting
Reverting to to the
the myth
myth of of irra-
irra-
tionalism, Kodalle
tionalism, Kodalle shows
shows thatthat Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's own own view
view ofof faith,
faith, farfar
from denying
from denying the the value
value ofof clear
clear and
and honest
honest thinking,
thinking, requires
requires thatthat
reason "be
reason "be brought
brought to to bear
bear toto the
the fullest
fullest extent
extent possible."
possible."

N OTES
NOTES

II Lukacs, Soul
G. Lukacs,
G. Soul and
and Form (Cambridge:MIT
Form (Cambridge: MIT Press,
Press, 1971); also in
1971); also in The
The
Lukacs
Lukacs Reader, ed. Arpad
Reader, ed. Arpad Kadarkay
Kadarkay (Oxford
(Oxford and and Cambridge,
Cambridge, Mass.:
Mass.:
Basil Blackwell,
Basil Blackwell, 1995). See also
199s). See also the
the editor's
editor's introduction
introduction (ibid.,
(ibid.,p. for
4) for
p. 4)
Lukacs's recognition
Lukacs's recognition of his earlier
of his earlier "Kierkegaard
"Kierkegaard phase."
phase."
2z Pap. A 266
X' A
Pap. XI 177. The
266 p. 177. The translation
translation here
here isis that
that of the Penguin
of the Penguin Clas-
Clas-
sics selection,
sics selection, Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's Papers and /ournals,
Papers and trans. Alastair
Journals, trans. Alastair Han-
Han-
nay (Harmondsworth:
nay (Harmondsworth:Penguin
Penguin Press,
Press, 1996),
1996),p. 382.
p. 382.

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


B R U C E H.
BRUCE KIRMMSE
H . KIRMMSE

1
1 "Out with
"Out with it!":
it!": The
The modern
modern
breakthrough, Kierkegaard
breakthrough, Kierkegaard
and Denmark
and Denmark

His entire
His entire life
life was
was one
one of
of personal engagement with
personal engagement with himself,
himself,
and then
and then [Divine]
[Divine] Guidance
Guidance comes
comes along
along and
and adds
adds to
to it
it world-
world-
historical significance.
historical significance.

S m e n Kierkegaards
-- S0ren Kierkegaards Papirer X' A
(Pap. Xl
Papirer (Pap. 266, In)
A 266, 177)

Has it
Has it ever
ever occurred
occurred to to you,
you, dear
dear reader,
reader, toto entertain
entertain justjust aa little
little
doubt concerning
doubt concerning the the well-known
well-known principle
principle that
that thethe outer
outer is is the
the
inner and
inner and the
the inner
inner isis the
the outer?
outer? Well,
Well, frankly,
frankly, this
this doubt
doubt hashas not
not
plagued the
plagued the present
present author
author soso very
very much.
much. Or Or atat least
least aa historian
historian can-
can-
not be
not be nearly
nearly asas much
much aa doubter
doubter on on this
this score
score as as Victor
Victor Eremita,
Eremita,
opening his
opening his editorial
editorial remarks
remarks in in EitherlOr, would seem
Either/Or, would seem toto want
want him
him
to be.
to be.
Let us
Let us consider
consider the
the following
following examples.
examples. On On 19 October 1855,
19 October when
185 5, when
he lay
he lay dying
dying inin Frederik's
Frederik's Hospital,
Hospital, Soren
Sraren Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard had had aa caller.
caller.
It was
It was hishis brother,
brother, thethe theologian
theologian and and pastor Peter Christian
pastor Peter Christian
Kierkegaard, later
Kierkegaard, later aa bishop and briefly
bishop and briefly aa cabinet
cabinet minister.
minister. Peter
Peter had
had
traveled from
traveled from his
his parish
parish at at Pedersborg-by-Soro
Pedersborg-by-Sor~in in west-central
west-central Zea-Zea-
land, in
land, in those
those days
days aa considerable
considerable journey. Smen refused
journey. Soren refused toto receive
receive his
his
brother, who went
brother, who went home
home thethe next
next day.
day.'I That
That same
same day day Soren
S ~ r e nadmit-
admit-
ted his
ted his friend
friend Emil
Emil Boesen
Boesen for
for aa visit.
visit. Boesen
Boesen asked
asked himhim if
if he wished
he wished
to receive
to receive thethe Eucharist.
Eucharist. "Yes,"
"Yes," answered
answered Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, "but "but from
from aa
layman, not
layman, not aa pastor." Boesen protested
pastor." Boesen protested thatthat this
this would
would be difficult to
be difficult to
arrange. "Then
arrange. "Then II will
will die
die without
without it."
it." Kierkegaard
Gerkegaard explained
explained hishis posi-
posi-
tion by
tion stating that
by stating that "pastors
"pastors are
are civil
civil servants
servants of of the
the Crown
Crown -- they
they
have nothing
have nothing to to do
do with
with Christianity."2
Christianity.11zThese
These two
two deathbed
deathbed refusals
refusals
created scandals
created scandals that
that followed
followed Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard (and (and his
his brother)
brother) to to the
the

IS

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


16 THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO KIERKEGAARD

grave and
grave and beyond,
beyond, andand itit is
is important
important to to realize
realize that
that they
they werewere bothboth
private and public
private and acts. Kierkegaard
public acts. Kierkegaard knew knew that
that his
his refusal
refusal to to receive
receive
the Eucharist
the Eucharist would
would soon
soon become
become public knowledge, which
public knowledge, which it it did
did al-
al-
most immediately.3
most immediately.3 Similarly,
Similarly, he he made
made sure sure to
to inquire
inquire as as to
to whether
whether
his refusal
his refusal toto receive
receive his
his brother had created
brother had created aa public stir.44
public stir.
For historians
For historians andand biographers,
biographers, if if there
there were
were notnot some
some important
important
connection between
connection between thethe internal
internal andand thethe external,
external, between
between the the pri-
pri-
vate and
vate and the
the public, the personal
public, the personal and and thethe political, their jobs
political, their jobs would
would
not
not be
be worth doing, and
worth doing, and they
they would
would presumably
presumably be doing something
be doing something
else. In
else. In the case of
the case of Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, for for instance,
instance, it it has
has been impossible
been impossible
to
to resist
resist the
the temptation
temptation to to believe
believe that
that when
when he he talks
talks in in his
his works
works
about the
about the necessity
necessity of of outgrowing"
outgrowing "childish childish things"
things" he he is is talking
talking
both about his
both about society and
his society and about
about himself. This is
himself. This is not
not an an essay
essay in in
psychohistory.
psychohistory. Rather,
Rather, it it is
is an
an attempt
attempt to investigate some
to investigate some of of the
the
factors in
factors in Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's understanding
understanding of of his family life
his family life that
that helped
helped
change his
change his understanding
understanding of of the life of
the life of "Iamilien
"familien Danmark"
Danmark" -- and and
vice versa.
vice versa. The
The boundary
boundary between "public" and
between "public" and "private"
"private" is is arbi-
arbi-
trary and
trary and ultimately artificial. Our
ultimately artificial. Our lives
lives are
are what
what theythey are,are, whole
whole
and complicated:
and complicated: lived lived alone,
alone, but with notions
but with notions and and structures
structures re- re-
ceived from others; and lived with others, but
ceived from others; and lived with others, but with ideas and ac- with ideas and ac-
tions for
tions for which
which the the single
single individual
individual is is responsible.
responsible. The The boundary
boundary
between history and
between history and biography
biography is is thus
thus alsoalso arbitrary
arbitrary and and is is far
far more
more
permeable
permeable than than may
may be commonly supposed.
be commonly supposed. The The present
present essay essay isis
an attempt to explain and depict the connection between the two in
an attempt to explain and depict the connection between the two in
the case
the case ofof Kierkegaard.
Kierkegaard.

1. DENMARK'S CHILDHOOD

Over the
Over the course
course of
of the
the I1840s Denmark's "childhood"
840S Denmark's" childhood" waswas coming
coming to
to
an end.
an end. Since
Since the
the latter
latter part of the
part of the seventeenth
seventeenth century
century Denmark
Denmark
had been
had been anan absolute
absolute monarchy
monarchy in in which
which most
most political, social, and
political, social, and
cultural power
cultural was concentrated
power was concentrated in in an
an oligarchical
oligarchical coalition
coalition ofof the
the
crown and
crown and several
several hundred
hundred families.
families. This
This group
group included
included thethe largest
largest
property holders, the
property holders, the most
most prosperous
prosperous banking
banking andand mercantile
mercantile
houses, and
houses, and the
the academically
academically educated
educated office
office holders
holders inin the
the upper
upper
echelons of the civil service. This was a tight, cozy, clubby, endog-
echelons of the civil service. This was a tight, cozy, clubby, endog-
amous little
amous little society.
society. The
The more
more thanthan ninety
ninety percent
percent of of the
the Danish
Danish
population
population whowho worked
worked with
with their
their hands
hands --primarily
primarily in in agricul-
agricul-

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark I7
ture -- were
ture were notnot aa part of this
part of this world.
world. Then,
Then, within
within aa comparatively
comparatively
short period
short period of of time
time it it became
became impossible
impossible to to continue
continue to to exclude
exclude
the great
the great majority
majority of of ordinary
ordinary people from public
people from life. In
public life. In r848
1848 andand
1849, for
r849, for economic
economic and and political
political reasons
reasons -- notnot the
the least
least of of which
which
was the
was the need
need to to assert
assert Denmark's
Denmark's national
national identity
identity and and integrity
integrity in in
the face
the face of of German
German nationalism
nationalism -- DenmarkDenmark was was transformed
transformed into into aa
constitutional monarchy
constitutional monarchy with with aa representative
representative government
government based based
on near-universal
on near-universal manhood manhood suffrage,
suffrage, probably
probably the the broadest suffrage
broadest suffrage
in the
in the world
world at at the
the time.
time. NowNow the the little
little people
people werewere to to bebe aa part
part
of the
of the shaping
shaping of of public
public policy, and, equally
policy, and, equally important
important in in our
our con-
con-
text, aa part
text, part ofof the
the shaping
shaping of of public taste, of
public taste, of the
the making
making of of official
official
culture.55
culture.
This transition
This transition was was greeted
greeted withwith acclaim
acclaim by by some,
some, including
including the the
Peasant Party
Peasant Party and
and many
many National Liberals. After
National Liberals. After some
some initial
initial hesi-
hesi-
tation it
tation it was
was warmly
warmly welcomed
welcomed by by the
the nationalistic
nationalistic "awakener"
"awakener"
and theologian
and theologian N. N. F. Grundtvig and
S. Grundtvig
F. S. and his
his numerous
numerous supporters.
supporters.
Kierkegaard, too,
Kierkegaard, too, despite
despite aa great
great many
many misgivings,
misgivings, eventually
eventually came came
to see
to see the
the new
new democratic
democratic age age asas the
the inevitable
inevitable way way of of the
the future
future
and, indeed,
and, indeed, as as the
the will
will ofof "[Divine]
"[Divine] Guidance"
Guidance" (Styrelsen).
(Styrelsen). He He
came, for
came, for example,
example, to to see
see the
the atomism
atomism of of the
the new
new age age asas fraught
fraught
not merely
not merely with with danger
danger but also with
but also with thethe opportunity
opportunity of of develop-
develop-
ing each
ing each person
person intointo aa full
full and
and responsible individual. In
responsible individual. In this,
this, he
he
differed greatly
differed greatly from
from thethe authority
authority figures
figures of of the
the conservative
conservative
mainstream of
mainstream of the
the Golden
Golden Age, Age, thethe men
men who who hadhad onceonce been
been his his
mentors. Bishop
mentors. Bishop Jacob
Jacob Peter
Peter Mynster,
Mynster, it it is
is true,
true, officially
officially bade the
bade the
new
new age age welcome
welcome and and sang
sang the the praises
praises of of the
the "new"
"new" Danish Danish
People's Church,6
People's ChurchI6but it was
but it was obvious
obvious to to all
all who
who knew
knew him him thatthat he
he
loathed this
loathed this new democratic age
new democratic age and
and that
that his
his praise
praise of of its
its People's
People's
Church was
Church was merely
merely aa necessary
necessary political accommodation.^ And
political accommodation.? And
the aloof,
the aloof, patrician Johan Ludvig
patrician Johan Ludvig Heiberg,
Heiberg, who who hadhad no no need
need to to
reach aa compromise
reach compromise with with the
the newnew political
political andand cultural
cultural state
state of of af-
af-
fairs, merely
fairs, merely recited
recited hishis litany
litany about
about thethe dangers
dangers of of atomism,
atomism,
heaped scorn
heaped scorn upon
upon thethe age,
age, and
and withdrew
withdrew from from the the follies
follies of of the
the
human race
human race into
into aa lofty and bitter
lofty and isolation. Nonetheless,
bitter isolation. Nonetheless, in in earlier
earlier
years these
years these men,men, Mynster
Mynster and and Heiberg
Heiberg -- "the "the great
great coterie,"
coterie," as as
Kierkegaard called
Kierkegaard called them
them8- had served
8 - had served as as models
models (or (or even
even as as fa-
fa-
ther figures)
ther figures) forfor Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard in in matters
matters of of religion
religion and and aesthetics,
aesthetics,
respectively.
respectively.

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


18 THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO KIERKEGAARD

11. DEAD
II. SOULS: HEIBERG
D E A D SOULS: A N D KIERKEGAARD
H E I B E R G AND KIERKEGAARD

Heiberg would
Heiberg would havehave been the first
been the first toto insist,
insist, and and quite
quite properly,
properly, that that
he was
he was nono reactionary
reactionary in in matters
matters of of politics,
politics, culture,
culture, andand public
public
taste. As
taste. As anan Hegelian,
Hegelian, he he believed
believed that that people
people were were capable
capable of of at-
at-
taining higher
taining higher levels
levels of of insight
insight intointo their
their own own individual
individual liveslives andand
into the
into the life
life of
of society
society as as aa whole,
whole, and and that
that as as their
their insights
insights ma- ma-
tured, they
tured, they were
were entitled
entitled to to anan increasing
increasing share share inin the
the direction
direction of of
public affairs. Heiberg
public affairs. Heiberg believed
believed that that the the intellect
intellect waswas thethe highest
highest
and most
and most characteristically
characteristically human human faculty
faculty and and thus
thus quite
quite fittingly
fittingly
adopted the
adopted the model
model of of the
the school
school or or the
the classroom
classroom with with respect
respect to to
the social
the social function
function of of his
his own
own art.art. An An artist
artist (in
(in this
this case
case aa poet
poet or or
playwright)
playwright) is is aa tutor,
tutor, andand the
the individuals
individuals who who constitute
constitute "the "the pub-
pub-
lic" are
lic" are his
his pupils.
pupils. The The artist's
artist's task
task is is to
to instruct,
instruct, to to serve
serve asas the
the cat-
cat-
alyst who
alyst who assists
assists thethe uncultivated
uncultivated (udannet)
(udannet)individual
individual in in gaining
gaining
the higher
the higher outlook
outlook called
called "cultivation"
"cultivation" (Dannelse),
(Dannelse),which which will will inin
turn enable
turn enable the the individual
individual to to find
find hishis appointed
appointed place place inin the
the differ-
differ-
entiated and
entiated and organic
organic whole
whole constituting
constituting society.society. Individuals
Individuals as as such
such
have no
have no place
place in in Heiberg's
Heiberg's polity.
polity. Those
Those who who havehave acquired
acquired the the in-
in-
sight provided
sight provided by by cultivation
cultivation "represent"
"represent" the the rest.
rest. Apart
Apart fromfrom rep-
rep-
resentation, individual
resentation, individual existence
existence is is mere
mere "atomism."
"atomism." Heiberg Heiberg
expounded this
expounded this theory
theory in in aa series
series of of essays
essays fromfrom thethe early
early I840s.
1840s.99
The problem
The problem was was that
that Heiberg's
Heiberg's intended
intended pupils the comfortably
pupils -- the comfortably
off and
off and reasonably
reasonably literate
literate but (according to
but (according to Heiberg's
Heiberg's views)
views) only only
half-educated Copenhagen
half-educated Copenhagen middle middle classclass -- were
were also
also the
the target
target of of his
his
increasingly pointed
increasingly ridicule and
pointed ridicule and sarcasm.
sarcasm. This This middle
middle classclass waswas
disinclined to
disinclined to play the obedient
play the obedient pupil, sitting quietly
pupil, sitting quietly on on the
the school
school
benches
benches in in Heiberg's
Heiberg's didactic
didactic temple
temple of of art.
art.IO They were
IO They were badbad pupils,
pupils,
naughty children
naughty children who, who, at at this
this rate,
rate, were
were nevernever going
going to to grow
grow up up toto
become responsible citizens,
become responsible citizens, either
either of of the
the world
world of of art
art or
or of
of the
the civic
civic
realm. Nowhere
realm. Nowhere did did Heiberg
Heiberg heapheap his his scorn
scorn andand displeasure
displeasure upon upon
his "immature"
his "immature" public with as
public with as much
much trenchancy
trenchancy as as in
in the
the stinging
stinging
"apocalyptic" comedy,
"apocalyptic" comedy, A Soul after
A Soul after Death
Death [En [En Sjcel
Sjcd efter
efter D ~den]
Doden]
from the
from the collection
collection New New Poems
Poems [Nye [Nye Digte],
DigteL published
published in in 1840.
1840.11 II

Heiberg's A
Heiberg's Soul after
A Soul after Death
Death is is one
one of of the
the most
most important
important works works
of Danish
of Danish literature
literature of of the
the I840S
1840s (and(and of of the
the entire
entire Danish
Danish Golden
Golden
Age), and
Age), and inin some
some waysways deserves
deserves to to be
be ranked
ranked withwith Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's re- re-
markable output
markable output during
during thethe same
same decade.
decade. Both Both Heiberg
Heiberg and and Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard were
gaard were concerned
concerned with with thethe individual's
individual's evasion evasion of of responsibility,
responsibility,

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Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark 19
19
with, as
with, as they
they both called it}
both called it, "spiritlessness
"spiritlessness"Jl (Aandloshed)}
(Aandlmhed],the the state
state
of being
of being deaddead while
while yet yet alive.
alive. ForFor Heiberg
Heiberg this this was
was the the state
state ofof the
the
respectable middle-class
respectable middle-class "Soul" "Soul" who}
who, after
after death}
death, discovers
discovers thatthat his
his
entire earthly
entire earthly life}
life, preoccupied
preoccupied as as it
it had
had been with politics
been with politics and and the
the
busyness
busyness of of the
the world's
world's finitude,
finitude, had had been "Hell," aa sort
been "Hell,n sort ofof living
living
death. The
death. The "Soul"
"Soul" can can be granted admission
be granted admission neither
neither to to the
the Christian
Christian
Paradise nor
Paradise nor toto the
the classical
classical Elysium,
Elysium, because
because he he has
has been
been aa poor
poor
pupil
pupil andand isis lacking
lacking in in cultivation.
cultivation. He He isis aa shallow}
shallow, pitiable,
pitiable} brain-
brain-
less wretch}
less wretch, the the fit
fit target
target of of ridicule.
ridicule.
In many
In many ways}ways, Kierkegaard}s
Kierkegaard's The The Sickness
Sickness unto unto Death [Sygdom-
Death [Sygdom-
m e n til
men til D (written
~ d e n (written
Doden] ] 1848, published
1848} published 1849) 1849) invites
invites comparison
comparison
with A
with Soul after
A Soul after Death,
Death, and and not
not merely
merely because
because of of the
the striking
striking
similarity of
similarity of the
the titles.
titles. And
And as as mentioned}
mentioned, both authors claimed
both authors claimed to to
be concerned for
be concerned for the
the well-being
well-being of of the
the "spirit'}
"spirit" or or "soul"
"soul" and and toto be
be
the enemies
the enemies of of souls
souls thatthat areare not
not souls}
souls, enemies
enemies of of "spiritless-
"spiritless-
ness," aa form
ness,n form of of living
living death}
death, which,
which, both agreed, was
both agreed, was found
found withwith
great frequency
great frequency among among the the "bourgeois
"bourgeois philistines" (Spidsborgerne).
philistines" (Spidsborgerne).
But here
But here they
they part company, and
part company} and quite
quite fundamentally.
fundamentally. For For Heiberg,
Heiberg,
the spokesman
the spokesman for for cultivation}
cultivation, the the spiritless
spiritless are are spiritless
spiritless precisely
precisely
because
because they they are
are philistines.
philistines. For For Kierkegaard,
Kierlzegaard, on on the
the other
other hand}
hand, thethe
philistines
philistines are are philistines
philistines becausebecause they they areare spiritless.
spiritless. This This maymay
seem like
seem like aa distinction
distinction without
without aa difference}
difference, but the difference
but the difference is is in
in
fact enormous}
fact enormous, because,
because, unlikeunlike thethe intellectualist
intellectualist Heiberg}
Heiberg, Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard equates
gaard equates spiritlessness
spiritlessness not not with
with aa lack
lack of of education
education and and culti-
culti-
vation but
vation with aa lack
but with lack ofof will: "self" is
will: "self'} is }}spirit,n
"spirit," and
and "the
"the more
more will,
will,
the more
the more self"self" (SV'
(SV1XI XI 127,
127, 142).
142). For
For Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, being being aa fully
fully
fledged self}
fledged self, an
an adult,
adult, is is quite
quite specifically
specifically within
within the the reach
reach of of every
every
individual if
individual if he
he or
or she
she soso wills}
wills, and
and inin The
The Sickness
Sickness unto unto Death
Death he he
attacks the
attacks the speculative
speculative intellectualism
intellectualism of Hegel, Heiberg}
of Hegel, Heiberg, and and oth-
oth-
ers (227-38).
ers (227-38). No, according to
No} according to Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard being being anan adult}
adult, being
being "an "an
individual person,
individual person} this this particular individual person,
particular individual person} alonealone before
before
God, alone
God} alone in in that
that enormous
enormous effort effort and
and inin that
that enormous
enormous responsi-
responsi-
bility"
bility'} (1 17),
( II7 is aa possibility
L is possibility open open toto absolutely
absolutely everyone}
everyone, regardless
regardless
of his
of his oror her
her intellectual
intellectual capacity
capacity or or level
level of of "cultivation'}
"cultivation" in in the
the
sense in
sense in which
which the the term
term is is used
used by Heiberg -- or
by Heiberg or for
for that
that matter
matter by by
Hans Lassen
Hans Lassen Martensen}
Martensen, Mynster,Mynster, and and the
the other
other official
official representa-
representa-
tives of
tives of Golden
Golden Age Age Christendom.
Christendom. AccordingAccording to to Kierkegaard}
Kierkegaard, the the
true cause
true cause of of the
the sickness
sickness unto unto death
death hashas nothing
nothing to to do
do with
with Hei-
Hei-
berg's snobbish etiology
berg}s snobbish etiology in in A Soul after
A Soul after Death. Indeed, so
Death. Indeed} so far
far is
is true
true

