Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55) was an almost unbelievably prolific writer. At his death he left not only a massive body of published work (25 volumes in the recently completed Princeton University Press edition), but also a sprawling mass of unpublished writings that rivaled the size of the published corpus. This book tells the story of the peculiar fate of this portion of Kierkegaard's literary remains, which flowed ceaselessly from his steel pen from his late teens to a week before his death. It is the story of packets and sacks of paper covered with words and images that, after a vagabond existence in various homes, finally landed at the Royal Danish Library, where they are today guarded with great care.
Readers are also introduced to a selection of this enormous body of material, including drawings and doodlings (often human profiles with high foreheads) that escaped from Kierkegaard's pen in unguarded moments and complement the allure of the philosopher's strikingly variable, elusive handwriting. The authors of this book are among the editors of a modern critical edition of Kierkegaard's oeuvre currently being produced in Copenhagen.
By the end of his life Kierkegaard had become a controversial figure, engaged in a furious assault upon "Christendom." From the very moment of their discovery in the days following his death, the unpublished words and images constituted a highly problematic bonanza, an intellectual and religious hot potato (or sack of potatoes) that was passed from hand to hand, suppressed, selectively and tendentiously published and republished. Written Images offers readers a fascinating tour of the misadventures of these written images that will, finally, soon be published in their entirety.
Other Princeton books by or about Søren Kierkegaard: