- Hardcover: 576 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; New Ed edition (4 Jun. 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691037922
- ISBN-13: 978-0691037929
- Product Dimensions: 22.5 x 14.9 x 4.5 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,531,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Kierkegaard's Writings, XVI: Works of Love: v. 16 Hardcover – 4 Jun 1995
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"The definitive edition of the Writings. The first volume . . . indicates the scholarly value of the entire series: an introduction setting the work in the context of Kierkegaard's development; a remarkably clear translation; and concluding sections of intelligent notes."--Library Journal
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If it were true-as conceited shrewdness, proud of not being deceived, thinks-that one should believe nothing which he cannot see by means of his physical eyes, then first and foremost one ought to give up believing in love. Read the first page
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This book is also extremely well-written, well-translated, and readable. _Works of Love_ is living proof of the theory that inherently complicated and profound subject matter does not necessarily have to be extremely difficult to read. Kierkegaard's use of anecdotal situations and clear real-life examples to illustrate his theories make the book more readily understandable, and his writing style naturally lends itself to clear and accurate translation. Unlike many German philosophers of the same time period, Kierkegaard (from Denmark) does not lapse into highly personal, abstract, and inaccessable concepts, but instead focuses on more realistic and timeless problems that have plagued humanity since the dawn of sentience. While authors like Hegel and Schopenhauer are intellectually stimulating and mildly interesting, reading their works does not exactly make you happier, more hopeful, and more empathetically caring. You are often left with nothing but pie-in-the-sky theories regarding esoteric philosophical questions that are only marginally relevant to the everyday realities we experience. Kierkegaard, on the other hand, can greatly improve the quality of your life, and help you achieve a positive and non-hateful outlook.
Also keep in mind that this is easily Kierkegaard's most personal book, revealing the inner nature of his own spiritual beliefs. Unlike an author like Heidegger, who will ramble for 400 pages and never even bother to tell you if he believes in God or not, Kierkegaard is up front and honest with the reader, speaking directly to us. A true expert on Kierkegaard knows that he often wrote under pseudonyms, and playfully stepped into another character or alter-ego, lending an almost ficticious aspect to some of his philosophical works. In reading some of these pseudonymous books, a careful reader will observe that Kierkegaard often contradicts his real persona in subtle ways. It is easy to overlook his purposeful self-contradictions and alter-ego characterizations unless you compare these works with his more personal and truthful works, _Works of Love_ being the prime example.
Should you buy this book? YES!! I unconditionally recommend this book to anyone, anywhere. It is the perfect introduction to Kierkegaard; the one you should read first. It is also a recapitulation and summary of all of his most important concepts, so it could also be read last. But at some point you must read this book. The only type of person who would not appreciate this book is someone who has thoroughly convinced himself of the hopelessness, meaninglessness, and absurdity of existence; someone who has become completely disillusioned with God in response to tragedy, and believes knowledge can only beget sorrow. Most people with this kind of negative outlook are often anti-intellectuals anyway, and seldom read legitimate philosophical books anymore. But even if you are disillusioned with God and unable to comprehend tragedy, you still might want to read this book because it may provide the only way out of your depressing predicament. _Works of Love_ is a shining beacon of hope in an often violent, tragic, and chaotic universe, and is one of the few books ever written that is sophisticated and credible enough to pull even the most die-hard sceptic out of the despair of hopelessness.
A must read for Christians and for others interested in understanding Kierkegaardian philosphy.
The book is organized around the theme of becoming a true lover. SK normally cites a particular Biblical passage regarding love (i.e., "Love hides a multitude of sins") and then profoundly explores the implications of the passage for the reader's life. Often the contrast with "erotic" and "platonic" love (i.e. the poetic) is made to demonstrate how radical the call of Christian love really is.
Hauntingly powerful and soul-stopping: if you decide to read only one book by Kierkegaard, this is the one I'd recommend.
The Hong's translation is excellent, and scholarly end notes are provided.
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