The Incapable Poet: Søren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling and Theodor W. Adorno's Critique of Poetic Philosophy

This article addresses Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, claiming that a strand of theological approaches to its artful exposition overestimates the artistic success of the work and underestimates the philosophical ambiguities of Kierkegaard's philosophy. From the viewpoint of Theodor W. A...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Literature and theology
Main Author: Martinson, Mattias 1970-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Oxford Univ. Press [2019]
In:Literature and theology
Year: 2019, Volume: 33, Issue: 1, Pages: 50-68
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:This article addresses Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, claiming that a strand of theological approaches to its artful exposition overestimates the artistic success of the work and underestimates the philosophical ambiguities of Kierkegaard's philosophy. From the viewpoint of Theodor W. Adorno's critical conception of Kierkegaard's thought, heavily indebted to Walter Benjamin's theory of allegory, it is suggested that a more meaningful aesthetic reading of Fear and Trembling would be to view it as a philosophically overdetermined discourse on silence, with a failed poetic ambition. The article illustrates the tradition of poetic readings with Stephen Mulhall's Christian way of approaching Fear and Trembling. Against this example, and in line with Adorno's critical Benjaminian take, Kierkegaard's work can be placed at the threshold of a literary development eventually leading to the silence of Samuel Beckett's play Endgame.
ISSN:1477-4623
Contains:Enthalten in: Literature and theology
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1093/litthe/fry032