Kierkegaard: A Collection of Critical Essays [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 27 (2):414-415 (1973)

Edited by the author of The Lonely Labyrinth, this anthology is a superb collection of Kierkegaard studies. It begins with two general statements of Kierkegaard’s thought: Louis Mackey’s previously published and tightly packed essay "The Poetry of Inwardness," and a chapter from Prof. Thompson’s newest book on Kierkegaard entitled "The Master of Irony." There is also Sartre’s essay "The Singular Universal" from Kierkegaard Vivant and an interesting historical essay by Richard Popkin which situates Kierkegaard in the history of modern skepticism and shows his affinities with Hume. If there is a common theme to this collection it is the notion that Kierkegaard has persistently separated himself from the statements of his pseudonymous authors and that what has come to be known as "Kierkegaard’s philosophy" is really the product of Kierkegaard’s irony. Otherwise Kierkegaard’s entire literary effort becomes self-contradictory. The essays by Thompson, Crites and Allison are especially relevant in this regard. Editor Thompson has also done us the splendid service of updating the 1962 Kierkegaard Bibliografi with a supplement which includes all the literature in English for the years 1956-70. There is also a most helpful index locurum of the works of Kierkegaard cited in this anthology.—J.D.C.
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