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20 T H E CAMBRIDGE
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KIERKEGAARD

spiritlessness removed
spiritlessness removed fromfrom thethe Golden
Golden Age Age definition,
definition, that that on on the
the
contrary, the
contrary, the principal stronghold of
principal stronghold of spiritlessness
spiritlessness is is Golden
Golden Age Age
Christendom itself.
Christendom itself.'"
'2
Thus Heiberg
Thus Heiberg and and Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard agreeagree that
that there
there isis aa plague
plague of of spir-
spir-
itlessness, an
itlessness, an army
army of of dead
dead souls,
souls, but their diagnoses
but their diagnoses are are diametri-
diametri-
cally opposite.
cally opposite. That That the
the two
two works
works should
should be quite similar
be quite similar is is no
no
surprise: Heiberg
surprise: Heiberg was was the
the trend-setting
trend-setting author
author for
for much
much of of fashion-
fashion-
able Copenhagen
able Copenhagen in in the
the 1830S
1830s andand thethe early
early 1840S,
1840s~and and though
though
twenty-two years
twenty-two years younger
younger Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was was at at least
least aa peripheral
peripheral
member of
member of Heiberg's
Heiberg's salon
salon circle.
circle.I3 What is
'3 What is surprising
surprising is is that
that thethe
works are
works are worlds
worlds apart.
apart. During
During the the 1840S
1840s Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard had had devel-
devel-
oped aa radical
oped radical critique
critique ofof the
the entire
entire taste-making
taste-making cliqueclique thatthat domi-
domi-
nated
nated polite Denmark. He
polite Denmark. He was
was ready
ready to to move,
move, and and then
then came came the the
political events of
political events of 1848,
1848, when
when "in "in the course of
the course of aa couple
couple of of months,
months,
the
the past [was]ripped
past [was] away from
ripped away from the
the present
present with such passion
with such passion that that
it seemed
it seemed like like aa generation
generation had gone by"
had gone (SV1
by" (SV ' XI11
XIII 5 5 5
555). ) . The
The two
two
works about
works about dead
dead souls
souls seemed
seemed worlds apart because,
worlds apart according to
because, according to
Smen Kierkegaard,
Soren Kierkegaard, they they were worlds apart.
were worlds apart. Heiberg
Heiberg had had failed
failed toto
draw the
draw the consequences
consequences of of the
the developments
developments of of recent
recent timestimes and and
wanted to
wanted to close
close the
the door
door onon the
the middle
middle class
class that
that sought
sought its its salva-
salva-
tion in
tion in politics.
politics. In In his
his contempt
contempt for for that
that middle
middle class
class Heiberg
Heiberg lost lost
touch with
touch with his
his constituency
constituency and and with
with his own times
his own times and and retreated
retreated
from the
from the scene.
scene. Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, on on the
the other
other hand,
hand, diddid not
not give
give up up onon
the lost
the lost soul
soul of
of the
the middle
middle class,
class, which
which on on the
the contrary
contrary was was his ideal
his ideal
interlocutor, aa quiet,
interlocutor, quiet, somewhat
somewhat withdrawn
withdrawn ("encapsulated"
("encapsulated" [indes- [indes-
individual who
luttet])individual
luttet]) who is is

able to
able to hold
hold every
every extraneous
extraneous person i.e., everyone
person -- i.e., everyone -- away
away from
from his
his self,
self,
while externally
while externally he
he isis entirely
entirely aa "real
"real person."
person." He He isis an
an educated
educated man,
man, aa
husband, father,
husband, father, even
even an an unusually capable official,
unusually capable official, aa respectable
respectable father,
father,
pleasant to be
pleasant to with, very
be with, very sweet
sweet toto his
his wife,
wife, carefulness
carefulness itself
itself with
with his
his chil-
chil-
dren. And
dren. And aa Christian?
Christian? --well, yes, he
well, yes, he is
is that,
that, too
too -- however,
however, he he prefers
prefers toto
avoid talking
avoid talking about
about it,
it, even
even if
if he
he is
is happy
happy toto see,
see, with
with aa certain
certain wistful
wistful joy,
joy,
that his
that wife occupies
his wife occupies herself
herself edifyingly
edifyingly withwith godly
godly things.
things. HeHe goes
goes toto
church very
church very rarely,
rarely, because
because itit seems
seems toto him
him thatthat most
most ofof the
the pastors don't
pastors don't
know what
know what they
they are
are talking
talking about.
about. (SVI XI I7
(SV1 XI 17s)
5)

It is
It is here,
here, in
in the
the dawning
dawning consciousness
consciousness ofof despair,
despair, that
that Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard
sought his
sought his public, the very
public, the very public that Heiberg
public that Heiberg consigned
consigned to
to Hell.
Hell.
Again, Kierkegaard
Again, Kierkegaard waswas worlds
worlds away
away from
from his
his one-time
one-time mentor,
mentor,

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Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark 2I
21

very aware
very aware ofof the
the gulf
gulf that
that separated
separated himself
himself (Kierkegaard}
(Kierkegaard,i.e.,
i.e., lithe
"the
graveyard,""f who
graveyard/,'4 who was
was well
well acquainted
acquainted with
with dead
dead souls)
souls) from
from lofty
lofty
Heiberg (i.e.,
Heiberg (i.e., lithe
"the mountain").
mountain"). Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was
was undoubtedly
undoubtedly famil-
famil-
iar with
iar with the
the puns
puns on on his
his deathly
deathly name
name and
and saw
saw itit as
as his
his task
task toto
awaken the
awaken the dead,
dead, notnot to
to mock
mock them;
them; to
to save
save II"souls," not to
souls," not to cele-
cele-
brate their perdition
brate their with an
perdition with an aristocratic
aristocratic smirk.
smirk.

111. THE
III. K I E R K E G A A R D FAMILY
T H E KIERKEGAARD FAMILY

Smen Aabye
Soren Aabye Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was was thethe youngest
youngest of of seven
seven children
children of of aa
powerful
powerful and and wealthy
wealthy merchant,
merchant, Michael
Michael Pedersen
Pedersen Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard,
and aa mother,
and mother, Ane Ane Sorensdatter
Smensdatter Lund, Lund, who
who is is nearly
nearly invisible
invisible to to his-
his-
tory. The
tory. The story
story ofof the
the father
father isis well
well known:
known: aa poor poor boy from the
boy from the
heaths of
heaths of west
west Jutland,
Jutland, hehe traveled
traveled to to Copenhagen,
Copenhagen, was was apprenticed
apprenticed
to an
to an uncle
uncle whowho waswas aa cloth
cloth merchant
merchant (a (a not
not unusual
unusual profession
profession for for
Jutlanders-turned-cityfolk),
Jutlanders-turned-cityfolkL struck out
struck out on
on his
his own
own atat anan early
early age,
age,
and soon
and soon became
became aa wealthy
wealthy man.man. He He married
married aa business
business partner's
partner}s
sister, but
sister, the marriage
but the marriage was was childless
childless andand ended
ended after
after less
less than
than two
two
years with
years with thethe death
death of of the
the wife.
wife. Michael
Michael Pedersen
Pedersen subsequently
subsequently
married his
married his serving
serving maidmaid andand distant
distant cousin,
cousin, Ane Ane Sorensdatter
Swensdatter
Lund, whom
Lund, whom he he had impregnated and
had impregnated and then
then offered
offered aa marriage
marriage con-con-
tract. He was
tract. He was known
known to to be an astute
be an astute businessman
businessman and and aa stubborn
stubborn in- in-
dividual, and
dividual, and thethe contract
contract for for this
this hasty
hasty marriage
marriage was was most
most
unfavorable
unfavorable to to his intended wife,
his intended wife, who
who in in the event of
the event of aa divorce
divorce
would
would havehave received almost nothing
received almost nothing and and certainly
certainly not custody of
not custody of
her child. The
her child. The one-sidedness
one-sidedness of of the
the proposed contract provoked
proposed contract provoked of- of-
fense among
fense among the the officials
officials inin the
the court
court where
where it it was
was toto be registered,
be registered,
and they
and they attempted,
attempted, with with only
only limited
limited success,
success, to to compel
compel the the
wealthy widower
wealthy widower to to grant
grant more
more generous
generous terms.
terms.Is The concern
'S The concern of of
the court
the court officials
officials turned
turned out out toto be unfounded, as
be unfounded, as the
the marriage
marriage
lasted some
lasted some thirty-eight
thirty-eight years
years and
and resulted
resulted in in seven
seven children.
children.
Michael Pedersen
Michael Pedersen waswas forty
forty years
years oldold at
at the
the time
time of of this
this second
second
marriage and
marriage and sufficiently
sufficiently wealthy
wealthy to to be able to
be able to retire
retire from
from active
active
business life and
business life and support
support aa large
large household
household very very comfortably
comfortably on on the
the
income from
income from his investments. He
his investments. He seems
seems to to have dominated the
have dominated the
family more
family more through
through his steady habits,
his steady firm manner,
habits} firm manner, and and his quiet
his quiet
and very
and serious, perhaps
very serious, perhaps melancholic,
melancholic} religious
religious temperament
temperament than than
through
through any any external
external compulsion.
compulsion. MichaelMichael Pedersen
Pedersen was already
was already
fifty-six years
fifty-six old when
years old Smen was
when Soren was born, and his
born, and his youngest
youngest son son al-
al-

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ways knew
ways knew him him as as an
an oldold man.
man. ThisThis isis the
the way
way in in which
which Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard's father
gaard's father has has come
come down down to to us,
us, primarily
primarily through
through his his son
son
Smen's version
Smen's version of of the
the story:
story: aa sternly
sternly religious
religious old old man,
man, whowho was
was
rather wealthy
rather wealthy but but plainly
plainly had had peasant
peasant roots.
roots. This
This peasant
peasant side
side of
of
Michael Pedersen
Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard is is illuminated
illuminated further
further when
when oneone con-
con-
siders that
siders that hehe was
was one
one of of nine
nine children
children bornborn to to an
an apparently
apparently quitequite
ordinary (and
ordinary (andtherefore
therefore poor)
poor)farm
farm family
family fromfrom the
the tiny
tiny west
west Jutland
Jutland
settlement of
settlement of Sredding.
Saedding. One One of of Michael
Michael Pedersen's
Pedersen's brothers
brothers did did
leave Sredding,
leave Saedding, but but only
only in in order
order toto live
live with
with an an uncle
uncle in in southern
southern
Jutland, where
Jutland, where he he died
died young
young andand unmarried.
unmarried. Another
Another brother
brother spent
spent
part of
part of his
his adult
adult life
life in
in Copenhagen,
Copenhagen, where where he he was
was well
well known
known as as aa
local madman
local madman who who wore
wore three
three overcoats
overcoats in in the
the summertime,
summertime, but but hehe
returned to
returned to Sredding
Szdding in in his
his later
later years
years andand died
died there.
there. The
The remain-
remain-
ing six
ing six siblings
siblings spent
spent their
their entire
entire lives
lives inin obscurity
obscurity in Sxdding or
in Sredding or
very close
very close by.by. The
The oneone whowho was was best
best off
off was
was apparently
apparently his his sister
sister
Else Pedersdatter,
Else Pedersdatter, who who married
married locally,
locally, inherited
inherited the the family
family farm
farm
from her
from her brother,
brother, adding
adding it it to
to the
the holdings
holdings of of her
her husband,
husband, withwith
whom she
whom she had
had oneone child,
child, andand lived
lived to to the
the age
age ofof seventy-five.
seventy-five. But But
despite her
despite her inheritance
inheritance Else Else Pedersdatter
Pedersdatter led led aa pinched
pinched existence.
existence.
She regularly
She regularly wrote wrote to to herher wealthy
wealthy Copenhagen
Copenhagen relativesrelatives -- her
her
brother Michael
brother Michael Pedersen
Pedersen and, and, after
after his
his death,
death, herher nephews
nephews PeterPeter
Christian and
Christian and Soren
Smen -- in in the
the hope
hope of of financial
financial assistance,
assistance, which
which sheshe
received.16
received. '6

Soren Kierkegaard's mother,


Smen Kierkegaard's mother, aboutabout whom
whom very very little
little is
is known,
known,
and who
and who is is never
never once
once mentioned
mentioned by by name
name in in the
the thousands
thousands upon upon
thousands of
thousands of pages
pages of of Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's published
published and and unpublished
unpublished
writings, was
writings, was aa servant
servant woman
woman from from aa poor
poor Jutland
Jutland peasant
peasant family.
family.
The only
The only primary
primary source
source the the present
present author
author has has been
been able
able toto un-
un-
cover in
cover in the
the archives
archives tells
tells usus that
that her
her family
family owned"
owned "one cow and
one cow and
four sheep";
four sheep"; that that her
her father
father waswas aa convivial
convivial man man with
with aa certain
certain nat-
nat-
ural authority;
ural authority; and and that
that her
her family
family "were
"were allall respectable
respectable and and honor-
honor-
able people
able people of of their
their station."
station." Ane Ane Sorensdatter
Smensdatter was was oneone ofof six
six
siblings and
siblings and thethe youngest
youngest of of three
three sisters,
sisters, allall named"Ane,
named "Ane,"" and and was
was
therefore further
therefore further specified
specified as as "little
"little Ane."!?
Ane."" She She may
may have
have been
been lit-
lit-
tle but
tle but was
was presumably
presumably not not without
without aa certain
certain strength
strength of of character.
character.
After she
After she left
left her
her childhood
childhood home home in in Jutland
Jutland to to serve
serve inin the
the family
family
of her
of her brother
brother and and sister-in-law
sister-in-lawin in Copenhagen,
Copenhagen, Ane Ane Sorensdatter
Smensdatter re- re-
portedly had
portedly had aa disagreement
disagreement and and quit,
quit, becoming
becoming aa servant
servant in in the
the

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark 23
23

home of
home of her
her distant
distant cousin,
cousin, Michael
Michael Pedersen
Pedersen Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, by by
whom she
whom she became
became pregnant
pregnant not not long
long after
after he he had
had been widowed.
been widowed.
Forced marriage
Forced marriage or or not,
not, Ane
Ane S0rensdatter
Smensdatter managedmanaged to to pass
pass on
on her
her
patronymic
patronymic to to three
three of of her
her seven
seven children,
children, whilewhile her her husband,
husband, by by
comparison, passed
comparison, passed on on his
his patronymic
patronymic to to two.
two.18 IS
These were
These were "peasant
"peasant roots" indeed, and
roots" indeed, and must
must havehave been
been painfully
painfully
obvious in
obvious in Golden
Golden Age Age Copenhagen.
Copenhagen. The The father
father had had been
been compelled
compelled
to build
to build bridges
bridges between
between the the Jutland
Jutland heath
heath andand thethe respectable
respectable bour-
bour-
geoisie of
geoisie of the
the capital.
capital. HeHe waswas both
both shrewd
shrewd at at business
business and and serious
serious
(and perhaps
(and perhaps shrewd,
shrewd, as as well)
well) about
about religion.
religion. While
While retaining
retaining his his
rural pietist
rural pietist connection
connection to to the
the Herrnhut
Herrnhut Congregation
Congregation of of Brothers,
Brothers,
Michael Pedersen
Michael Pedersen also also made
made JacobJacob Peter
Peter Mynster
Mynster his his pastor.
pastor. De-De-
pending on
pending on one's
one's interpretation,
interpretation, one one could
could saysay that
that by by attending
attending thethe
Herrnhut congregation
Herrnhut congregation for for evening
evening prayer
prayer during
during the the week
week and and
Mynster's Church
Mynster's Church of of Our
Our LadyLady on on Sunday
Sunday mornings,
mornings, Michael
Michael
Pedersen expressed
Pedersen expressed the the tension
tension between
between independent
independent peasant peasant reli-
reli-
giousness and
giousness and respectable
respectable Copenhagen
Copenhagen piety piety -- oror one
one could
could say
say that
that
he was
he was carefully
carefully hedging
hedging his his bet socially. At
bet socially. At anyany rate,
rate, given
given the
the so-
so-
cial structure
cial structure of of early
early nineteenth-century
nineteenth-century Denmark, Denmark, what what is is re-
re-
markable is
markable is not
not the
the very
very ordinary
ordinary poverty
poverty of of the
the family's
family's origins,
origins,
but the fact
but the fact that
that Michael
Michael Pedersen
Pedersen and and Ane
Ane S0rensdatter,
Ssrensdatter, alonealone of of
the total
the total ofof fifteen
fifteen siblings
siblings in in the
the two
two families
families from from which
which they
they
stemmed, managed
stemmed, managed to to make
make theirtheir way
way into
into thethe respectable
respectable upper-
upper-
middle class.
middle class. OfOf their
their seven
seven children,
children, two two ofof their
their daughters
daughters married
married
into aa quite
into quite well-to-do family, while
well-to-do family, while oneone ofof their
their sons
sons became
became aa re- re-
spected theologian,
spected theologian, bishop,
bishop, and and cabinet
cabinet minister,
minister, and and another
another be-be-
came one
came one of of history's
history's mostmost famous
famous philosophers.
philosophers. Nonetheless,
Nonetheless,
being only one
being only one generation
generation removed
removed from from the sheepherders of
the sheepherders of west
west
Jutland and
Jutland and the
the heirs of aa fortune
heirs of fortune made only too
made only too visibly and recently
visibly and recently
in the
in ignoble world
the ignoble world of of business,
business, the Kierkegaard children
the Kierkegaard children could
could
hardly avoid being
hardly avoid being regarded
regarded as as parvenues
parvenues in in the
the polite society of
polite society of
Copenhagen.
Copenhagen.
By 1834,
By r834, when
when he he was twenty-one years
was twenty-one old, Kierkegaard
years old, Kierkegaard had lost
had lost
his
his mother
mother and and five
five of
of his six siblings.
his six siblings.'s Four of
I9 Four of these
these deaths,
deaths, in-in-
cluding the
cluding the loss
loss of
of his
his two
two favorite
favorite sisters,
sisters, Petrea
Petrea and and Nicoline,
Nicoline, as as
well as
well as the
the death
death of of his
his mother,
mother, had had taken
taken place within aa span
place within span of of
about two
about two years,
years, from
from r832
1832 to to r834.
1834. Only
Only thethe old
old man
man andand his
his old-
old-
est and
est and youngest
youngest sons, sons, Peter
Peter Christian
Christian and and S0ren
Sarren Aabye,
Aabye, survived.
survived.

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


24 T H E CAMBRIDGE
THE C A M B R I D G E COMPANION
C O M P A N I O N TO
T O KIERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

IV. THE
IV. S O N S OF
T H E SONS T H E FATHER
O F THE FATHER

The relation
The relation between
between Soren Ssren andand Peter
Peter cannot
cannot be be understood
understood apart apart
from their
from their rivalry
rivalry inin aa triangular
triangular relation
relation of of desire
desire for for recognition
recognition by by
the father.
the father. There
There waswas aa definite
definite pecking
pecking order order in in the
the family,
family, asas isis
summed up
summed up by Peter's journal
by Peter's entry on
journal entry on thethe occasion
occasion of of SMen's
Ssren's con-
con-
firmation at
firmation at fourteen.
fourteen. "Soren
"Ssren was was confirmed
confirmed on on the
the 20th20th and
and re-re-
ceived my
ceived my watch;
watch; II [received]
[received]Father's."2o
Father's.""" It It does
does notnot take
take aa Freudian
Freudian
wizard to
wizard to interpret
interpret this
this entry.
entry. TheThe older
older brother
brother was was aa forceful
forceful in-in-
tellect, hardworking,
tellect, hardworking, aa young young man man of of impressive
impressive competence
competence and and
credentials, perhaps
credentials, perhaps aa bit of aa grind,
bit of grind, butbut justjust thethe type
type thatthat teachers
teachers
love -- aa hard
love hard act
act to
to follow.
follow. It It seems
seems that that wherever
wherever Soren Ssren went,
went, thethe
Borgerdyd School,
Borgerdyd School, thethe University,
University, he he had
had been
been preceded
preceded by his elder
by his elder
brother
brother and and had
had aa good
good dealdeal toto live
live up to. Soren
up to. Ssren was extraordinarily
was extraordinarily
clever, with
clever, with aa sharp
sharp tongue
tongue and and aa penchant
penchant for for getting
getting into into trouble-
trouble -
the classic
the classic younger
younger brother.
brother.
Ssren was
Soren was the
the youngest
youngest in in aa large
large family,
family, the the Benjamin,
Benjamin, the the spoilt
spoilt
favorite, perhaps,
favorite, perhaps, butbut prevented
prevented by that very
by that very status
status fromfrom having
having to to --
or being
or allowed to
being allowed to -- grow
grow up,up, to to possess "authority" (Myndighed).
possess "authority" (Myndighed).
For too
For too much
much of of his
his life,
life, he
he was
was to to survive
survive by using the
by using the power
power of of the
the
weaker, the
weaker, the weapon
weapon of of aa boy,
boy, ofof one
one who
who is is not
not taken
taken seriously:
seriously: teas-
teas-
ing, whether
ing, whether thisthis was
was his his merciless
merciless teasing
teasing in in school
school and and at at home,
home,
where he
where he was
was known
known as as "the
"the fork,"
fork," or or his
his later
later insistent
insistent teasing
teasing of of
Heiberg, Martensen,
Heiberg, Martensen, and and Mynster,
Mynster, aa temptation
temptation he he could
could never
never re-re-
sist. It
sist. It was
was always
always aa question
question of of growing
growing up, up, of of attaining
attaining adulthood,
adulthood,
of reaching
of reaching the the age
age ofof majority,
majority, which which was was the"the "ageage of of authority"
authority"
(Myndighedsalder), in
(MyndighedsalderL in Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's time time twenty-five.
twenty-five. In In the
the offi-
offi-
cially Christian
cially Christian culture
culture of of the
the Golden
Golden Age, Age, religious
religious and and earthly
earthly au-
au-
thority were
thority were closely
closely intertwined,
intertwined, and and thusthus it it is
is not
not surprising
surprising that that
Kierkegaard's later
Kierkegaard's later wrestling
wrestling with with questions
questions of of authority
authority applied
applied not
not
merely to
merely to the
the knotty
knotty problem
problem of of who
who hadhad thethe right
right to to claim
claim religious
religious
authority, but
authority, but asas to
to whether
whether an an ordinary
ordinary person, himself for
person, himself for exam-
exam-
ple, had
ple, had anyany authority
authority at at all
all vis-a-vis
vis-a-vis "the "the Establishment"
Establishment" (det (det
Bestaaende)
Bestaaende) -- the the established
established order order of of things
things in in church
church and and state.
state. InIn
the end,
the end, Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard wouldwould decide
decide that
that if if he
he did
did notnot possess author-
possess author-
ity he
ity he did
did atat least
least have
have the the consent
consent of of Divine
Divine Guidance
Guidance in in his
his
assumption of
assumption of adult
adult power
power as as "a
"a man
man of of character"
character" who who could"
could "over-
over-
turn the
turn the Establishment."
Establishment." The The question
question of of adulthood
adulthood -- of of growing
growing up up
or of
or of being
being permitted
permitted to to grow
grow up up -- was
was alsoalso of of central
central importance
importance in in

