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Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  4,229 ratings  ·  74 reviews
'What if everything in the world were a misunderstanding, what if laughter were really tears?'

Either/Or is the earliest of the major works of Søren Kierkegaard, one of the most startlingly original thinkers and writers of the nineteenth century, and the first which he wrote under a pseudonym, as he would for his greatest philosophical writings. Adopting the viewpoints of
Paperback, 640 pages
Published December 1st 1992 by Penguin Classics (first published 1843)
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Marcus Speh
kierkegaard's either/or which i first read in the german translation (possibly a little closer to the danish original) is a first rate philosophical excursion that, much like many of the works of nietzsche, is also a first rate literary pleasure. it is only reluctantly that i call this book "non-fiction". if published today, e.g. in mcsweeney's, either/or, k.s first published book, would blow people away just the same and lead to a global existential outcry of youths. k. has always informed my w ...more
Oct 04, 2007 Seri rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: artists, seducers, judges
Shelves: booksireadin2006
Even if you are not interested in philosophy, this book is great to read just for its literary style. Kierkegaard speaks through a pseudonymous editor, who has compiled the diary of an aesthete who is also a seducer of young girls. Warning the aesthete is a judge who pleads with him to choose an ethical life over his aesthetic gallavanting lifestyle.

Kierkegaard is not only a great philosopher, but also a great writer. This is his first work and also the best introduction to his later philosophy.
AJ Griffin
This is one of those books that you read that covers a bunch of things you had been thinking about on your own, at which point you realize "oh: i'm not really that smart, am I?"

But as a general rule, I like anyone who agrees with me, and I like the way Kerigaodigjadkfaodfkadsdfnsldfkasdfnlaskdn (sp?) writes. 4 stars from me.

also a very very good album, but that's a different deal.
Sean Wilson
A book full of musings on many different elements of life and issues which are still very much relevant today, Either/Or is a wonderful book, not just as a piece of philosophy, but as pure literature. Soren Kierkegaard writes like a poet, which makes his philosophical writings so entertaining and enlightening to read.

A guide to a meaningful existence, Kierkegaard explores the aesthetic and ethical ideologies of life through two characters: A, the aesthetician and Judge Wilhelm, the ethicist. Par
Brent McCulley
Easily one of the best books I have read this year, as this year nears the end, I can say without a doubt that Kierkegaard was truly a genius. It is not without purpose that my mind immediately rushes to Nietzsche pithy aphorism on genius wherein he writes,
"Every deep thinker is more afraid of being understood than being misunderstood. In the latter case, perhaps his vanity suffers, but the former hurts his heart, his sympathy, which always says, "Alas, why do you want to have it as hard as I
Enten you Love this / Eller you don't. It had a big impact on my life for sure...
Are passions, then, the Pagans of the soul? Reason alone baptized?

I guess the choice of this quote in the beginning of the book tells us a lot about the common thread in this book and the rest of his work.

So the book is divided into two parts and Victor Eremita is the editor who published the work.

The part I written by the young ironic aesthete “A” contains a lot of witty aphorisms, an essay on Mozart’s Don Giovanni, a very interesting essay on tragedy in ancient and modern drama and an insightf
Alastair Hannay writes that the "motivation" for Either/Or was "probably a combination of two things:" 1. breaking off with Regine Olsen and 2. his confrontation with Schelling's philosophy. I'm fascinated by the whole breakup story. I've long tried to figure out why he did it. I think it was Francis Bacon who said something like "He who has a wife and children has given hostages to fortune." Or maybe it was Kevin Bacon. In any case, I think Soren made the choice to write and he did not want any ...more
Either/or is discredited by its principle reliance on the necessity to choose between an aesthetic or ethical life. Kierkegaard makes the point that we have to choose between these if we want to have purpose to life because of the inherent contradiction between the two. However this choice seems arbitrary and unnatural. Even if necessary (which I doubt it is), why propose a philosophy that's impossible for a vast majority of people to apply?

While the logic is pretty shady for a work considered t
S.J. Pettersson
Either you have read this book, or you have not. If you have read it, you will not require a review, if you have not, non will suffice to describe its content.
A friend took me to visit Kierkegaard's grave at assistens kirkrgården in Copenhagen during a difficult time in my life. Ben Webster is also buried there.
my name is corey irl
A: take many lovers! maximise enjoyment!
B: marry! love your wife with all your soule!
C: Most famous cat on the Internet: Maru - compilation (329.9 Mb)
Mike Maxwell
This book is one of those rare things, a philosophical work that might actually change you. Works of philosophy should either make you look at the world differently, or yourself differently. Either/Or is in the latter class.

