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Enten-Eller [BOOKS] ⚣ Enten-Eller Author Søren Kierkegaard – 'What if everything in the world were a misunderstanding, what if laughter were really tears?'

EitherOr is the earliest of the major works of Søren Kierkegaard, one of the most startlingly 'What if everything in the world were a misunderstanding, what if laughter were really tears?' EitherOr is the earliest of the major works of Søren Kierkegaard, one of the most startlingly original thinkers and writers of the nineteenth century, and the first which he wrote under a pseudonym, as he would for his greatest philosophical writings Adopting the viewpoints of two distinct figures with radically different beliefsthe aesthetic young man of Part One, called simply 'A', and the ethical Judge Vilhelm of the second sectionKierkegaard reflects upon the search for a meaningful existence, contemplating subjects as diverse as Mozart, drama, boredom, and, in the famous Seducer's Diary, the cynical seduction and ultimate rejection of a young, beautiful woman A masterpiece of duality, EitherOr is an exploration of the conflict between the aesthetic and the ethicalboth meditating ironically and seductively upon Epicurean pleasures, and eloquently expounding the noble virtues of a morally upstanding lifeThis lightly abridged edition fully conveys the vigour and eloquence of the original Alastair Hannay's introduction explains the philosophical background to the work and places it in the context of its timesThis first major work by the precursor of existentialism examines the philosophical choice between aesthetic and romantic life versus ethical and domestic life, and offers profound observations on the meaning of choice itself Sheltering behind the persona of a fictitious editor, Kierkegaard brings together a diverse range of material, including reflections on Mozart and the famous “Seducer’s Diary”.

10 thoughts on “Enten-Eller

  1. Helle Helle says:

    Søren Kierkegaard was clever, arrogant, verbose, observant, cynical, ironic, prolific, religious, gifted. His writing is dense, polemical, lyrical, remarkable.

    His magnum opus, Either-Or, is an exceptional work. I struggled my way through it, much as I imagine I would struggle to climb Mount Everest – through nebulous passages, up windy roads that sometimes narrowed, sometimes digressed into unexpected territory, always challenged my footing and my stamina. But on nearly every page there was a striking view to take in. I underlined sentence after sentence that made me stop, wonder, marvel; things that made me frustrated, impressed, enlightened, confused. It was tiring to read at times, perhaps even tiresome, because Kierkegaard would drone on and on, alighting on every possible angle to every topic. And yet it was these meanderings, these endless labyrinthine discussions that would produce golden nuggets of wisdom in the midst of beautiful, often archaic (in terms of today’s Danish) words.

    The first part – Either – is an ostensible defense of the aesthetic perspective on life, consisting of a number of texts, different in genres and themes, which celebrate constant change and sensory experiences. In one of these texts, Kierkegaard discusses this aesthetic view of life (a narrower definition of the term compared to today’s understanding) through a lengthy appreciation of Mozart’s opera, Don Giovanni, written by Victor Emeritus, aesthete, one of Kierkegaard’s many aliases. This part also includes one of his more famous pieces, The Seducer’s Diary. In the second part - Or, he criticizes this a superficial take on life and argues for the ethical perspective: the nourishment of the soul and not just of the senses.

    (Because of their cerebral compatibility, I wonder what Kierkegaard would have made of Oscar Wilde, and vice versa. When I say cerebral compatibility, I mean their extreme genius, their willingness to hold two opposing viewpoints at the same time, their ability to reference other works of literature ad infinitum, their linguistic superiority and wordsmithery. Despite these similarities they lived lives that were at the opposite ends of the aesthetic/ethical spectrum, which, paradoxically, made them both embrace an either-or stance. Personally, I opt for a both-and one (an expression which we have in Danish)).

    At 835 pages – a monstrous literary tour de force which cemented Kierkegaard’s status as one of the foremost thinkers of the age - this was a slow, slow read. I tried to read a minimum of ten pages at a time, but it turned out to be a maximum. I often went back to reread a sentence (which often began three lines above) to glean the exact meaning. Part of the problem is that the Danish language has evolved so much more since Kierkegaard’s days than the English language has, and many words have either disappeared from usage or have changed their usage to mean something different today. Also the inflections of verbs were different, and his punctuation – run-on clauses with only commas to separate them – would make me breathless. The Germanic capitalization of nouns was a detail in the bigger picture. I’ve been told he’s much easier to read in English, and so despite his (and my) original language being Danish, I might try him in English next time.