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark 2s

the life
the life of
of the
the Danish
Danish common
common folk, folk, thethe little
little people,
people, who who had
had been
been
kept in
kept in aa kind
kind ofof "tutelage"
"tutelage" (Formynderskab)
(Formynderskab)by by their
their social
social superi-
superi-
ors. We
ors. We will
will later
later return
return to to "familien
"familien Danmark,"
Danmark," but but forfor now
now we we
will remain
will remain with with the the Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard family,family, wherewhere it it would
would be be Soren's
Smen's
task, as
task, as the
the youngest,
youngest, to to win
win notnot just
just hishis father's affection but
father's affection but his
his
recognition, not
recognition, not just
just his
his elder
elder brother's
brother's amusedamused or or irritated
irritated conde-
conde-
scension but
scension but his
his respect.
respect.
Both Peter
Both Peter andand Soren
Smen studied
studied theology.
theology. Peter Peter entered
entered the the univer-
univer-
sity first,
sity first, of
of course,
course, in in the
the r820s,
1820s~which
which were were years
years of of extreme
extreme tur- tur-
bulence in
bulence the Danish
in the Danish Church,
Church, thanksthanks largely
largely to to the
the agitation
agitation of of
Grundtvig, whose
Grundtvig, whose (occasionally
(occasionally vacillating)
vacillating) follower
follower Peter
Peter became.
became.
Grundtvig and
Grundtvig and Peter's
Peter's Grundtvigian
Grundtvigian friends friends werewere regular
regular guests
guests at at
the Kierkegaard
the Kierkegaard family family home;
home; they they discussed
discussed churchchurch matters
matters withwith
Michael Pedersen
Michael Pedersen and and cancan scarcely
scarcely have have failed
failed to
to have
have had had anan im-
im-
pact on
pact on Soren.
Smen. The The church
church politics
politics of of the
the r820S
1820s andand r830s
1830s werewere
much rougher
much rougher than than thethe gentle protest (if
gentle protest (if it
it was
was even
even that)
that) that
that hadhad
been expressed
been expressed by by membership
membership in in the
the Herrnhut
Herrnhut Congregation
Congregation in in the
the
decade or
decade or two
two after
after the
the turn
turn of of the
the century,
century, however,
however, and and although
although
the cautious
the cautious old old man man waswas intrigued
intrigued with with the the Grundtvigians,
Grundtvigians, he he
could hardly
could hardly havehave been been expected
expected to to give
give up up his
his reverence
reverence for for
Mynster for
Mynster for the
the sake
sake ofof these
these young troublemaker^.^^
young troublemakers. 21

While we
While we don't
don't havehave evidence
evidence concerning
concerning young young Soren's
Smen's reaction
reaction
to all
to all this,
this, all
all indications
indications are are that
that he he thought
thought Grundtvig
Grundtvig aa fool fool and
and
retained his
retained his father's
father's deep
deep respect
respect for for Mynster.
Mynster. Indeed,
Indeed, Soren
Smen laterlater in-
in-
sisted quite
sisted quite plausibly
plausibly that that he he hadhad longlong maintained
maintained aa loyaltyloyalty to to
Mynster out
Mynster out ofof piety
piety to his late
to his late father.
father. It It should
should be be noted
noted that
that this
this
also had
also had the
the effect
effect of of putting
putting SorenSerren in in the same camp
the same camp as as his
his father,
father,
while leaving
while leaving Peter
Peter to to the
the troublesome
troublesome Grundtvigians.
Grundtvigians. Even Even worse,
worse,
in Soren's
in Smen's eyes,eyes, Peter
Peter waswas aa "moderate"
"moderate" Grundtvigian
Grundtvigian who who did did not
not
always have
always have thethe courage
courage of of his
his convictions
convictions and and was
was repeatedly
repeatedly led led
to temporize.
to temporize. Peter Peter waswas always
always plagued
plagued with with scruples,
scruples, withwith second
second
and third
and third thoughts.
thoughts. He He lacked
lacked self-certainty,
self-certainty, and and his
his qualms
qualms of of con-
con-
science often
science often developed
developed into into depressive
depressive malingering.
malingering. He He accepted
accepted
his first
his first parish
parish call,
call, but
but immediately
immediately had had doubts
doubts andand backed
backed out out ofof
it. The
it. The income
income attached
attached to to it
it was
was rather
rather meager,
meager, as as itit turned
turned out,out,
and aa few
and few years
years later
later hehe accepted
accepted aa call call with
with aa much
much more more substan-
substan-
tial living. This
tialliving. This does
does notnot necessarily
necessarily prove prove anything,
anything, of of course,
course, butbut
Peter did
Peter did seem
seem to to have
have aa wayway of of turning
turning vacillation
vacillation to to advantage.
advantage.
For Soren
For Serren itit could
could sometimes
sometimes be be difficult
difficult toto discern
discern the the line
line

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


26 THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO KIERKEGAARD

between moderation and


between moderation and opportunism.
opportunism. Peter Peter became
became aa middle-of-
middle-of-
the-road Grundtvigian,
the-road Grundtvigian, someone,
someone, for for example,
example, who who could
could talk
talk toto
Martensen. From
Martensen. From S0ren!s
S0ren1spoint
point ofof view
view this
this was
was not
not aa recommenda-
recommenda-
tion. Peter
tion. Peter behaved cautiously and
behaved cautiously and respectably!
respectably, while while S0ren
S ~ r e nap-
ap-
peared
peared atat times
times crazy!
crazy, even
even dissolute.
dissolute. Peter managed his
Peter managed his money
money
carefully, Smen
carefully, Smen was was notnot nearly
nearly as as careful.
carefuLZ2 22
Sarren scandalously
Smen scandalously
broke off his
broke off his engagement
engagement and and never
never married.
married. Peter
Peter married
married carefully!
carefully,
even strategically!
even strategically, twice.
twice. First!
First, he
he married
married Marie
Marie Boisen!
Boisen, whose
whose
father was
father was Bishop
Bishop of of Lolland
Lolland and whose brother
and whose brother was was Grundtvig!s
Grundtvig's
son-in-law, and!
son-in-law! and, when
when sheshe died
died soon
soon thereafter!
thereafter, he he subsequently
subsequently
married Grundtvig!s
married Grundtvig's nieceniece Henriette
Henriette Glahn!
Glahn, whowho had had spent
spent part
part ofof
her childhood
her childhood in in Grundtvig!s
Grundtvig's homehome as as aa member
member of of his
his family.
family. This
This
too was
too was not
not necessarily
necessarily aa recommendation
recommendation as as far
far as
as S0ren
Smen was was con-
con-
cerned. And
cerned. And then
then there
there was Grundtvig himself,
was Grundtvig himself! whom
whom S0ren Smen per-
per-
ceived as
ceived as full
full ofof bluster, always threatening
bluster! always threatening to to walk
walk outout ofof the
the
Established Church,
Established Church, but meanwhile sitting
but meanwhile sitting quite
quite comfortably
comfortably in in one
one
of the
of the snuggest
snuggest sinecures
sinecures in in the
the country:
country: nice
nice pay, very little
pay! very little work
work
(Pap. XI3
(Pap. XI3 BB 182
182 p. 300). Smen
p. 300). Smen dismissed
dismissed Grundtvig
Grundtvig as as unserious.
unserious.
Smen delighted
Smen delighted in in breaking
breaking up "coteries," and
up "coteries/' and he took particular
he took particular joy joy
in stirring
in stirring up confusion in
up confusion in the
the Grundtvigian
Grundtvigian camp camp (Pap.
(Pap. IX
IX AA 206
206 p.
p.
104).From
104). From aa fairly
fairly early
early period something close
period something close toto aa state
state of
of war
war pre-
pre-
vailed between
vailed Smen and
between S0ren and Peter.
Peter. S0ren
Smen stuck
stuck with
with Mynster,
Mynster, the the man
man
he called
he called "his
"his father's
father's pastor," and thus!
pastor,n and thus, asas he
he hoped!
hoped, withwith his
his father.
father.

V. BISHOP MYNSTER: '!MY FATHER'S PASTOR"

The old
The old man!
man, Michael
Michael Pedersen
Pedersen Kierkegaard!
Kierkegaard, then,
then, was
was the
the object
object ofof
the rivalry. Peter was the rival. Peter's paragon Grundtvig was
the rivalry. Peter was the rival. Peter!s paragon Grundtvig was a buf- a buf-
foon, while
foon, while S0ren
Smen cherished
cherished an an apparently
apparently unlimited reverence for
unlimited reverence for
Denmark's other
Denmark!s other major
major clerical
clerical figure!
figure, Bishop
Bishop Mynster!
Mynster, "my
"my father!s
father's
pastor." But from
pastor." But from an an early
early date
date-- though
though wewe don't
don't know
know how how
early -- S0ren!s
early SOrenls reverence
reverence for for Mynster
Mynster waswas only
only apparently
apparently unlim-
unlim-
ited. We
ited. We must
must remember
remember that that Mynster
Mynster was
was the
the urbane
urbane aristocrat!
aristocrat,
who deigned
who deigned onon occasion
occasion to to visit
visit the
the Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard residence
residence and
and talk
talk
with Michael
with Michael Pedersen,
Pedersen, and and that
that although
although wealthy
wealthy the
the Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard
family had
family had retained
retained aa certain
certain stubborn
stubborn identification
identification with
with its
its peas-
peas-
ant origins.
ant origins. S0ren
S ~ r e nwas
was always
always sensitive
sensitive to
to the
the least
least sign
sign of
of conde-
conde-
scension toward
scension toward hishis father
father (whom
(whom S0ren
Serren says
says hehe regarded
regarded as as aa
spiritual giant)
spiritual giant) on
on the
the part of Mynster
part of Mynster (whom
(whom S0ren
Smen respected,
respected, but
but

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark 27
27
who nevertheless
who nevertheless was was tainted
tainted withwith an an ineradicable
ineradicable scent scent ofof the
the per-
per-
fume of
fume of haute
haute bourgeois
bourgeois aestheticism).
aestheticism).
For the
For the sake
sake of of his
his father,
father, whom
whom SMen Smen portrayed
portrayed as as aa good,
good, strong,
strong,
pious, country man
pious, country man whowho had had prostrated himself at
prostrated himself at the
the feet
feet of
of Myn-
Myn-
ster, SMen
ster, Smen did did likewise.
likewise. Things
Things beganbegan to to gogo badly, according to
badly, according to S0r-
Sm-
en's account,
en's account, as soon as
as soon as his
his father
father died,
died, when
when he he personally
personally brought
brought
the word
the word to to the
the bishop,
bishop, and and Mynster Serren alleges
Mynster -- S0ren alleges -- shocked
shocked
and dismayed
and dismayed SMen Smen by seeming at
by seeming at first
first unable
unable to to remember
remember who who
the old
the old man
man was was (Pap.
(Pap. XPXI2 A 419 p.
A 4r9 409)! It
p. 409)! It is
is very
very revealing
revealing that that al-
al-
though this
though this episode
episode supposedly
supposedly took took place
place on on 9 August
August r838,1838, we we
only know
only know about
about it it from
from Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's journal entry of
journal entry of 29
29 June
June r85518j j
(one of
(one of his
his very
very last);
last); inin other
other words,
words, this
this incident
incident apparently
apparently fes- fes-
tered for
tered for seventeen
seventeen years,years, right
right up up toto Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's death. death. (It(It also
also
ought to
ought to be
be noted
noted thatthat atat the
the time
time of of his
his father's
father's death
death SMenSsren Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard was
gaard was twenty-five
twenty-five years years old,
old, the
the legal
legal age
age ofof majority,
majority, though
though in in
aa sense
sense he he had
had remained
remained aa minor minor (umyndig),
(umyndig),now now thethe spiritual
spiritual ward
ward
or "parish
or "parish child"
child" (sognebarn)
(sognebarn)of of Mynster
Mynster as as he
he had
had been the physi-
been the physi-
cal child
cal child ofof his
his father.)
father.) During
During thesethese seventeen
seventeen years Serren's jour-
years SMen's jour-
nals recount
nals recount an an ever-accelerating
ever-accelerating demythologization
demythologization of of Mynster.
Mynster. He He
could never
could never rid rid himself
himself of of his
his notion
notion thatthat Mynster
Mynster had had taken
taken thethe old
old
man -- and
man and thethe son,
son, S0ren
Smen -- for for fools!
fools! Starting
Starting in in thethe mid-r840s
mid-1840s
matters became
matters steadily worse,
became steadily worse, but as late
but as late asas rI 85r S ~ r e ncould
8 j I S0ren could still
still
summon up
summon up thethe filial
filial piety
piety he he needed
needed to to pull
pull himself together and
himself together and
have aa conversation
have conversation with with Mynster
Mynster on on the
the anniversary
anniversary of of his father's
his father's
death: "So
death: "So II said
said that
that itit had
had pleased
pleased me me very
very much
much to to talk
talk with
with him him
today, because
today, because today today waswas thethe anniversary
anniversary of of my
my father's
father's death,
death, andand
II wanted
wanted everything
everything to to be as it
be as it should
should be be on
on this
this day"
day" (Pap.
(Pap.X4 A A 373
373
p.
p.22r).
221).
Mynster's crime,
Mynster's crime, in in Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's eyes, eyes, waswas personal.
personal. It It was
was aa
crime against
crime against his his father
father -- and
and through
through the the father
father against
against the the son.
son.
According to
According to S0ren's
SOrenls journals, Michael Pedersen
journals, Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was was aa
man who
man who had had struggled
struggled and and suffered
suffered withwith Christianity
Christianity all all his
his life;
life;
he had
he had been crushed by
been crushed it. S0ren's
by it. Smen's experience,
experience, through
through his his father,
father,
was much
was much the the same.
same. And And herehere waswas the
the man
man on on whom
whom his his father
father hadhad
depended, an
depended, an earnest,
earnest, well-spoken
well-spoken bishop, famous for
bishop, famous for his
his piety
piety--
who couldn't
who couldn't even even remember
remember who who Michael
Michael Pedersen
Pedersen was was onon the
the dayday
that he
that he died!
died! AndAnd thisthis man,
man, Mynster,
Mynster, had had repeatedly
repeatedly humiliated
humiliated
Michael Pedersen's
Michael Pedersen's son son S0ren,
Smen, whether
whether merelymerely by by ignoring
ignoring his his ef-
ef-
forts or
forts or -- in
in studied
studied obliviousness
obliviousness to to the
the criticism
criticism contained
contained in in

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


28 THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO KIERKEGAARD

Practice
Practice in Christianity -- by
i n Christianity deliberately misinterpreting
by deliberately misinterpreting Soren's Serren's
views on
views on church
church and and state
state and
and turning
turning them
them to to account
account as as support
support
for his
for his own
own position
position on on the
the Established
Established Church.
Church. In In the
the worst
worst inci-
inci-
dent, Mynster
dent, Mynster had had added
added what
what he he knew
knew to to be
be aa gratuitous
gratuitous insult insult to to
the continuing
the continuing injury injury hehe had
had heaped
heaped upon
upon thethe Kierkegaards,
Kierkegaards, father father
and son:
and son: He He hadhad publicly equated Soren
publicly equated Serren Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard with with M. M. A. A.
Goldschmidt, editor
Goldschmidt, editor ofof the
the satirical
satirical journal
journal TheThe Corsair,
Corsair, two two peas
peas
in aa p0d!~3
in pod!2 3
And an
And an important
important part part ofof Mynster's
Mynster's crimecrime was was social:
social: He He could
could
not recognize
not recognize that that aa peasant
peasant likelike Michael
Michael Pedersen
Pedersen Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard
could be
could be anan equal,
equal, anan adult.
adult. Mynster's
Mynster's hauteur
hauteur had had aa transitive
transitive ef- ef-
fect. That
fect. That is, is, we
we must
must remember,
remember, particularly
particularly in in view
view of of his
his life-
life-
long, deadly
long, deadly earnest
earnest competition
competition with with his
his older
older brother,
brother, that that Soren
Serren
was desperate
was desperate for for his
his father
father toto recognize
recognize his status as
his status as anan adult,
adult, his his
manhood, his
manhood, his authority.
authority. ThusThus Soren
Ssren saw
saw himself
himself as as having
having to to fight
fight
for his
for his personal authority and
personal authority and adulthood
adulthood on on two
two fronts:
fronts: against
against his his
weak and
weak and vacillating
vacillating brother Peter, the
brother Peter, the moderate
moderate Grundtvigian,
Grundtvigian, and and
against Mynster
against Mynster (and (and the
the entire
entire Mynsterian
Mynsterian establishment),
establishment), who who in in
blithe condescension had
blithe condescension had mocked
mocked the the father
father andand had
had deprived
deprived him him
of the
of the ability
ability to to confer
confer adult
adult recognition
recognition on on his
his youngest
youngest son. son. For For
Ssren, the
Soren, the personal
personal politics
politics of of the
the Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard familyfamily were were insepa-
insepa-
rable from
rable from thethe church
church andand cultural
cultural politics
politics ofof Golden
Golden Age Age Denmark.
Denmark.
Of course
Of Mynster's "Christianity"
course Mynster's "Christianity" was was self-serving
self-serving hypocrisy,
hypocrisy,
Kierkegaard insisted.
Kierkegaard insisted. Mynster
Mynster hadn'thadn't permitted
permitted himself himself to to be be
crushed by
crushed the God
by the God who
who hadhad crushed
crushed Michael
Michael Pedersen
Pedersen and and Soren
Ssren
Kierkegaard. In
Kierkegaard. In Soren's
Ssren's view,
view, unlike
unlike Michael
Michael Pedersen,
Pedersen, MynsterMynster was was
not "aa man
not" man of of character,
character, aa manman of of principles,
principles, aa manman who who stoodstood fastfast
when everything
when everything vacillated"
vacillated" (SVI(SV1XIVXIV ra).
10).Mynster
Mynster survived
survived the the ca-
ca-
tastrophe of
tastrophe of 1848
1848 allall too
too artfully.
artfully. ItIt would
would havehave been
been far far preferable
preferable
he had
if he had lived
lived up up to
to his
his own
own words
words andand "had
"had hadhad thethe character
character to to
fall along
fall along withwith everything
everything elseelse that
that fell"
fell" (Pap.
(Pap. XPx13 B 18,s; see
B 18,Si see also
also
X6 B
X6 z r z p.
B 212 335). NO,
p. 33S). "the truth
No, "the truth was,
was, that
that he
he was
was very
very worldly
worldly wise,wise,
but weak, pleasure-mad,
but weak, pleasure-mad, and and great
great only
only asas an
an orator,
orator, ... . . . and
and the
the mis-
mis-
fortune
fortune of my m y life
life was that having been brought up by b y my
m y late fa-
ther with
ther with Mynster's sermons, II accepted
Mynster's sermons, accepted this this counterfeit
counterfeit note note
instead of
instead of protesting against it"
protesting against it" (SVI XIV 10).
(SV1XIV 10). It cannot
It cannot be more suc-
be more suc-
cinctly expressed:
cinctly expressed: Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was was raised
raised byby hishis father,
father, whom whom he he
portrayed as
portrayed as profoundly
profoundly religious,
religious, to to respect
respect Mynster's
Mynster's Christianity,
Christianity,
and according
and according to to Soren,
Serren, it
it was
was out
out ofof filial
filial piety
piety toto that
that father
father thatthat

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark 29
29
h e had refrained from calling attention to
he t o what
w h a t he
h e had long regarded
~ h o r t c o m i n g s24. ~But
as Mynster's glaring shortcomings. 4 (again,
(again, ini n Soren's
Ssrenls telling of
t h e story)
the story) Mynster's unending condescension and pretended superi-
t o the
ority, first to t h e father, and then to t o the
t h e son, released SorenSsren from his
obligation to t o respect his father's pastor. Indeed, the t h e memory of his
father obligated Soren Ssren to t o launch an a n all-out attack on o n Mynster's rep-
utation and on the t h e entire Golden Age Establishment he h e repre-
sented -- and to t o speak uupp for what Soren Smen called "the Christianity of
the N
the e w Testament."
New
Ssren bided his time
Soren t i m e until Mynster died and he h e could attack the the
m a n who
man w h o had humiliated the t h e father -- and the t h e son.
son. That
T h a t day came at
t h e end of January
the January 1854, 1854, and shortly thereafter Kierkegaard reflected
i n his journal on
in o n the
t h e importance of Mynster's death: death:
Bishop
Bishop Mynster
Mynster
Now
Now he he isis dead.
dead. It It would
would have
have been much preferable
been much preferable if if he
he could
could havehave
brought himself to
brought himself to conclude
conclude his his life
life with
with the
the confession
confession to to Christianity
Christianity
that what
that what he he had
had represented
represented had had not
not really
really been Christianity but
been Christianity but aa toned-
toned-
down version,
down version, because
because he he carried
carried anan entire era. . . .
entire era....
Dead without
Dead without this this confession,
confession, andand everything
everything is is changed.
changed. NowNow the the only
only
thing remaining
thing remaining is is the
the fact
fact that
that his
his preaching
preaching has has mired
mired Christianity
Christianity in in aa
sensory illusion.
sensory illusion.
The situation
The situation is is also
also changed
changed withwith respect
respect to to my
my melancholy
melancholy devotion
devotion to to
my late
my late father's
father's pastor.
pastor. Because
Because despite
despite the
the fact
fact that
that II know
know veryvery well
well that
that
will always
II will always find
find something
something plausible
plausible in in myoId
my old devotion
devotion to to him
him andand inin my
my
aesthetic appreciation,
aesthetic appreciation, it it would
would be too much
be too much if if II could
could notnot talk
talk more
more
frankly about
frankly about him,
him, even
even after
after his
his death.
death.
Originally II had
Originally had wanted
wanted to to transform
transform my my entire
entire being into aa triumph
being into triumph for for
Mynster. Later
Mynster. Later on,on, when
when I came
came to to understand
understand matters
matters aa bit more clearly,
bit more clearly,
this remained
this remained my my unchanged
unchanged wish, wish, but had to
but II had to require
require this
this little
little admis-
admis-
sion. This
sion. This was
was notnot something
something II wanted
wanted forfor my
my own
own sake,
sake, and
and therefore
therefore II had had
the notion
the notion that
that itit could
could certainly
certainly be done in
be done in such
such aa way
way that
that it
it became
became aa tri- tri-
umph
umph for for Bishop
Bishop Mynster.
Mynster.
From then
From then on on there
there was
was aa hidden
hidden misunderstanding
misunderstanding between between us, and II
us, and
hoped that
hoped that II could
could at at least
least avoid
avoid attacking
attacking him him while
while hehe was
was still alive. . . .
still alive....
And yet
And yet it
it came
came close,
close, close
close toto the
the point where II thought
point where thought II would
would havehave to to
attack him.
attack him. II only
only missed
missed one
one ofof his
his sermons,
sermons, it it was
was hashas last.
last. II was
was not
not hin-
hin-
dered by
dered illness, but
by illness, was in
but was in church
church to to hear
hear [another
[another pastor]
pastor] preach. What
preach. What
this signified
this signified to to me
me was:
was: now
now itit must
must happen,
happen, nownow you you must
must break
break your
your fa-fa-
ther's tradition.
ther's tradition. It It was
was the
the last
last time
time that
that Mynster
Mynster preached.
preached. GodGod be be praised,
praised,
wasn't this
wasn't this asas if
if it
it were
were [Divine]
[Divine] Guidance?
Guidance? (Pap.(Pap. Xl'
XI1 AA r)
I)

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


30
30 T H E CAMBRIDGE
THE C A M B R I D G E COMPANION
C O M P A N I O N TO
T O KIERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

Then, with
Then, with what
what S0ren
Smen called
called the
the help
help of
of "Divine
"Divine Guidance,"
Guidance," the
the
storm broke,
storm broke, and
and Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard unleashed
unleashed hishis famous
famous attack
attack on
on the
the
Church, which will
Church, which will not
not be
be discussed
discussed inin detail
detail here.
here.'s In
25 In the
the midst
midst of
of
the attack,
the attack, in
in late
late September
September ISS 5, about
185 5, about aa week
week before he collapsed
before he collapsed
on the
on the street
street and
and was
was hospitalized
hospitalized with
with his
his final
final illness,
illness, Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard
wrote one
wrote one of
of his
his very
very last
last journal entries, dividing
journal entries, dividing his
his judgment of
judgment of
Mynster into
Mynster into three
three categories
categories -- aesthetic,
aesthetic, personal, and Christian:
personal, and Christian:
Mynster w a s Great
Mynster was Great Indeed!
Indeed!

