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ChoiceThe volume is nothing short of an editorial tour de force. It will be indispensable for all libraries supporting graduate work on Kierkegaard.
— P.K. Moser
I would like to write a novel in which the main character would be a man who got a pair of glasses, one lens of which reduced images as powerfully as an oxyhydrogen microscope, and the other of which magnified on the same scale, so that he perceived everything relatively.
A flight of fancy by an aspiring science fiction writer? While it may sound as such, this wistful musing is one of the little-discussed personal reflections of nineteenth-century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, whose remarkable journals and notebooks, unpublished during his lifetime, are presented here.
The first of an eleven-volume series produced by Copenhagen's Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre, this volume is the first English translation and commentary of Kierkegaard's journals based on up-to-date scholarship. It offers new insight into Kierkegaard's inner life. In addition to early drafts of his published works, the journals contain his thoughts on current events and philosophical and theological matters, notes on books he was reading, miscellaneous jottings, and ideas for future literary projects. Kierkegaard wrote his journals in a two-column format, one for his initial entries and the second for the marginal comments he added later. The new edition of the journals reproduces this format and contains photographs of original manuscript pages, as well as extensive scholarly commentary. Translated by leading experts on Kierkegaard, Journals and Notebooks will become the benchmark for all future Kierkegaard scholarship.
"Because they contain important philosophical insights and clues to the meaning of the text in his published works, and this unconditioned by pseudonymity, most scholars have traditionally sought to find there what are presumed to be Kierkegaard's own views. . . . This volume and those to come will enrich and deepen the scholarly discussions of Kierkegaard's thought in the English-speaking world."--Andrew S. Nam, Religious Studies Review
Kierkegaard's Journals and Notebooks is based on Søren Kierkegaards Skrifter (hereafter, SKS) [Søren Kierkegaard's Writings] (Copenhagen: Gad, 1997-), which is a Danish scholarly, annotated edition of everything written by Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55). When completed SKS will comprise fifty-five volumes. SKS divides the entirety of Kierkegaard's output into four categories: 1) works published by Kierkegaard during his lifetime (e.g., such well-known titles as Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, and The Sickness unto Death); 2) works that lay ready-or substantially ready-for publication at the time of Kierkegaard's death, but which he did not publish in his lifetime (e.g., titles such as The Book on Adler, The Point of View for My Work as an Author, and Judge for Yourself!); 3) journals, notebooks, excerpts, and loose papers, collectively entitled Kierkegaard's "journals and notebooks"; and 4) letters and biographical documents. Clearly, Kierkegaard was not only a prolific author, he was also a prolific writer, and his literary activity found expression not only in his published works but also in the mass of writings that were not published in his lifetime. It isthese writings, the third category listed above, collectively entitled Kierkegaard's Journals and Notebooks (hereafter, KJN) that constitute the material of the present English language edition.
I. Danish Editions of Kierkegaard's Posthumous Writings
In November 1855, shortly after Kierkegaard's death, his nephew Henrik Lund visited his apartment accompanied by a clerk named Nørregaard from the Copenhagen Probate Court. What Lund and Nørregaard encountered when they entered Kierkegaard's apartment was "a great quantity of paper, mostly manuscripts, located in various places." Lund viewed himself not merely as a relative but also as a disciple of his famous and controversial uncle, and he initially believed that he had been called to sort through and catalogue the mass of Kierkegaardian papers, with an eye to their eventual publication. Lund proceeded systematically, probably beginning as early as the end of November 1855, and during December of that year and the first half of January 1856 he worked his way through the great trove of papers and manuscripts. As the work progressed, Lund noted where each pile, case, box, roll, folder, and notebook lay when Kierkegaard had died, e.g., "in the desk," "in the lower desk drawer," "in the left-hand case," or "in the second chest of drawers, 'B,' top drawer, to the left." And he took careful note of which pages, scraps, and slips of paper were found together with which others. Although Lund eventually tired of the task and left the job of publication to others, he is the one who has provided the earliest account of Kierkegaard's papers, and he compiled a valuable and quite detailed-though never completed-inventory of Kierkegaard's posthumous writings, entitling it "Catalogue of the Manuscripts of S. Kierkegaard, Recorded after His Death."
After a rather vagabond existence, these papers eventually found their way to the residence of Kierkegaard's elder brother, Peter Christian, bishop of Aalborg in Jutland, Denmark, and in February 1865 they were entrusted to Hans Peter Barfod, a former newspaper editor to whom the bishop had assigned the task of "examining, registering, etc. Søren's papers." Much of what confronted Barfod (and before him, Lund) in the welter of papers was of course drafts and other materials related to works that Kierkegaard had published during his lifetime and to works that lay ready or almost ready for publication at the time of his death (that is, the above-mentioned materials that constitute categories 1 and 2 of SKS), plus letters and other biographical documents (category 4 of SKS). But there was also another group of materials, an enormous quantity of writing that did not fit into the other categories, an amorphous mass of journals, notebooks, and loose sheets, pages, and scraps of paper (category 3 of SKS).
Faced with this daunting pile of paper, but armed with Lund's above-mentioned "Catalogue," Barfod plunged into the papers to construct his own inventory, and in November 1865, ten years after Kierkegaard's death, Barfod completed his own "Catalogue of the Papers Found after the Death of Søren Aabye Kierkegaard." Barfod's "Catalogue" had 472 numbered items, and up through number 382 its enumeration was identical to that of Lund's "Catalogue," which itself appeared in Barfod's as number 473. Two years later, in the autumn of 1867, after much hesitation, Bishop P. C. Kierkegaard gave Barfod "a free hand to deal with Søren Kierkegaard's literary remains" and indicated his intention that they be published.
Barfod set to work preparing the material for publication. Though not a trained philologist, Barfod (who has been much maligned for reasons that will become evident) was merely acting in accordance with the standard practice of his day when he wrote his own corrections, notes, and printer's instructions on the pages of Kierkegaard's journals, after which he sent them off to the printer. Sometimes he cut manuscript pages into several pieces, rearranged the order of the entries, and apparently glued them onto larger sheets of paper before sending them to the printer. Some of the original manuscripts themselves were lost-thrown away by the printer or by Barfod. Thus, some archival materials have been damaged, and others-including, for example, Journal AA, which contained the famous line about "a truth for which to live and die"-have been almost completely lost, so that the only source we have for these entries are the versions in Barfod's published edition, or in a number of cases, merely the fragmentary headwords listed in Barfod's "Catalogue." Of the ten journals AA through KK from the period 1833-46, only the final one, KK, is completely intact today. For all the remaining volumes-some entirely dismantled, some still in their original bindings-varying numbers of pages have been lost. As has been noted, Barfod was not particularly culpable, for he shared the view of his times, according to which literary remains had served their purpose after they had been examined and their contents published.
Barfod's principal responsibility was to serve Bishop P. C. Kierkegaard as secretary and treasurer of the Aalborg diocese, and he was thus unable to work full-time on Søren Kierkegaard's posthumous papers. Therefore, even though Barfod received permission to publish portions of Kierkegaard's papers in 1867, the first volume of his Af Søren Kierkegaards efterladte Papirer (hereafter, EP) [From Søren Kierkegaard's Posthumous Papers] did not appear until December 1869. This first volume-in fact a double volume (EP I-II) covering the period 1833-44-was generally accorded a rather chilly reception by reviewers, not so much because of Barfod's editorial practices but because the publication of the papers was seen as an indiscretion or even as a violation of the rights both of the deceased and of those still living. The next volume (EP III), covering the period 1844-46, did not appear until more than two and one-half years later, in mid-and late 1872 (the volume appeared in two installments), and it also was the subject of scathing reviews. Another five years would pass before Barfod managed to publish the volume covering 1847 (EP IV, published in 1877). By this time Barfod had become increasingly occupied with his diocesan duties for Bishop Kierkegaard, and it was thus a stroke of good fortune when, in the summer of 1878, he chanced to meet Hermann Gottsched, a German educator who had become extremely interested in Kierkegaard, to the point of beginning to teach himself Danish. The very next year, 1879, Gottsched moved to Aalborg and began a collaboration with Barfod, who soon became Gottsched's assistant, while Gottsched became the official editor of Kierkegaard's papers. The remaining volumes of EP now appeared in rapid succession: EP V (covering 1848), EP VI (covering 1849), and EP VII (covering 1850), all came out in 1880; EP VIII (covering 1851-53) and EP IX (covering 1854-55) both came out in 1881. And at about the same time that Gottsched took over the task, the critical climate changed, so that the publication of Kierkegaard's posthumous papers was now seen as a valuable contribution. Still, Barfod and Gottsched's edition was admittedly only a selection of those materials which the editors believed to be most relevant for an intellectual biography of Kierkegaard.
The Barfod-Gottsched nine-volume set of Kierkegaard's posthumous papers was thus far from a complete edition, and furthermore the philological principles on which it was based were in general quite heavy-handed. Within less than three decades these shortcomings called forth a new and much more comprehensive edition (eleven volumes in twenty tomes), Søren Kierkegaards Papirer (hereafter, Papirer or Pap.) [The Papers of Søren Kierkegaard], edited by P. A. Heiberg with assistance from V. Kuhr and E. Torsting, which appeared over a period of almost forty years, from 1909 to 1948. (The Papirer were reissued, now with two additional volumes, by Niels Thulstrup from 1968 through 1970, and a three-volume index appeared from 1975 through 1978.) This edition was far more complete than Barfod and Gottsched's, but it imposed upon the welter of Kierkegaardian materials two principles that modern scholarship regards as utterly untenable. First of all, even though a great deal of the material defies such ordering, Heiberg's edition forcibly sequenced the materials into an absolute chronology, interrupting the continuity of individual journal volumes by removing pages and rearranging their sequence and by inserting undated entries from various loose papers at points the editors deemed chronologically appropriate. And secondly, Heiberg's Papirer forced the material into categorical compartments, even though the materials, as they actually came into being (as well as the order in which they were found upon Kierkegaard's death), were often quite mixed. Thus, in the Heiberg edition of the Papirer, "Group A" consists of material that Heiberg and his colleagues deemed to be of the "diary" type; "Group B" is composed of material related to works subsequently published, ranging from the early stages of a work, to various drafts, and finally to fair copies; and "Group C," a category the editors created out of whole cloth, consists of material deemed by Heiberg and his colleagues to be notes, remarks, and lengthy excerpts connected to Kierkegaard's studies, to lectures he attended, his reading, etc. The result is that the scholar using Heiberg's edition of the Papirer is confronted with an artificial sense of order, both chronological and categorical.