    There was much I marvelled at, much I admired but also quite a bit I disagreed with. His view of women, for instance; he seems stuck in the 19th century (women are not born to work but are flighty, imaginative creatures, etc.), though it is sometimes difficult to know whether he speaks with his own voice or under a pseudonym and is thus being ironic or downright insincere to provoke a reaction (this is the case in the Seducer’s Diary, for instance, in which the narrator is neither aesthete nor ethically responsible but rather a cynic). Moreover, his reliance on God is a far cry from the rather a-religious Denmark of today and sometimes seemed at odds with his sharp, intellectual observations. Though he is often considered the father of existentialism, his particular branch was more religious than the later existentialists of the 20th century.

    He ponders and discusses an abundance of life’s mysteries and challenges. Anxiety, for instance, is produced by our reflecting on things and as such, he claims, thus different from sorrow. It is always connected to time in the sense that you cannot be anxious about the present but only about what is past or what is in the future. Sorrow, on the other hand is bound to the present. This was something I pondered at length and which, like many of his other points and arguments, raised questions rather than gave any clear answers. Another point he made, which I immediately took to heart, is that we must not be (too) busy. If we’re too busy, we’re not taking our lives seriously. Throughout, he references Goethe’s Faust, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Shakespeare and many Greeks – in Greek; those quotes were Greek to me.

    A selection of his more comprehensible quotes (which I’ve translated):

    I say about my sorrow what the Englishman says about his home: my sorrow is my castle. Many people see having sorrows as one of life’s comforts.

    Nobody returns from the dead, nobody has entered the world without crying; no one asks you when you want in, no one asks you when you want out.

    An individual who hopes for eternal life is in a sense an unhappy individual insofar as he relinquishes the present, but is not in a stricter sense unhappy because he is present within this hope.

    Can you long for what you already possess? Yes, when you imagine that in the next moment you may no longer possess it.

    One of Denmark's three literary triumvirs, if you ask me, the other two being Hans Christian Andersen and Karen Blixen. Recommended for the patient and philosophically-minded reader.

  2. Roy Lotz Roy Lotz says:

    Of course, a critic resembles a poet to a hair, except that he has no anguish in his heart, no music on his lips.

    This is one of those rare unclassifiable books, whose genre was born the day it was published and which has since left no heirs. Kierkegaard gives us what appears, at first, to be a sort of literary experiment: the papers of two imaginary characters, found inside the escritoire by a third imaginary character. These two characters—referred to as ‘A’ and ‘B’—serve as the titular either/or; and their writings are a study in contrast. Specifically, Kierkegaard uses these two personages to juxtapose the aesthetic with the ethical modes of life, presumably asking the reader to choose between them. You might say it is a ‘choose your own adventure’ book of philosophy, except the adventure chosen turns out to be your life.

    Part 1, by A, gives us the aesthetic man. We are presented with extracts from a journal, essays on Mozart’s Don Giovanni and ancient tragedy, a study of boredom, and the famous Seducer’s Diary: A’s record of his carefully planned seduction of a young girl. Part 2 is more focused, consisting of two long letters sent by B (who is supposed to be a middle-aged judge) to A, both exhorting the latter to turn towards a more ethical view of life. The styles of the two writers are suitably different: A is excitable, hyperbolic, and aphoristic, while B is more staid and focused. Nevertheless, it is never difficult to tell that Kierkegaard is the true author.

    Neatly summarizing the difference in perspectives would be difficult, since Kierkegaard tends to be flexible with his own definitions. Perhaps the best way to capture the contrast is with the book’s central metaphor: seduction vs. marriage. In the first, A is concerned with attaining a maximum of pleasure. He is not a hedonist, and is not very interested in sex. Rather, he is interested in avoiding boredom by carefully shaping his developing relationship like a well-plotted novel, ensuring that each emotion is felt to the utmost. His primary concern, in other words, is to avoid the stale, the cliché, the repetitive. The judge, by contrast, sees marriage as far preferable to seduction, since it is through commitments like marriage that the inner self develops and becomes fully actualized. While the aesthete prefers to live in the moment, the ethical man notes that, even if every moment is novel, the self remains the same. Change requires commitment.

