Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography

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9780691127880: Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography

"The day will come when not only my writings, but precisely my life--the intriguing secret of all the machinery--will be studied and studied." Søren Kierkegaard's remarkable combination of genius and peculiarity made this a fair if arrogant prediction. But Kierkegaard's life has been notoriously hard to study, so complex was the web of fact and fiction in his work. Joakim Garff's biography of Kierkegaard is thus a landmark achievement. A seamless blend of history, philosophy, and psychological insight, all conveyed with novelistic verve, this is the most comprehensive and penetrating account yet written of the life and works of the enigmatic Dane who changed the course of intellectual history.


Garff portrays Kierkegaard not as the all-controlling impresario behind some of the most important works of modern philosophy and religious thought--books credited with founding existentialism and prefiguring postmodernism--but rather as a man whose writings came to control him. Kierkegaard saw himself as a vessel for his writings, a tool in the hand of God, and eventually as a martyr singled out to call for the end of "Christendom." Garff explores the events and relationships that formed Kierkegaard, including his guilt-ridden relationship with his father, his rivalry with his brother, and his famously tortured relationship with his fiancée Regine Olsen. He recreates the squalor and splendor of Golden Age Copenhagen and the intellectual milieu in which Kierkegaard found himself increasingly embattled and mercilessly caricatured.


Acclaimed as a major cultural event on its publication in Denmark in 2000, this book, here presented in an exceptionally crisp and elegant translation, will be the definitive account of Kierkegaard's life for years to come.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Joakim Garff is Associate Professor at the Søren Kierkegaard Research Center at the University of Copenhagen. He is the author of numerous books and articles and is the coeditor of a project to publish definitive new Danish-language editions of all of Kierkegaard's writings. Bruce H. Kirmmse is Professor of History at Connecticut College. His previous works include Kierkegaard in Golden Age Denmark and Encounters with Kierkegaard (Princeton). He is the chairman of the editorial board of Kierkegaard's Journals and Notebooks (Princeton, forthcoming).

Review:

"Monumental. . . . Garff's informal voice enlists us in the village of gossip of Kierkegaard's time. . . . [H]is tone helps create a sense of excitement, of caring, of importance, of--locally and cosmically--scandal."--John Updike, The New Yorker

"For any reader of Kierkegaard, this book will have a theatrical effect. It is as though one has been listening to a long soliloquy: suddenly the curtain goes up and there is golden-age Denmark. The 'soliloquy' is now embedded in a vibrant and multi-faceted conversation. The book is written with confidence and verve; it has been beautifully translated into English by Bruce H. Kirmmse. If you are capable of being absorbed by the life of one who did little but think and suffer privately, this is an 816-page page-turner."--Jonathan Lear, Times Literary Supplement

"A superb portrait of the philosopher that offers drama, psychological insight and social history as well as a guide to his profound, if perplexing, ideas. . . . An assiduous researcher, Mr. Garff has been studying his subject for decades. Happily, he seems to possess something of Kierkegaard's divine ability to express deep insights into human nature with a subtle and aristocratic touch. His masterly biography is a page-turning story and a guide wire into the mind of a philosopher whose ideas, properly understood, will never lose their force or fall out of fashion."--Gordon Marino, The Wall Street Journal

"Although some will accuse Garff of revealing salacious details of the philosopher's life--as in the chapters on Kierkegaard's relationship with his fiancee Regine Olsen--this monumental and magisterial biography offers fresh glimpses into the sometimes-tortured life and work of this true philosophical genius."--Publishers Weekly

Praise for the orignial, Danish edition: "Seven hundred extraordinarily exciting pages. . . . Joakim Garff's book about Søren Kierkegaard is not just a biography. It is a well thought-out synthesis of Kierkegaard's life and writings so exceptional . . . so concrete and rich with perspectives, that it has no equal in literature. Read, read, read."--Weekendavisen

Praise for the orignial, Danish edition: "A masterpiece in the genre of biography. It makes history. It will be read as a popular book of the highest merit. . . . [Garff] makes it outrageously exciting to read every last detail."--Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten

