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Mercer University Press
Either/Or Pt 1 / Edition 2

Either/Or Pt 1 / Edition 2

by George Howard, Robert L. Perkins


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For the first time in English the world community of scholars is systematically assembling and presenting the results of recent research in the vast literature of Soren Kierkegaard. Based on the definitive English edition of Kierkegaard's works by Princeton University Press, this series of commentaries addresses all the published texts of the influential Danish philosopher and theologian.

Works of Love is a deep and rich book, one that deserves to be widely read and reflected upon. However, the aim of Kierkegaard's labor is not to increase reflection, though that may itself be a work of love, but rather to increase the works of love directed to the flesh-and-blood neighbor, the walking-down-the-street variety of human being.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780865544703
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Publication date: 12/28/1995
Series: International Kierkegaard Commentary Series
Edition description: REVISED
Pages: 294
Product dimensions: 6.36(w) x 9.31(h) x 0.87(d)


Kierkegaard's Either/Or can be read in multiple ways. One important possible reading at the present time is to be read it as a critique of the sexual stereotyping of women (and, implicitly, the stereotyping of men as well) and gender relations that characterize modern Western thought. The stereotyping is not simple and unvarigated. To mention two extremes, Kierkegaard's presentation of gender relations range from the outrageous subjugation and domination of woman shown in the Diary of the Seducer, with which Kierkegaard closes the first volume of Either/Or, to the affectionate and gentle love that characterizes the relation of Judge William and his wife in the second volume, where the best face is put upon bourgeois marriage.

In Either/Or, Part One, Kierkegaard presents what he calls the aesthetic form of life. There he focuses on a large variety of the stereotypical views of women, from a sentimental and whining appraisal of her position in the world, through the view that sexual exploitation is an uncontrollable natural instinct and/or drive for which men are not morally responsible, to the view that woman is a jest, not to be taken seriously as a moral and responsible being, and then that she is just there as a sexual object or plaything to be reflectively seduced on the male's terms and for his pleasure or rejection, whatever suits him at the moment. Needless to say, this great variety of views of the "uses" of woman has provoked a large critique, and just as predictably, that critique is as varied as the intellectual tools available for the analysis of a work that is as literary as it is philosophic.

The present collection of essays treats these and many other of the most important issues raise in Either/Or in fresh and perceptive ways. Even where familiar themes are argued, the authors introduce innovative interprtive models, new approaches and new materials are appealed to, or new rebuttal arguments against previously held positions are offered. Several of the articles, for instance, appropiate or criticize methods or insights derived from postmodernism and/or feminist philosophy, an approach tha would have been unlikely two decades ago.

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