The Living Thoughts of Kierkegaard Paperback
Edited by W. H. Auden
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 280 pages
- Publisher: The New York Review of Books, Inc
- Publication Date: 01/09/1999
- Category: Phenomenology & Existentialism
- ISBN: 9780940322134
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Review by elfortunawe
W.H. Auden made heavy use of Kierkegaard in his poetry, and credited the writer, in a late poem, with being a major factor in his return to Christianity. Auden puts this familiarity to good use in a concise, lucid introduction to Kierkegaard and his ideas, followed by extracts from Kierkegaard's works which cover his major themes. Auden's apparent goal is to replace Kierkegaard in his original role and context. The introduction begins:
Though his writings are often brilliantly poetic and often deeply philosophic, Kierkegaard was neither a poet nor a philosopher, but a preacher, an expounder and defender of Christian doctrine and Christian conduct. The near contemporary with whom he may be properly compared is not someone like Dostoevsky or Hegel, but that other great preacher of the nineteenth century, John Henry, later Cardinal, Newman. (p.vii)
This book is an excellent introduction to Kirekegaard, a writer who can be intimidating to the uninitiated. It could also serve a kind of introduction to Auden, whose poetry is saturated with Kierkegaard's thought. It is also well-suited to typical coffee table use, as something to peruse for those kinds of surprising baubles that stay with one the rest of the day.