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Lecture 6.2 The Trip to Berlin and the Beginning of the Authorship

Course video 17 of 26

This unit looks at the years that immediately followed Kierkegaard’s The Concept of Irony, namely, from 1841 to 1843. From the autumn of 1841 to the spring of 1842 Kierkegaard was in Berlin where he heard the lectures of the German philosopher Schelling. During this time he struggled with what he wanted to do with his life. He decided to became a writer and, drawing on the knowledge gained from his dissertation, to use Socrates as his model. We examine Kierkegaard’s breakthrough work, Either/Or, which appeared at the beginning of 1843. This work develops in a literary way some aspects of the character of the Romantic ironist that he explored in the second half of his dissertation. We also examine Johan Ludvig Heiberg’s critical review of this work. We briefly mention the key works that Kierkegaard published after Either/Or, namely, Repetition, Fear and Trembling and his series of edifying or upbuilding discourses. We look in some detail at Kierkegaard’s conception of the nature of faith as presented in Fear and Trembling. His conception is a highly troubling one that raises important questions for religious life today.

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