SK Books

It’s best to read primary sources for yourself. Here are some books written by Soren Kierkegaard.

I have worked for this restlessness oriented toward inward deepening. But “without authority.” Instead of conceitedly making myself out to be a witness for the truth and causing others rashly to want to be the same, I am an unauthorized poet who influences by means of the ideas.

  • Soren Kierkegaard, For Self-Examination, Hong p. 21

Selections from the writings of Soren Kierkegaard

Excerpts from Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, Stages On Life’s Way, Practice In Christianity, The Moment.

While casting about for a subject worthy of a more sustained effort—he marks out for study the legends of Faust, of the Wandering Jew, of Don Juan, as representatives of certain basic views of life; the Conception of Satire among the Ancients, etc., etc.,—he at last becomes aware of his affinity with Socrates, in whom he found that rare harmony between theory and the conduct of life which he hoped to attain himself.  (Lee M. Hollander)

Journals and Papers of Soren Kierkegaard

Journals and Papers of Soren Kierkegaard published between 1832 and 1855. The Book of the Judge

If one can see God in history, one can see him also in the life of the individual; to think that one can do the former and not the latter is to delude himself by yielding to the historical, to the brutish imbecility which in the observation of nature sees God by being taught that Sirius is 180,000 millions of miles away from the earth. Journals VB 14:7

(SK) Either/Or Volume 1 1843, Swenson Translation

(SK) Either-Or Volume 2 1843, Lowrie translation (and Ultimatum)

This first English printing of Soren Kierkegaard’s Either /Or by the Princeton University Press in 1943, is noteworthy in that it marks the centennial anniversary of its first Danish publication in 1843. It was also the first of Kierkegaard’s important contributions to Danish literature, and established his fame as a writer.

(SK) Edifying Discourses 1843-1855 Swenson

Edifying Discourses

Kierkegaard on the Soul (Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses)

(SK) Fear and Trembling 1843

Selections from Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling by Johannes de Silentio  (his pseudonym) Hollander translation 1923

Selection from Fear and Trembling

Not merely in the realm of commerce but in the world of ideas as well our age is organizing a regular clearance sale. Everything is to be had at such a bargain that it is questionable whether in the end there is anybody who will want to bid. Every speculative price-fixer who conscientiously directs attention to the significant march of modern philosophy, every Privatdocent, tutor, and student, every crofter and cottar in philosophy, is not content with doubting everything but goes further.

(SK) Repetition 1843

Fear and Trembling, though it was ascribed to a different pseudonym, was a companion to this book. The concept Repetition, when it is employed in the sphere of individual freedom, has a history, in the fact that freedom passes through several stages in order to attain itself. (Walter Lowrie)

What a foolish contradiction one often meets with in men’s cowardice and courage. A man is afraid of seeing the dreadful, but has courage to do it. You forsook the girl–that is the dreadful thing. You have courage for that, but to see her grow pale, to count her tears, to be witness to her distress, for this you have not the courage. And yet in fact this is nothing in comparison with the other. Repetition P. 95 Lowrie translation 1941, 1965

(SK) Sermon at Trinitatis Church Feb. 24, 1844 Croxall translation

In the Church which was founded at Corinth, St. Paul had special difficulties of the kind I have mentioned. In that flourishing commercial city, which through its shipping and situation, maintained a vital connexion between East and West, numerous crowds of people flocked together from all quarters, different in speech and in culture. As they mingled with the inhabitants, they produced, by contacts and contrasts, new and ever new differences.

(SK) Philosophical Fragments 1844 Swenson Translation

It is not given to everyone to have his private tasks of meditation and reflection so happily coincident with the public interest that it becomes difficult to judge how far he serves merely himself and how far the public good.

(SK) The Concept of Dread (Anxiety) 1844 Lowrie

This being one of the first books S. K. wrote, why is it published so near the end in the English edition? This question has been asked frequently, and lately it has been addressed to me almost petulantly — as though I were responsible! (Walter Lowrie)

(SK) Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions (1845) Swenson Translation (A summing up)

This little book, which might be called a book of occasional addresses, although it has neither the occasion which creates the speaker and gives him authority, nor the occasion which creates the hearer and makes him a learner, is lacking in the legitimation of a call, and is thus in its shortcomings without excuse.

(SK) Stages on Life’s Way 1845 (The Banquet)

The participants were five in number: John, with the epithet of the Seducer, Victor Eremita, Constantin Constantius, and yet two others whose names I have not exactly forgotten—which would be a matter of small importance—but whose names I did not learn. It was as if these two had no proper names, for they were constantly addressed by some epithet. The one was called the Young Person.

(SK) Purity of Heart Is To Will One Thing

Søren Kierkegaard is being discovered by the English-speaking world after something over three-quarters of a century of complete neglect. The creative writing of this Danish Pascal was nearly all done in a phenomenally productive six-year period between 1842 and 1848. (Douglas Steere)

Søren Kierkegaard, 1847 Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits
The Glory of our Common Humanity

This is the way the Gospel read leads the concerned individual out into the field, into surroundings which will include him in the great common life, which will gain for him the great fellowship of existence. But since the concern has now established itself firmly within him, it is evident that something must be done to get his eyes and mind diverted from it.

Works of Love 1847 Swenson translation 1949

Dissimilarity from Works of Love

(SK) The Point of View of My Work as an Author 1848, Lowrie translation 1962  (Another summing up)

The Point of View leaves one no option but to reconsider his ‘work as an author’ — his personal existence as well as his art — from the commanding perspective of his spiritual calling.

SK) On the Dedication to “That Single Individual”

The crowd is untruth. There is therefore no one who has more contempt for what it is to be a human being than those who make it their profession to lead the crowd.

The Difference Between A Genius and an Apostle 1849

If the sphere of paradox-religion is abolished, or explained away in aesthetics, an Apostle becomes neither more nor less than a genius, and then — good night, Christianity! Esprit and the Spirit, revelation and originality, a call from God and genius, all end by meaning more or less the same thing.

The Sickness Unto Death 1849

The Christian heroism (and perhaps it is rarely to be seen) is to venture wholly to be oneself, as an individual man, this definite individual man, alone before the face of God, alone in this tremendous exertion and this tremendous responsibility; but it is not Christian heroism to be humbugged by the pure idea of humanity or to play the game of marveling at world-history.

(SK) Training in Christianity 1850, Hollander translation 1923

Excerpts from Kierkegaard’s Preparation for a Christian Life (Hollander 1923)

(SK) For Self-Examination, Judge for Yourselves! and Three Discourses 1851

(SK) The Unchangeableness of God (excerpt) 1855

In each moment every actuality is a possibility in His almighty hand; He holds all in readiness, in every instant prepared to change everything: the opinions of men, their judgements, human greatness and human abasement; He changes all, Himself unchanged.

(SK) Kierkegaard’s attack upon “Christendom,” 1854-185, Lowrie translation

Strange that it has been left to me to translate this Attach upon “Christendom,” to me who as a “priest” am here attacked with the utmost scorn! Strange (and perhaps significant), as I have remarked in the Introduction, that no one else has shown any zeal to make this trenchant attack known to the English-speaking world! I was not eager to do it. I neither commend nor decry this attack. But perhaps it is well that, since it was written from within the Church, it should now be translated by a priest. In Germany it was translated a long while ago by two ex-pastors, and everywhere it has been hailed in an anticlerical, if not in an anti-Christian interest. (Walter Lowrie)

works of SK

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