September 24,
September 24, 1855
185 5
But from
But from aa Christian
Christian point
point of of view
view he
he was
was not
not great.
great. No. Viewed aes-
No. Viewed aes-
he was
thetically he
thetically was great
great -- as
as aa counterfeiter.
counterfeiter.
Understood in
Understood in this
this manner
manner he he had,
had, aesthetically,
aesthetically, my
my undivided
undivided admira-
admira-
tion. As aa person
tion. he had
person he had mymy undivided devotion, "also
undivided devotion, "also out
out of
of piety towards
piety towards
my late
my late father."
father." Viewed
Viewed from t h e Christian
from the Christian perspective, [Divine]Guidance,
perspective, [Divine] Guidance,
in using
in using me,
me, assigned
assigned him
him thethe most
most dangerous
dangerous of
of allies.
allies. (Pap. XI2 A
(Pap. XI' 437 p.
A 437 p.
434; emphasis
434; emphasis mine)
mine)

Here, shortly
Here, shortly before his final
before his final illness
illness and
and death,
death, Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard again
again in-
in-
sists that
sists that his
his hand
hand had
had been stayed out
been stayed out of
of personal consideration~--
personal considerations
specifically his
specifically his filial
filial obligation
obligation toto his
his father
father -- but that higher
but that higher consid-
consid-
erations ("Divine
erations ("Divine Guidance")
Guidance") hadhad then
then compelled
compelled himhim to
to act
act against
against
the man
the man who
who had
had been his father's
been his father's hero.
hero.

K I E R K E G A A R D : OUTGROWING
V I . KIERKEGAARD:
VI. C H I L D I S H THINGS
O U T G R O W I N G CHILDISH THINGS

Evidence of
Evidence of this
this connection
connection between
between the
the inner
inner and
and the
the outer,
outer, be-
be-
tween S0ren
tween S ~ r e nKierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's interpretation
interpretation ofof the
the personal and family
personal and family
politics of recognition
politics of recognition andand adulthood
adulthood inin the
the Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard household
household
and the
and the larger
larger politics of Denmark,
politics of Denmark, can can be traced in
be traced in many fashions.
many fashions.
Elsewhere, with
Elsewhere, evidence drawn
with evidence drawn principally from Kierkegaard's
principally from Kierkegaard's un-
un-
published
published papers, the present
papers, the author has
present author traced Kierkegaard's
has traced Kierkegaard's evolv-
evolv-
ing (negative)
ing (negative) ecclesiology
ecclesiology and and his
his constantly
constantly escalating
escalating running
running
polemic against Mynster.
polemic against M y n ~ t e26rHere
Here
. ~ ~ we
we will
will take
take aa brief look at
brief look at aa sam-
sam-
ple of how
ple of how certain
certain figures
figures of
of adulthood
adulthood (or
(or manhood)
manhood) assert
assert them-
them-
selves in
selves in Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's published canon. Again
published canon. Again and
and again,
again, Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard's rhetoric
gaard's rhetoric constitutes
constitutes aa polemic against prolonged
polemic against "childhood"
prolonged "childhood"
and against
and against "unmanliness."
"unmanliness." Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard equated
equated childishness
childishness with
with
unmanliness, which in
unmanliness, which in turn
turn was
was equated
equated with
with being
being aa "eunuch"
"eunuch" andand
with "effeminacy,"
with "effeminacy," and and soso on.
on. HeHe assailed
assailed the
the established
established authority
authority

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark 33 11

structure that
structure that denied
denied him
him and
and other
other ordinary
ordinary people the authority
people the authority of
of
their own
their own adulthood.
adulthood. AndAnd according
according to to Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, this
this structure
structure
covered up
covered for its
up for its own
own weakness
weakness ("effeminacy")
("effeminacy") by making sure
by making sure that
that
Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and other"
other "children
children ofof the
the parish"
parish" remained
remained children.
children. In
In
its failure
its failure to
to be
be aa strong
strong and
and principled father, the
principled father, the established
established au-
au-
thority structure
thority structure was
was transformed
transformed intointo aa weak
weak and
and wavering
wavering mother,
mother,
who infantilizes
who infantilizes her
her children.
children."'27

In his
In his major
major treatment
treatment of of ethics,
ethics, Works
Works of
of Love from 1847,
Love from 1847,
Kierkegaard attacks
Kierkegaard attacks those
those who
who have
have watered
watered Christianity
Christianity down
down byby
providing
providing it it with
with rational
rational defenses,
defenses, fitfit only
only for
for "unmanly"
"unmanly" people
people
and "eunuchs"
and "eunuchs" (Halvmamd):
(Halvmznd):
Woe to
Woe to him,
him, who
who first
first thought
thought of
of preaching Christianity without
preaching Christianity without thethe possi-
possi-
bility of offense.
bility of offense. Woe
Woe to to him
him who first flatteringly
who first flatteringly and
and triflingly,
triflingly, with
with rec-
rec-
ommendations and
ommendations and proofs, foisted off
proofs, foisted off on
on people some unmanly
people some stuff which
unmanly stuff which
was supposed to
was supposed to be Christianity! ...
be Christianity! [Tlhe more
. . . [T]he more learned,
learned, the
the more
more excellent
excellent
the defense.
the the more
defense, the more Christianity
Christianity becomes
becomes asas mutilated,
mutilated, asas nullified,
nullified, as
as
exhausted as
exhausted as aa eunuch.
eunuch. (SV' 190)
(SV' IX 190)
In The Sickness unto Death, written
In written during
during the
the revolutionary
revolutionary
months of
months of 1848
1848 and
and published the following
published the following year,
year, the
the Pauline
Pauline figure
figure
of the"
of the "child" and the
child" and the "man"
"man" is
is used to illustrate
used to illustrate the
the difference
difference be-
be-
tween the
tween the natural
natural person and the
person and the Christian:
Christian:
The relation
The relation between
between the the natural
natural person and the
person and the Christian
Christian is
is like
like the
the rela-
rela-
tion between
tion between aa child
child and
and aa man:
man: what
what the
the child
child shrinks
shrinks from
from inin horror
horror is
is
viewed as
viewed as nothing
nothing by the man.
by the man. The
The child
child does
does not
not know
know what
what isis frightful.
frightful.
The man
The man does
does know
know this,
this, and
and he
he shrinks
shrinks from
from it
it in
in horror.
horror. The
The child's
child's im-
im-
perfection is, first
perfection is, first of
of all,
all, not
not to
to know
know what
what is
is frightful,
frightful, and
and secondly,
secondly, im-
im-
plicit in this,
plicit in this, the
the child
child shrinks
shrinks from
from what
what is
is not
not frightful.
frightful. (SV'
(SV1 XI
XI 122-3)
122-3)

Another example
Another example fromfrom The
The Sickness
Sickness unto
unto Death: "Despairing nar-
Death: "Despairing nar-
rowmindedness is
rowmindedness is the
the lack
lack of
of primality, or the
primality, or the state
state of
of having
having de-
de-
prived oneself of
prived oneself of one's
one's primality,
primality, ofof having
having emasculated
emasculated [afmandet,
[afmandet,
meaning "unmanned"
meaning "unmanned" or or "castrated"]
"castrated"] oneself
oneself in
in the
the spiritual
spiritual sense"
sense"
(SV1XI
(SV' 146).
XI 146).
Not long thereafter,
Not long thereafter, inin 1851, Kierkegaard published
185 I , Kierkegaard published On O n My
My
Activity
Activity asas an
an Author. The little
Author. The little tract
tract reflected
reflected the
the revolutionary
revolutionary
social and
social and political changes of
political changes of 1849,
1849, the
the year
year in
in which
which it it was
was writ-
writ-
ten and
ten and the
the year
year inin which
which the
the Danish
Danish people received the
people received the democra-
democra-
tic constitution
tic constitution that
that symbolized
symbolized thethe new
new adulthood
adulthood of of the
the common
common
people, who had
people, who had outgrown
outgrown the"
the "childish stage" in
childish stage" in which
which symbolic
symbolic

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32 T H E CAMBRIDGE
THE C A M B R I D G E COMPANION
C O M P A N I O N TO
T O KIERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

individuals from
individuals from aa higher
higher social
social class
class could
could "represent"
"represent" them,
them, as
as in
in
the aristocratic
the aristocratic Heiberg's
Heiberg's political theory:
political theory:
If the
If the human
human race,
race, or
or aa large
large number
number of of individuals
individuals in
in the
the race,
race, have
have out-
out-
grown the
grown the childish
childish stage
stage in
in which
which another
another person can represent
person can represent the
the
Unconditioned [i.e.,
Unconditioned [i.e., God]
God] for
for them
them -- well,
well, nonetheless,
nonetheless, the
the Unconditioned
Unconditioned
remains indispensable,
remains indispensable, indeed,
indeed, it
it is
is more
more indispensable
indispensable than
than ever.
ever. Then
Then
"the individual"
"the individual" himself
himself must
must relate
relate himself
himself to
to the
the Unconditioned.
Unconditioned. (SV'
(SV1
XI11 5091
XIII 5091

At about
At about the
the same
same time
time that
that Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard published the above
published the above au-au-
tobiographical fragment,
tobiographical fragment, he
he began writing Judge
began writing Judge for Here
Y o u r ~ e l fHere
for Yourself/2s !~~
he developed
he developed the childhood/adulthood figure
the childhood/adulthood figure quite
quite explicitly,
explicitly, link-
link-
ing the
ing the end
end of
of childhood
childhood toto the
the congregation's
congregation's maturation
maturation intointo aa
sexually "knowing"
sexually "knowing" being:
being:
There have
There have been times when
been times when this
this sort
sort of
of proclamation
proclamation of of Christianity
Christianity waswas
less offensive,
less offensive, even
even though
though it it did
did not
not deserve
deserve unqualified
unqualified praise, which it
praise, which it
never does. These
never does. These were times when
were times when thethe congregation
congregation was was less
less knowing,
knowing, less
less
aware about
aware about the
the relation
relation between working for
between working for something
something infinite
infinite and
and work-
work-
ing for
ing for something
something finite....
finite. . . . As
As things
things nownow are,are, those
those who
who preach Chris-
preach Chris-
tianity cannot
tianity cannot come
come toto openheartedness
openheartedness and and aa good
good conscience
conscience vis-a-vis
vis-a-vis anan
all-too-knowing congregation
all-too-knowing congregation without
without making
making it it clear
clear which
which is is which,
which,
whether it
whether it is
is the
the finite
finite oror the
the infinite
infinite which
which he wants. . . . It
he wants.... It is
is like
like the
the sit-
sit-
uation with
uation with respect
respect to
to modesty.
modesty. In In relation
relation to to aa very
very little
little child
child modesty
modesty is is
one thing.
one thing. As soon as
As soon as it
it can
can be assumed that
be assumed that the
the child
child is
is sufficiently
sufficiently grown
grown
up to have
up to have acquired
acquired knowledge,
knowledge, then then modesty
modesty is is something
something different.
different. ToTo
wish, after
wish, after knowledge
knowledge has has been acquired, ...
been acquired, . . . to
to preserve
preserve thethe first
first sort
sort of
of
modesty would
modesty would notnot only
only notnot be modesty but
be modesty would be
but would the most
be the most corrupt
corrupt and
and
corrupting immorality. . . . This
corrupting immorality.... This is
is what
what is is dangerous:
dangerous: whenwhen the the congrega-
congrega-
tion knows,
tion knows, and and the
the preacher knows, and
preacher knows, and each
each knows
knows that that the
the other
other
knows -- then
knows then toto refuse
refuse to to come
come out
out with
with it,it, to
to wish
wish toto keep
keep things
things onon aa
more elevated,
more elevated, more
more formal
formal plane, the untruth
plane, the untruth of of which
which is is clandestinely
clandestinely
understood -- that
understood is what
that is what is is dangerous
dangerous and and demoralizing.
demoralizing. (SV' (SV1XII 410-11)
XI1 4IO-II)
Near
Near thethe end
end of
of his
his life,
life, in
in The
The Moment Kierkegaard per-
( 1 8 5 5 ) ~Kierkegaard
Moment (1855), per-
mitted himself
mitted himself the
the fun
fun ofof mocking
mocking the the pompous, robe-wearing
pompous, robe-wearing
clergy as
clergy as aa bunch
bunch ofof unmanly transvestites, whose
unmanly transvestites, whose clerical
clerical garb
garb isis
"women's clothing."
"women's clothing." The
The message
message isis clear:
clear: they (the clergy)
they (the clergy) are
are the
the
immature, unmanly
immature, ones, and
unmanly ones, and yet
yet they
they are
are trying
trying to to keep
keep us (the
us (the
congregation, the
congregation, the ordinary
ordinary people of Denmark)
people of Denmark) in in anan enforced
enforced tute-
tute-
lage, aa prolonged
lage, childhood:
prolonged childhood:

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Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark 33
33
"Beware of
"Beware of those
those whowho wear
wear long
long gowns. . . . It
gowns."" ... It is
is women's
women's attire,
attire, of
of course.
course.
And this
And this leads
leads us
us toto think
think ofof something
something whichwhich is is also
also characteristic
characteristic of of offi-
offi-
cial Christianity:
cial Christianity: the the unmanliness,
unmanliness, the the use
use of of cunning,
cunning, untruth, lies, in
untruth, lies, in
order to
order to have
have power.
power. ... . . . And
And this
this effeminacy
effeminacy is is also
also characteristic
characteristic of of offi-
offi-
cial Christianity
cial Christianity in in another
another way:
way: thethe unconscious
unconscious feminine feminine coquettishness,
coquettishness,
which wants
which wants toto and
and yet
yet doesn't
doesn't want to. . . . One
want to.... One mustmust swoon,
swoon, faint,
faint, when
when
one is
one is compelled
compelled to to accept
accept elevated
elevated andand succulent
succulent sinecures,
sinecures, to
to which
which oneone
is so
is so definitely
definitely opposed
opposed that that one
one only
only can
can decide
decide to to accept
accept out
out of of aa feel-
feel-
ing of
ing duty. . . . Finally,
of duty.... Finally, there
there isis of
of course
course something
something ambiguous
ambiguous and and risque
risque
about men
about men inin women's
women's clothing.
clothing. OneOne isis tempted
tempted to to say
say that
that itit conflicts
conflicts
with the
with the police regulation which
police regulation which forbids
forbids men
men to to wear
wear women's
women's clothing
clothing and
and
vice versa.
vice versa. But
But inin any
any case,
case, itit is
is something
something ambiguous,
ambiguous, and and ambiguity
ambiguity is is
precisely the most
precisely the most fitting
fitting expression
expression for for official
official Christianity.2
Chri~tianity.~9 9

And in
And in aa subsequent
subsequent issue
issue of The Moment
of The he turns
Moment he turns directly
directly to
to the
the
question of
question of Christianity
Christianity and
and childhood:
childhood:

[People say]
[People say] "One
"One mustmust become
become aa Christian
Christian as as aa child,
child, it
it must
must be imbibed
be imbibed
from childhood
from childhood on." on." In
In other
other words,
words, thethe parents
parents dodo not
not want
want to to have
have toto be
be
Christians, but
Christians, must have
but must have aa way
way of of concealing
concealing this,
this, namely
namely by raising their
by raising their
children to
children to be true Christians.
be true Christians. TheThe priests
priests understand this secret
understand this secret very
very well,
well,
and this
and this is
is why
why theythey often
often talk
talk about
about Christian
Christian child-rearing,
child-rearing, about
about this
this
"serious business"
"serious business" by means of
by means of which
which the the parents escape from
parents escape from the
the truly
truly se-se-
rious
rious business.
business. TheThe situation
situation of of the
the parents
parents in in relation to their
relation to their children
children is is
like that
like that of
of the
the pastors
pastors in in relation
relation to to their
their congregations.
congregations. No more than
No more than thethe
parents
parents dodo the
the pastors have the
pastors have the desire
desire toto be Christians, but
be Christians, their congrega-
but their congrega-
they will
tions -- they
tions will be Christians. . . .
true Christians....
be true
So people
So raise their
people raise their children
children to to be Christians, as
be Christians, as they
they say,
say, which
which means
means
that they
that they stuff
stuff thethe child
child full
full of of children's
children's sweets
sweets-- absolutely
absolutely not not thethe
Christianity of
Christianity of the
the New Testament. And
New Testament. And these
these children's
children's sweets
sweets nono more
more
resemble the
resemble the teachings
teachings about
about the
the cross,
cross, about
about suffering,
suffering, about
about dying
dying away,
away,
about hating
about hating oneself,
oneself, anyany more
more than
than marmalade
marmalade resembles
resembles cream
cream ofof tartar.
tartar.
The parents
The taste aa bit
parents taste of the
bit of the children's
children's sweets
sweets and
and then
then become sentimen-
become sentimen-
tal at
tal at the
the thought
thought thatthat they
they themselves
themselves are are alas
alas no
no longer
longer Christians
Christians as as they
they
were when
were when they
they were
were children,
children, because
because onlyonly as
as aa child
child can
can one
one really
really be-
be-
come aa Christian.
come Christian. (SV' XIV 2551
(SV1XIV 25 5 )

Elsewhere in
Elsewhere in this
this same
same article
article Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard puts forward the
puts forward the rest
rest of
of
the argument,
the argument, insisting
insisting that
that Christianity
Christianity is
is not
not for
for the
the sort
sort of
of chil-
chil-
dren the
dren the Established
Established Church
Church urges
urges us
us to
to become,
become, butbut is
is in
in fact
fact for
for
adults and
adults and only
only for adults:
for adults:

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34
34 T H E CAMBRIDGE
THE C A M B R I D G E COMPANION
C O M P A N I O N TO
T O KIERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

The truth
The truth is
is that
that one
one cannot
cannot become
become aa Christian
Christian as
as aa child.
child. It
It is
is just as im-
just as im-
possible as it
possible as it is
is for
for aa child
child to
to beget children. According
beget children. According to to the
the New Testa-
New Testa-
ment, becoming
ment, becoming aa Christian
Christian presupposes
presupposes aa complete
complete human
human existence,
existence, what
what
in the
in the natural
natural person might be
person might called aa man's
be called man's maturity. (SV1XIV
maturity. ISV' XIV 253)
253)

In one
In one of
of the
the very
very last
last entries
entries in
in his
his journals, Kierkegaard gives
journals, Kierkegaard gives an
an
account of
account of his
his personal
personal journey.
journey. HeHe maintains
maintains thatthat he
he had
had needed
needed to
to
work through
work through hishis youth,
youth, to
to reach
reach maturity,
maturity, andand in
in so
so doing
doing his
his un-
un-
derstanding of
derstanding of his
his task
task had
had undergone
undergone aa 18o-degree
I 80-degreereversal.
reversal. Now, as
Now, as
aa man,
man, he
he understands that it
understands that it is
is his
his task
task to to destroy
destroy the
the Established
Established
Church that
Church that had
had played such an
played such an important
important rolerole in
in denying
denying adult-
adult-
hood, both
hood, both inin his own life
his own life and
and in
in the
the lives
lives of
of ordinary
ordinary people.
people.
For many
For many different
different reasons,
reasons, andand prompted
prompted by many different
by many different factors,
factors, II had
had
the idea
the idea of
of defending
defending the the Established
Established Church.
Church.
[Divine]Guidance
[Divine] Guidance has has surely
surely had
had the
the idea
idea that was precisely
that II was the person
precisely the person
who was
who was to
to be
be used
used toto overturn
overturn the
the Establishment.
Establishment. But
But in
in order
order to
to prevent
prevent
such an
such an undertaking
undertaking fromfrom being the impatient,
being the impatient, perhaps arrogant, daring
perhaps arrogant, daring ofof aa
young
young man,
man, II first
first had to come
had to come toto understand
understand my task as
my task as being
being just the op-
just the op-
posite and now,
posite -- and now, in in what,
what, inwardly
inwardly understood,
understood, has
has been great torment,
been great torment, to to
be developed to
be developed to take
take up the task
up the task when the moment
when the moment came.
came. (Pap.
(Pap. XI3
x13 B IIO)
110)

Kierlzegaard had
Kierkegaard had grown
grown up.
up. He
He had
had become
become anan adult.
adult. He
He was
was able
able to
to
repair what
repair what hehe viewed
viewed as
as the
the private insult of
private insult of Mynster
Mynster to
to his
his father
father
by
by breaking through into
breaking through into the
the public sphere, where
public sphere, where he
he could
could finally
finally
speak in
speak in his
his own
own voice
voice as
as aa man
man ofof character.
character. Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard had
had con-
con-
cluded that
cluded that not
not "authority"
"authority" but ''character1' was
but "character" was the
the issue.
issue.