Praise for the orignial, Danish edition: "What rises from these pages is nothing less than a fully developed portrait of one of the most terrible and terribly fascinating beings in the history of Danish culture. . . . No more entertaining and enlightening novel will appear than Joakim Garff's grand biography of Søren Aabye Kierkegaard."--Information

Praise for the orignial, Danish edition: "Joakim Garff tells stories with the passion and artistic effects of a novelist. . . . [He] places Kierkegaard in Copenhagen's Golden Age with such a wealth of personalities, topography, and atmosphere that this might be one of the best books ever written about the Golden Age. . . . This publication . . . will be discussed all over the world. It is a great book, really great."--Politiken

"Garff devotes much attention to what Kierkegaard's contemporaries thought of him and his writings. Kierkegaard was not the obscure, lonely writer that he himself would have one believe. This is a wonderful book for readers interested in Kierkegaard. It is very well written, well translated, and well organized."--Choice

"This is an epic book, and truly a biography of the work as well as the man. . . . This book is a marvelous achievement."--David Wheatley, The Irish Times

"The royal road to Kierkegaard is still the oblique road--his own writings--but Garff's biography makes an excellent traveling companion."--Richard Polt, Village Voice

"Garff . . . obviously has been marinating in Kierkegaard for years. . . . His beautifully written and translated biography is scholarship at its best, filled with witty observations, felicitous turns of phrase, and sharp analyses."--Heller McAlpin, The Christian Science Monitor

"As this brilliant new biography by Joakim Garff makes clear, [Kierkegaard] never thought of himself as a philosopher. . . . The appearance of Garff's biography in English is a momentous occasion. . . . He provides a dazzling account of Kierkegaard's comings and goings, his anxieties and hopes, and, above all, his invention of himself as the Kierkegaard that both his time and ours have come to know."--Henry Carrington, Washington Post Book World

"Kierkegaard is an intellectual hero of the highest order, and Joakim Garff is his poet. Brilliantly translated from the Danish by Bruce Kirmmse, Søren Kierkegaard serves as a Baedeker to the Copenhagen that Kierkegaard both loved and cursed."--Gordon Marino, Artforum International

"In its historical scope and in the richness of its descriptions, Garff's Søren Kierkegaard sets a new standard for Kierkegaard scholarship. It has done more to help us understand Kierkegaard's social milieu than any other biography."--Gregory R. Beabout, First Things

"Garff aims [to challenge] those concerned with Kierkegaard's theological and philosophical views to think about the life that produced the teachings."--Richard Crouter, The Christian Century

"No one ever played the misunderstood genius with the grandiose abandon of Søren Kierkegaard. . . . In his well-documented, entertaining, sympathetic life, Professor Garff helps readers understand a man who was in many respects his own worst enemy. No wonder Kierkegaard preferred being misunderstood."--Edward Short, Crisis

"Garff has a novelist's ability to make great capital from small details, and as a biography in the most straightforward sense--the story of a life - the book is hard to beat. It is a real page-turner."--John Lippitt, The Times Higher Education Supplement

"There can be no doubt of [Joakim] Garff's success, and for once the adjective 'magisterial' seems fully appropriate."--Frank Day, Magill's Literary Annual

"This is a book worthy of its subject--artful, comprehensive, paradoxical, informative. . . . [A] host of . . . questions will be discussed with renewed enthusiasm as a result of this magnificent biography."--Ralph McInerny, Theological Studies

"Joakim Garff . . . has succeeded, not only in making Kierkegaard and his Copenhagen milieu live vigorously in this truly momentous book, but also in gripping the reader's attention. . . . A huge book about an eccentric philosopher turns out to be an enthralling and exciting read."--Alison Ainley, The Philosophers' Magazine

"I shall not hesitate to recommend this welcome book to my students as a textbook to help them acquire the necessary background for understanding Kierkegaard's multifarious, epoch-making authorship."--Jacob Golomb, European Legacy