    Interpreting the book is difficult. Are we being asked to make a choice in values? Such a choice could have no basis but chance or personal whim, since no pre-existing value could guide us between two incompatible value-systems. This, you might say, is the existentialist interpretation of the book: the primacy of choice over values. Yet other options are available. For example, despite Kierkegaard’s famous opposition to Hegel’s philosophy, this text is open to a Hegelian reading. Specifically, B’s perspective seems in many respects superior to A’s, since B demonstrates that he is able to understand A, while A presumably cannot understand B. Thus, you can perhaps regard B as the Hegelian antithesis to A’s thesis; and perhaps both of these can be united in a wider perspective, such as in Kierkegaard’s Knight of Faith—a religious unity of inner feeling and outer obligation. There is also the unmistakable autobiographical element in this writing, since Kierkegaard had not long before broken off his own engagement.

    This is just to scrape the surface of possibility. And this shows both the strength and weakness of Kierkegaard’s writing. On the one hand, this book is highly rich and suggestive, with brilliant passages buried amid piles of less compelling material. On the other hand, to call a book “rich” and “suggestive” is also to call it confused. Since no clear message emerges, and since there are no arguments to guide the way, the book can easily yield interpretations consonant with pre-conceived opinions. In other words, it is hard to me to imagine somebody being convinced to change their mind by reading this. But Kierkegaard can perhaps better be likened to a good art critic than to a systematic philosopher, for the value in his writing consists more in illuminating comments than in a final conclusion.

    On the whole, however, I must say that I emerged with a distaste for Kierkegaard’s writing. At times he rises to commanding eloquence; but so often he seems to wallow in confusing and repetitive intricacies. More to the point, I find the general tenor of his writing to be anti-rationalist; and this is exemplified in the complete lack of argument in his writings. But nobody could deny that, all told, this is an extraordinary book and a worthy addition to the philosophical tradition.

  3. Fergus Fergus says:

    Looks like Søren Kierkegaard was right.

    One world. One destination. But two different strokes for two very different types of folks. The Eithers - and the Ors. Will they both get to their destination?

    Let’s look at Zeno’s Paradox. I know, you’re gonna say that’s the oldest con in the book - extrapolating a purely mathematical formula onto practical reality to subvert it - but doesn’t layering both the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics onto reality do that too, and aren’t they both largely mutually exclusive?

    Yet both are an accepted part of modern reality. Riddle me that, Zeno!

    That old Greek Zeno’d probably have a good chuckle over that. For he was ONLY trying to say: Nothing is what it Seems. And isn’t that what our friend Kierkegaard is really trying to say here? All bets are off, friends!

    So who gets the Real Trophy first - the Eithers or the Ors?

    And is it worth it to know?

    It’s an ethically polarized and a confusing world. Get used to it.

    And this book is an elusively allusive deconstruction of the inner dialectics of that world. He picked up THAT trick from Hegel.

    But Hegel was trying to shore up the sanctity of the Modern State - to set ethics on a newer and firmer foundation than Kant’s pereginating prevarications could ever do.

    But now Kierkegaard is saying “cut it out, guys....

    “Say to the sanctity of that old sacred cow, the State, begone! What we REALLY have to do is shore up the Sanctity of God. Whose Kingdom is not of this world - and Who thereby makes the mediocre sleep of the state ABSURD!”

    Now there’s a clarion call for you!

    I know, I know, the Nihilists and Dadaists and Poststructuralists have by and large ignored K’s POV. For they just wanted Freedom.

    That carries an enormous price, friends, just so you know...

    Kierkegaard, though, tried to tell us postmoderns that only the Truth will set us Free, and so he has been relegated to the dustbin of oblivion by the Sleep of Society.

    EXCEPTING those unfortunates who are now Waking Up, and so need his tough talk more than ever before.

    For Kierkegaard will take you on a marvellous trip.

    Past the obfuscating, “quiet-voiced elders”, past the dreary limbo of his own doggedly deep depressive self, past the Seducers of the World whom he dismembers and eviscerates right down to their marrow -

    To a Life of New Hope.

    A hope that is secured in the absolute cancellation of all our debts and the solutions of all our postmodernist conundrums in the Divine Sacrifice -

    And puts us on a Free, Forever Road:

    To “the Conclusion of all that is Inconclusible...”

    The road that will lead you back to the Peace of “knowing (the world as it is) for the first time.”

    Welcome to Kierkegaard’s Paradox -

    The Paradox of Breaking Even with God, and Yourself.

