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Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  265 ratings  ·  31 reviews
The day will come when not only my writings, but precisely my life--the intriguing secret of all the machinery--will be studied and studied. S�ren Kierkegaard's remarkable combination of genius and peculiarity made this a fair if arrogant prediction. But Kierkegaard's life has been notoriously hard to study, so complex was the web of fact and fiction in his work. Joakim Ga ...more
Hardcover, 896 pages
Published January 17th 2005 by Princeton University Press (first published 2000)
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Khuong Thi hãy cho biết sự khác biệt giữa nền luân lý của Søren Kierkegaard và nền luân lý của Immanuel Kant?

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Steve Bennett
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Had Kierkegaard lived in contemporary times, he simply would have been prescribed mood-altering medications, written a hit movie "Forgetting Regine Olsen," and performed history of rap skits with Jimmy Fallon. As it was, he lived (and suffered) a lonely strange life but a life that was certainly individualistic and his own. And he wrote some great books.

Garff has written a fantastic (and extremley lengthy) biography of Kierkegaard. I've read Kirmmse's Kiekegaard in Golden Age Denmark and found t
Daniel Lehn
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, biography
Joakim Garff’s Soren Kierkegaard is a whopper of a biography coming in at 810 pages, but the tone was fairly light and the pace fairly quick so it was by no means burdensome. It took a long time to finish more because I fell ill about halfway through and all productivity went goodbye. I’m thankful for this fact, as the feeling of my own infirmities helped me to empathize with Kierkegaard’s own physical frailty and the sense of melancholy that easily accompanies it. While my frailty caused litera ...more
Knut Rage
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serious-thinking
Den ultimate Kierkegaard-biografi! Livsløp, kuriosia og ein grundig gjennomgang av SAK's skrifter. Ein murstein du gjerne vil ha i hovudet!
Michael Baranowski
Garff's biography of Kierkegaard made me realize that Kierkegaard was a strange and fascinating man. But because so much of his life was mental life, his biography is not exactly scintillating. This 800+ page book is not something I'd recommend for anyone other than Kierkegaard scholars or obsessives.
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
Ikke tak Gud, men tak Kierkegaard for Kierkegaard - for hans tankesæt, for hans excentricitet, for hans satire, for hans enmandsrevolutioner og ikke mindst for hans flabethed og grovhed. Joakim Garffs bog er et vanvittigt monstrum af et projekt, der forsøger at indkapsle både mennesket og skribenten Kierkegaard på tværs af alt, hvad der hedder pseudonymer og kinesiske æskespil i, hvad Garff kalder 'komplekset' Kierkegaard, altså manden set fra alle vinkler på én gang, hvorfra man forstår, at Gar ...more
Emma Lefavor
Nov 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Given the nature of the subject, it would be surprising if Garff's biography was not incredibly interesting. Even so, Garff goes above and beyond in his treatment of the Dane and his works, making it a must-read for anyone interested in Kierkegaard.

This is not a book for beginners. Garff presupposes some basic familiarity with Kierkegaard's life and works. (Then again, I find it hard to believe that one would pick up an 800-page biography of an author they've never read.) Furthermore, one could
Alex Obrigewitsch
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A well-woven work that greatly fleshes out and depicts the context of Kierkegaard's life and times - thw Copenhagen which was so essential to the existence of this thinker to whom existence was of such essential import.

Anyone who is seriously studying Kierkegaard will find this work a must-read. It is a weighty tome, but it is eminently readable, and never dull. It is also a lot less idealizing than Lowrie's biography, offering a perhaps fairer picture of this excentric and endearing individual.
William Schram
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In this massive tome, Joakim Garff attempts to separate fact from fiction in the life of Søren Aabye Kierkegaard. While Kierkegaard wrote a lot of works and pieces of philosophy, much of his personal life remained shrouded in mystery. Originally printed in Danish, this book was translated by Bruce Kirmmse. It was wonderfully researched and very thorough in scope.

