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Re: Pseudonymous Authorship and COA

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  • Will Brown
    (1044) I gave specific reasons for thinking he would have been overstating his case relative to his other works, and posted something pretty long about
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 16, 2005
      (1044) >I gave specific reasons for thinking he would have been
      overstating his case relative to his other works, and posted something
      pretty long about pseudonymous authorship in general and the "weak"
      pseudonymity of CoA. Lots and lots of content there to respond
      directly to, some of which already answered some of the questions
      here.<

      Here is another post I had written that I had been sitting on, perhaps
      waiting for it to hatch. Methinks it has hatched. ----willy

      >In Journals and Papers, Kierkegaard, speaking directly of his own
      work, says that the pseudonymity of the COA is weak compared to the
      other pseudonymous works (COA 221-22). However, he does go on to say,
      "After all, I always have a poetic relationship to my works, and
      therefore I am pseudonymous. At the same time as the book develops
      some theme, the corresponding individuality is delineated. For
      example, Vigilius Haufniensis delineates several, but I have also made
      a sketch of him in the book" (qtd. in COA 222). <

      My reading of the following quote, copied from the book, does not find
      the first part of the statement above, about the weakness, attributed
      to SK, but is, in fact, a comment by the translator. This paragraph is
      indented, as was the one preceding it, which /was/ a quote from CUP,
      ending with the text attribution at the end of it, but I can find
      nothing in its following paragraph, which begins as follows, to say
      that the words at the beginning of this paragraph are SK's. Where the
      above statement says that "he goes on to say," which implies a
      continuation of a quote, the first reference to SK's words in this
      paragraph appear to be the words quoted from a journal entry of 1844,
      which come after the statement about weakness.

      "The pseudonymity of /The Concept of Anxiety/ is weak, not formal as
      in /Philosophical Fragments/. In such pseudonymous works as
      /Philosophical Fragments/, /Concluding Unscientific Postscript/, /The
      Sickness unto Death/, and /Practice in Christianity/, Kierkegaard's
      name appears on the title page as the person responsible only for the
      publication. This is not the case with /The Concept of Anxiety/. A
      journal entry of 1844 refers to the pseudonym: 'Some people may be
      disturbed by my sketch of an observer in /The Concept of Anxiety/. It
      does, however, belong there and is like a watermark in the work.
      After all, I always have a poetic relationship to my works, and
      therefore I am pseudonymous. …' (221-22)

      If what I suggest is so, the following conclusion could be based upon
      a misreading of the text. This is not to say categorically that the
      conclusion is not a fact, only that the premise, in this case K's own
      voice, is not settled.

      >Despite my concluding statement, this isn't to say that CoA is the
      most important of all K's works -- simply that it's the closest to K's
      own voice, according to K himself.<

      * ** *** ****

      >Furthermore, Kierkegaard noted in his Journals and Papers that the
      pseudonymity of Concept of Anxiety is weak compared to his other
      pseudonymous works (qtd. in Anxiety 221-2).<

      >Despite my concluding statement, this isn't to say that CoA is the
      most important of all K's works -- simply that it's the closest to K's
      own voice, according to K himself.<

      Here is K's own voice making another "closest" claim, at a later date,
      this about Anti-Climacus:

      "It may truly be said that there is something Socratic about me.
      Indirect communication was my natural qualification. As a result of
      all I experienced, all I went through and thought out last summer on
      the subject of direct communication, I have made a direct
      communication (the thing with my literary work with its category: the
      whole thing is my education) and at the same time acquired a deeper
      understanding of indirect communication, the new pseudonymity. To me
      there is something so inexplicably happy in the antithesis Climacus
      –
      Anti-Climacus, I recognize myself, and my nature so entirely in it
      that if someone else had discovered it I should have thought he had
      spied upon me. –The merit is not mine, for I did not originally
      think
      of it" (Journals, Dru, pp. 174-75, 1849)

      **** *** ** *

      For what it is worth, one short and one long; two quotes from the
      horse's mouth concerning his pseudonymous authorship. I think they may
      clarify the question of how much SK is in his pseudonymous voices. In
      one sense, SK is not there, but, in another sense, SK is there as the
      vehicle through which his understanding, his spirit, is speaking. As
      such, he cannot claim to be the author.

      An editorial: the process of emptying out that SK says it is is to me
      the process of trying to put that paradoxical self-change, in which
      the self, in losing itself absolutely, finds itself, into a form of
      definition that allows the reflection upon it to say that this is the
      description of it. Not that this is what it is, but that this is the
      description of it. Once that description is reached in the form of a
      form, each release of words fills differently the same form.

      I am reminded of a quote from his Christian Discourses. Note the
      distinction within it of which way to proceed in the clarification
      process, and the reference to the difference between the two. As I
      view it, the difference between the two signifies the form of the
      definition to be filled in describing the transition out of the false
      all. It takes both to describe it because the notion of from/to is
      contained in the false all, hence the paradox.