  4. Brent McCulley Brent McCulley says:

    Easily one of the best books I have read this year, as this year nears the end, I can say without a doubt that Kierkegaard was truly a genius. It is not without purpose that my mind immediately rushes to Nietzsche pithy aphorism on genius wherein he writes,

    Every deep thinker is more afraid of being understood than being misunderstood. In the latter case, perhaps his vanity suffers, but the former hurts his heart, his sympathy, which always says, Alas, why do you want to have it as hard as I did? Beyond Good and Evil, IX, Aphorism 290.

    Kierkegaard knew that he was a genius, yet he also knew that he was misunderstood. This seems to me not to be a accidental product of the Danish culture's ability to exegete Kierkegaard properly, but rather, an intentional property postulated by Kierkegaard himself within his writings for the sole purpose of protecting his heart, his sympathy as Nietzsche said. Kierkegaard complains in his diaries that People understand me so little that they do not even understand when I complain of being misunderstood, yet it was not without purpose that Kierkegaard's Either/Or was cloaked in two pseudonyms fictionally compiled by another pseudonymous editor.

    Either/Or is split twain, as the first part is written by the young aesthetic called A, and is a compilations of essays which reaches its pinnacle with The Seducer's Diary which is A's personal diary entries and letters back and forth to Coralina, a young maiden whom he seduces, engages, and thereupon breaks off. While reading through the Either part, I felt ecstatic, aroused, and excited, as the aesthetic appeal and philosophical dialectic that A engages in truly is seductive. The first portion is a bunch of aphorisms whereof all are highly quotable and attractive, and standard Kierkegaard. He then deals with the dialectic progression of the erotic understanding in music, and analyzes Mozart among others. Kierkegaard then deals with the Ancient's understanding of tragedy juxtaposed to the modern understanding of tragedy. In Shadowgraphs, Kierkegaard deals with the aesthetic elements of theater and the psychological development of the aforesaid in the subject. My two favorite essays, however, are the next two which are entitled The Unhappiest One and Crop Rotation. In the former Kierkegaard propounds his dialectical philosophy to show it is the unhappiest one of all that is the happiest, and in the latter he postulates a theory of life wherein he says that contrary to culture's opinion it is not idleness that is the root of all evil, but boredom. Both are written so fantastically that it hard not to agree with everything he says.

    My understanding of Either could only have developed after reading Or, and it's understandable why Kierkegaard got so mad seeing Danish bookstores lined with the former whilst the latter went neglected compared to the former. They must be read in conjunction with one another, because all the ideas presented in both are not necessarily Kierkegaard's own ideas: this is a partial reason for the pseudonyms. Since this was Kierkegaard's first major work, written mostly in Germany in a short amount of time while he was attending the Schelling lectures, the breakup with Regine, his then fiancee, would have been extremely fresh. The aesthetic part of Either seems to be Kierkegaard's self-justification of the breakup, rationalizing that it was done in protection of Regine, and also, at the consummation of what Kierkegaard calls first love. Marriage simply would have bridled them both, and would have hampered Kierkegaard's writing career also to be sure. Certainly, then, The Seducer's diary can be read in a but of an autobiographical flair, and indeed it writes like one, although often times Kierkegaard flips the subjects around.

    What is more interesting is when I got to the Or portion. Written by a venerable Judge Wilhelm, they are two letters of correspondence to A, as in the 'novel' both the Judge and A are good friends, and A often comes over frequently to dine and spend time with the Judge and his wife. the Or section therefore serves as a rebuttal, and a personal one at that, as the judge shows the error of the young aesthetics's ways, claiming that he has a false view and foundation upon which he built is conceptions of love, duty, etc. on. The Judge systematically tries to refute the aesthetic in each theory postulated, and ultimately show the validity of marriage ethically and also aesthetically. Let us sum up the whole of the matter with one quotation from the Judge when he writes,
    What stands out in my either/or is the ethical. So far, then, it is not a matter of the choice of some thing, not a matter of the reality of the thing chosen, but of the reality of choosing. It is this, though, that is decisive and what I shall try to awaken you to...for only in choosing absolutely can one choose the ethical. Through the absolute choice, then, the ethical is posited, but from that it by no means follows that the aesthetic is excluded. In the ethical the personality is centered in itself; the aesthetic is thus excluded absolutely, or it is excluded as the absolute, but relatively it always stays behind. The personality, through choosing itself, chooses itself ethically and excludes the aesthetic absolutely; but since it is, after all, he himself the person chooses and through choosing himself does not become another nature but remains himself, the whole of the aesthetic returns in its relativity (pp. 491, 491).