B R E A K I N G THROUGH
C O N C L U S I O N : BREAKING
V I I . CONCLUSION:
VII. THROUGH

At the
At the beginning,
beginning, wewe cited
cited Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's two
two private/public refusals
private/public refusals
on his
on his deathbed:
deathbed: his
his refusal
refusal to
to receive
receive his
his brother Peter, and
brother Peter, and his
his re-
re-
fusal to
fusal to receive
receive the
the Eucharist
Eucharist from
from the
the hands
hands ofof aa cleric.
cleric. The
The present
present
author has
author has discussed
discussed the
the latter
latter point, Soren Kierkegaard's
point, Smen Kierkegaard's falling
falling out
out
with the clergy
with the clergy and
and his
his ultimate
ultimate break not only
break not only with
with the
the Danish
Danish
Church but
Church but with the Church,
with the Church, with
with what
what he
he called
called "the
"the concept
concept ofof
congregation," in
congregation," in more
more detail
detail elsewhere.
elsewhere.3" What about
3 What
D
about Soren's
Smen's re-
re-
fusal to
fusal to see
see his
his brother? What had
brother? What had Peter
Peter done
done toto deserve
deserve such
such treat-
treat-
ment? As
ment? As mentioned
mentioned earlier,
earlier, the
the record of the
record of the relationship
relationship between
between
the
the two
two brothers is littered
brothers is littered with evidence of
with evidence of feuding
feuding andand ferocious
ferocious
rivalry.3' The
rivalryY The situation
situation was
was greatly
greatly worsened
worsened in in 1849,
1849, when
when Peter
Peter

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark 35
35
held aa public
held address, which
public address, which he he subsequently
subsequently published,
published, in in which
which
he compared
he compared Soren's Smen's work work with
with that that ofof Hans
Hans Lassen
Lassen Martensen,
Martensen, la- la-
beling Smen's "ecstasy"
beling Soren's "ecstasy" as as opposed
opposed to to Martensen's
Martensen's "sober-minded-
"sober-minded-
ness."p Rightly or
ness."3" Rightly or wrongly,
wrongly, Soren Swen felt felt that
that Peter's
Peter's label,
label, "ecstasy/'
"ecstasy,"
was aa codeword
was codeword for for "madness."
"madness." (And (And as as wewe will
will shortly
shortly see,
see, in in view
view
of Peter's
of Peter's eulogy
eulogy aa few years later,
few years later, perhaps
perhaps Soren
Smen waswas right
right to to be sen-
be sen-
sitive on
sitive on this
this point.) Stung, Soren
point.) Stung, Scrren counterattacked
counterattacked in in his
his journals,
journals,
equating his
equating brother and
his brother and Martensen
Martensen by linking them
by linking them under
under the the same
same
uncomplimentary heading:
uncomplimentary heading: "The "The Martensen-Peter
Martensen-Peter [Christian
[Christian Kier- Kier-
kegaard] notion
kegaard] notion of of sober-mindedness
sober-mindedness is is to
to some
some extent
extent an an irreligious
irreligious
notion of
notion of bourgeois-philistinism
bourgeois-philistinism and and complacency"
complacency" (Pap. (Pap. X X22 A 273
A 273
p. 201).
p.20r).
If labeling
If labeling Soren Swen as as "ecstatic"
"ecstatic" was was oneone way
way of of denying
denying that that his
his
younger brother
younger brother was was an an adult,
adult, denying
denying his" his "authority,"
authority/' and and depriv-
depriv-
ing him
ing him of of aa voice
voice thatthat waswas truly
truly hishis own,
own, Peter
Peter also
also had
had other
other ways.
ways.
In July
In I 8 5 5 , at
July r855, at the
the height
height of of Soren's
Scrren's campaign
campaign against
against thethe Church,
Church,
Peter ripped
Peter ripped into into his his brother
brother withwith aa virulently
virulently critical
critical speech,
speech, in in
which
which he concluded by
he concluded implying that
by implying Smen, even
that Soren, even when
when he he spoke
spoke
straightforwardly and
straightforwardly and in in his
his own
own name,
name, mightmight not really stand
not really stand be- be-
hind his
hind his words.
words. According
According to to his
his own
own recollection,
recollection, Peter
Peter concluded
concluded
his address
his address with with the the following
following insinuation:
insinuation: "One "One could
could indeed
indeed al- al-
most
most comecome to imagine the
to imagine the possibility
possibility that even that
that even that which appeared
which appeared
with
with the signature 'Soren
the signature 'Smen Kierkegaard,'
Kierkegaard,' might might notnot unconditionally
unconditionally
be his last
be his last word
word (but (but aa point
point of of view)."33
view)."33
In the
In the light
light of of the
the argument
argument presented
presented in in the
the present essay con-
present essay con-
cerning Kierkegaard's
cerning Kierkegaard's struggle struggle to to find
find hishis own
own voice
voice andand the the "au-
"au-
thority" with
thority" with which
which to to use
use it,
it, it
it is
is not
not surprising
surprising that
that hishis brother
brother
chose just
chose this sort
just this sort ofof weapon
weapon to to use against him
use against him during
during thethe attack
attack
on the
on the Church.
Church. Peter'sPeter's attempt
attempt to to deprive
deprive Soren
Scrren ofof the
the authority
authority
with which
with which to to speak,
speak, even even in in hishis own
own name,
name, should
should be viewed
be viewed
against the
against the larger
larger background
background of Smen Kierkegaard's
of Soren Kierkegaard's use use ofof pseudo-
pseudo-
nymity. One
nymity. One of of the
the contentions
contentions of of the
the present essay is
present essay is that
that Soren
Smen
Kierkegaard's refusal
Kierkegaard's refusal to to assert
assert authority
authority provides
provides aa framework
framework for for
understanding
understanding his his useuse of of pseudonyms.
pseudonyms. By By distancing
distancing himself
himself from from
his own
his own works,
works, Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was was freefree toto say
say whatever
whatever he he wished.
wished.
One way
One way to to escape
escape the the problem
problem of of authority
authority was was to to write
write underunder
pseudonyms.
pseudonyms. But But after
after using
using pseudonyms
pseudonyms that that were "beneath" him,
were "beneath" him,
Kierkegaard abandoned
Kierkegaard abandoned the the tactic
tactic and and wrote
wrote inin his own name,
his own name, re- re-
serving pseudonymity
serving pseudonymity only only for for Anti-Climacus,
Anti-Climacus, who who was indeed
was indeed

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


36 THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO KIERKEGAARD

"above" him.
"above" him. Then,Then, during
during the the attack
attack on on the the Church,
Church, Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard
decided, finally,
decided, finally, thatthat hehe diddid not
not need
need to to have
have authority
authority in in order
order to to
speak as
speak as one
one adult
adult to to others;
others; being"a
being "a person
person of of character"
character" was was suf-
suf-
ficient. So
ficient. So he he revoked
revoked the the foreword
foreword to to Practice in in Christianity as as
well as
well as the
the pseudonymity
pseudonymity that that had
had established
established the the distance
distance of of that
that
work from
work from his his own
own person.
person. Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard had had finally
finally found
found his his own
own
voice. And
voice. And it it was
was notnot surprising
surprising that that even
even before
before he he was
was dead,
dead, the
the
campaign to
campaign to deprive
deprive him him of of the
the right
right to to speak,
speak, eveneven in in his
his own
own
name, had
name, had begun.
begun.
Peter later
Peter later implied
implied rather
rather disingenuously
disingenuously that that he he had
had prepared
prepared his his
July 1855
July speech on
1855 speech on the
the spur
spur of of the
the moment
moment and and that
that he he had
had nono
Neither claim
notes. Neither
notes. claim is is true.
true. Peter's
Peter's extensive
extensive notes notes areare in in the
the
Manuscript Collection
Manuscript Collection of of the
the Royal
Royal Library,
Library, and and if the the talk
talk was
was
given on
given on thethe spurspur of of the
the moment
moment it it is
is hard
hard to to account
account for for how
how
Bishop Martensen,
Bishop Martensen, no no friend
friend of of Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, could could
have known
have known about about it it before it it was
was given.
given.34 At any
34 At any rate,
rate, although
although
Peter's speech
Peter's speech was was not not published,
published, Soren Smen apparently
apparently knew knew aa good good
deal about
deal about it it and
and became
became very very angry
angry with
with his his brother,
brother, as as attested
attested to to
by aa number
by number of of journal
journal entries
entries (see(see Pap.
Pap. XJ3 XI3 BB 154i
154; 155i
I 5 5; 164 pp.
164 pp.
270-2). Peter,
270-2). Peter, for for his
his part,
part, must
must havehave known
known or or atat least
least suspected
suspected
Smen's anger,
S0ren's anger, for he seems
for he seems to to have
have attempted
attempted to to visit
visit his
his brother
brother in in
Copenhagen in
Copenhagen in August,
August, but but S0ren
Smen refused
refused to to see
see him,
him, andand he he re-
re-
turned home.3
turned home.355 Soon Soon thereafter
thereafter Peter Peter fell
fell ill
ill and
and took
took toto bed
bed (as(aswas
was
not unusual
not unusual for for him
him in in periods
periods of of stress),3
~ t r e s s )6 ,arising
arising
3~ only to
only to make
make the the
journey to
journey to visit
visit S0ren
Smen in in the
the hospital
hospital in in October,
October, where, where, as as we
we have
have
seen, he
seen, he was
was heartlessly
heartlessly rebuffed.
rebuffed.
Then Soren
Then Smen died. died. Despite
Despite his his obvious
obvious wishes,
wishes, and and despite
despite the the fact
fact
that he
that he had
had ceased
ceased attending
attending churchchurch and and hadhad called
called upon
upon allall honest
honest
people "to
people "to cease
cease participating
participating in in public
public worship"
worship" (svr XIV 85),
(SV1 XIV his
85), his
funeral service
funeral service was was in in the
the Church
Church of of Our
Our Lady,Lady, the the nation's
nation's princi-
princi-
pal place
pal place of of worship,
worship, on on aa Sunday,
Sunday, between
between two two regularly
regularly scheduled
scheduled
religious services.
religious services. PeterPeter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard gave gave thethe eulogy.
eulogy. He He
later said
later said that
that he he had
had lost
lost the
the notes
notes from
from which
which he he spoke
spoke on on that
that oc-
oc-
casion, but
casion, but he he diddid manage
manage to to reconstruct
reconstruct his his remarks,
remarks, whichwhich in- in-
cluded the
cluded the intriguing:
intriguing:
confession that
confession that [1] not only
[I] not
~
only deeply
~
deeply regretted
regretted but
but also
also felt
felt aa sincere
sincere shame
shame
and remorse,
and remorse, because
because during
during recent
recent years
years none
none ofof us
us had
had understood
understood that
that
the vision
the vision of
of the
the deceased
deceased had
had become
become partially
partially darkened
darkened andand distorted
distorted
from exertions
from exertions and
and suffering
suffering in
in the
the heat
heat of
of battle,
battle, causing
causing his
his blows
blows to
to fall
fall

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark 37
37
wildly and
wildly and blindly,
blindly, as did 01ver's
as did Olverrs in
in the
the Norwegian
Norwegian saga; and that
saga; and that we
we
should have
should have acted
acted as did 01ver's
as did Dlver's friends,
friends, and,
and, with
with the
the confident
confident gaze
gaze and
and
the mild
the mild embraces
embraces of love, lured
of love, lured him
him oror compelled
compelled him
him to take
take aa long
long and
and
quiet restY
quiet rest.37
This 0lver
This Olver (or(or "Qlvir")
"Qlvir") is is aa figure
figure in in Snorri
Snorri Sturluson's
Sturluson's account
account of of
the history
the history of of the
the kings
kings of of Norway.
Norway. It It seems
seems thatthat during
during an an attack
attack
by pagan
by pagan Wends
Wends on on southern
southern NorwayNorway in in the
the year
year 1135,
I I 35, aa peasant
peasant
named 0lver,
named Olver, whowho waswas at at aa beer-drinking
beer-drinking party party withwith his
his friends,
friends,
stood up
stood up and
and announced
announced that, that, despite
despite lacklack of of support
support fromfrom hishis fel-
fel-
lows, he
lows, he would
would go go to
to the
the defense
defense of of the
the local
local townsmen.
townsmen. Incredibly,
Incredibly,
Olver fought
0lver fought eight
eight Wends
Wends simultaneously,
simultaneously, and and although
although sur- sur-
rounded, he
rounded, he killed
killed six
six and
and put
put the
the other
other twotwo toto flight.
flight. 0lver
Olver himself
himself
was gravely
was gravely wounded
wounded in in his
his heroic
heroic struggle,
struggle, however,
however, and and had
had to to be
be
taken away
taken away by by hishis countrymen
countrymen and and nursed
nursed backback to to health.
health.38 There
38 There

were many
were many heroic
heroic figures, biblical, classical,
figures, biblical, classical, and and Norse,
Norse, for for Peter
Peter
Christian Kierkegaard
Christian Kierkegaard to to choose
choose among among in in eulogizing
eulogizing his his brother,
brother,
and this
and this particular
particular choice
choice -- aa brave
brave butbut foolhardy
foolhardy hero,hero, who
who single-
single-
handedly fights
handedly fights off
off aa pagan
pagan horde
horde -- is is quite
quite revealing.
revealing. EvenEven more
more re- re-
vealing, perhaps,
vealing, perhaps, is is the
the fact
fact that
that 0lver's
Olver's fullfull name
name is is "Qlvir
"Qlvir
miklimunnr," and
miklimunnr," and means
means literally
literally "0lver Bigmouth." Nor
"Olver Bigmouth." Nor should
should
we forget
we forget thethe important
important ambiguity
ambiguity in in the
the saga,
saga, namely,
namely, thatthat at at the
the
time of
time of his
his heroic
heroic deeds
deeds 0lver
0lver Bigmouth
Bigmouth may may well have been
well have been drunk,
drunk,
that is,
that is, as
as Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard more more than
than hints
hints with
with respect
respect
to his
to his brother,
brother, thethe man
man waswas perhaps
perhaps out out ofof his
his mind.
mind. And And as as with
with
Olver, it
0lver, it would
would have have been
been bestbest if if Soren
Smen had had been
been forcibly
forcibly takentaken
away by
away by his
his friends
friends until
until hehe recovered.
recovered. Soren Smen Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, the the im-im-
plication goes,
plication goes, was
was mad.
mad. InIn his
his speech
speech ofJuly
of July 1855,
185 5, Peter
Peter had
had started
started
the campaign
the campaign to to deny
deny hishis brother
brother aa voice
voice by by implying
implying that Smen did
that Soren did
not fully
not fully stand
stand behind
behind his his ownown name;
name; now, now, at at Soren's
Serren's funeral
funeral in in
November, Peter
November, Peter completed
completed the the job
job by
by implying
implying that that Soren
Smen had had notnot
been of
been of sound
sound mind.
mind.
This was
This was Peter's
Peter's final
final insult
insult to to the
the brother
brother who who hadhad refused
refused to to re-
re-
ceive him.
ceive him. But
But Peter
Peter felt
felt aa guilt
guilt that
that haunted
haunted him him allall his
his life.
life. This
This
is not
is not thethe place
place to to give
give aa full
full account
account of of Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard's guilt.
gaard's guilt. ItIt might
might be be noted,
noted, however,
however, that that asas early
early asas 1834
1834
Peter noted
Peter noted in in his
his diary
diary that
that hehe had
had been
been unable
unable to to "become
"become truly truly
reconciled with
reconciled with Soren,"
Smen," and and cited
cited Matthew
Matthew 5:23-4 s:z3-4 ("S("So if you
O if you are are
offering your
offering your giftgift atat the
the altar,
altar, andand there
there remember
remember that that youryour
brother has
brother has something
something againstagainst you,you, leave
leave your
your gift
gift at
at the
the altar
altar andand

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


38 THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO KIERKEGAARD

go; first
gOj first be reconciled to
be reconciled to your
your brother,
brother} and and thenthen come
come and and offer
offer
your gift'}).39
your gift"1.39 Peter
Peter Christian
Christian was was unable
unable to to rid
rid himself
himself of of this
this sen-
sen-
timent. As
timent. As the
the heir
heir to Serren's estate}
to Soren}s estate, over
over aa thirty-year
thirty-year period Peter
period Peter
received the
received the royalties
royalties from from the the various
various editions
editions of of his
his brother's
brother's
works. This
works. This became
became an an increasing
increasing sourcesource of of self-reproach}
self-reproach, and and to-
to-
ward the
ward the end end of of his
his life,
life, from
from r8791879 to to r883,
1883, he he donated
donated thesethese
sums to
sums to charity.4
~ h a r i t yo. 4In
In~ r875
1875 Peter
Peter gave
gave up his bishopric.
up his bishopric. In In r879
1879 he he
returned his royal decorations to the
returned his royal decorations to the government. In r884 he government. In 1884 he
voluntarily assumed
voluntarily assumed the the legal
legal status
status of of aa child}
child, "borgerlig Umyn- Umyn-
diggmelse,",} which
digg0Ielse, which literally
literally means
means the the loss
loss of of ones
one's legal
legal majority}
majority,
of ones
of one's civil
civil authority}
authority, an an ironic
ironic endend to to aa rivalry
rivalry based
based uponupon thethe
struggle for
struggle for recognition
recognition and and "authority.'}
"authority." Peter Peter dieddied onon 24
24 February
February
1888, aged
r888} aged eighty-two,
eighty-two, as as his
his biographer
biographer says} says, "in "in the
the darkness
darkness of of
insanity."4'1 In
insanity."4 In aa journal
journal entry entry for February r883,
for February 1883, Peter
Peter noted
noted that
that
he had
he had sent
sent aa letter
letter to to the
the Probate
Probate Court:
Court: "Wrote"Wrote to to the
the Probate
Probate
Court out of sheer impulse on the
Court out of sheer impulse on the 24thj started with II John 24th; started with John
. . .'142
3: I 5.....
3:r5 "4 The
2
The contents
contents of of the
the letter
letter are
are not
not known}
known, but but they
they were
were
most probably
most probably some some sort sort of of rather
rather embarrassing
embarrassing confession}
confession, be- be-
cause the
cause the letter
letter was was intercepted}
intercepted, opened}opened, and and returned
returned by by aa friend
friend
of the
of the family.
family. II JohnJohn 3:r5 reads as
3:1 j reads as follows:
follows: }}Anyone
"Anyone who who hates
hates hishis
brother
brother is is aa murderer}
murderer, and and youyou know
know that that no no murderer
murderer has has eternal
eternal
life abiding
life abiding in in him."43
him."43 Peter Peter seems
seems to to have
have evolved
evolved fromfrom aa sense
sense ofof
being unreconciled with
being unreconciled with hishis brother
brother to to the
the conviction
conviction that that hehe had
had
murdered him.
murdered him.
Despite Victor
Despite Victor Eremita's
Eremita's views, views, there
there is an important
is an important connection
connection
between
between the the inner
inner andand thethe outer.
outer. OurOur lives
lives are are whole
whole andand entire,
entire, bi-
bi-
ography and
ography history, private
and history} private and and public. Shaped by
public. Shaped the public,
by the public} thethe
private returns to
private returns to reshape
reshape the the public
public and}and, perhaps,
perhaps} find find aa sort
sort of
of re-
re-
demption in
demption in the
the satisfaction
satisfaction of of having
having done done so. so. The
The manner
manner in in
which this
which this takes
takes place
place and and thethe degree
degree to to which
which the the private
private is is suc-
suc-
cessful in
cessful in reshaping
reshaping the the public
public are are ofof course
course dependent
dependent upon upon thethe
particular historical circumstances
particular historical circumstances in in any
any given
given case.
case. Luther}s
Luther's solu-
solu-
tion to
tion to his
his personal
personal problem
problem of of the
the relation
relation of of faith
faith and
and works
works was was
not original
not original to to him,
him, but but thethe circumstances
circumstances were were suchsuch that
that hishis per-
per-
sonal response
sonal response assumed assumed major major historical
historical significance.
significance. As As thethe
American poet
American Robert Frost
poet Robert Frost hashas written:
written: "How "How hard hard itit is
is to
to keep
keep
from being
from being king}king, when
when it's it's in
in you
you andand it's
it's inin the
the situation/'
situation." The The
breakthrough
breakthrough into into adulthood
adulthood was was both
both in in Soren
Serren Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard and and inin
the Danish
the Danish historical
historical situation.
situation. Kierkegaard}s
Kierkegaard's struggle struggle forfor personal
personal

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark 39
39
authority, for
authority, for recognition
recognition in in his
his family,
family, led
led him
him to to solutions
solutions that
that
bore directly
bore directly on
on larger
larger questions
questions of of authority
authority in in Denmark
Denmark as as aa
whole. This
whole. This was
was because
because families
families don't
don't exist
exist in
in isolation.
isolation. An
An im-
im-
portant player
portant player inin the
the Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard family
family waswas Jacob
Jacob Peter
Peter Mynster,
Mynster,
who also
who also happened
happened to to be
be aa bishop
bishop and
and the
the Primate
Primate of of the
the Danish
Danish
Church. Private
Church. life isn't
Private life isn't so
so private,
private, and
and biography
biography and and history
history can-
can-
not be
not be neatly
neatly separated.
separated.
Hounded to
Hounded to the
the end
end by
by the
the shame
shame of of having
having been
been rebuffed
rebuffed byby the
the
brother he
brother he had
had criticized,
criticized, Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard dieddied believing
believing
he had
he had murdered
murdered Soren,
Smen, and
and hehe apparently
apparently tried
tried to
to put
put some sort of
some sort of
confession of
confession of this
this onon the
the public
public record.
record. But
But Soren
Smen died
died believing
believing that
that
he had
he become "a
had become "a man
man ofof character."
character." HeHe had
had finally
finally made
made his
his break-
break-
through, he
through, he had
had told
told what
what hehe insisted
insisted was
was the
the truth
truth about
about Christen-
Christen-
dom, he
dom, he had
had come"
come "out with it"
out with it" for
for his
his own
own sake
sake and
and for
for the
the sake
sake
of ordinary
of ordinary people.
people.

