Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Either/Or: A Fragment of Life” as Want to Read:
Either/Or: A Fragment of Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  6,131 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
In Either/Or, using the voices of two characters - the aesthetic young man of part one, called simply 'A', and the ethical Judge Vilhelm of the second section - Kierkegaard reflects upon the search for a meaningful existence, contemplating subjects as diverse as Mozart, drama, boredom, and, in the famous Seducer's Diary, the cynical seduction and ultimate rejection of a yo ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published February 20th 1843)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Either/Or, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Either/Or

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
معرفی اجمالی کتاب "یا این یا آن"
اثر سورن کیرکگور
به مناسبت خبر ترجمه ى كتاب توسط "صالح نجفى"

سه سپهر
کیرکگور در نظریه ی انسان شناسی خود، تبیین می کند که زندگی انسانی، سه وادی مختلف، سه سپهر مختلف، سه جهان مختلف دارد و هر کس، الزاماً در یکی از این سه سپهر زندگی می کند: سپهر لذت جویی، سپهر اخلاقی، سپهر ایمانی.

کتاب «یا این یا آن» به بررسی دو مرحله از این سه سپهر (سپهر لذت جویی، و سپهر اخلاقی) می پردازد که فرد باید یکی را برگزیند و نمی تواند در هر دو زندگی کند. کیرکگور می گوید به رغم آن چه هگل اصرار د
Søren Kierkegaard was clever, arrogant, verbose, observant, cynical, ironic, prolific, religious, gifted. His writing is dense, polemical, lyrical, remarkable.

His magnum opus, Either-Or, is an exceptional work. I struggled my way through it, much as I imagine I would struggle to climb Mount Everest – through nebulous passages, up windy roads that sometimes narrowed, sometimes digressed into unexpected territory, always challenged my footing and my stamina. But on nearly every page there was a s
Sean Wilson
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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 d
Khashayar Mohammadi
I've been on a Kierkegaard Binge, and after re-reading all his shorter works, I started "Either/Or" with enthusiasm; but it really is a hard book to review as a whole.

Its definitely one of my all time favorites, not just philosophically, but over-all. But it just didn't feel right to give it the full 5/5.

Kierkegaard is more a writer than a philosopher, such that in poetic congruence with the themes of this book, his writing never ceases to be Aesthetic, but it does cease to be philosophical (?)
AJ Griffin
Sep 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
From Part Two: (1) The Aesthetic validity of marriage

Marriage was constructed with highest in mind: lasting possession. To conquer, one needs pride; to possess, humility. To conquer one needs to be violent; to possess, to have patience. To conquer, greed; to possess, contentment... Pride lends itself superbly to representation, for what is essential in pride is not succession in time but intensity in the moment. Humility is hard to represent just because it is indeed successive. In the case of h
Marcus Speh
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
Simon Robs
Three stars means I liked it - but given a directive HE could have made this dyad FAR less convoluted and still entertained a/us readers (even though it most certainly deserves 4or5). I don't have to understand it all to do so, right? There were lucid passages and then there were obscure lengthy digressions that took your head for a ride. There was of course the gap of time and context to hinder meaning as well. Anyone who can get so far down the rabbit hole of parsing the seduction of a young m ...more
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
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical
I found the 'Either' part of the book somewhat tedious in itself. Music, art, seduction, Mozart and Don Giovanni is the greatest opera ever and so on. It took the 'Or' part of the book for me to really appreciate what was going on with the book as a whole. The universal can never be understood except through the particular (big theme with Kierkegaard and also Hegel but Hegel develops a coherent philosophy to deal with it).