    This is utterly brilliant, and to be sure, much of what Kierkegaard writes through the Judge are philosophical ideas that are further developed in his later works such as the movement from the aesthetic to the religious to the ethical in his Stages on Life's Way, and also the idea of choosing the self which lies in the infinite or absolute in The Sickness unto Death. The idea that Judge defends from the above, and indeed throughout his two essays to A, is that the aesthetic cannot be chosen as the absolute, because it is not a choice at all, but rather a defiance or privation away from the absolute, and hence because the self is lost, it follows that the self cannot choose the aesthetic since their is no self to do the choosing. Yet, when one postulates the ethical as the absolute, the self chooses absolutely because the choice is choosing yourself, which only can be found in the ethical, and because the ethical is the absolute, and the self is chosen, the aesthetic no thereby nullified as A would like to suppose, but is in fact affirmed, albeit in the relative sense of the subject. And so it follows that marriage, which is the ethical choice, affirms both the ethical and the aesthetic, the moral and the sensual.

    What is so paradoxical about all this is that Kierkegaard is writing this only because he was able to since he broke off engagement with his previous fiancee, Regine Olson. Affirming the ethical validity of marriage, writing as the Judge, only after he denied it's validity practically by rejecting Regine. Incidentally enough, Kierkegaard would later regret not marrying, which makes his aphorism in the beginning of the book all the more poignant and chagrin.

    If you marry, you will regret it; if you do not marry, you will also regret it; if you marry or if you do not marry, you will regret both; whether you marry or you do not marry, you will regret both (p. 54).

  5. Sean Blake Sean Blake says:

    A book full of musings on many different elements of life and issues which are still very much relevant today, Either/Or is a wonderful book, not just as a piece of philosophy, but as pure literature. Soren Kierkegaard writes like a poet, which makes his philosophical writings so entertaining and enlightening to read.

    A guide to a meaningful existence, Kierkegaard explores the aesthetic and ethical ideologies of life through two characters: A, the aesthetician and Judge Wilhelm, the ethicist. Part I is an exploration of aesthetic ideologies discussing music, poetry, boredom and which also includes Diary of a Seducer, a lovely little psychological novel within the book in which a calculated aesthetician seducts and then rejects the love of a woman.

    Part II begins and rather savagely attacks aestheticism and discusses the positive aspects of the ethical ways while also exploring choices in life using the either/or categorization. Here, he takes his time, in two long letters, to explain how we should live our life, the choices we make and the extremities of certain life views.

    Unconventional in its structure, Either/Or is full of aphorisms, extended essays, a novella, letters and even a religious sermon. With this structure, Kierkegaard explores human nature philosophically, psychologically, religiously and poetically in his first published work. It's an exceptionally complex book but, in the end, it's extremely rewarding.

  6. AJ Griffin AJ Griffin says:

    This is one of those books that you read that covers a bunch of things you had been thinking about on your own, at which point you realize oh: i'm not really that smart, am I?

    But as a general rule, I like anyone who agrees with me, and I like the way Kerigaodigjadkfaodfkadsdfnsldfkasdfnlaskdn (sp?) writes. 4 stars from me.

    also a very very good album, but that's a different deal.

  7. Khashayar Mohammadi Khashayar Mohammadi says:

    I've been on a Kierkegaard Binge, and after re-reading all his shorter works, I started Either/Or with enthusiasm; but it really is a hard book to review as a whole.

    Its definitely one of my all time favorites, not just philosophically, but over-all. But it just didn't feel right to give it the full 5/5.

    Kierkegaard is more a writer than a philosopher, such that in poetic congruence with the themes of this book, his writing never ceases to be Aesthetic, but it does cease to be philosophical (?) from time to time. But does it really?

    Let's first break down the book in its original two parts of A and B; A being the Aesthetic, and B being the Aesthetic/ethical. The first few hundred pages leading up to the second part can be utterly confusing, since they only find meaning in opposition of the discourse of Judge Vilhelm.

    Maybe I hesitate to give this book five stars merely because it has pulled a twist ending of sorts that forces me to re-read the first 400 pages in order to fully understand the rest. This book is in fact a thousand pages long. The Aesthetic part A, The Ethical vs Aesthetic of part B, and then again the Aesthetic/Ethical(?) of part A.