NOTES
NOTES

II See Peter
See Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's journals,
journals, located
located in in the
the Manuscript
Manuscript
Department of
Department of the
the Royal
Royal Library,
Library, Copenhagen
Copenhagen (hereafter
(hereafter "KBHA"),
"KBHA"), Ny Ny
kongelige Samling
kongelige Samling (hereafter
(hereafter "NkS")
"NkS") 2656,
265 6, 4°,
4O, bd.
bd. II, p. 15i
11, p. see also
I 5; see also Carl
Car1
WeItzer, Peter og
Weltzer, Peter og Soren
Smen Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard (Copenhagen:
(Copenhagen:G. G. E.
E. C.
C. Gad,
Gad, 1936),
1936),p. p.
266. See
266. See further
further Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's entry
entry in in his
his account
account book book
for October
for October 1855,1855, where
where he he writes:
writes: "Travelled
"Travelled inin and
and outout (I8
(18 & & 20zo Oct.)
Oct.)
in connection
in connection with with S0ren's
Scrren's illness"
illness" (KBHA,
(KBHA, NkS NkS 3005, 3005, 4°, 4O, bd.
bd. II,11,
p. 86),
p. 86), as
as well
well as as the
the entries
entries for
for 19
19 October
October andand 25 z5 October
October 1855 1855 in in
Boesen's account
Boesen's account of of his
his hospital
hospital conversations
conversations with with Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard in in At
Af
Smen Kierkegaards
Soren Kierkegaards etterladte
efterladte Papirer.
Papirer. 1854-55,
1854-55, ed. ed. H.H. Gottsched
Gottsched (Co- (Co-
penhagen: C.
penhagen: C. A.A. Reitzels
Reitzels Boghandel, 1881)~pp.
Boghandel, 188I), pp. 596-8.
5 96-8. TheThe textual
textual bases
bases
for many
for many of of the
the biographical
biographical incidents
incidents andand details
details mentioned
mentioned in in the
the pres-
pres-
ent essay
ent essay can
can bebe found
found in in my
my book Encounters with
book Encounters with Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard (Prince-
(Prince-
ton: Princeton
ton: Princeton University
University Press,
Press, 1996)
1996)andand (Danish
(Danishversion) Smen Kierke-
version) Soren Kierke-
gaard truffet (Copenhagen:
guard truffet (Copenhagen: C. C. A.
A. Reitzels
Reitzels Forlag,
Forlag, 1996).
1996).
2z From
From Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's hospitalhospital conversations
conversations with with Emil Emil Boesen,
Boesen, in in AtAf
Smen Kierkegaards
Soren Kierkegaards etterladte
efterladte Papirer.
Papirer. 1954-55,
1954-55, pp. pp. 596-7.
596-7.
For example,
33 For example, in in aa letter
letter to
to Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, dated dated II Novem-
Novem-
ber I185
ber (in KBHA,
8 555 (in KBHA, NkS NkS 33I174,4O) and in
74, 4°) and in another
another letter
letter toto aa friend,
friend, dated
dated
14 November
14 November 1855 1855 (in
(in Hem.
Henr. Bech
Bech [ed.], G u n n i Busck,
[ed.], Gunni Busck, Et Et Levnedslob
L e v n e d s b b ii
en Prcestegaard
en Przstegaard [Copenhagen:
[Copenhagen:Karl Karl Schonbergs
Schcrnbergs Forlag,
Forlag, 1878],
18781, p. 326), the
p. 326), the
Grundtvigian pastor
Grundtvigian pastor Gunni
Gunni Busck
Busek directly
directly quotes
quotes some
some of of Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's
remarks to
remarks to Emil
Emil Boesen,
Boesen, demonstrating
demonstrating that that Boesen
Boesen communicated
communicated at at

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


40
40 T HE C
THE AMBRIDGE C
CAMBRIDGE OMPANION T
COMPANION TOO K IERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

least
least some
some of of the
the contents
contents of of hishis hospital
hospital conversations
conversations with with Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard
gaard while
while the the latter
latter was
was still
still alive.
alive.
44 See
See Boesen's
Boesen's hospital
hospital conversations
conversations with with Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, Af Af SSoren
m e n Kierke-
guards
gaards efterladte
efterladte Papirer. 1854-55, p.
Papirer. 1854-55, p. 598.
598.
55 This
This transition
transition has has been
been discussed
discussed in in more
more detail
detail inin mymy book
book Kierke-
gaard in
gaard in Golden Age Denmark Denmark (Bloomington
(Bloomington and and Indianapolis:
Indianapolis: IndianaIndiana
University
University Press, ggo), pp.
Press, I1990), pp. 1-8
1-81. I.
66 See,
See, e.g.,
e.g., Mynster's
Mynster's sermon sermon fromfrom 1852,1852, T o r evangeliske
"Vor evangeliske Folkekirke,"
Folkekirke," in in
P r ~ d i k e n e rholdte ii Aarene
Prcedikener Aarene 1846 ti1 Sommer-Halvaaret, 2nd
1852. Sommer-Halvaaret,
til 1852. 2nd ed.
ed.
(Copenhagen:
(Copenhagen: Gyldendal,Gyldendal, I1854), 8 5 4), pp.
pp. 12-22.
12-22.
77 Mynster's
Mynster's hypocrisy
hypocrisy in in this
this respect
respect was was immediately
immediately clear clear to to Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard,
gaard, whowho in in hishis journals
journals waswas highly
highly critical
critical ofof "the
"the manner
manner in in which
which
[Mynster]
[Mynster] is is now
now trying,
trying, almost
almost like like aa democrat,
democrat, to to ingratiate
ingratiate himself
himself
with
with 'the
'the People's
People's Church'Church' -him,- him, the the be-all
be-all and
and end-all
end-all of of the
the State
State
Church"
Church" (Pap. (Pap. X6 X6 B B 212 p.p. 335).
335).
88 Mynster
Mynster and and Heiberg
Heiberg constituted
constituted the the center
center of of the
the leading
leading circle
circle that
that
dominated
dominated the the Golden
Golden Age Age in in the 1830s and
the 1830S 1840s. In
and 1840s. 1848 Kierkegaard
In 1848 Kierkegaard
wrote:
wrote: "My"My tactic
tactic has has always
always been been to sow dissension
to sow dissension in in the
the coteries,
coteries, andand
now,
now, after
after thethe fact,
fact, II can see how
can see how II have
have again
again been
been helped
helped by [Divine]
by [Divine]
Guidance.
Guidance. The The greatgreat coterie
coterie is is Mynster,
Mynster, Heiberg,
Heiberg, Martensen,
Martensen, and and com-
com-
pany" (Pap. IX
pany" (Pap. IX A A 206
206 p. 103).
p. 103).
9
9 The
The most
most important
important of of these
these were were Heiberg's
Heiberg's articles
articles "Om "Om Theatret"
Theatret"
(Johan Ludvig Heiberg,
(Johan Ludvig Heiberg, Prosaiske Skrifter, II II vols.
Prosaiske Skrifter, [Copenhagen: C.
vols. [Copenhagen: C. A.A.
Reitzels
Reitzels Forlag, 186 1-62], 6:
Forlag, 1861-62], 17 1-260); his
6:171-260); his reviews
reviews of of Carsten
Carsten Hauch's
Hauch's
Svend Grathe
Svend Grathe (ibid.,(ibid., 4:378-402)
4:378-402) and and Lope
Lope de de Vega's
Vega's TheT h e King
King andand thethe
(ibid., 5:93-132);
Peasant (ibid.,
Peasant 5:93-132); as as well
well as as his
his essays
essays "Folket
"Folket og og Publicum"
Publicum"
(ibid., 6:263-83)
(ibid., 6363-83) and"Autoritet"
and "Autoritet" (ibid., (ibid., 10:328-49).
10:328-49).
10
10 See, e.g.,
See, e.g., "Skuespilhuset.
"Skuespilhuset. En En Dialog,"
Dialog," in in Danmark.
Danmark. Et Et malerisk
malerisk Atlas,
Atlas,
vol. 88 of
vol. of Tohan
[ohan Ludvig Ludvig Heibergs
Heibergs poetiske (Copenhagen: C.
Skrifter (Copenhagen:
poetiske Skrifter C. A.A.
Reitzels Forlag,
Reitzels Forlag, 1862),1862), pp.
pp. 175-88.
175-88.
I II
I N y e Digte
Nye Digte camecame out out in
in December
December 1840. 1840. ItIt is
is available
available in in Tohan
[ohan Ludvig
Ludvig
Heibergs poetiske
Heibergs 1o:163-324 and
Skrifter, 10:163-324
poetiske Skrifter, and inin an
an excellent
excellent recentrecent edi-
edi-
tion published
tion published for for the
the Society
Society for for Danish
Danish Language
Language and and Literature:
Literature:
[ohan Ludvig
Tohan Ludvig Heiberg:
Heiberg: Nye N y e Digte.
Digte. 1841, ed. Klaus
1841, ed. Klaus P.P. Mortensen
Mortensen (Copen- (Copen-
hagen: Borgen,
hagen: Borgen, 1990). I 990).
12 For example:
For example: "Christendom
"Christendom is . . . so
is ... so far
far from
from being
being what
what its its name
name im- im-
plies, that
plies, that most
most people's
people's lives,
lives, fromfrom aa Christian
Christian point
point of of view,
view, are are too
too
spiritless even
spiritless even to to be
be called
called sin
sin in in the
the strict
strict Christian
Christian sensesense of of the
the term"
term"
XI 214;
( S V 1XI
(SV' 214; d. cf. also
also pp.
pp. 212,
212, 226).
226).
13
13 In the
In the draft
draft of of her
her memoirs,
memoirs, Johanne
Johanne Luise Luise Heiberg
Heiberg writes
writes that Serren
that Soren
Kierkegaard was
Kierkegaard was among
among those
those who who could
could come
come by by in the evening
in the evening with-with-
out having
out having to to bebe invited;
invited; seesee EtEt Liv
Liv gjenoplevet
gjenoplevet ii Erindringen,
Erindringen, 4th 4th ed.,
ed.,
ed. Aage
ed. Aage Friis
Friis (Copenhagen:
(Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1944)~
Gyldendal, 1944),4:95. 4:95.

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark 4411
14 In
14 In the
the autumn
autumn of
of 1838
1838 Henrik
Henrik Hertz
Hertz remarked
remarked in
in his
his commonplace
commonplace
book, a propos
book, propos of of Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's recently
recently published
published book book on on HansHans Chris-
Chris-
tian Andersen:
tian Andersen: "What "What aa peculiar
peculiar churchyard
churchyard [Kirkegaard]!
[Kirkegaard]!To To judge
judge fromfrom
various clues,
various clues, it it would
would appear
appear that that thethe trumpets
trumpets have have been been sounded
sounded for for
resurrection from
resurrection from the the grave
grave --but but ifif that
that isis the
the case
case the the dead
dead havehave notnot yet
yet
recovered their
recovered their bones,
bones, but
but areare lying
lying there
there quarreling
quarreling over over them.
them. Because
Because
the confusion
the confusion is is great"
great" (KBHA,
(KBHA, NkS NkS 2807,
2807, 4°, 4O, Henrik
Henrik Hertz'sHertz's optegn-
optegn-
elsesberger og
elsesboger og efterladte
efterladte papirer,
papirer, 1:I: Optegnelsesboger
Optegnelsesberger A A -- J,J, bd.
bd. G,G, s.S. II I).
I).
See also
See also the
the similar
similar language
language in in letters
letters byby B. B. S.
S. Ingemann
Ingemann to to H.
H. L.L. Mar-
Mar-
tensen, dated
tensen, dated 28 28 January
January 1855
1855 (published
(published in in Breve
Breve til til og
og fra
fra Bernh.
Bernh. Sev.Sev.
Ingemann, ed.
Ingemann, ed. V. Heise [Copenhagen:
V.Heise [Copenhagen: C. C. A. Reitzel Boghandel,
A. Reitzel Boghandel, 1879], 18791, pp.
pp.
489-90) and
489-90) and to to Carsten
Carsten Hauch,
Hauch, dated dated 99 March
March 1855 1855 (original
(originalletterletter isis inin
KBHA, NkS
KBHA, NkS 375 375 I, I, 4°,
4O, bd.
bd. I,I, fasc.
fasc. 8,8, no.
no. ro8;
108; published
published in in Hauch
Hauch og og Inge-
Inge-
m a n n . En
mann. En Brevveksling,
Breweksling, ed. ed. M.M. Hatting
Hatting [Copenhagen:
[Copenhagen: Gyldendal, Gyldendal, 1933], 19331,
p. ro8).
p. 108).
IS
IS See Sejer
See Sejer Kuhle,
Kiihle, "Soren"Serren Kierkegaards
Kierkegaards Fader," Fader," Gads Gads danske
d a n s k e Magasin
Magasin 37 37
(1943):469-7
(I943): 469-70. 0.
16
16 Of Michael
Of Michael Pedersen
Pedersen Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's eight eight siblings:
siblings: (I) Christen Pedersen
( I )Christen Pedersen
Kierkegaard died
Kierkegaard died shortly
shortly after
after birth
birth in 1751; (2)
in I?5I; another brother,
( 2 ) another brother, also also
named Christen
named Christen PedersenPedersen Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard (born (born I?52),
1752),was was thethe one one who
who re- re-
located to
located to live
live with
with an an uncle
uncle in in southern
southern Jutland
Jutland and died there
and died there "young
"young
and unmarried";
and unmarried"; (3) (3)aa third
third brother, Anders Pedersen
brother, Anders Pedersen Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard (I? 5 4-
( I754-
1802) remained
1802) remained in in S;:edding
Szdding to to take
take over
over thethe family
family farm, farm, but but died
died un-un-
married aged
married aged forty-seven,
forty-seven, probably
probably only only having
having had had possession
possession of of the
the
farm for
farm for three
three years; (4) one
years; (4) one sister,
sister, Karen
Karen Pedersdatter
Pedersdatter KierkegaardKierkegaard
(1759-1810) remained
(I?59-18ro) remained in in S;:edding
Szdding and and died
died there
there at at the
the age
age of of fifty-one,
fifty-one,
unmarried; (5)
unmarried; another sister,
( S ) another sister, Maren
Maren Pedersdatter
Pedersdatter Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard (I?6I- ( I76 I-
1803) married
1803) married locallylocally andand hadhad four
four children
children before
before dying dying at at the
the ageage of of
forty-two; (6)
forty-two; (6)the
the fourth
fourth brother,
brother, PederPeder Pedersen
Pedersen Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard (I?63-1834)
(1763-1 834)
was the
was the madman
madman who who lived
lived part
part ofof his adult life
his adult life inin Copenhagen
Copenhagen and and re-re-
turned to
turned Szdding where
to S;:edding where hehe died,
died, unmarried,
unmarried, at at the
the age
age ofof seventy;
seventy; (7) (7)aa
third sister,
third sister, Sitsel
Sitsel Marie
Marie Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard (I?66-183I)
(1766-183 I ) also also remained
remained in in
Szdding and
S;:edding and dieddied agedaged sixty-five,
sixty-five, unmarried;
unmarried; (8) (8)thethe fourth
fourth sister and
sister and
youngest of
youngest of the
the ninenine siblings
siblings was was Else
Else Pedersdatter
Pedersdatter Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard (I?68- (1768-
1844)~who
1844L who inherited
inherited the the family
family farm farm but
but received
received financial
financial assistance
assistance
from Michael
from Michael Pedersen
Pedersen and and his his sons.
sons. ForFor more
more detail
detail on on Michael
Michael Peder- Peder-
sen Kierkegaard's
sen Kierkegaard's family, family, seesee Olaf
Olaf Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard and and P. P. F.
F. Parup,
Parup, Fceste-
Fzste-
bonden ii Scedding.
bonden S z d d i n g . Christen
Christen Tespersen
Jespersen Kierkegaards
Kierkegaards EfterslcegtEfterslzgt (Copen-(Copen-
hagen: Thorsoe-Olsen's
hagen: Thorsne-Olsen's Bogtrykkeri,
Bogtrykkeri, 194I). 1941).
17
I? The information
The information on on Ane
Ane Sorensdatter
Serrensdatter Lund Lund in in this
this paragraph
paragraph is is con-
con-
tained in
tained in aa letter
letter by by P.
P. Chr.
Chr. Olesen
Olesen to to H.
H. P.P. Barfod,
Barfod, dated
dated 66 May May 1868,
1868, in in
KBHA, Soren
KBHA, Smen Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard Arkiv, Arkiv, D., pk. 5.
D., pk. 5.
18
18 Ane Sorensdatter's
Ane Smensdatter's father father is is commemorated
commemorated in in the
the names
names of of Soren
Serren

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


42
42 T H E CAMBRIDGE
THE C A M B R I D G E COMPANION
C O M P A N I O N TO
T O KIERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

Michael, S0ren
Michael, Soren Aabye,
Aabye, andand Petrea
Petrea Severine,
Severine, while
while Michael
Michael Pedersen's
Pedersen's
father's name
father's name was was passed
passed on on toto Peter
Peter Christian
Christian and and Petrea
Petrea Severine.
Severine.
This method
This method of of perpetuating
perpetuating the the father's
father's name
name was was of of particular
particular im- im-
portance
portance now now that
that Michael
Michael Pedersen
Pedersen and and Ane
Ane Smensdatter
Smensdatter had had moved
moved
to Copenhagen
to Copenhagen and and adopted
adopted citycity ways.
ways. As As far
far asas is
is known,
known, all all previous
previous
generations of
generations of their
their families
families had had automatically
automatically passed passed down down the the
patronymic
patronymic -- i.e, i.e, the
the father's
father's Christian
Christian name name with with the the appropriate
appropriate
"-sen" or
"-sen" or "datter"
"datter" suffix
suffix -- to
to all
all children
children in in aa family.
family. ButBut Smen
Serren Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard's parents
gaard's parents had had nownow become
become city city people
people and and had
had appropriated
appropriated the the
modern fashion
modern fashion of of giving
giving their
their children
children middle
middle names
names that that could
could com-
com-
memorate any
memorate any of of various
various family
family members,
members, or or even
even of of close
close family
family
friends.
friends.
19
19 Smen Michael
S0ren Michael(1807-1819)
(1807-18191 died died aged
aged twelve
twelve after
after aa schoolyard
schoolyard accident;
accident;
Smen Aabye
S0ren Aabye waswas six six years
years old.
old. Maren
Maren Kirstine
Kirstine (1797-1822),
(1797-1822)~the the eldest
eldest
child in
child in the
the family,
family, who who bore the matronymic
bore the matronymic of of both
both herher parents, died
parents, died
unmarried
unmarried when when SmenSoren was eight years
was eight old. Niels
years old. Andreas (1809-18331,
Niels Andreas (1809-1833)~
reportedly having
reportedly having been forced by
been forced by thethe stern
stern father
father to to seek
seek hishis fortune
fortune
abroad, died
abroad, died inin Paterson,
Paterson, New Jersey, aged
New Jersey, aged twenty-four;
twenty-four; Smen Smen waswas
twenty at
twenty at the
the time.
time. S0ren's
Smen's two two favorite
favorite sisters,
sisters, Nicoline Christine
Nicoline Christine
(1799-1832) and
(1799-1832) and Petrea
Petrea Severine
Severine (1801-1834),
(1801-1834)~married married the the promising
promising
and comfortably
and comfortably off off brothers Johan Christian
brothers Johan Christian (1799-18751
(1799-187 j ) and and Henrik
Henrik
Ferdinand Lund
Ferdinand Lund (1803-18751,
(1803-187j), respectively,
respectively, and and eacheach died
died following
following
childbirth, Nicoline
childbirth, Nicoline when when S0ren
Smen was was nineteen,
nineteen, Petrea
Petrea twotwo years
years later,
later,
several months
several months afterafter the
the death
death of of the
the matriarch
matriarch Ane Ane S0rensdatter;
Smensdatter; Smen Smen
was twenty-one
was twenty-one years years old.
old.
zo
20 Peter's journal
Peter's journal is is in
in KBHA,
KBHA, NkS 26 56, 4 O , bd.
NkS 2656,4°, bd. I,I, p.
p. 33 from
from thethe end
end of
of vol-
vol-
ume.
ume. It It has
has also
also been
been published
published (in (in slightly
slightly different
different form)form) in in Weltzer,
Weltzer,
Peter
Peter ogog S0ren
Smen Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, p. 24.
p. 24.
21 Similarly, when
Similarly, when aa collection
collection waswas taken
taken up up for
for Jacob
Jacob Christian
Christian Lindberg,
Lindberg,
an evangelical
an evangelical radical
radical andand aa forerunner
forerunner of of Grundtvig,
Grundtvig, Michael
Michael Pedersen
Pedersen
shied away
shied away from
from participating
participating -- muchmuch to to the
the surprise
surprise and and disapproval
disapproval of of
his house
his house guests,
guests, Juliane
Juliane and
and Christiane
Christiane Rudelbach,
Rudelbach, sisterssisters of of the
the the-
the-
ologian A.
ologian A. G.
G. Rudelbach
Rudelbach (letter
(letter ofof Juliane
Juliane andand Christiane
Christiane Rudelbach
Rudelbach to to
A. G.
A. G. Rudelbach,
Rudelbach, dated dated 2z July
July 1832,
1832, published
published in in Weltzer,
Weltzer, Peter
Peter og og Smen
Smen
Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, p. 4 j ).
p. 45).
22 There is
There is no
no truth
truth to to the
the various
various myths
myths according
according to to which
which Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard
gave the
gave the greater
greater part of his
part of his money
money away. away. He He spent
spent mostmost of of it
it on
on himself,
himself,
aa good
good deal
deal of
of itit on
on luxuries.
luxuries. See See Frithiof
Frithiof Brandt
Brandt and and Else
Else Rammel,
Rammel,
Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard og og Pengene (Copenhagen: Levin
Pengene (Copenhagen: Levin og og Munksgaard,
Munksgaard, 1935). I 93 5). In
In
his journals
his journals forfor March
March 1842,
1842, Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard remarksremarks thatthat
he has
he has written
written hishis brother, counseling caution
brother, counseling caution in in financial
financial matters
matters and and

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Kierkegaard a.nd
Kierkegaard and Denma.rk
Denmark 43
43
noting that
noting that hehe will
will request
request Soren'sSmen's written
written authorization
authorization for for certain
certain
transactions, which
transactions, which he he obviously
obviously believed
believed to to be
be ill considered
considered (KBHA,
(KBHA,
NkS 2656,
NkS 2656, 4°,
4O, bd.
bd. I,I, p.
p. Ir91·
119).
23
23 See Mynster's
See Mynster's "Yderligere
"Yderligere Bidrag Bidrag tiltil Forhandlingerne
Forhandlingerne om om de
de kirkelige
kirkelige
Forhold ii Danmark"
Forhold Danmark" (I8S (18j II I,) ,reprinted
reprinted in in Jacob
Jacob Peter
Peter Mynster,
Mynster, B1andede
Blandede
(Copenhagen: Gyldendal,
Skrivter (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 1853), 185 3), 2:60-1.
z:60-I.
24
24 In his
In his recollections
recollections of of Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, Hans Hans Brochner
Brmhner makesmakes this
this point
point
quite definitely:
quite definitely: "There
"There had had been been aa time
time when
when [Kierkegaard]
[Kierkegaard] hadhad re-
re-
spected Mynster
spected Mynster gre<ttly,
greatly, anan attitude
attitude he he had
had adopted
adopted largely
largely because
because of of
his veneration
his veneration for for his
his father,
father, who who had
had setset great
great store
store byby Mynster"
Mynster" (in(in my
my
Encounters with Kierkegaard, p. p. 2471.
247).
25
25 have discussed
I have discussed the the course
course and and causes
causes of of Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's attack
attack on on the
the
Church elsewhere.
Church elsewhere. See See mymy article
article '"At
"'At voxe
voxe fra
fra dette
dette Barnlige':
Barnlige': Kierke-
Kierke-
gaards angreb
gaards angreb pi! p i kristenheden,"
kristenheden," Berlingske Tidende (Copenhagen),
Tidende (Copenhagen),
October 1994;
44 October 1994; mymy book
book Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard in in Colden
Golden AgeAge Denmark (19901;
Denmark (I990);
and my
and my essay
essay "Tordenveiret.
"Tordenveiret. Kierkegaards
Kierkegaards Ekklesiologi,"
Ekklesiologi," in in Vinduer
Vinduer til tll
Guds Rige,
Cuds ed. Hans
Rige, ed. Hans RaunRaun Iversen
Iversen (Copenhagen:
(Copenhagen:Anis, h i s , 1995),
199j), pp.
pp. 97-114.
97-114.
26
26 See my
See my essay
essay "Tordenveiret.
"Tordenveiret. Kierkegaards
Kierkegaards Ekklesiologi."
Ekklesiologi."
27
27 II suspect
suspect that
that Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard applied applied thethe sexual
sexual stereotypes
stereotypes andand linguistic
linguistic
usages typical
usages typical ofof his
his time,
time, but but only
only aa thorough
thorough investigation
investigation of of the
the lit-
lit-
erature of
erature of the
the period
period could
could reveal
reveal toto what
what degree,
degree, ifif any,
any, Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard de-de-
viated from
viated from what
what waswas then
then ordinary
ordinary usage.
usage.
28
28 fudge for Yourself!
Judge Yourself! waswas written
written in in 1851-2,
185 1-2, but
but was
was notnot published
published until
until
1876.
1876.
29 SV'
29 XIV 212-14.
SV1 XIV 212-14. A
A propos
propos of
of "ambiguity":
"ambiguity": "There
"There is
is an
an ambiguity
ambiguity in
in
[Mynster's]existence
[Mynster's] existence which
which isis unavoidable,
unavoidable, because
because the
the State
State Church
Church is is
an ambiguity"
an ambiguity" (Pap. VIII1 A
(Pap.VIIF 41 5 p.
A 415 p. 18I).
I 81).
See my
30 See
30 my article
article "Tordenveiret.
"Tordenveiret. Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's Ekklesiologi."
Ekklesiologi." The The devel-
devel-
opment of
opment of Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's ecclesiology
ecclesiology cancan be
be summarized
summarized as as the
the progress
progress
from rather
from rather severe
severe criticism
criticism ofof the
the Church
Church andand of
of "the
"the concept
concept of of con-
con-
gregation" (criticism
gregation" (criticism that
that is
is nonetheless
nonetheless held
held in
in abeyance
abeyance inin the
the book
book
Practice in
Practice i n Christianity),
Christianity), toto the
the decision
decision that
that there
there must
must bebe rigorous
rigorous
separation of
separation of church
church and
and state,
state, and
and finally
finally to
to an
an apparent
apparent rejection
rejection of
of
the Church
the Church ("the
("the concept
concept of
of congregation")
congregation") as as such.
such. The
The following
following pas-
pas-
sages indicate
sages indicate Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's stations
stations along
along this
this road:
road:

Despite the
A. Despite
A. the fact
fact that
that "the
"the concept
concept of
of congregation
congregation is is an im-
an im-
patient anticipation
patient anticipation of
of eternity"
eternity" (1848), one should
(1848), one should not
not "overturn
"overturn
the Establishment"
the Establishment" (1851).
(185 I ) .
concept such
A concept
I. A
1. such asas "congregation,"
"congregation," ... . . . when
when applied
applied toto this
this
life, is
life, is an
an impatient
impatient anticipation
anticipation of of eternity
eternity (SV' XI1 204).
(SV1XII 204).