Kierkegaard really once again gets to the heart of the issue of being hum
Oct 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
S.J. Pettersson
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worn-spines
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.
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Yes, I assure you that if my own life, through no fault of my own, were so fraught with sorrows and sufferings that I could call myself the greatest tragic hero, revel in my pain, and appal the world by calling attention to it, my choice is made; I divest myself of the hero's apparel and of tragedy's pathos, I am not the afflicted one who can be proud of his suffering, I am the humble one who is aware of his sin. I have only one expression for what I suffer-guilt; one expression for my pain-rep ...more
Logophile (Heather)
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,
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
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enten you Love this / Eller you don't. It had a big impact on my life for sure...
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
Sep 17, 2017 marked it as odustajem  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, filozofija
Ne gledaj me zadugo,
Nismo jedno za drugo.

Edward III
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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)
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Favorite quote:

“Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it; believe her not, you will also regret it… Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang y
May 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear Mr. E,

I leave this review here in case you ever find yourself perusing this section of my reading list. It's also a place I will refer to in our discussions when I did not expand adequately on my thoughts on Kierkegaard.

"Either/Or: A Fragment of Life" is a beautifully written book. It is not a book one loves but one lusts. In the words of the author "for what distinguishes love from lust is its having the stamp of the eternal. For the sensual is the instantaneous. It seeks instant satisfact
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
Renxiang Liu
This is a fantastic demonstration of Kierkegaard's conception of the aesthetic and the ethic stages. Each has a corresponding avatar, both of which are interesting in unique ways.

The aesthetic man exhibits an obsession with immediacy. Worldly concerns are suspended in order to enable a pure experience of enjoyment. The seducer, i.e. the "author" of the Diary, is keen on the experience of love, which, unstable as it were, can only be found in the process of seduction. When the seduction reaches i
Johann Tabua
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having now read “Either/Or: A Fragment of Life” the world is not the same. I think it fair to say at least for myself that this book brought me both better clarity and greater confusion on the living of one’s life. I’d like to say I understood everything expertly after the first read, but it would be disingenuous to make such a claim. “Either/Or” is one of the most thought provoking books I have ever consumed as a reader. The language is amazing. I learned new words. I also learned how to medita ...more
David Miller
This book is frustrating. On the one hand it is entertainingly clever, frames many important questions in interesting ways, and is a fascinating kind of literary composition, set up as a "conversation" between pseudonymous characters representing particular viewpoints. I'm a sucker for that sort of thing. But when I get down into the particulars, can't help but note that the two principal voices in the book are a creep and a bore, and it's not always obvious which is which.

All of it takes for gr
Jan 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, philosophy
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Existentialism: Crop Rotation 3 40 Jul 24, 2012 05:06AM  
Existentialism: The Unhappiest One 2 70 Jul 23, 2012 07:57AM  
Existentialism: Shadowgraphs 3 15 Jul 23, 2012 07:31AM  
Existentialism: The Immediate Erotic Stages or the Musical Erotic 15 64 Jul 20, 2012 07:33AM  
Existentialism: Diapsalmata 31 43 Jul 16, 2012 10:41AM  
Existentialism: (Unabridged Only) The First Love 1 13 Jul 13, 2012 08:37AM  
Kierkegaard: Eithor / Or 4 32 Jul 09, 2012 04:11PM  
  • The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1
  • Poetry, Language, Thought
  • Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre
  • Phenomenology of Spirit
  • Phenomenology of Perception
  • The Gay Science
  • The Ethics of Ambiguity
  • A Treatise of Human Nature
  • On Certainty
  • Matter and Memory
  • Of Grammatology
  • Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature
  • Truth and Method
  • Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology
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

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
    $12.74 $2.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival
    $8.49 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Toltec Art of Life and Death
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
  • The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top
    $17.99 $2.99
  • A Brief History of Time
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Penguin Lessons
    $12.99 $1.99
  • What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About God
    $11.49 $2.99
  • Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Johnny Cash: The Life
    $12.99 $3.99
  • No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Can't Help Myself: Lessons & Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist
    $13.99 $3.99
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business
    $12.99 $2.99
“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.” 878 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.” 731 likes
More quotes…