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How to Read Kierkegaard Paperback – 17 Aug 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 142 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st American Ed edition (17 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393330788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393330786
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,789,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


* 'These books let you encounter thinkers eyeball to eyeball by analysing passages from their work' Terry Eagleton, New Statesman * 'These deceptively slim volumes really are a course in "How to Read", not "How to Pretend to Have Read''' John Banville, Irish Times * 'Each author offers a smart take on how to approach reading his subject's works by providing historical and biographical detail, critical debate and sample excerpts of text' Sarah Sennott, Newsweek --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

John D. Caputo is the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Humanities at Syracuse University and a specialist in the interface between postmodern thought and contemporary religion. His latest books are The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event and After the Death of God, coauthored with Gianni Vattimo. He is also the author of On Religion. Simon Critchley is Hans Jonas Professor at the New School for Social Research, and a part-time professor of philosophy at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. His many books include Infinitely Demanding, Ethics-Politics-Subjectivity and, most recently, The Book of Dead Philosophers.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this more for a taste of Caputo than to lear about Kierkegaard. I have been a fan of the great Dane for some years, now. Anyway, I found Caputo's writing crisp, mostly economical and mostly pretty transparent. Nice. Better, I did learn something about 'reading Kiekegaard'. I would love to talk to Caputo about his (mis)reading of the Abraham and Isaac routine which seems to me to be flagrantly question begging, but even that warned a winter evening.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good introduction to one of histories most important and original thinkers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Caputo Achieves the Improbable 5 Jan. 2011
By K. B. Housley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was nervous and uncertain about the idea of an introduction to Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard tends to be a love-him-or-hate-him sort of writer, and much of the early English-language literature on him tends towards hagiography. Counter to this trend is the psychoanalytic streak many authors have, seeking to diagnose him as a particularly morbid personality.

Caputo's reputation made me want to try, as I wanted to see if there was an introduction out there appropriate for new readers of Kierkegaard. Caputo's book works, and largely due to his very sharp selection of texts. The book is arranged as brief commentaries on short, important texts which can emphasize different aspects of Kierkegaard's work.

Such excerpting is somewhat dangerous with an author as prolific and non-systematic as the subject, however, Caputo is largely fair in my estimation. He is particularly interested in Kierkegaard's view of subjectivity, but does not seem to imply the fideism he is accused of by other commentators. Caputo is obviously not fond of the later Kierkegaard, which he shares with us in places outside of the appropriate excerpt. It is true that the final years of Kierkegaard's work are hard to enjoy, but some greater detachment may have served the book's purpose better.

The book has many clear strengths as an introduction, however, including its brevity. An "introduction" to Kierkegaard would either be a multi-volume work, or just as short as this one is, and Caputo (and the editors of this series), wisely chose the latter. It doesn't get very deep into the literary quality of Kierkegaard, but Caputo does manage to highlight Kierkegaard as a prophet of modernity, which is perhaps his most generally appealing aspect.

For readers who have picked up one of Kierkegaard's works and found them overwhelming, or do not know where to start, this text is a good one. Add to it that there is no real competitor (at least in English), and it is a worthy volume indeed.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Overview 16 Nov. 2015
By Daniel J. Isadore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Caputo is terrific. I've learned from and enjoyed everything I've read from him. This little book on Kierkegaard is no exception. He provides an entry point to the difficult Dane for us common folk, and he does it with both brevity and style. A real delight to read!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Introduction to Kierkegaard's Labyrinthine Corpus 20 Jun. 2014
By Micah Wimmer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this even though I had already read four separate works by Kierkegaard. The man seemed to be full of contradictions and also, what was the deal with the fact that of these four books, none of them were attributed to Kierkegaard himself? I needed help making sense of what I had already read and having an idea of what to expect if I decided to read more.

This book ably introduces the reader to not only Kierkegaard's main concepts, but also intersperses his interpretation of this concepts with biographical details as well that make it easier to understand just why Kierkegaard came to write what he did. What sets this book apart, though, is how Caputo is able to point out the differences between Kierkegaard's earlier and later work as well as offer thoughtful critiques of various aspects of Kierkegaard's views. Despite the fact that Caputo claims to be a champion of Kierkegaard, this book is not 120 pages of thoughtless praise. Caputo also, at multiple points, shows how Kierkegaard's thought relates to Nietzsche's and also influenced later philosophers such as Camus, Sartre, and Heidegger, among others. It is difficult for me to imagine a much better introduction to Kierkegaard for the general reader than this little book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 4 Oct. 2016
By Judith A. Jacobson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great, short introduction. I particularly appreciated, and followed, the recommendations for further reading
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth it. 21 Aug. 2014
By Michel Olson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like all of the how to read books it is a great guide to kierkegaard and his wrightings.
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