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Either/Or, Part I

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  940 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Rear cover notes: "Soren Kierkegaard, the nineteenth-century Danish philosopher rediscovered in the twentieth century, is a major influence in contemporary philosophy, religion, and literature. He regarded Either/Or as the beginning of his authorship, although he had published two earlier works on Hans Christian Andersen and irony. The pseudonymous volumes of Either/Or are ...more
Paperback, Kierkegaard's Writings #3, 702 pages
Published by Princeton University Press (first published 1844)
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Glenn Russell
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Either/Or is a two part/two book set; this book is part I, that is, the Either of Either/Or. For those unfamiliar with this work by the Danish philosopher, Either presents what Kierkegaard terms the aesthetic view of life. And since the aesthetic view of life embraces multiplicity and variation, this book isn’t a straightforward philosophical essay; rather, Kierkegaard’s aesthetic individual (herein called ‘A’) writes 8 different papers, each one from a different aesthetic angle.

For example, the
John Lucy
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Combined with volume II, Either/Or is a master-piece. Enough said right there.

For those who don't like reading weighty philosophy texts that are hard to understand and require a crap ton of concentration, this is a good volume to read. The second volume demands a little more thoughtfulness, though once you read volume I you probably should read the second one. Of course, to get the most out of this volume you should pay attention. If you learn how to read this volume, and the second volume, then
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Despite Kierkegaard's own intentions, I think it can be argued that the aesthetic "stage" (embodied most clearly in this book) and the religious stage (the highest stage for Kierkegaard) in fact reach something like parity (demonstrating this is a task too long for a review, but is particularly clear in Fear and Trembling). If, however, that is true, it simply makes the first part of Either/Or even better than Kierkegaard intended. I teach portions of it in my Philosophy and Literature course, b ...more
Jun 10, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
kierkegaard wrote two long either/or books, existentialist in a tragic sense. one is sentimentalist and romantic, the other is about the holiness of marriage. supposed to be written by two different people. (both assholes in my opinion)
May 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, philosophy
There's some stuff here.
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
I'm feeling the most urgent need of writing subtly for this review, for reasons nobody except myself would care. Still, since I instead of anyone else is writing this review, I should attend to what I care.

Two maxims by Nietzsche guided my reading throughout the book: "philosophy is always the biography of the philosopher" and "a certain affect is a certain perception, a way of viewing the world". These two becomes pretty evident when one reads through Kierkegaard, often times puzzled or even bo
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Among other things, this book may be the most philosophically elaborate and sophisticated breaking of a girl's heart, ever, in the history of man. I would like to have dinner with Regine after she finished this book.
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
4/5 because "the seducer's diary" gets very tiresome.
Dec 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Going to keep chewing on this for a while. Always on my night stand. Someday I'll get all the way through. Makes me strangely happy every time I pick it up.
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's like neitzsche mixed with critical theory almost. I don't think i've read a philosopher who wrote this long ago who seemed to base a philosophy on a piece of literature. Most of this reads like an academic paper.
Part 1 of Either/or consists of the notes of "A", a representative of and advocate of the esthetic life. Kierkegaard writes "in character" - A is an aesthete, and reflects a position that is not Kierkegaard's own. He writes in favor of the aesthetic life. What exactly Kierkegaard intends by this is difficult to explain, but in general, I take him to mean locating the meaning of one's life in experiences - a sort of hedonism (though I don't think it is quite hedonism). This is done over a series ...more
Dustyn Hessie
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Nietzsche and his pals, Raging Germans, Critics, Socialholics with Vibrant Inner-Selves,
Recommended to Dustyn by: Zizek
As much as I enjoy reading Kiekegaard, I'd have to say that if this were the first book I were introduced to of his, I'd probably not be so adamant in my determination to read his entire oeuvre (plenty of thinkers I can imagine would agree with me on this point).

