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Kierkegaard: A Single Life


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Table of Contents

I. A Controversial Life: The funeral and its aftermath II. Early Life: Birth, childhood and school III. Family Life: Sisters, Brothers, Mother and Father IV. Married Life: The courtship, engagement and abandonment of Regine Olsen V. Writing Life: Publishers, readers and pseudonyms VI. A Life Mocked: The Corsair and the campaign of public ridicule VII. An Offensive Life: The attack upon Christendom VIII. A Life Concluded: The death of Soren Kierkegaard IX. A Life Continued: How Kierkegaard spread to the rest of the world: charlatans, farmers, Nazis, Panthers and Inklings Glossary of Names

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Stephen Backhouse's Kierkegaard: A Single Life is an extremely useful book that makes Kierkegaard accessible to those just beginning to know him. Backhouse's account of Kierkegaard's life is exemplary but particularly useful is his summary of Kierkegaard's works. -- Stanley Hauerwas, , Gilbert T. Rowe Emeritus Professor of Divinity and Law, Duke University Stephen Backhouse has given us a wonderfully lively and sympathetic portrait of one of the greatest minds of the nineteenth century, sparing us nothing of Kierkegaard's abrasive, contrarian personality, but also illuminating the extraordinary courage and spiritual depth of the man. We have waited a long time for such an accessible introduction, growing out of deep study of the abundant original sources and bringing them alive with a light and sure touch. -- Rowan Williams, , Master of Magdalene College and former Archbishop of Canterbury Drawing on the wealth of new biographical material that has become available in the last twenty years, Backhouse's life of Kierkegaard sets the Danish thinker in his time and place and does so with confidence and verve. Few books about this most subtle and elusive of figures could be described as page-turners, but Backhouse combines a fast-moving style with a strong grasp of the big issues that makes this a compelling read. For those who have not yet read Kierkegaard himself, this will leave them wanting to do so - which must be the best outcome for any work of this kind. -- George Pattison, , Professor of Divinity, University of Glasgow This is an extraordinarily likeable book about a not-very-likeable, though fascinating, figure. This is not hagiography; Backhouse gives the full measure of Kierkegaard, and loves him in all his weirdness. Backhouse is a great storyteller---witty, imaginative, and with an eye for irony and humor. This book fills a need for an introduction for the educated nonspecialist to Kierkegaard's life and thought, which are inseparable. How lucky we are that this need has been filled with such flair. -- Dr. William T. Cavanaugh, , Director, Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, DePaul University Almost every road in modern Christianity leads back, at some point, to Kierkegaard. Yet few appreciate this fact because we've lacked a knowledgeable and accessible guide. Finally, we have one in Stephen Backhouse. I've waited my whole life for this book. And so has the church. -- Dr. Richard Beck, , Associate Professor of Psychology, Abilene Christian University Stephen Backhouse has written a lively, accessible and expert introduction to an often misunderstood but hugely influential and prophetic thinker. This is an ideal place to start understanding Kierkegaard's life and thought, which has much to say to the contemporary church and world. -- Graham Tomlin, , Bishop of Kensington, President St Mellitus College Starting with the astonishing scenes at Kierkegaard's funeral, Stephen Backhouse traces the life and impact of this extraordinary, elusive, passionate critic of passionless Christianity. Backhouse's book is both learned and accessible, so that the issues that Kierkegaard wrestled with walk off the page to challenge us again today, while the man himself haunts us, calling us and hiding from us, as he did his contemporaries. -- Dr. Jane Williams, , Assistant Dean and Lecturer in Systematic Theology, St Mellitus College Kierkegaard believed that to understand an historical figure, one must be able imaginatively to become the person's contemporary. In this gripping biography, Stephen Backhouse helps us become contemporaries of Kierkegaard himself. In these pages the Danish thinker comes alive. This book gives us an extraordinary portrait of an extraordinary human being. -- C. Stephen Evans, , University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University This book is a fascinating read about a fascinating person. Stephen has skillfully created a glimpse into the life and work of a perplexing and brilliant character. -- Luke Norsworthy, , Podcaster and Pastor. Organization- Newsworthy with Norsworthy Podcast and Westover Hills Church

About the Author

Stephen Backhouse is the Lecturer in Social and Political Theology at Mellitus College, London. He has published a number of critically well-received books and articles on religion, history, and Kierkegaard, from the popular Compact Guide to Christian History for Lion through to the academic Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism for Oxford University Press.

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