In order to remedy the defects of earlier editions, the Danish National Research Foundation, an agency of the Danish government, established the Søren Kierkegaard Research Center at the University of Copenhagen in 1994, and by 1997 the first volumes of SKS began to appear. In contrast to earlier editions, this new edition is governed by modern philological principles regarding the establishment of a scholarly text from handwritten materials. The new edition thus attempts to preserve the archival integrity of the original materials, organizing them in a manner that respects the order in which Kierkegaard himself kept the documents. Where the individual journals and notebooks themselves display chronological sequence, as they commonly do (though often not without inconsistencies and subsequent alterations and emendations attributable to Kierkegaard himself), the archival principle underlying SKS of course permits that chronology to remain visible. Similarly, when Kierkegaard himself organized his materials into various categories-for example, journals, notebooks, and loose papers-those categories remain visible in SKS. But SKS imposes no artificial timeline or categorical compartmentalization upon the materials.
II. Previous English Language Editions of Kierkegaard's Posthumous Papers
Several English language editions of selections from Kierkegaard's posthumous papers have been published. The first to appear was Alexander Dru's single volume of selections, The Journals of Søren Kierkegaard (London: Oxford University Press, 1938). Dru's work was based on the Heiberg edition of the Papirer, which had not yet been completed at the time Dru published his selection. Accordingly, in 1965 Ronald Gregor Smith published a much smaller volume of selections, Søren Kierkegaard, The Last Years: Journals 1853-1855 (New York and Evanston: Harper and Row, 1965), which concentrated on what was then believed to be the final volume of the Papirer-volume XI, which appeared in three tomes. (In fact, as already noted, volume XI was subsequently accompanied by two additional volumes of text and three index volumes.) The Dru and Smith volumes were organized almost entirely in accordance with the chronological order that their editor-translators had inherited from the Heiberg Papirer.
Shortly after the appearance of Smith's volume, Howard and Edna Hong began publishing their six volumes of selections (plus one index volume), Søren Kierkegaard's Journals and Papers (Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press, 1967-78). Though far more comprehensive than its predecessors, the Hongs' edition was likewise a selection, and like its predecessors it, too, was based on the Heiberg edition of the Papirer. Unlike Dru and Smith, however, the Hongs' edition was primarily organized topically, with four of the six text volumes devoted to Kierkegaard's views on various subjects, arranged alphabetically from "Abstract" to "Zachaeus." The final two volumes of the Hong edition are devoted to what the Hongs judged to be autobiographical passages from Kierkegaard's posthumous papers, arranged in a chronological order taken from the Papirer.
The most recent volume of selections from Kierkegaard's posthumous papers is Alastair Hannay's Søren Kierkegaard, Papers and Journals: A Selection (London: Penguin, 1996). This, too, is based on the Papirer, and the organization is strictly chronological, with the chronology supplied, as in the other cases, by Heiberg's edition.
III. Kierkegaard's Journals and Notebooks
Thus, whatever their other merits or weaknesses may have been, previous English language selections of Kierkegaard's posthumous papers, compelled as they were to rely upon the Heiberg edition, were of course constrained by the limitations of that edition. Based as it is on the new Danish edition of SKS, the present English language edition of Kierkegaard's Journals and Notebooks employs the SKS principle of organization by archival unit: journals, notebooks, and loose papers.
The materials constituting the present edition of KJN consist of the documents mentioned above as the third category of materials included in SKS as volumes 17 through 27. The eleven volumes of KJN contain the translated text of these eleven SKS volumes, plus most of the explanatory notes contained in the eleven SKS commentary volumes which accompany SKS 17-27. Specifically, the textual materials constituting KJN consist of the following documents:
a) a set of ten journals to which Kierkegaard affixed labels designating them "AA" through "KK" (as "I" and "J" are identical in the classical Roman alphabet, there is no journal entitled "II"); b) fifteen notebooks, designated "1" through "15" by the editors of SKS, sequenced according to the dates on which Kierkegaard first made use of them; Kierkegaard himself assigned titles to four of these notebooks, and the editors retain these titles in parentheses; c) a series of thirty-six quarto-sized, bound journal volumes to which Kierkegaard affixed labels designating them journals "NB," "[NB.sup.2]," "[NB.sup.3]," through "[NB.sup.36]"; and d) a great variety of materials-a large number of individual folio sheets, pages, slips, and scraps of paper-which the editors of KJN, following the editors of SKS, entitle "loose papers."
Excerpted from Kierkegaard's Journals and Notebooks: Volume I: Journals AA-DD by Søren Kierkegaard Copyright © 2006 by Princeton University Press. Excerpted by permission.
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