For Self-Examination and Judge for Yourselves!: And Three Discourses, 1851

For Self-Examination and Judge for Yourselves!: And Three Discourses, 1851

For Self-Examination and Judge for Yourselves!: And Three Discourses, 1851

For Self-Examination and Judge for Yourselves!: And Three Discourses, 1851

Excerpt

The accompanying volume, published on the same date, and entitled Training in Christianity, is introduced by an Introduction so adequate and by a Preface so inordinately long that I can spare the reader another introduction, which could only be a repetition of the first, and might spare myself the trouble of writing a preface. At this moment I am inclined almost to be resentful that another preface is required, for originally I proposed to publish in one big volume all the works which now, for the convenience of the purchaser, are presented in two.

However, there is pleasure to be found even in the writing of prefaces. Kierkegaard's prefaces were usually short, but they were always significant. Four of them are to be seen in this volume. However, one of his most amusing books (entitled Prefaces) consists of nothing but prefaces—eight of them in all, one on the heels of the other. He was reduced to this expedient because, as he pretended, his wife had exacted of him the promise that he would write no more 'books'.

This volume. (which may be regarded as the second, because the works which it contains actually followed the others and are properly a sequel) appears on the same date as the other because the works contained in the twain belong intimately together, and therefore ought not to be far separated—in case someone may have an appetite prodigious enough to want both.

From the beginning of his 'authorship' it was S. K.'s custom to 'accompany' his 'aesthetic' works, which always were pseudonymous, with one or more 'Edifying Discourses', which were published over his own name, and therefore, to preserve the fiction of his anonymity, were often issued by another publisher. Although the principal works published in this volume were in themselves decisively religious, and now for the first time were no longer pseudonymous, S. K. continued the custom of accompanying them, when there was no longer the same reason for it. The first two Discourses in this volume were meant as an accompaniment of the longer work which follows. And it is well that they should not be separated; for the reader surely must feel a grateful sense of relief in passing from the more trenchant and closely . . .

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