Kierkegaard - Hunter Starr Professor Bernstein HIST 356...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Hunter Starr Professor Bernstein HIST 356: Spring 2008 May 5, 2008 Soren Kierkegaard On the fifth of May, 1813, Soren Aabye Kierkegaard was born in the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen. Soren’s father, a strict Lutheran, was a wealthy merchant whose dramatic and guilt-ridden imagination had a profound influence on Soren. Soren inherited his father’s melancholy, his sense of guilt and anxiety, and his pietistic emphasis on the dour aspects of Christian faith. He also inherited his father’s talents for philosophical argument and creative imagination. 1 Soren attended the University of Copenhagen where he studied theology and philosophy. He encountered Hegelian philosophy at the university and strongly reacted against it. While attending the University of Copenhagen, Soren shed his practice of Lutheranism, and led a self-indulgent social life becoming a well known figure in the cafe and theatrical society of Copenhagen. However, in 1838, after the death of his father, Soren decided to resume his studies in theology. In 1840, Soren became engaged to Regine Orlson, only seventeen at the time, but soon after he began to suspect that marriage was incompatible with his complicated nature, brooding, and his growing sense of a philosophical occupation. In 1841, he called off the engagement, an episode from which he never fully recovered and took on great significance for him as he continuously alluded to it in his writings. 2 At this moment, Soren realized that he did not want to become a Lutheran pastor and he decided to devote his time and energy to writing, something the inheritance from his father allowed to pursue. In the following fourteen years until his death, Soren had produced more than twenty books. 1 1 William McDonald, “Soren Kierkegaard,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy . 2006 ed. 2 2 “Soren Kierkegaard,” Encarta Online Encyclopedia, 2007 ed.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Soren’s writings are the quest of a troubled spirit struggling for the truth of existence, the truth to live by. Soren’s body of work consists of essays, aphorisms, parables, fictional diaries and letters, and is consciously unsystematic in a baroque and parenthetical style. 3 Seeking to evoke reflection rather than to transmit concepts or information, Soren employed dialectical subtleties, irony, jest, paradoxes, metaphors, and deliberate mystification to access the personal life of the reader. Because he regarded his philosophy as “the expression of an intensely examined individual life, not as the construction of a monolithic system in the manner of the nineteenth century German philosopher Georg Friedrich Hegel,” Soren applied the term existential to his philosophy. 4 Hegel proclaimed to have reached a complete rational understanding of human history and life; Soren, on the other hand, emphasized the paradoxical nature of the human situation and its ambiguities.
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 05/27/2008 for the course HIST 356 taught by Professor Bernstein during the Spring '08 term at University of Delaware.

Page1 / 12

Kierkegaard - Hunter Starr Professor Bernstein HIST 356...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online