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


44
44 T H E CAMBRIDGE
THE C A M B R I D G E COMPANION T O KIERKEGAARD
C O M P A N I O N TO KIERKEGAARD

The Established
2. The Order -- My
Established Order M y Position
Position
Christianly understood,
Christianly understood, in in the
the highest
highest sense
sense there
there is
is no
no
Established Church,
Established Church, only
only aa militant
militant Church.
Church.
That is
That is the
the first
first point.
point.
The second
The second point is that
point is that there
there is,
is, however,
however, in
in fact
fact such
such an
an
Established Church.
Established Church. ItIt should
should not at all
not at all be overturned, no,
be overturned, no, but the
but the
higher ideal must
higher ideal must hover over it
hover over it as
as an
an awakening
awakening possibility. (Pap.
possibility. (Pap.
X3 A
X3 A 415; emphasis in
4 I 5 ; emphasis in original)
original)
"The concept
B. "The
B. concept of of congregation
congregation has has been
been Christianity's
Christianity's ruina- ruina-
tion" (1854)
tion" (1854) andand thethe clergy
clergy will
will regret
regret that
that they
they did did not
not listen
listen to to
Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard when when it i t was
was still
still possible
possible to to carry
carry outout the
the separation
separation
of church
of church and and state
state in i n aa gentle fashion (1855).
fashion (1855).
I. A
I. An n Alarming
Alarming Note. Note.
Those 3000
Those 3000 whowho were were added
added to to the
the congregation
congregation en en masse
masse at at
Pentecost -- isn't
Pentecost isn't there
there fraudfraud here,
here, right
right atat the
the very
very beginning?
beginning?
Ought not
Ought not the
the apostles
apostles have have been uneasy about
been uneasy about whether
whether it it really
really
was right
was right to to have
have people
people become Christians by
become Christians by thethe thousands,
thousands, all all
at once?
at once? ... . . . [Didn't
[Didn't the the Apostles
Apostles forget]
forget] that
that ifif the
the genuine
genuine imita-
imita-
tion [of
tion [of Christ]
Christ] is is to
to be Christianity, then
be Christianity, then these
these enormous
enormous con- con-
quests of
quests of 3000
3000 at at once
once just won't do?
just won't ...
do? ...
With Christ,
With Christ, Christianity
Christianity is is the
the individual,
individual, here here thethe single
single indi-
indi-
vidual. With
vidual. With thethe Apostles
Apostles it it immediately
immediately becomes becomes the the congrega-
congrega-
tion. [Added
tion. [Added here here in i n the
the margin:
margin: And And yetyet itit isis aa question
question as as to
to
whether the
whether the principle
principle of of having
having to to hate
hate oneself which is
oneself -- which is of
of course
course
the principle
the principle of of Christianity
Christianity -- of of whether
whether that that principle
principle is is not
not soso
unsocial that
unsocial that it i t cannot
cannot constitute
constitute aa congregation.
congregation. In In any
any case,
case,
from this
from this point
point of of view
view one one gets
gets aa proper idea of
proper idea of what
what sort
sort of
of non-
non-
sense State
sense State Churches
Churches and and People's
People's Churches
Churches and and Christian
Christian coun-coun-
tries are.]
tries are.] But
But here
here Christianity
Christianity has has been transposed into
been transposed into another
another
conceptual sphere.
conceptual sphere. AndAnd it it is
is this
this concept
concept [i.e.,
[i.e., the
the concept
concept of of the
the
congregation] that
congregation] that has
has become
become the the ruination
ruination of of Christianity.
Christianity. It It is
is
to this
to this concept
concept [i.e.,
[i.e., the
the concept
concept of of congregation]
congregation] that that we owe the
we owe the
confusion about
confusion about states,
states, nations,
nations, peoples, empires, which
peoples, empires, which are are
Christian (Pap.
Christian (Pap. XI'XI1 AA 189;
189; mymy emphasis).
emphasis).
z . If
2. If the
the clergy
clergy unreservedly
unreservedly and and inin self-denial
self-denial had had been willing
been willing
to consult
to consult the the New Testament, it
New Testament, it would
would havehave seenseen that
that the
the New
New
Testament unconditionally
Testament unconditionally requires requires the the separation
separation of of Church
Church and and
State and
State and that
that itit had
had therefore
therefore been been thethe duty
duty of of the
the clergy
clergy toto sug-
sug-
gest it
gest it themselves....
themselves. . . . [They [They would]
would] havehave seen
seen that
that from
from every
every sort
sort
of quarter
of quarter the the development
development of of the
the world
world is is pushing
pushing towardtoward thisthis
point,
point, thethe separation
separation of of Church
Church and and State,
State, and
and thatthat above
above allall here
here
in Denmark
in Denmark everything
everything is is undermined.
undermined.

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Kierkegaard and
Kierkegaard and Denmark
Denmark 45
45
And if
And if the
the clergy
clergy had
had been willing to
been willing to understand
understand this,this, it
it would
would
have seen
have seen that
that in
in my
my hands
hands the
the matter
matter was
was in
in the
the best
best ofof hands,
hands, inin
hands that
hands that were
were asas well-intentioned
well-intentioned as as possible toward the
possible toward the clergy.
clergy.
They have
They have rejected
rejected this.
this. II have
have continually
continually hadhad toto force
force the
the
matter to
matter to aa higher
higher and
and higher
higher level
level and
and have
have hadhad to
to put
put up with
up with
playing
playing thethe role
role of
of aa sort
sort of
of madman
madman -- as as compared
compared withwith thethe wise
wise
clergy.
clergy.
The clergy
The clergy will
will come
come to to regret
regret this
this dearly.
dearly. The
The decision
decision is is forc-
forc-
ing its
ing its way
way through.
through. It It must
must come
come through.
through. But
But then
then the
the clergy
clergy will
will
have to
have deal with
to deal with aa completely
completely different
different group
group ofof people.
people.
The more
The more promptly
promptly the the clergy
clergy had
had been willing to
been willing to opt
opt for
for the
the de-
de-
cision, to
cision, to opt
opt for
for the
the divorce,
divorce, the
the less
less they
they would
would havehave been
been un-un-
masked in
masked in their
their untruth.
untruth. TheThe more
more active
active oror passive resistance
passive resistance
they make,
they make, the the more
more they
they will
will be revealed in
be revealed in their
their untruth
untruth and and the
the
more wretched
more wretched theirtheir situation
situation will
will be when the
be when the matter
matter is is settled
settled
XIZA
(Pap. XP
(Pap. A 4I4).
414).
C. Although
C. Although he h e had
had first understood his
first understood h i s task
task to
t o be
b e the
t h e opposite
opposite
(i.e., to
(i.e., t o prevent
prevent the t h e establishment
establishment from being overturned
from being overturned -- see A A..
above), Kierkegaard
22 above), Kierkegaard asserts asserts that
that he
h e has in fact
h a s in been called
fact been called by by
Divine Guidance to
Divine Guidance t o overturn
overturn the t h e establishment.
establishment.
For many
For many different
different reasons,
reasons, andand prompted
prompted by many different
by many different fac-fac-
tors, had the
tors, II had the idea
idea ofof defending
defending the the Established
Established Church.
Church.
[Divine] Guidance
[Divine] Guidance has has surely
surely had
had the
the idea
idea that
that II was
was precisely
precisely
the person
the who was
person who was to to be used to
be used to overturn
overturn thethe Establishment.
Establishment. But But
in order
in order toto prevent
prevent such such an an undertaking
undertaking from from being
being thethe impatient,
impatient,
perhaps arrogant, daring
perhaps arrogant! daring of of aa young
young man,
man, II first
first had
had toto come
come to to un-
un-
derstand my
derstand my task
task as as just the opposite
just the opposite -- and
and now,
now, inin what,
what, inwardly
inwardly
understood, has
understood! has been great torment,
been great torment, to to be
be developed
developed to to take
take onon the
the
task when
task when the the moment
moment came came (Pap.
(Pap. XI3
x13 BB I110; this passage
IO; this passage is is also
also
cited in
cited in the
the main
main text text ofof the
the present essay).
present essay).
31 In
3I In addition
addition to to the
the other
other incidents
incidents mentioned
mentioned in in the
the present essay, con-
present essay! con-
sider the
sider the following
following excerpt
excerpt fromfrom P. P. C. Kierkegaard's journals
C. Kierkegaard's journals (KBHA,(KBHA,
NkS 2656, 4°,
NkS 2656, 4O, bd.
bd. I,I, p. 63; also
p. 63; also cited
cited inin WeItzer,
Weltzer, Peter
Peter ogog 50len
S m e n Kierk-
Kierk-
egaard, p.
egaard, 87):
p. 87):

1835 1
[January I835]
[January
Nevertheless,
Nevertheless, praise God, on
praise God, on the
the I6th
16th II did
did take
take communion
communion
with Father,
with Father, after
after II had
had tried
tried to
to make
make my
my peace with Soren,
peace with Smen, with
with
whom have recently
whom II have recently got
got along
along reasonably
reasonably well,
well, inasmuch
inasmuch as
as we
we
have each
have each kept
kept to
to ourselves.
ourselves.
There are
There are many
many other
other passages in Soren
passages in Smen Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's journals that tes-
journals that tes-
tify to
tify to his
his anger
anger with
with his
his brother!
brother, but
but they
they need
need not
not be
be cited
cited here.
here. Soren
Smen

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


46
46 T H E CAMBRIDGE
THE C A M B R I D G E COMPANION
C O M P A N I O N TO
T O KIERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

Kierkegaard's schoolmate
Kierkegaard's schoolmate Frederik
Frederik Welding
Welding reported,
reported, as
as did
did aa good
good num-
num-
ber of
ber of others,
others, that
that Soren
S ~ r e nwas
was aa tease
tease in
in school
school and
and added
added that
that when
when
Peter Christian
Peter Christian Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard returned
returned to
to teach
teach Greek
Greek at at his
his old
old school,
school,
Ssren singled
Soren singled him
him out
out for
for embarrassment
embarrassment and and abuse
abuse (see
(seeWelding's
Welding's let- let-
ters of
ters of 33 September
September and
and 23
23 October
October 1869
1869 to H. P.
to H. P. Barfod,
Barfod, in
in KBHA,
KBHA, Soren
Ssren
Kierkegaard Arkiv,
Kierkegaard Arkiv, D.
D. pk.
pk. 5).5). Hans
Hans Brochner
Brschner reports
reports that
that Soren
Ssren took
took
great pleasure
great pleasure inin misleading
misleading aa German
German scholar
scholar whowho had
had come
come to to meet
meet
him by
him by explaining
explaining that
that there
there must
must have
have been
been some
some misunderstanding:
misunderstanding:
"My brother,
"My brother, the
the doctor,
doctor, isis an
an exceedingly
exceedingly learned
learned man,
man, with
with whom
whom it it
would surely
would surely interest
interest you
you to to become
become acquainted,
acquainted, but but I1 amam aa beer
beer
dealer." Brochner
dealer." Brschner further
further reports
reports that
that Soren
Ssren was
was highly
highly amused
amused when when
observers thought
observers thought the
the crowds
crowds attending
attending his
his brother's
brother's lectures
lectures at at the
the uni-
uni-
versity were
versity were flocking
flocking to
to aa dance
dance (in
(in my
my Encounters
Encounters with Kierkegaard,
with Kierkegaard,
P P 238-91.
PP·23 8-9)·
32 Peter
32 Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's address
address was
was held
held before
before the
the Roskilde
Roskilde
Ecclesiastical Convention,
Ecclesiastical Convention, an an association
association of of clerics
clerics generally
generally sympa-
sympa-
thetic to
thetic to Grundtvig,
Grundtvig, on on 3030 October
October 1849 1849 andand published
published in in Dansk
Dansk
Kirketidende, no.
Kirketidende, no. 219,
219, vol.
vol. 55 (no.
(no. II) December 1849),
(16 December
11)(16 1849), cols.
cols. 171-9;
171-9;
it was
it was subsequently
subsequently republished
republished in in Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierk
Kierkegaards
egaards
Samlede Skrifter,
Samlede Skrifter, ed.ed. Poul
Poul Egede
Egede Glahn
Glahn and
and Lavrids
Lavrids Nyegard
NyegHrd (Copen-
(Copen-
hagen: Karl
hagen: Karl Schonbergs
Sch~nbergsForlag,Forlag, 1903),
1903), 4:99-120.
4:99-120.
33
33 Dansk Kirketidende
Dansk Kirketidende 1881, 1881, no.no. 22; reprinted in
2%; reprinted in Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierke-
Kierke-
gaards Samlede
gaards Samlede Skrifter,
Skrifter, 4:4:125.
I2 5.
34
34 See the
See the letter
letter byby Hans
Hans Lassen
Lassen Martensen
Martensen to to his
his friend
friend and
and follower,
follower, thethe
cleric Ludvig
cleric Ludvig J.J. M.M. Gude
Gude (1820-95),
(1820-g~),in in KBHA,
KBHA, NkS NkS 3450,
3450, 4°,
4O, bd.
bd. II; also
11; also
published in
published in Biskop
Biskop H. Martensens Breve,
H. Martensens ed. Bjorn
Breve, ed. Bjsrn Kornerup,
Kornerup, vol.vol. II of
of
Breve til
Breve til L. Gude, 1848-1859
L. Gude, (Copenhagen: G.E.C.
1848-1859 (Copenhagen: G.E.C. Gads
Gads Forlag,
Forlag, 1955),
1955)~
p 148.
P·14 8.
35
35 See WeItzer,
See Weltzer, Peter
Peter ogog Soren
S m e n Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, p. p. 255.
2 s 5.
36
36 See Peter
See Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard in in Dansk
Dansk Kirketidende
Kirketidende 1881, 1881, no.
no. 22;
reprinted in
reprinted in Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaards
Kierkegaards Samlede
Samlede Skrifter, 4:124.
Skrifter, 4:124.
37
37 Dansk Kirketidende
Dansk Kirketidende 1881, 1881, no.no. 22; reprinted
reprinted in in Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierke-
Kierke-
gaards Samlede
gaards Samlede Skrifter, 4:127; emphasis
Skrifter, 4:127; emphasis added
added on on words
words "or "or com-
com-
pelled."
pelled."
38
38 0lver or
0lver or "Qlvir
"Qlvir miklimunnr"
miklimunnr" appearsappears in in Magnus
Magnus Blinde's
Blinde's saga
saga inin Snorri
Snorri
Sturluson's account
Sturluson's account of of the
the history
history of of the
the kings
kings of of Norway;
Norway; see see Heims-
Heims-
kringla. Noreg Konunga
kringla. Noreg Konunga SQgur, ed.
S ~ g u red. Finnur Jonsson
, Finnur Jonsson (Copenhagen:
(Copenhagen:G. G. E.
E. C.
C.
Gads Forlag,
Gads Forlag, 19II),
I ~ I I )pp.
pp.
, 563-4.
563-4. Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard presumably
presumably
had his
had his version
version of of the
the story
story from
from oneone or
or both
both ofof the
the two
two translations
translations thatthat
were current
were current in in his
his time,
time, namely,
namely, Snorre
Snorre Sturlesons
Sturlesons norske
norske Kongers
Kongers
trans. Jacob
Sagaer, trans.
Sagaer, Jacob Aall
Aall (Christiania:
(Christiania: Guldberg
Guldberg and and Dzwonkowskis
Dzwonkowskis
Officin, 1839),2:145
Officin, 1839)~2:145 and and N.N. F.
F. S.
S. Grundtvig's
Grundtvig's translation,
translation, Norges
Norges Konge-
Konge-

Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006


Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard and
and Denmark
Denmark 4477
Kronike
K10nike af af Snorro
Snorro Sturlesm
Sturleson (Copenhagen:
(Copenhagen: Schultz, Schultz, 1822)~ 1822), 3:z~9-60.
3:259-60.
Good
Good arguments
arguments can can bebe made
made for for Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's acquain-acquain-
tance
tance with
with either
either oror both
both versions.
versions. He He was
was interested
interested in in Scandinavian
Scandinavian
history
history andand waswas aa supporter
supporter of of Grundtvig,
Grundtvig, so so it it is
is not
not unreasonable
unreasonable to to
suppose
suppose he he owned
owned Grundtvig's
Grundtvig's version.
version. Similarly,
Similarly, Aall's Aall's translation
translation was was
published
published in in Christiania
Christiania in in 1839,
1839, the the same
same year year that
that Peter
Peter Christian
Christian
spent
spent time
time in in that
that city.
city. InIn both
both translations
translations the the name
name is is spelled
spelled "Olverl'
"0Iver"
with
with on "0" and
on "0" and anan "e,"
"e," though
though in in Aall's
Aall's translation
translation his his full
full name
name is is
given
given asas "0lver
"0lver Stormund,"
Stormund," while while in in Grundtvig's
Grundtvig's it it is
is the
the more
more collo-
collo-
quial
quial "0lver
"0lver Gabmund."
Gabmund." Both Both meanmean "0lver
"0lver Bigmouth."
Bigmouth."
39
39 From
From the the entry
entry forfor February
February 1834 1834 in in Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's
journals,
journals, located
located in in KBHA,
KBHA, NkS NkS 2656,2656, 4O,4°, bd.
bd. I, I, p.
p. 52; iitt has
has also
also been
been
published
published (in (in slightly
slightly different
different form)form) inin Weltzer,
Weltzer, Peter Peter og og Soren
Soren Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard,
gaard, p. p. 79
79 andand Sejer
Sejer Kiihle,
Kuhle, "Nogle
"Nogle Oplysninger
Oplysninger om om SmenSoren Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard, 1834-38," Personalhistorisk
gaard, 1834-38," Tidsskrift, 9.
Personalhistorisk Tidsskrift, 9. Rzkke.
R<ekke. 4. 4. Bd.
Bd. 4.
4. Haefte.
H<efte.
(19311,
(1931), P.p. 2.
2.
40
40 The
The rather
rather incoherent
incoherent record
record of of these
these donations
donations is is inin Peter
Peter Christian
Christian
Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's accountaccount book,
book, in in KBHA,
KBHA, NkS NkS 3005,3005, 4O, 4°, bd.
bd. 11,
II, pp. 143-58;
pp. 143-58;
see the
see the discussion
discussion in in Weltzer,
Weltzer, PeterPeter og og Soren
S0ren Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, pp. pp. 3 58-9.
358-9.
41
41 Weltzer,
Weltzer, Peter
Peter og og Soren
S0ren Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, p. p. 359.
359.
42
42 Peter
Peter Christian
Christian Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's journals,
journals, in in KBHA,
KBHA, NkS NkS 2656,
2656, 4 O, bd.
4°, bd. 11,
II, p.
p.
222; it
it is
is also
also published
published in in Weltzer,
Weltzer, PeterPeter og og Soren
S0ren Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, p. p. 3 5 8.
358.
43
43 Interestingly,
Interestingly, in in his
his lecture
lecture notes
notes on on this same text
this same text from
from the the winter
winter of of
1836-7, Peter
1836-7, Peter Christian
Christian had had written:
written: "Just"Just as,as, inin the
the OldOld Testament,
Testament, [a [a
murderer] is
murderer] is subject
subject toto the
the death
death of of the
the body,
body, ... in the
. . . in the New
New Testament
Testament
he is
he is naturally
naturally expelled
expelled fromfrom the the church,
church, i.e.,i.e., the
the Kingdom
Kingdom of of God
God is is
closed to
closed him. . . . And
to him.... And herehere the
the Apostle
Apostle says says thisthis same
same punishment
punishment is is
reserved for
reserved for the
the person
person whowho commits
commits murdermurder in in his
his heart,
heart, i.e.,
i.e., hates"
hates" (in (in
KBHA, NkS
KBHA, NkS 3013,3013~4°,4O, bd.
bd. I).
I). II John
John 3:15
3:15 is is ofof course
course aa parallel
parallel texttext to to
Matthew 5:23-24
Matthew 5:23-24 ("If("If you
you are
are offering
offering your
your giftgift at at the
the altar
altar ... first be
. . . first be
reconciled to
reconciled to your
your brother")
brother") which
which had had soso haunted
haunted Peter Peter Christian's
Christian's re- re-
lation to
lation to his
his brother
brother in in February
February 1834 1834 (see(see note
note 39 39 above),
above), but but in in the
the
epistle of
epistle of John
John the the point
point is is made
made with with much
much greater
greater stringency:
stringency: the the fault
fault
of being
of being unreconciled
unreconciled with with one's
one's brother
brother has has been
been escalated
escalated to to murder.
murder.