What got me through Either/Or's sometimes drollful love expositions was the beautiful writing. Kiekegaard, at the very least, gets this point across to readers - get lost in words. For example: in "The Seducers Diary," where the endless
John Jr.
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This is a kind of philosophy through impersonation, as is Part II: it's Kierkegaard writing in the guise of a character embodying certain positions he wants to examine. Earlier thinkers (Plato and Galileo immediately come to mind) had employed a similar tactic in their dialogues. It's relatively indirect but very engaging. The position being examined here is that of the aesthetic approach to life. To rely on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "The aesthetic stage of existence is characteri ...more
Jan 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Re-reading SK after 35 years. Better the second time around. A life's experience of existing in moments of decisiveness make the reading more engaging, provocative, and insightful. To think that SK writes about the experience of the human condition from a context almost two-hundred years old! Sure, there are some cultural phenomena that are no longer in play, but the fundamental ingredients of the task of living remain. Who are we, and how shall we live, confronted as we are by the humanly-const ...more
Pastor Ben
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
To rate this book is difficult. Its subject matter, the aesthetic, is a hard slog for someone who believes that the strictly aesthetic is a horror. So I rank it poorly. On the other hand, this is precisely the point which Kierkegaard is making (via his pseudonyms). So I should rank it highly? Or should I just not rank it at all since I certainly didn't understand it in its fullness? For the philosophically inclined it merits reading, especially if it can be placed in a broad understanding of thi ...more
Sep 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
What can be said at this point? Perhaps this: I found this book to be a delight. Challenging, yes, but at the same time accessible. I'm only sad I waited this long to jump into the Kierkegaard pool. It's deep, sure, but you can swim in it.

This is, of course, only half this text, and the second half is markedly different (so far). Still, wonderful. Don't be put off by K's reputation for difficulty. There are rewards here.
Mar 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I find this translation (by the Swensons) superior to others. "The Rotation Method" (elsewhere translated as "Crop Rotation") is one of my favorite philosophical essays because it manages to discuss profound themes of human existence while being laugh-out-loud funny. This review is for Volume I only, "Either". "Or" is disappointing due to content rather than style.
William Randolph
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Finished "Either"… now on to "Or".
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Kierkegaard cleverly reveals to us the workings of agitated minds. This is a philosophy book that reads like a novel. On to Part II . . .
Christy Leonardo
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I kept returning to the impression that I was reading the textual equivalent of a golden spiral. Never has a philosopher embraced paradox as deftly as K.
Reviewed together with Vol. I:
Jun 01, 2007 rated it it was ok
Svetlana reads this all the time. It is good but insane.
Michael Withey
Nov 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Don Giovanni is a good opera
Desire is a funny old thing
First half of the nineteenth century's best novel. And, to me, one of the most powerful philosophical accounts of love, commitment, and what it means to live a good life.
Sep 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
an incredibly insightful description of desperate love as I am undergoing now
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sjca, philosophy
SJCA - Politics and Society
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
нєνєℓ  ¢ανα
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Quite excellent work from Soren Kierkegaard
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a question on translation 3 71 Oct 06, 2012 04:08AM  
  • Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography
  • Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr
  • The Complete Works: The Revised Oxford Translation, Vol. 2
  • The Essential Foucault: Selections from Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984
  • The Ecclesiastical History of the English People/The Greater Chronicle/Letter to Egbert
  • Critique of Cynical Reason
  • Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology
  • Parables and Paradoxes
  • Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
  • If The War Goes On: Reflections On War And Politics
  • Summa Contra Gentiles: Book 1: God
  • Nietzsche, Volumes 3&4: The Will to Power as Knowledge and as Metaphysics & Nihilism
  • The Face of the Third Reich: Portraits of the Nazi Leadership
  • On the Nature of the Gods. Academics
  • The Blue and Brown Books
  • The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History with a Selection of Texts
  • The Examined Life: Philosophical Meditations
  • Glas
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...

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“A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that's just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it's a joke.” 483 likes
“Do you not know that there comes a midnight hour when every one has to throw off his mask? Do you believe that life will always let itself be mocked? Do you think you can slip away a little before midnight to avoid this?” 24 likes
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