Alongside the text are several pictures and portraits done of Kierkegaard in various stages of life. The book was thoroughly researched
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't know of any book like this that goes as in depth in to the life of Kierkegaard. I found it fascinating. I would say that if you read it you will regret it and if you don't read it you will regret it.
Mary Jo Malo
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Indispensable addition to any study of Kierkegaard's work and life.
Moses Yuriyvich Mikheyev
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this biography twice. It's wonderful.
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: existentialism
In this definitive biography of Søren Aabye Kierkegaard, Joakim Garff gives a lucid and thorough presentation of the subject's life and works. This work is not brief, and anyone who undertakes reading an 800-page biography of a man who did not do much besides write should expect to take a deep dive into details most find trivial. However, for the student of Kierkegaard this biography leaves nothing to be desired. One is immersed in 19th century Copenhagen literary circles which Kierkegaard was p ...more
Joakim Garff, one of the most reputable Danish Kierkegaard scholars (check out his essay "The Eyes of Argus" to judge for yourself), takes 800 plus pages to work a narrative around Kierkegaard's life and times, including antagonists ranging from the Corsair, N.F.S. Gruntvig, Jakob Peter Mynster, Hans Lassen Martensen, his former "disciple," Rasmus Nielson, and even his own brother, at times, Peter Christian Kierkegaard. Garff gives many insights drawn from historical materials many do not have a ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
A surprising mediocrity despite (or, perhaps due to) the heft of this volume. Like most competent biographers of the modern style, Garff does not leap beyond the facts of the matter. No objection will be made to the accuracy of his account regarding descriptions of S.K's various trips abroad, his public ecclesiastical controversies, or regarding Garff's extensive coverage of the well-known Olsen affair. In fact, for those interested in historical tidbits regarding cultural life in early 19th cen ...more
Pamela Tucker
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is always interesting in a time of history to find out how someone who becomes prominent later in life for their talent, philosophy, etc. This book does more than that as it Garaff takes into consideration what formed Kierkegaard from his relationships. Guilt, rivalry, and his tortured relationship with his fiancee Regine Olsen. In a lengthy journal entry, or rather many series of entries, which he jotted down on August 24, 1849, and titled it "My Relation to 'Her.'" It was somewhat poetic wh ...more
Mar 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kierkegaard freaks
Shelves: library
A richly researched book by a single scholar seeking to capture and collate every occurrence in Denmark of significance to Kiergegaard's life. The complete cast of two generations of Danish intellectuals sparkles and feuds, and puts Kierkegaard's peculiar prose--a stew of dictions, vast ranges of tone, endless layers of rhetoric and contradiction--in marvelous perspective. "A Biography" is an incredibly readable book, even if besides breaking up with a fiance and enduring the passing of his fath ...more
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this extremely well-written biography. The author really makes the whole environment around Kierkegaard fascinating, and the language is vivid and interesting. Sometimes, the detailing is a bit to much for me, for example an entire chapter of Kierkegaards expenses on food. But it is a must-read for anyone interested in Kierkegaard.
It is also a good introduction to Kierkegaards litterature.
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Soren Kiekegaard is not always the easiest writer to read. This biography, by an Associate Professor at the Søren Kierkegaard Research Center at the University of Copenhagen, is not only a great biography, but also an excellent summary/introduction to the work of this mercurial and purposefully anbiguous philosopher.
Oct 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I'd compare reading this book to watching a gigantic DVD box set - the sopranos, say. Once you're done with it you kind of feel relieved because of the time investment spent, glad to get back to the 'real' world - but you also know you'll miss having the lead characters in your life. In this case its just one lead, so solitary and yet so fascinating.
Anders Anders
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joakim Garff er en fantastisk tekstlæser og biografien er bundet ind i en detaljerigdom på grænsen til at blive for privat. Grobunden for den videre læsning af Kierkegaard er nu skabt, med biografien som dets første opslagsværk.
Robert Tessmer
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My first biography of a philosopher and I loved it. It read like a well written novel.

The following web review should help if you decide to take this large book on.
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Garff is very thorough with regular flashes of humorous remarks. Provides a proper correction to the typical portrait of K., ultimately leading to a better grasp of how K.'s character is intertwined with his writings.
Joel Zartman
Good and thorough. All one could want except that one is left with no questions remaining.
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
now i know which books of his to read and which not to bother with. A fascinating eccentric character. The last of the pre-Darwinian philosophers worth their salt. A cranky passionate guy.
Mar 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
very good read.
Nathan Schneider
Loved it. A lot of detail including significant information on the people closest to Kierkegaard. Learned a lot about his life and influence.
Nikolaj Hansted
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For lang... Og dog virkelig god ;-)
This is a decent biography of Kierkegaard, although I think that Garff strays too often into a psycho-analytic analysis of Kierkegaard that is, at best, speculative.
Martin Jensen
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Må beundre detaljegraden. Men meget lang. Brugte et år på den. Men så ved man alt absolut alt om Søren Kierkegaard.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting, but rather tedious now and then. Overall a nice book.
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