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By Søren Kierkegaard

Ostensibly, A Literary Review is a simple remark via Soren Kierkegaard at the paintings of a modern novelist. On deeper degrees, even though, it turns into the existential philosopher's far-reaching critique of his society and age, and its apocalyptic ultimate sections encouraged the crucial rules in Martin Heidegger's influential paintings Being and Time. Embraced by means of many readers as prophetic, A Literary Review and its options stay proper to our present debates on id, habit, and social conformity.

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Extra resources for A Literary Review (Penguin Classics) aka "Two Ages"

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W e have the experience of m ultiple societies and o f changing institutions: from this diversity and these changes the historian or sociologist looks for their modalities and causes. But w hy must the philosopher look for their basis or deduce their a priori necessity by means o f conceptual analysis ? T he question results from the conjunction o f Sartrism and M arxism or, if you like, o f existentialism and historicism. Sar­ trism, we have said and we shall have to repeat, has free and translucent consciousness as its starting point and im m utable principle; it is exempted from doubt or critique, it is the model for dialectic, or better, is dialectic in essence; it is tem poralization, project, and, by reference to an objective that transcends the order o f lived experience and external reality, comprehensive apprehension o f the given, Sartrean consciousness plays w ith the same freedom as the God of Descartes; it has no need for others to be fulfilled itself.

141), and so is part of history itself. The Critique, which was impossible before de-Stalinization, becomes possible for anybody today. ‘ In anybody’s life (but more or less explicitly according to the circumstances) totaliza­ tion accomplishes the divorce o f blind and unprincipled praxis from sclerotic thought, or, in other words, the obscuring o f the dialectic, which is a moment o f totalizing activity and o f the 20 On C ritique world. By this contradiction, which makes one’s life uncom fort­ able and sometimes tears it apart, praxis prescribes as a remedy to each person, as his individual future, the calling into question o f this intellectual tools; this act represents, in fact, a new, more detailed, more integrated, and richer moment o f the human adven ture5 (pp.

22 Cf. on this point my D'une sainie fam ille d Vautre (Paris: GaHimard, 1969)* 23 Grundrisse: Foundations o f the Critique o f Political Economy (Rough Dr rt ) } Tr. with a foreword by M . Nicolaus (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 3 •) [Tr. note]. 24 In McLellan, ed. , Early Texts , pp* 130-83 [Tr. note]. On C ritique 17 critique o f religion and o f the com m odity fetish. M an projects his essence, which he cannot accomplish here below, into the beyond, into a transcendent fiction. In a w ay that is at least analogous, he becomes the prisoner o f commodities, o f the market and its law s; he loses his consciousness o f him self as ultimate and essential reality; he ccases to com m unicate directly with his fellow-m cn; relations of production are placed between him and his fellow-men.

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