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R O G E R POOLE
ROGER POOLE

22 The unknown
The unlznown Kierkegaard:
Kierkegaard:
Twentieth-century receptions
Twentieth-century receptions

Soren Kierkegaard
S0ren Kierkegaard wrote wrote his
his books
books forfor "that
"that individual,
individual, whom whom with with
joy and
joy and gratitude,
gratitude, II call
call my reader." He
my reader." He opposed
opposed the the ruling
ruling philo-
philo-
sophical system
sophical system of of his
his day,
day, despised
despised lecturers
lecturers and and professors
professors almost
almost
as much
as much as as paid
paid churchmen,
churchmen, entered
entered intointo dispute
dispute withwith hishis entire
entire
home town,
home town, and and regarded
regarded having
having aa disciple
disciple as as the
the worst
worst fatefate that
that
could ever
could ever befall
befall him.
him. His
His books
books were
were written
written in in an
an ironic,
ironic, sophis-
sophis-
ticated, parodic
ticated, parodic style
style that
that allowed
allowed of of no
no clear
clear position
position forfor the
the reader
reader
and allowed
and allowed of of no
no definite
definite result
result either.
either.
It cannot
It cannot be be aa matter
matter ofof surprise,
surprise, then,
then, thatthat the
the history
history of of the
the re-
re-
ception of
ception of his
his work
work mustmust bebe an
an account
account of of the
the ways
ways that
that individu-
individu-
als have
als have reacted
reacted to to his
his work.
work. Time
Time and and time
time again,
again, itit is
is noticeable
noticeable
that, at
that, at aa key
key point
point ofof their
their own
own thinking,
thinking, philosophers,
philosophers, theologians,
theologians,
and writers
and writers havehave been
been influenced
influenced by by thethe almost
almost "random"
"random" en- en-
counter with
counter with Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, both both byby hishis passionate
passionate and and ambiguous
ambiguous
private journal,
private journal, which
which he he kept
kept throughout
throughout his his lifetime,
lifetime, andand the
the rich
rich
and ambivalent
and ambivalent work work he he published
published between
between 1843 and 1855.
1843 and 185 5.
There can
There can bebe nono attempt,
attempt, that
that is,
is, to
to "fit"
"fit" Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard into into some
some
overarching scheme,
overarching scheme, suchsuch asas the
the history
history of of German
German Romanticism,
Romanticism,
or of
or of idealism,
idealism, or or even
even ofof the
the history
history of of existentialism.
existentialism. HoweverHowever he he
is "placed"
is "placed" in in any
any such
such history,
history, Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard remains remains inassimilable
inassimilable
to it.
to it. His
His irony
irony andand his
his many-voiced-ness,
many-voiced-ness, his his heteroglossia,
heteroglossia, dis- dis-
tance him
tance him from
from any any position
position that
that could
could be be asserted
asserted to to be
be finally
finally
"his" position.
"his" position. In In the
the last
last twenty
twenty years
years or or so,
so, much
much more
more attention
attention
has been
has been paid
paid than
than before
before toto his
his actual
actual manner
manner of of writing,
writing, hishis sheer
sheer
literary virtuosity,
literary virtuosity, which
which consists
consists of of playing
playing just just within,
within, and and yet
yet
just outside
just outside of, of, the
the conventions
conventions of of the
the ruling
ruling "Romantic
"Romantic Irony" Irony" of of
his time,
his time, such
such that
that hehe has
has made
made anyany final"
final "closure"
closure" on on the
the matter
matter
of "his"
of "his" meaning
meaning impossible.
impossible. With
With this
this new
new "literary"
"literary" perception
perception of of

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Twentieth-century receptions 49
49
his
his work
work hehe has
has taken
taken on on aa new
new status
status asas aa postmodernist,
postmodernist, someone
someone
who,
who, inin aa certain
certain sense,
sense, is is writing
writing""afterafter Derrida"
Derrida" in in what
what Harold
Harold
Bloom
Bloom would
would callcall an
an apophrades.
apophrades.
Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard wrote
wrote forfor "that
"that individual,"
individual," and and through
through time
time he
he has
has
in
in fact
fact been
been read
read byby "that
"that individual,"
individual," and and remains
remains important
important forfor
those
those making
making an an individual,
individual, dissonant,
dissonant, or or even
even subversive,
subversive, contri-
contri-
bution
bution toto their
their own
own subject.
subject. Official,
Official, academic
academic philosophy
philosophy doesdoes not
not
have
have much
much use use for
for him,
him, is is given
given to to denying
denying him him philosophical
philosophical sta-
sta-
tus,
tus, and
and quite
quite often
often raises
raises thethe question
question asas toto whether
whether he he is
is even
even of
of
any
any philosophical
philosophical interest.
interest. AndAnd all all this
this is
is exactly
exactly thethe way
way Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard
gaard would
would havehave wanted
wanted it. it.
After
After aa tempestuous
tempestuous life, life, hehe died
died amidst
amidst recrimination,
recrimination, odium,
odium,
and
and scandal.
scandal. When
When he he died
died inin 185 5, the
1855, the Danish
Danish public,
public, exhausted
exhausted by by
the
the demands
demands he he had
had made
made on on it,
it, consigned
consigned the the man
man andand his
his works
works toto
oblivion,
oblivion, hoping
hoping never
never to to hear
hear hishis name
name again.
again. This attitude was
This attitude en-
was en-
couraged by
couraged by his
his brother,
brother, Bishop
Bishop Peter Christian Kierkegaard,
Peter Christian Kierkegaard, whowho
had
had done
done his
his best
best to subvert Soren's
to subvert Smen's cause
cause while
while he he was alive and
was alive and in-
in-
cluded
cluded inin his funeral oration
his funeral oration some some remarks
remarks that that were
were little short of
little short of
excuses for
excuses for aa brother
brother who who had had become
become unhinged.
unhinged. Two Two assiduous
assiduous
scholars, H.
scholars, H. P. Barfod
Barfod and
and H. H. Gottsched,
Gottsched, collected
collected editions
editions of
of Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard's
gaard's papers,
papers, which
which appeared
appeared between
between 18691869 and 1881. The
and 1881. The bishop
bishop
kept
kept many
many of of the
the papers
papers back
back forfor himself,
himself, and,
and, as
as they
they arranged
arranged their
their
entries, Barfod
entries, Barfod threw
threw awayaway the the originals,
originals, thus
thus creating
creating aa problem
problem
that has
that has bedeviled
bedeviled Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard scholarship
scholarship everever since.
since.

I. THE
1. DANISH, GERMAN,
T H E DANISH, G E R M A N , AND F R E N C H RECEPTION
A N D FRENCH RECEPTION

Danish philosophy
Danish philosophy never
never took
took Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard upup at
at aa serious
serious level.
level. The
The
first monograph
first monograph about
about him
him (I8n)
(1877)was
was by
by the
the positivist
positivist philosopher
philosopher
Georg Brandes,
Georg Brandes, and
and it
it is
is on
on record
record that
that Brandes
Brandes himself
himself said
said that,
that,
just as he
just as he had
had attacked
attacked German
German Romanticism
Romanticism in in order
order to
to hit
hit indi-
indi-
rectly at
rectly at the
the Danish
Danish Romantics,
Romantics, so so he
he wrote
wrote about
about Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard to to
free the
free the Danes
Danes from
from his
his influence.
influence. Brandes
Brandes may
may not
not have
have had
had toto try
try
very hard,
very hard, for
for the
the Danes
Danes were
were never
never inin danger
danger of of being
being seriously
seriously
under Kierkegaard's
under Kierkegaard's influence
influence inin the
the first
first place.
place. Nevertheless,
Nevertheless,
Brandes' book
Brandes' book certainly
certainly gave
gave the
the seal
seal of
of philosophical
philosophical disapproval
disapproval
that has
that has kept
kept Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's writings
writings unread
unread andand unpopular
unpopular until
until
very recent
very recent times.
times.
Brandes must
Brandes must have
have had
had second
second thoughts,
thoughts, however,
however, forfor ten
ten years
years

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50 T H E CAMBRIDGE
THE C A M B R I D G E COMPANION
C O M P A N I O N TO
T O KIERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

after his
after his book came out,
book came out, he
he wrote
wrote toto Friedrich
Friedrich Nietzsche telling him
Nietzsche telling him
that he
that he must
must readread Kierkegaard.
Kierkegaard. Nietzsche replied that,
Nietzsche replied that, on
on his
his next
next
visit to
visit to Germany,
Germany, he he intended
intended to to work
work upon "the psychological
upon "the psychological
problem"
problem" of of Kierkegaard.
Kierkegaard. ThatThat Nietzsche
Nietzsche was was interested
interested enough
enough to to
want to
want to do
do soso is
is interesting.
interesting. Here
Here is is aa major
major intellectual
intellectual confronta-
confronta-
tion of
tion of the
the nineteenth century that
nineteenth century that never took place.
never took place.
Subsequent Danish
Subsequent Danish philosophical accounts of
philosophical accounts of Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard were were
equally dismissive.
equally dismissive. Harald
Harald H0ffding,
Huffding, another
another philosopher
philosopher of of aa posi-
posi-
tivist persuasion,
tivist persuasion, gave gave Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard very very low
low marks
marks for
for philosophi-
philosophi-
cal acumen
cal acumen in in his S m e n Kierkegaard
his S0ren Kierkegaard as as aa Philosopher (1919).The
Philosopher (1919). The
noted historian
noted historian Troels
Troels Frederik
Frederik Troels-Lund,
Troels-Lund, who who was
was related
related toto
Kierkegaard, and
Kierkegaard, and aa man
man of of considerable
considerable influence
influence in in the
the literary
literary cir-
cir-
cles of
cles of his
his day,
day, opined,
opined, in in his
his two
two autobiographical
autobiographical essays
essays of 1922
of 1922
and 1924,
and 1924, that that Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was was little
little better than an
better than an eccentric,
eccentric,
though obviously
though obviously one one of genius -- aa typically
of genius typically Danish
Danish evasion
evasion of of the
the
problem. Troels-Lund remembers
problem. Troels-Lund remembers the the wandering
wandering philosopher
philosopher with with
affection and
affection and admiration,
admiration, admits
admits that
that hehe was
was personally influenced
personally influenced
by him in
by him in aa way that changed
way that changed the the course
course ofof his entire life,
his entire life, and
and yet
yet
could not
could find it
not find it in
in his
his heart
heart to say that
to say Kierkegaard's existential
that Kierkegaard's existential
thinking would
thinking would or or could
could have any lasting
have any lasting importance.
importance.
It was
It was abroad
abroad thatthat Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's "indirect
"indirect communication"
communication" began began
to fascinate
to fascinate individuals
individuals herehere and
and there.
there. Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's influence
influence can can
only be
only decisive within
be decisive within aa personal
personal problematic
problematic thatthat exists
exists already.
already.
He modifies
He modifies aa worldview,
worldview, in in aa suggestive
suggestive and and insidious
insidious way. Franz
way. Franz
Kafka is
Kafka is aa perfect example:
perfect example:
Today II got
Today got Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's Buch des Richters.
Buch des As II suspected,
Richters. As suspected, hishis case,
case, de-
de-
spite essential
spite essential differences,
differences, is
is very
very similar
similar toto mine,
mine, at
at least
least he
he is
is on
on the
the same
same
side of
side of the
the world. He bears
world. He me out
bears me out like
like aa friend.
friend.'I
This is
This is how
how the
the reading
reading of
of Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard usually
usually goes:
goes: aa sudden
sudden self-
self-
identification with
identification with the
the thought
thought of
of the
the man,
man, which
which has
has aa compelling
compelling
existential significance,
existential significance, and
and which
which causes
causes aa reformulation
reformulation of of all
all ex-
ex-
isting personal
isting thought-structures. Kafka
personal thought-structures. Kafka continued
continued to to meditate
meditate on on
Kierkegaard, as
Kierkegaard, as aa diary
diary entry
entry for
for 27 August 19
27 August 1916 shows:
I 6 shows:
Give up
Give too those
up too those nonsensical
nonsensical comparisons
comparisons youyou like
like to
to make
make between your-
between your-
self and
self and aa Flaubert,
Flaubert, aa Kierkegaard,
Kierkegaard, aa Grillparzer.
Grillparzer. That
That is
is simply
simply infantile ...
infantile ...
Flaubert and
Flaubert and Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard knew
knew very
very clearly
clearly how
how matters
matters stood
stood with
with them,
them,
were men
were men of decision, did
of decision, did not
not calculate
calculate but acted. But
but acted. But in
in your
your case
case -- aa per-
per-
petual succession of
petual succession of calculations,
calculations, aa monstrous
monstrous four
four years'
years' up and down.
up and down."2

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Twentieth-century receptions
Twentieth-century receptions 51
51
There is
There is aa certain
certain irony
irony inin considering
considering Flaubert
Flaubert and
and Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard
as men
as men ofof decision}
decision, asas men
men of of action.
action. This
This may
may be an indication
be an indication of
of
the extent
the extent toto which
which Kafka
Kafka needed
needed to to impose
impose aa strong
strong misreading
misreading onon
the text
the text of
of his own life.
his own life. But
But it
it is
is typical
typical of
of the
the way that the
way that the oblique
oblique
effect of
effect of Kierkegaard}s
Kierkegaard's indirect
indirect communication
communication has has the
the power to
power to
generate new
generate directions of
new directions of thought.
thought.

It was
It the same
was the same in in the
the case
case of of the
the philosopher
philosopher Karl Karl Jaspers,
Jaspers, who who waswas
at the
at the time
time (1913) working in
(1913) working in aa psychiatric hospital in
psychiatric hospital in Heidelberg.
Heidelberg.
The IItreatments'}
The "treatments" were were basedbased upon upon the the principles
principles of of Kraepelin.
Kraepelin.
Kraepelin believed
Kraepelin believed that that mental
mental illnesses
illnesses were were diseases
diseases of of the
the brain,
brain}
and so
and so the
the patients
patients werewere kept
kept strapped
strapped down down or or immersed
immersed for for hours
hours
in hot
in hot baths. Jaspers was
baths. Jaspers was appalled
appalled at at the
the sheer
sheer philosophical
philosophical primi- primi-
tiveness of
tiveness of this
this model
model of of mental
mental illness.
illness. It It was
was inin reading
reading Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard that
gaard that Jaspers
Jaspers became convinced that
became convinced that II"mental illness"II is
mental illness is most
most
often nothing
often nothing but but anan important
important event event in in the
the structure
structure and and develop-
develop-
ment of
ment of the
the Existenz
Existenz of of the
the patient.
patient. The The discovery
discovery of of the
the concept
concept of of
Existenz itself, and
Existenz itself, and thethe emphasis
emphasis and and importance
importance Jaspers
Jaspers attributed
attributed
to it
to it throughout
throughout an an entire
entire writing
writing life,life, cannot
cannot but but be derived from
be derived from
an attentive
an attentive reading
reading of of Kierkegaard}
Kierkegaard, where where the the concept
concept of of existence
existence
is foregrounded
is foregrounded in in so
so many
many works.works. Jaspers}
Jaspers, in in his
his work
work in in psychia-
psychia-
try, began
try, began to to wonder
wonder if if some
some mental
mental statesstates did
did not
not actually
actually allowallow usus
"fleeting glimpses
IIfleeting glimpses of of the
the ultimate
ultimate sourcesource of of Existenz."
Existenz. In 1I
In the
the case
case of
of
aa Van
Van Gogh,
Gogh, for for instance}
instance, or or Strindberg
Strindberg or or Holderlin
Holderlin or or Swedenborg,
Swedenborg,
could we
could we actually
actually speakspeak of of any
any of of these
these as as being
being II"mad"?
mad"? It It was
was
doubtless also
doubtless also due
due to to anan attentive
attentive reading
reading of of Kierkegaard}s
Kierkegaard's lIindirect
"indirect
communication,^^ that
communication,u that Jaspers
Jaspers camecame to to regard
regard thethe IIw
"will to total
ill to total com-
com-
munication"ll as
munication as the
the basis
basis of of all
all true
true philosophical method. This
philosophical method. This doc-
doc-
trine he
trine he set
set out
out in in his
his 1935 lectures, published
1935 lectures, published as as Reason
Reason and and
Existenz. The importance
Existenz. 33 The importance of of fully
fully personal, authentic communica-
personal} authentic communica-
tion emerges
tion emerges again
again as as late
late as as the
the 1947 lecture at
1947 lecture at the
the university
university of of
Base1 published
Basel published as as Der
Der philosophische
philosophische Glaube. Glaube.44
Kierkegaard's communication}
Kierkegaard's communication, which which he he insisted
insisted upon upon calling
calling
"indirect," has
}}indirect,u has most
most often
often been indirect in
been indirect in its
its effect
effect and}
and, quite
quite often
often
too, only
too, only indirectly
indirectly alluded
alluded to} to, even
even by by those
those who
who have
have fallen
fallen heav-
heav-
ily under
ily under its its influence.
influence. In In the
the case
case of of Heidegger}
Heidegger, the the affliction
affliction
Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom callscalls liThe
"The Anxiety
Anxiety of of Influence
Influence"ll is is particularly
particularly
marked. Heidegger}
marked. Heidegger, struggling
struggling with with Husserl
Husserl for for the
the effective
effective leader-
leader-
ship of
ship of the
the phenomenological
phenomenological enterprise, enterprise, remorselessly
remorselessly ransacks ransacks

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52 T H E CAMBRIDGE
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C O M P A N I O N TO
T O KIERKEGAARD
KIERKEGAARD

Kierkegaard in
Kierkegaard in his
his magisterial
magisterial Sein
Sein und
u n d Zeit Although there
(1927). Although
Zeit (1927). there
are the
are the minimal
minimal footnote
footnote acknowledgments
acknowledgments demanded demanded by academic
by academic
custom, the
custom, the extent
extent to
to which
which Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard has has supplied
supplied Heidegger
Heidegger
with many
with many ifif not
not most
most ofof his
his main
main poetical trouvailles is
poetical trouvailles is something
something
Heidegger spends
Heidegger spends aa great
great deal
deal of
of art
art trying
trying to
to hide.
hide.
Angest
Angest isis one
one of
of the
the most
most striking
striking ones,
ones, of
of course.
course. It
It was
was Kierke-
Kierke-
gaard who,
gaard who, writing
writing under the pseudonym
under the Vigilius Haufniensis
pseudonym Vigilius Haufniensis in in
1844, had
1844, had elevated
elevated Angest (dread) to
Angest (dread) to the
the dignity
dignity of of aa concept.
concept. "If
"If
then we
then we ask
ask further
further what
what isis the
the object
object of of dread,"
dread," writes
writes Vigilius,
Vigilius,
"the answer
"the answer asas usual
usual must
must be that it
be that it is
is nothing.
nothing. Dread
Dread and
and nothing
nothing
regularly correspond
regularly correspond to to one
one another."5
another."s The The sheer
sheer audaciousness
audaciousness of of
this inspired
this inspired Heidegger
Heidegger toto his
his own flight of
own flight of fancy:
fancy:
That in
That in the
the face
face of
of which
which one
one has
has anxiety
anxiety isis characterised
characterised by the fact
by the fact that
that
what threatens
what threatens it it is
is nowhere. Anxiety "does
nowhere. Anxiety" not know"
does not know" what
what that,
that, in
in the
the
face of
face of which
which it it is
is anxious,
anxious, is . . . itit is
is ... is already
already "there"
"there" and
and yet
yet nowhere;
nowhere; it it
is so
is so close
close that
that itit is
is oppressive
oppressive and and stifles
stifles one's
one's breath,
breath, and
and yet
yet it
it is
is
n o ~ h e r6e . ~
nowhere.

The linguistic
The linguistic categories,
categories, too,
too, are
are derived
derived from from Kierkegaard.
Kierkegaard.
Kierkegaard had
Kierkegaard had written,
written, inin that
that passionate outpouring of
passionate outpouring of bile he
bile he
called "The
called "The Present
Present Age"
Age" inin A
A Literary
Literary Review,
Review, of of "The
"The Public"
Public" as as
"a monstrous Nothing"7
"a monstrous Nothing."? The The nature
nature of
of public speech was
public speech was itself
itself "a
"a
monstrous Nothing."
monstrous Nothing." The The linguistic
linguistic categories
categories of of modernity
modernity are are
"talkativeness," "formlessness,"
"talkativeness," "formlessness," "superficiality,"
"superficiality," "flirtation,"
"flirtation," and and
what is
what is called
called "reasoning."s
"rea~oning."~
The closeness
The closeness of of Heidegger's
Heidegger's imitations
imitations should
should be be aa matter
matter forfor aa
little embarrassment,
little embarrassment, perhaps. Heidegger writes
perhaps. Heidegger writes out out his
his own
own lin-
lin-
guistic categories
guistic categories of of modernity
modernity as as "Idle
"Idle Talk,"
Talk," "Curiosity,"
"Curiosity," "Ambi- "Ambi-
guity," and
guity," and "Falling
"Falling and Thrownness."g All
and Thrownness."9 All ofof these
these areare uttered
uttered by by
that abstraction
that abstraction called
called "Das
"Das Man," usually translated
Man," usually translated as as "the
"the
'They.' "10
'They.' Kierkegaard had
"I0 Kierkegaard had inveighed
inveighed against
against loose
loose public speech,
public speech,
comparing it
comparing it to
to aa masterless
masterless dog,
dog, which
which is is free
free to to bite
bite allall and
and
sundry, but
sundry, for which
but for which no no one
one isis responsible.
responsible.I1 Heidegger's "Idle
I I Heidegger's "Idle
Talk" (Gerede)
Talk" (Gerede) is is defined
defined asas "gossiping
"gossiping and and passing
passing the t h e word
word
"Idle talk
along." "Idle
along." talk isis the
the possibility
possibility of of understanding everything
understanding everything
without previously
without making the
previously making the thing
thing one's
one's own."'2
own."'" It It is
is impossible
impossible
to reproduce
to reproduce Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's meaning
meaning moremore closely
closely than than this,
this, with-
with-
out actually
out actually quoting
quoting directly
directly from
from the
the text.
text. But
But this
this Heidegger
Heidegger will will
not do. Dasein
not do. itself, that
Dasein itself, that master-trope
master-trope of of the
the Heideggerian
Heideggerian dis- dis-
course, is,
course, is, in
in its
its various
various modalities
modalities of of "Care,"
"Care," drawn
drawn directly
directly from
from

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Twentieth-century receptions 5533
the
the Kierkegaardian
Kierkegaardian analysis analysis of of dread. "Dasein's being
dread. "Dasein's being reveals
reveals itself
itself
as care. "13 Vigilius
as care."'3 Vigilius Haufniensis
Haufniensis describes
describes the the "vertigo"
"vertigo" ((Svimmel)
Svimmel)
before
before choice,
choice, whichwhich leads
leads to to the
the Fall.
Fall. The
The relation
relation of of Heidegger's
Heidegger's
"Falling"
"Falling" and and "Thrownness"
"Thrownness" to to Kierkegaard's
Kierkegaard's ironic ironic treatment
treatment of of
"The
"The Fall"
Fall" in in T Theh e Concept ooff Dread Dread needs
needs somesome properly
properly ironic
ironic
exposure.
exposure.
Of
Of course,
course, Heidegger's
Heidegger's philosophical
philosophical purposepurpose in in borrowing
borrowing thus thus
shamelessly
shamelessly from from Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard was was his
his own.
own. Concerned
Concerned not not toto exis-
exis-
tentialize
tentialize but but to to phenomenologize
phenomenologize and and ontologize
ontologize his his concepts,
concepts, he he
shrank
shrank fromfrom suggesting
suggesting that that individuals
individuals were were ethically
ethically responsible
responsible
in
in any
any real
real political
political or or practical
practical world.
world. Patricia
Patricia J. Huntington,
Huntington, in in aa
recent
recent essay,
essay, has has described
described the the results
results ofof this
this decision
decision on on Heidegger's
Heidegger's
part. 14 In
part.'4 In aa section
section of of her
her essay
essay called
called "Heidegger's
"Heidegger's De-Ethicization
De-Ethicization
of
of Kierkegaard,"
Kierkegaard," she she observes
observes that "Heidegger's deliberate
that "Heidegger's deliberate efforts
efforts to to
sever psychological matters from epistemology led him to underplay
sever psychological matters from epistemology led him to underplay
the
the role
role of of interiority
interiority in in how
how II engage,
engage, assume
assume complicity
complicity with,with, or or
position
position myself
myself in in relation
relation to to reigning
reigning world-views.
world-views.... . . . Heidegger's
Heidegger's
tendency
tendency to to attribute
attribute blameblame for for his
his participation
participation in in National
National
Socialism to
Socialism to destiny seems consistent