Philosopher of the Heart

Philosopher of the Heart : The Restless Life of Soren Kierkegaard

4.17 (231 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Selected as a Book of the Year in The Times Literary Supplement

'This lucid and riveting new biography at once rescuses Kierkegaard from the scholars and shows why he is such an intriguing and useful figure' Observer

Soren Kierkegaard, one of the most passionate and challenging of modern philosophers, is now celebrated as the father of existentialism - yet his contemporaries described him as a philosopher of the heart. Over about a decade in the 1840s and 1850s, writings poured from his pen analysing love and suffering, courage and anxiety, religious longing and defiance, and forging a new philosophical style rooted in the inward drama of being human.

As Christianity seemed to sleepwalk through a changing world, Kierkegaard dazzlingly revealed its spiritual power while exposing the poverty of official religion. His restless creativity was spurred on by his own failures: his relationship with the young woman whom he promised to marry, then left to devote himself to writing, haunted him throughout his life.

Though tormented by the pressures of celebrity, he deliberately lived amidst the crowds in Copenhagen, known by everyone but, he felt, understood by no one. When he collapsed exhausted at the age of 42, he was still pursuing the question of existence: how to be a human being in this world?

Clare Carlisle's innovative and moving biography writes Kierkegaard's remarkable life as far as possible from his own perspective, conveying what it was like to be this Socrates of Christendom - as he put it, living life forwards yet only understanding it backwards.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 21mm | 269g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0141984430
  • 9780141984438
  • 27,685

Review Text

This lucid and riveting new biography at once rescues Kierkegaard from the scholars and makes it abundantly clear why he is such an intriguing and useful figure Adam Phillips Observer
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Review quote

This lucid and riveting new biography at once rescues Kierkegaard from the scholars and makes it abundantly clear why he is such an intriguing and useful figure -- Adam Phillips * Observer * She wonderfully conveys how, pelican-like, Kierkegaard tore his philosophy from his own breast -- Jane O'Grady * Telegraph * Philosopher of the Heart enacts Kierkegaard's audacity and verve in thinking and writing, his "new way of doing philosophy", in a thrillingly inward and intimate style -- Boyd Tonkin * Arts Desk * One of the best biographies of modern masters by a new generation -- Daniel Johnson * Standpoint * Superb... the sort of biography Kierkegaard himself might have written, thematic in structure rather than chronological, lucid in its narrative but not exhaustive in detail. ... Carlisle's book has its own beauty, reminding us that Kierkegaard sympathized with our own troubles, our own desires to live decent lives -- David Mason * The Hudson Review *
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About Clare Carlisle

Clare Carlisle is Reader in Philosophy and Theology at King's College, London. She is a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement and has written dozens of articles on philosophy for the Guardian. Her last book, On Habit, was named Outstanding Academic Title of 2014 by Choice, and she has recently edited George Eliot's translation of Spinoza's Ethics. She grew up in Manchester, studied philosophy and theology at Cambridge, and now lives in Hackney.
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Rating details

231 ratings
4.17 out of 5 stars
5 39% (91)
4 40% (93)
3 18% (42)
2 2% (5)
1 0% (0)
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