Download A Literary Review (Penguin Classics) aka "Two Ages" by Søren Kierkegaard PDF

By Søren Kierkegaard

Ostensibly, A Literary Review is an easy statement via Soren Kierkegaard at the paintings of a latest novelist. On deeper degrees, although, it turns into the existential philosopher's far-reaching critique of his society and age, and its apocalyptic ultimate sections encouraged the valuable rules in Martin Heidegger's influential paintings Being and Time. Embraced by way of many readers as prophetic, A Literary Review and its thoughts stay appropriate to our present debates on id, dependancy, and social conformity.

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Example text

Yet everything has changed. Had I wished as a child to deserve this lofty position, my fondness for pigeon-houses would have to be regarded as a result of ambition, of vanity, as a compensation for my shortness. But it's not that; it wasn't a matter of climbing up my sacred tree: I was there, I refused to come down from it. It was not a matter of setting myself above human beings: I wanted to live in the ether among the aerial simulacra of Things. Later, far from clinging to balloons, I made every effort to sink: I had to wear leaden soles.

I live in the air out of habit, and I poke about down below without much hope. Nevertheless, I had to be told about authors. My grandfather told me, tactfully, calmly. He taught me the names of those illustrious men. I would recite the list to myself, from Hesiod to Hugo, without a mistake. They were the Saints and Prophets. Charles Schweitzer said he worshipped them. Yet they bothered him. Their 61 THE W0EDS obtrusive presence prevented him from attributing the works of Man directly to the Holy Ghost.

I was wrong about that: the reserve which appeared beneath a feigned enthusiasm I took for the severity of a judge; his priesthood raised him above them. In any case, as the minister of the cult would whisper to me, genius is only a loan: it must be merited by great suffering, tested by ordeals that must be accepted modestly and firmly. One ends by hearing voices and writes at their dictation. Between the first Russian revolution and the first world war, fifteen years after Mallarme's death, when Daniel de Fontanin was discovering Gide's Fruits of the Earth, a man of the nineteenth century was foisting upon his grandson ideas that had been current under Louis Philippe.

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