    Though I can't say I cared much about the endless discourse on Don Giovanni (Which ends up costing you a good couple hundred pages if you're in the same ship as I am), I found the last chapter, The Equilibrium between the Aesthetic and the Ethical to be breath-takingly eye-opening. There were parts were a dozen pages were written with heart-piercing accuracy mocking the self-induced despair that we can still see to this day among us.

    Its a fantastic book, and like all other books I have of Kierkegaard, it shall never leave my bedside table.

  8. Matt Matt says:

    Should I get married, should I be good? Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and Faustus hood? Not take her to movies, but to cemetaries...
    - Gregory Corso

    This is heartfelt, probing thinking which everyone goes through at one time or another. Whether its better to settle down and get married or to try and live zestfully as a single person.

    Not to mention all the attendant indentity, Being, subjective/objective issues that accrue when you sit down and think about it.

    There are- fictionally- two sets of letters here, a correspondence between youth and age. One from a dashing young cynic and the other from a boring, somewhat pompous old provincial.

    the aesthetic versus the ethic, if you will.

    Wonderful writing results, limitless insights. I'd quote them but I don't happen to have the book on hand. The erotic in music, the hour when all masks fall and we are revealed to be who we are to ourselves, how marriage is of the mind as well as the spirit and the body, how all men are bores.

    What makes this go down easy is the fact that Kierkegaard can write beautifully. Not only does he argue and reason himself out (not like it's actually him, but it is...more on that later) but he uses little illustrations to make this metaphysic so much richer and more palatable.

    Marriage, for one, is when you spend your entire day frowning over a book because there's an umlaut over one of the letters in a phrase that's not supposed to be there and suddenly your spouse comes in and you show it to them and they say 'O, look, it's just a speck of dust' and blows it away for good.

    I'm not doing justice to this, but that's becuase I don't have enough personality!

    TO wit: Kierkegaard had a bad love affair early in life and spent the next few decades of his life living off his father's inheritance and writing philosophy under different pen names. He even went so far as to use personalized grammer to create these characters, they did a linguistic analysis on it. Incredible.

    But anyway he's literally speaking from different voices that manifest the ideas and conflicts he put himself through. The aesthete, the cynic, the ethicist, the tortured soul, the man of god.

    He sat day after day writing away and adding voices to the symphony of his mind.

    Amazing, right? No wonder he was a crazy genius.

    This is one of his first books, and its worth every moment of time spent on it. You'll enjoy, I'm sure.

  9. Armin Armin says:

    From Part Two: (1) The Aesthetic validity of marriage

    Marriage was constructed with highest in mind: lasting possession. To conquer, one needs pride; to possess, humility. To conquer one needs to be violent; to possess, to have patience. To conquer, greed; to possess, contentment... Pride lends itself superbly to representation, for what is essential in pride is not succession in time but intensity in the moment. Humility is hard to represent just because it is indeed successive. In the case of humility he really requires what poetry and art cannot provide, to see it in its constant process of becoming. Romantic love lends itself to representation in the moment; not so married love... I can represent a hero conquering kingdoms; but a cross-bearer who everyday takes up his cross can never be represented, because the point of it is that he does it everyday.

    The development of the aesthetically beautiful and the perfecting of art depends on art's being able to free itself from space and to define itself in temporal terms. Music has time as its element but poetry is the most complete of all arts which knows best how to justice to the significance of time. But it has its limits, and cannot represent something whose very truth is temporal succession.
    But if aesthetic remains incommensurable even with poetic representation, how can it be represented? Answer: by being lived. With this I have reached the highest in aesthetic...

    Married love, has its enemy in time, its victory in time, and its eternity in time... Faithful, humble, patient, observant, persistent, willing... All these virtues have the property of being inward specifications of the individual. And they have a temporal qualification, for their truth consists not in applying once, but all the time. Married love does not come with an external mark... it is the incorruptible being of a quiet spirit.

  10. Marcus Speh Marcus Speh says:

    kierkegaard's either/or which i first read in the german translation (possibly a little closer to the danish original) is a first rate philosophical excursion that, much like many of the works of nietzsche, is also a first rate literary pleasure. it is only reluctantly that i call this book non-fiction. if published today, e.g. in mcsweeney's, either/or, k.s first published book, would blow people away just the same and lead to a global existential outcry of youths. k. has always informed my writing. re-read it recently finding it just as relevant and important to me as it was thirty years ago when i first discovered it as a teenager alongside the writing of sartre, camus...unlike these frenchmen, kierkegaard has a northern lightness that appeals to my own mood.

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