by Geoffrey A. Hale
University of Minnesota Press, 2002
Cloth: 978-0-8166-3746-1 | Paper: 978-0-8166-3747-8
Library of Congress Classification B4378.L35H35 2002
Dewey Decimal Classification 198.9


A timely and original intervention in our understanding of this major philosopher through the lens of his influence on others

What do we read when we read Kierkegaard? How do we know? Insisting that Kierkegaard remains a far more enigmatic and paradoxical writer than is often assumed, Geoffrey A. Hale argues that the best way to approach Kierkegaard’s work and understand its significance for our own thought is to retrace its formative influence on major intellectuals of the early twentieth century.

In mutually reflective readings of Kierkegaard’s foundational texts through the work of three pivotal authors—Franz Kafka, Theodor Adorno, and Rainer Maria Rilke—Hale shows how each of these writers draws attention to the unwavering sense of human finitude that pervades all of Kierkegaard’s work and, with it, the profoundly unsettling indeterminacy in which it results. It is the very limitations of language, Hale argues, that hold it open to meaning, to interpretation, and thus to freedom. Resisting clear circumscription in this way, Kierkegaard’s work becomes all the more fruitful to us—and all the more challenging—to the extent that it resists our understanding.

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