      "For if the 'all' which I gain is truly all, then that which in
      another sense is called all, the all which I lose, must be the false
      all; but when I lose the false all, I in fact lose nothing; and when I
      gain the true all, I lose in fact the false all—so I lose nothing.
      Thou knowest perhaps that for an instant that one might fight this
      joyful thought through to victory in two ways. One might strive to
      make it perfectly clear to oneself that the all which one loses is the
      false all, is nothing. Or one takes another path, aspiring after the
      full conviction of spiritual certitude that the all which one gains is
      truly all. The later procedure is the best, the only way. For in order
      to acquire the power that the false all is nothing, one must have the
      aid of the true all, otherwise the false all takes away one's power."
      (Christian Discourses, Lowrie, p. 150) (Gain All—Lose Nothing)

      * * ** *** *****

      The short quote:

      "/The New Pseudonym/ (Anti-Climacus)

      The fact that there is a pseudonym is the /qualitative/ expression
      that there is a poet-communication, that it is not I who speaks but
      another, that it is addressed to me just as much as to others; it is
      as if the spirit speaks, while I get the inconvenience of being the
      editor." (PV, Hong, Supplement, p. 227)

      ***** *** ** * *

      The long quote:

      "My dear reader, I have wanted to and believed that I ought to say
      this to you, and at the same time when I am about to meet my first
      work: the second edition of /Either/Or/, which I was unwilling to have
      published earlier. Direct communication, that is, by me personally
      /concerning/ and /about/ my authorship, its comprehensive plan, its
      objective, the placing of each individual work in the whole, and every
      individual part of each individual work, etc., is in a way, even where
      it is not a plain impossibility, against my nature – and against
      my
      work as an author, all of which is dialectics from first to last, and
      all of which until now at least from one side, has hitherto considered
      itself to be religiously committed to silence. Lest these few direct
      words about myself personally and about my authorship might in any way
      be a breach of, a weakness in relation to, what I myself have hitherto
      understood, namely, that I was committed to silence concerning myself
      personally and concerning direct communication about my authorship. If
      in this regard everything is in order and proper, even the little I
      have here communicated directly, and to you, I have not communicated,
      although from one side, without concern, without the concern that from
      this side unconditionally preoccupies me the most – that I in
      some way
      might have said too much about myself and too little about
      Governance.

      In one sense my explanation of my work as an author has a special
      coherence. My explaining is not like that of an author who says: This
      and this have I done – and then by inspecting the books is
      convinced
      that this is exactly what he has not done. No, what I explain is
      always something factual, is factual for the reader just as for me, is
      printed in the books, or if I consider the arrangement of the books,
      then this, too, is something factual, something anyone can verify
      whenever he wishes – in what order the books came out. Nor is my
      thought this, which is indeed only a simple and natural development,
      that in the process of working out something I gradually was better
      satisfied with my effort or what I wanted generally. This is the
      position taken by Johannes Climacus, who in a survey of the
      pseudonymous works together with my upbuilding discourses expressly
      states that he, who as a reader has kept abreast of the books, every
      time he had read such a published work, understood better what it was
      that he wanted, he who from the beginning had himself wanted to carry
      out the very thing that was carried out in this authorship. No, in my
      case what I myself have planned, carried out, and said – I myself
      sometimes understand only afterward how correct it was, that there was
      something far deeper in it than I thought at first – and yet I
      and the
      one who is the author. Here in my thoughts is an inexplicable
      something suggesting that I was, as it were, helped by someone else,
      that I have come to work out and say something whose deeper meaning I
      myself sometimes understand only afterward. This, in my view, is quite
      simply and God-fearingly the cooperation of Governance in such a way
      as everyone ought and should be able to speak of this.

      In other words, if the discussion of it is to be only scholarly and
      philosophical, it should be titled: The Relation between Immediacy and
      Reflection within Reflection, or The Process of Development that
      within Reflection Is the Transposing of Immediacy into Reflection,
      here Reflected in the Work of an Author and in the Author's
      corresponding Supporting Existence. The individuality in whom the same
      happens, if he has religiousness, must religiously, and to the same
      degree religiously attribute it to God, and all the more fervently and
      gratefully to the same degree as he perhaps otherwise feels unhappy
      and sad and, seen from the other side, humbly before God, feels not
      worthy or feels unworthy to have this happiness be granted to him in
      particular. But this can be /truly/ said only in the silence of
      inwardness – that is, it cannot be communicated.

      If I myself understand that I have been helped by another, what
      wonder, then, that I am uneasy about speaking /personally/ about my
      work as an author and that I, when I have said only the very least
      thing in the first person, immediately have great concern about having
      said too much about myself and too little about Governance! And, my
      dear reader, the difficulty involved here in speaking returns in
      another way: that when I personally , in the first person, make myself
      if possible into nothing, which in one sense I would like to do –
      and
      really let the pathos-filled emphasis of humility fall so that
      everything is due to Governance – then of course I run into
      another
      danger, which makes me shudder even more, that in someone's conception
      of me I would be raised so high up into the extraordinary, as if in
      way I had an immediate relationship with God, which, if possible,
      would be even more untrue and for me appalling that if I were
      categorically to attribute unconditionally everything to myself, I who
      indeed am the epitome of reflection." (Ibid., pp. 290-93) (Pap. X 5 B
      168 n.d., 1849)
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