This is the first book by the first existentialist philospher, the Dane Soren Kierkegaard. In many ways it is unusual, such as I have described above, and also in terms of its structure. It is written under a pseudonym (Victor Eremita) who himself has not actually "written" t
This was a slow read. Not because it isn't interesting but because it demands every available brain cell be focused. His discussions of the aesthetic and then the ethical life are presented by means of letters, and a diary, written by different characters created by Kierkegaard. This is a devise to show the various views from the inside.
Having read Fear and Trembling before this definitely helped me sort out some of what he was saying. An understanding his views regarding despair, resignation,
Two very different books in one. The supposed author of Part I is all spark, wit, and aesthetic finess, but is also very long-winded and exasperating in his self-absorption and Byron-esc mood of a tragic hero. The author of Part II starts out in a refreshing contrast to Part I, but soon disintegrates into a rather pedantic and dry monologue of conveniently conventional self-approval. Each part includes, at the end, an essay (for the lack of a better word) that casts a doubt on the value of every ...more
Wafiqa Almassri
What if we mistook the way we are meant to take? What if we took both ways? Walked them both? Lived two lives? Had two life-views? Who said one can only be "ONEself" after all?
Isn't life all about this binary- opposition system? What if we were this system operator? Its substance? And who can deny the existence of this enigmatic doubled power that sleeps in us?
Life has never been an Either/Or question; however, had it been so, we would have lived linearly, endlessly..

Kierkegaard, my first book
Matias Dalsgaard
I very much learned thinking and observing from Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard is at the same time a philosopher, a psychologist and a writer. In Either-Or you find all these aspects of Kierkegaard. The aesthetic observer in part one and the ethic and religious philosophy in part two of the book. A good place to start getting acquainted with Kierkegaard's style and intellectual universe.
I particularly liked (and also found easier to read) Diapsalmata, The Seducer's Diary, Equilibrium between the Aesthetic and the Ethical (...) and The Edifying in the Thought that Against God We Are Always in the Wrong. But, obviously, all of it is incredibly thought-provoking.
This is by far one of the best books of philosophy I've ever read. Kierkegaard's writing style is unique and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this as part of my degree and makes for interesting reflection and discussion.
This is a strange, interesting read. Kierkegaard has a thoughtful, and complex philosophy and it is hard to know what the man believes since he couches it in characters like the Aesthete and Judge Wilhelm.If the book were written in the 20th century it would probably be considered post-modern because while I think it is often classified as a novel, it has a unique structure.

The first part of the book is by the Aesthete character. He expounds upon Mozart's "Don Giovani" and is praising the epony
Jan 11, 2009 Lily marked it as to-read
I want to read this, because I read the summary on wikipedia and suddenly understood a line from The Handmaid's Tale that I have always liked but never quite been sure what it meant.
Jul 03, 2014 H is currently reading it
Shelves: philosophy
I depict hope so vividly that every hopeful individual will recognize himself in my portrayal; and yet it is a fake, for while I depict it I am thinking of recollection. (53; Diapsalmata)

Only where the idea is brought to rest transparently in a definite form can we talk of a classic work . . . (63; The Immediate Erotic Stages or the Musical Erotic)

. . . the greater the probability that no repetition is conceivable, the greater the probability that having found its expression it has acquired it o
“You love the accidental. A smile from a pretty girl in an interesting situation, a stolen glance, that is what you are hunting for, that is a motif for your aimless fantasy. You who always pride yourself on being an observateur must, in return, put up with becoming an object of observation. Ah, you are a strange fellow, one moment a child, the next an old man; one moment you are thinking most earnestly about the most important scholarly problems, how you will devote your life to them, and the n ...more
Reading Kierkegaard is never easy, but I actually think this is one of his easier reads. This is one of those books that make you reflect upon how we live our lives. The first half of the book contains critical essays and papers supposedly written by A on aesthestics (on topics ranging from Mozart's "Don Giovanni," Sophocles' "Antigone," and Goethe's "Faust") and the famous "Seducer's Diary." Although Kierkegaard's intention of writing the first half was to make a point that in our early stage o ...more
Rafinovaná kniha. Formálně pestrá sbírka aforismů, úvah i novely. Osciluje mezi nevázanou rozpustilostí a smrtelnou vážností. Vydána byla pod pseudonymem jako soubor náhodně nalezených textů dalších osob, z nichž některé se tváří, jako by vydávaly pod pseudonymem díla dalších osob. Zkrátka Kierkegaard je všechno, jen ne jednoduchý.
Hlavním tématem knihy je rozpor mezi estetickým a etickým přístupem k životu. Estetická část je pestrá, živá, lehkomyslně duchaplná, schází ji vážnost a čte se snadno.
Chin Jian xiong
I don't regret reading this but I better start hitting on Hegel before going back to this. Too much references to German Idealism. In any case Kierkegaard is the Proto-existentialist that sets the base for the whole load of other stuff to come.

