The Lonely Labyrinth: Kierkegaard's Pseudonymous Works

The Lonely Labyrinth: Kierkegaard's Pseudonymous Works

The Lonely Labyrinth: Kierkegaard's Pseudonymous Works

The Lonely Labyrinth: Kierkegaard's Pseudonymous Works

Excerpt

Is the philosopher a "sick" man and his philosophy a "symptom" of his sickness? In one form or another this question haunts every page of the following study of Kierkegaard. For if any single thesis is to emerge from the study, it is that Kierkegaard was a profoundly sick man and that the character of his sickness established a privileged perspective for the understanding of his work. Again and again Kierkegaard commented in his journals on the intimate connection between his work as an author and his life as a man. It is no exaggeration, he told us, to think of his work as springing from the very "abscess" of his suffering as a man. His life was the frame and source of his work, and this life (he complained on his deathbed) was "a great, and to others unknown and incomprehensible suffering."

In the following pages I try to isolate this "suffering" through a close study of the contours and textures of Kierkegaard's life- world. From these contours and textures I claim to be able to read off the striations of concern which organized the major works of his middle period. Against the background of Kierkegaard's life-world, these works turn out to be, not abstruse theologico- philosophical treatises or mysterious aesthetic essays, but successive moves in a complicated dialectic of therapy.

It might be said that what follows is an "existential" study of the first "existentialist." nis would be fatuous.

It might be said that what follows is a kind of case history.

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