The Living Thoughts of Kierkegaard (New York Review of Books Classics Series)

The Living Thoughts of Kierkegaard (New York Review of Books Classics Series)


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Translated from the Danish by Walter Lowrie, David Swenson, and Alexander Dru

The Danish philosopher Kierkegaard is one of the master thinkers of the modern age, a defining influence on existentialism and on twentieth-century theology, and this brilliantly tailored selection from his vast and varied writings--made by the great English poet W.H Auden--is a perfect introduction to his work. Auden's inspired and incisive response to a thinker who had done much to shape his own beliefs is a fundamental reading of an author whose spirit remains as radical as ever more than 150 years after he wrote.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780940322134
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 09/28/1999
Series: NYRB Classics Series , #6
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 339,999
Product dimensions: 4.99(w) x 7.95(h) x 0.76(d)

About the Author

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was born and lived in Copenhagen. His many works of philosophy and theology, including Either/Or, Fear and Trembling,  and The Sickness Unto Death, have exercised a profound influence on modern thought.

W.H. Auden (1907—1973) was born in North Yorkshire, England, the son of a doctor. He studied at Oxford and published his first book, Poems, in 1930, immediately establishing himself as one of the outstanding voices of his generation. Auden emigrated to New York in 1939, where he became a US citizen and converted to Anglicanism. He wrote essays, critical studies, plays, and opera librettos for such composers as Benjamin Britten, Igor Stravinsky, and Hans Werner Henze, as well as the poems for which he is most famous.

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John Updike

John Updike

Auden accepted many assignments in his industrious life and always made something creative of them. The Living Thoughts of Soren Kierkegaard is more than an anthology, it is a bold reshaping of the Dane's oeuvre and the handiest introduction to him as a Christian apologist. Auden's compressed and jauntily dogmatic introduction is itself an education.

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The Living Thoughts of Kierkegaard (New York Review of Books Classics Series) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
elfortunawe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago

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.