The Mind of Kierkegaard

The Mind of Kierkegaard

The Mind of Kierkegaard

The Mind of Kierkegaard

Excerpt

SØREN KIERKEGAARD has suffered a curious fate in America. His name was practically unknown in our country until the late nineteen-thirties, even though a Kierkegaard renaissance had been in full swing in Europe during the previous quarter of a century. Then, between 1936 and 1946, almost the entire body of his writings appeared in a rapid flow of excellent English translations. Along with these source materials, were issued the magistral biographical study on Kierkegaard by Walter Lowrie and the intellectual sketches of Kierkegaard's doctrine by David Swenson. Although American readers were perhaps unable to digest this great ocean of materials at so rapid a rate, at least they soon became aware of Kierkegaard as a major literary figure and an exciting but enigmatic intellectual force. Interest in him was further stimulated after World War II, by reports about his influence upon the leading existentialists. Hovering in the background of the existentialist movement could be discerned the presiding genius of this Danish writer, to whom Sartre and Jaspers and Heidegger paid common tribute. People who followed the recent developments in continental Protestant thought, especially the so-called theology of crisis, also recognized in Kierkegaard a major stimulant and storm center of contemporary religious trends.

Given this impetus, it might be expected that Kierkegaardian studies in English would advance steadily in their penetration and evaluation of his intellectual, moral and religious universe. But this hope has not been realized as yet.

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