"[An] excellent biography of Kierkegaard."--Jane O’Grady, Literary Review

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The day will come when not only my writings, but precisely my life--the intriguing secret of all the machinery--will be studied and studied. Soren Kierkegaard s remarkable combination of genius and peculiarity made this a fair if arrogant prediction. But Kierkegaard s life has been notoriously hard to study, so complex was the web of fact and fiction in his work. Joakim Garff s biography of Kierkegaard is thus a landmark achievement. A seamless blend of history, philosophy, and psychological insight, all conveyed with novelistic verve, this is the most comprehensive and penetrating account yet written of the life and works of the enigmatic Dane who changed the course of intellectual history. Garff portrays Kierkegaard not as the all-controlling impresario behind some of the most important works of modern philosophy and religious thought--books credited with founding existentialism and prefiguring postmodernism--but rather as a man whose writings came to control him. Kierkegaard saw himself as a vessel for his writings, a tool in the hand of God, and eventually as a martyr singled out to call for the end of Christendom. Garff explores the events and relationships that formed Kierkegaard, including his guilt-ridden relationship with his father, his rivalry with his brother, and his famously tortured relationship with his fiancee Regine Olsen. He recreates the squalor and splendor of Golden Age Copenhagen and the intellectual milieu in which Kierkegaard found himself increasingly embattled and mercilessly caricatured. Acclaimed as a major cultural event on its publication in Denmark in 2000, this book, here presented in an exceptionally crisp and elegant translation, will be the definitive account of Kierkegaard s life for years to come. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780691127880

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The day will come when not only my writings, but precisely my life--the intriguing secret of all the machinery--will be studied and studied. Soren Kierkegaard s remarkable combination of genius and peculiarity made this a fair if arrogant prediction. But Kierkegaard s life has been notoriously hard to study, so complex was the web of fact and fiction in his work. Joakim Garff s biography of Kierkegaard is thus a landmark achievement. A seamless blend of history, philosophy, and psychological insight, all conveyed with novelistic verve, this is the most comprehensive and penetrating account yet written of the life and works of the enigmatic Dane who changed the course of intellectual history. Garff portrays Kierkegaard not as the all-controlling impresario behind some of the most important works of modern philosophy and religious thought--books credited with founding existentialism and prefiguring postmodernism--but rather as a man whose writings came to control him. Kierkegaard saw himself as a vessel for his writings, a tool in the hand of God, and eventually as a martyr singled out to call for the end of Christendom. Garff explores the events and relationships that formed Kierkegaard, including his guilt-ridden relationship with his father, his rivalry with his brother, and his famously tortured relationship with his fiancee Regine Olsen. He recreates the squalor and splendor of Golden Age Copenhagen and the intellectual milieu in which Kierkegaard found himself increasingly embattled and mercilessly caricatured. Acclaimed as a major cultural event on its publication in Denmark in 2000, this book, here presented in an exceptionally crisp and elegant translation, will be the definitive account of Kierkegaard s life for years to come. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780691127880

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The day will come when not only my writings, but precisely my life--the intriguing secret of all the machinery--will be studied and studied. Soren Kierkegaard s remarkable combination of genius and peculiarity made this a fair if arrogant prediction. But Kierkegaard s life has been notoriously hard to study, so complex was the web of fact and fiction in his work. Joakim Garff s biography of Kierkegaard is thus a landmark achievement. A seamless blend of history, philosophy, and psychological insight, all conveyed with novelistic verve, this is the most comprehensive and penetrating account yet written of the life and works of the enigmatic Dane who changed the course of intellectual history. Garff portrays Kierkegaard not as the all-controlling impresario behind some of the most important works of modern philosophy and religious thought--books credited with founding existentialism and prefiguring postmodernism--but rather as a man whose writings came to control him. Kierkegaard saw himself as a vessel for his writings, a tool in the hand of God, and eventually as a martyr singled out to call for the end of Christendom. Garff explores the events and relationships that formed Kierkegaard, including his guilt-ridden relationship with his father, his rivalry with his brother, and his famously tortured relationship with his fiancee Regine Olsen. He recreates the squalor and splendor of Golden Age Copenhagen and the intellectual milieu in which Kierkegaard found himself increasingly embattled and mercilessly caricatured. Acclaimed as a major cultural event on its publication in Denmark in 2000, this book, here presented in an exceptionally crisp and elegant translation, will be the definitive account of Kierkegaard s life for years to come. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780691127880

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