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Philosopher of the Heart


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A highly original approach to the life and thought of one of the world's most compelling philosophers.

About the Author

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.


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: that we want, above all, to be reassured about our lives rather than find out what about our lives matters to us. ... Carlisle writes with verve and sympathy. Kierkegaard's life is exemplary, as Carlisle shows with such plain and accessible eloquence -- Adam Phillips * Observer *
Engrossing ... Carlisle has pulled off the feat of writing a truly Kierkegaardian biography of Kierkegaard -- Julian Baggini * Financial Times *
It is a testimony to her skill that, as in a great novel, the portrayal of her protagonist is so vivid ... She wonderfully conveys how, pelican-like, Kierkegaard tore his philosophy from his own breast -- Jane O'Grady * Telegraph *
Clare Carlisle has an especially deep admiration of Kierkegaard and has studied his work with an intensity that has rarely been matched. Her book, she writes, "takes its shape from the Kierkegaardian question about how to be a human being in the world" -- Ray Monk * New Statesman *
Readable and entertaining -- James Marriott * The Times *
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 *
Carlisle's biography is impressively well researched, and brings its subject vividly alive -- Terry Eagleton * London Review of Books *
Carlisle enters into a closer than ever relationship with her subject. She gives the reader a vivid sense of what Kierkegaard meant ... It is an excellently told story in which the author weaves familiar and less familiar details of Kierkegaard's life together in a compelling framework that brings this explorer of anxiety and despair to life as never before. -- Alastair Hannay * Tablet *

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