Crop Rotation is hilariously insightful.
Immediate Erotic Stages almost made me want to go and listen to Opera
The essay about tragedies is extremely useful in providing the base for the three stages theory.
Seducer's Diary is Kierkegaard going into writer mo
What do I think... First thing that comes to mind is the structure of the book, it consists of interlocking topics ranging far indeed, and on top of this several layers of pseudonyms. (and the editor does a great job of introducing you to this, and to the book's remoteness in time)
Depending on the part you are reading, it is sometimes exhilarating, funny, moving, thought provoking, and yes, sometimes dreary, tedious and hard to follow. Kierkegaard is steeped in Hegelian philosophy, so if you ar
Joseph Monroe
A very pleasing aesthetic read. Part I more interesting than II, though it was probably, artistically, meant to be that. Part one is ironic, satiric, humorous, and tragic. Part II is seems more tragic when considering how boring it is. This book shows the young Kierkegaard at his literary and witty best. Though i do not think that there must be a choice between just either/or. This only leads to regret. And a "rotation of crops" philosophy will keep one preoccupied, but existence in that kind of ...more
As always Soren leaves us to think for ourselves as he uses characters to buffer between him and his reader. "A" the lover provides one possible perspective, and "B" or the judge, provides the opposite perspective. Wait, two opposites leaving us dissatisfied and wanting a third, could this be a dialectic? If the third option is different for everyone Soren did us a great service in not spoon feeding us a pat answer.
read this book in on of my favorite courses in all of my undergraduate tour - Freshman Writing Seminar - Existentialism. This is the only one I really enjoyed reading and remember enough to still discuss now. He's hilarious/ridiculous/awesome.

p.s. my favorite courses in college were Existentialism, Orgo, and Constitutional Law. how was I supposed to figure out what to major in based on THAT?!
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Existentialism: Crop Rotation 3 35 Jul 24, 2012 05:06AM  
Existentialism: The Unhappiest One 2 54 Jul 23, 2012 07:57AM  
Existentialism: Shadowgraphs 3 13 Jul 23, 2012 07:31AM  
Existentialism: The Immediate Erotic Stages or the Musical Erotic 15 32 Jul 20, 2012 07:33AM  
Existentialism: Diapsalmata 31 29 Jul 16, 2012 10:41AM  
Existentialism: (Unabridged Only) The First Love 1 9 Jul 13, 2012 08:37AM  
Kierkegaard: Eithor / Or 4 26 Jul 09, 2012 04:11PM  
  • Poetry, Language, Thought
  • The World as Will and Representation, Vol 2
  • Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre
  • Human, All Too Human
  • Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology
  • The Ethics of Ambiguity
  • A Treatise of Human Nature
  • Phenomenology of Perception
  • Matter and Memory
  • Philosophical Investigations
  • The Philosophy of History
  • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy)
  • Truth and Method
  • Of Grammatology
  • Pensées
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a prolific 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian. Kierkegaard strongly criticised both the Hegelianism of his time and what he saw as the empty formalities of the Church of Denmark. Much of his work deals with religious themes such as faith in God, the institution of the Christian Church, Christian ethics and theology, and the emotions and feelings of individua ...more
More about Søren Kierkegaard...
Fear and Trembling The Sickness Unto Death (Kierkegaard's Writings, Vol 19) Fear and Trembling/Repetition (Kierkegaard's Writings, Volume 6) The Seducer's Diary The Essential Kierkegaard

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“I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.” 534 likes
“In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant… My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known — no wonder, then, that I return the love.” 473 likes
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