A Single Life
Author: Stephen Blackhouse
Genre: Biography (and philosophy)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Stephen Blackhouse introduces readers to Kierkegaard in a way that is engaging and does not require much background in philosophy. Blackhouse makes the interesting choice of separating the account of Kierkegaard’s life from a detailed discussion of his philosophy. The first 80% of the book tells about Søren’s life and public reputation. The circumstances, motivations, influences, and publication history of his writings forms a major part of the narrative, but the actual content of the writings is described very minimally.
The remaining 20% of the book gives a more detailed overview of the content of each of Kierkegaard’s books. For me, this was helpful but did not provide a very unified understanding of Kierkegaard’s thoughts; but maybe that was the point. After all, early on the author mentioned Kierkegaard’s disdain for summaries and overviews. In any case, this book definitely piqued my interest and some of Kierkegaard’s shorter works may be showing up on my TBR next year.