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A Walk with Kierkegaard

Roger Poole, 21 February 1980

Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age– A Literary Review 
by Søren Kierkegaard, edited and translated by Howard Hong and Edna Hong.
Princeton, 187 pp., £7.70, August 1978, 0 691 07226 4
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KierkegaardLetters and Documents 
translated by Henrik Rosenmeier.
Princeton, 518 pp., £13.60, November 1978, 0 691 07228 0
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... sense from which they suffer is in fact a form of rational judgment.’ This is precisely what Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was contending about his own age, with a prophetic accuracy which now seems almost uncanny. His word for what Mr Levin is describing here is ‘at raisonere’, ‘to reason’, but to reason in a very special way, a way ...

Dancing in the Service of Thought

Jonathan Rée: Kierkegaard, 4 August 2005

Søren KierkegaardA Biography 
by Joakim Garff, translated by Bruce Kirmmse.
Princeton, 867 pp., £22.95, January 2005, 9780691091655
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... Søren Kierkegaard spent much of the summer of 1855 staring out of the windows of his cramped second-floor apartment in the centre of old Copenhagen, across the road from the Church of Our Lady. He knew the building well, but the prospect did not please him. As a student, hapless and heavily in debt, he used to take communion there with his ancient and immovably melancholy father; but that was long ago, and he had been an erratic and inconsistent churchgoer since that time ...

Washed in Milk

Terry Eagleton: Cardinal Newman, 5 August 2010

Newman’s Unquiet Grave: The Reluctant Saint 
by John Cornwell.
Continuum, 273 pp., £18.99, May 2010, 978 1 4411 5084 4
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... to his fingertips – a fact Cornwell fails to make enough of. Like his Danish contemporary Søren Kierkegaard, he practised an intensely subjective faith which finds God not – in 18th-century fashion – in the evidence of the external world but in the depths of the self. This was a convenient as well as a sincerely held conviction, since in the ...

This jellyfish can sting

Jonathan Rée, 13 November 1997

Truth: A History 
by Felipe Fernández-Armesto.
Bantam, 247 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 0 593 04140 2
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... and ‘died defending an abused horse’. And it is delightful to reflect that the ‘selfish’ Søren Kierkegaard was so idle that he ‘published little in his lifetime’. Readers may also be entertained to find, however, that Fernández-Armesto’s colourful details have a tendency to be wrong. Saussure gave his celebrated lecture courses in ...

In and out of the mind

Colin McGinn, 2 December 1993

Renewing Philosophy 
by Hilary Putnam.
Harvard, 234 pp., £19.95, January 1993, 9780674760936
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... repudiate as merely playing the game of the philosophers he officially scorns. (He wishes he were Søren Kierkegaard but is condemned to be Hilary Putnam.) In the first chapter, on the prospects for artificial intelligence, he makes some fairly familiar, but telling, points about the obstacles in the way of simulating human reasoning, criticising his own ...

Everything Must Go!

Andrew O’Hagan: American Beauties, 13 December 2001

The Corrections 
by Jonathan Franzen.
Fourth Estate, 568 pp., £17.99, November 2001, 1 84115 672 8
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Ghost World 
directed by Terry Zwigoff.
August 2001
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directed by Todd Solondz.
November 2001
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... of the cocktails don’t matter (though it does raise a smile that they have to attend the Sören Kierkegaard Dining-Room). Stylish metaphors are suddenly welcome (a neighbour of Albert’s, an investor, steers his Fairlane ‘into his driveway with one index finger, as if dialling his broker’), but one becomes aware of The Corrections as a quite ...

A Long Way from Galilee

Terry Eagleton: Kierkegaard, 1 August 2019

Philosopher of the Heart: The Restless Life of Søren Kierkegaard 
by Clare Carlisle.
Allen Lane, 368 pp., £25, April 2019, 978 0 241 28358 5
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... way for philosophically interesting reasons. A number of them have come from peripheral nations: Kierkegaard from Denmark, Derrida and Cixous from Algeria, Kristeva from Bulgaria. Some of them (Marx, Freud, Wittgenstein, Benjamin, Derrida) were of Jewish or partly Jewish background, and thus already semi-outsiders. Two of the most prominent were gay ...


Jonathan Rée, 8 May 1997

Proper Names 
by Emmanuel Levinas, translated by Michael Smith.
Athlone, 191 pp., £45, January 1997, 0 485 11466 6
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Levinas: An Introduction 
by Colin Davis.
Polity, 168 pp., £39.50, November 1996, 0 7456 1262 8
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Basic Philosophical Writings 
by Emmanuel Levinas, edited by Adriaan Peperzak, Simon Critchley and Robert Bernasconi.
Indiana, 201 pp., £29.50, November 1996, 0 253 21079 8
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... readers, are we not others too? In 1964, Levinas attended a conference in Paris on Soren Kierkegaard – a writer who, with his religious passion for the paradoxical absoluteness of existence, would seem like a natural neighbour for Levinas, even a model. The conference was addressed by Levinas’s old antagonist Sartre, who might have been expected ...


Jonathan Rée: Ventriloquists, 10 May 2001

Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism 
by Steven Connor.
Oxford, 449 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 19 818433 6
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... or a form of puppetry without the puppets; and according to the assiduous theatregoer Søren Kierkegaard this kind of vocal play may even be a fundamental phase in the art of existence itself. Kierkegaard had no patience with theological notions of ventriloquism, but he (or rather his pseudonym Constantin ...


Barbara Everett: Coleridge the Modernist, 7 August 2003

Coleridge’s Notebooks: A Selection 
edited by Seamus Perry.
Oxford, 264 pp., £17.99, June 2002, 0 19 871201 4
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works I: Poems (Reading Text) 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1608 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 00483 8
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works II: Poems (Variorum Text) 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1528 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 00484 6
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works III: Plays 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1620 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 09883 2
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... set his possibly empty crosses high up in an unpeopled mountain landscape; the Danish pastor Søren Kierkegaard turned on his Church with loathing and contempt. Coleridge never managed to be alienated to this degree: he loved the idea of the Church as communion and community, just as, when a wretched husband and an unloved lover, he believed that ...

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