Isak Dinesen Reading Søren Kierkegaard
On Christianity, Seduction, Gender, and Repetition

Mads Bunch

Germanic Literatures 13

Legenda

3 April 2017  •  198pp

ISBN: 978-1-781884-93-5 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-781884-94-2 (paperback, 30 September 2018)  •  RRP £9.99, $12.50, €12.50

ISBN: 978-1-781884-95-9 (JSTOR ebook)

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Not only did Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen, 1885-1962) read the works of her fellow-countryman, the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), closely, she also created a surprisingly large number of tales that critically engage Kierkegaard’s works. In this thorough comparative study, Mads Bunch uncovers Dinesen’s exploration of Kierkegaard and shows how Dinesen in her tales subverts major ideas from Kierkegaard’s works concerning Christianity, seduction, gender and repetition. Bunch also shows how Dinesen’s critical engagement with the ideas of Kierkegaard runs throughout her oeuvre and develops from the early tale ‘Carnival’ (1926-27) to ‘The Dreamers’ (1934), ‘The Pearls’ (1942), ‘Babette’s Feast’ (1950) and her last tale ‘Ehrengard’ (1963). Bunch’s close readings reveal that Dinesen’s ironical counter-tales concerning Kierkegaard border at times on sheer parody.

Mads Bunch is an Assistant Professor at the University of Copenhagen.

Reviews:

  • ‘The claim is that Dinesen’s reading of and interest in Kierkegaard are neglected within Dinesen research. Although various scholars have analysed certain texts in the light of Kierkegaard, I think Bunch is right. There has been no in-depth study of Kierkegaard’s significance for Dinesen prior to his book. Hence, [this book] is a valuable contribution to a more extensive understanding and documentation of the textual relation between the two Danish authors.’ — Tone Selboe, Modern Language Review 113.4, October 2018, 904-06 (full text online)

Contents:

i-vi
Isak Dinesen Reading Søren Kierkegaard: Isak Dinesen Reading Søren Kierkegaard
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vii-viii
Table of Contents
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ix-ix
Acknowledgements
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x-xiv
Textual Notes
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1-6
Introduction
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9-18
Chapter 1 Dinesen’s Interest in Kierkegaard Before Seven Gothic Tales (1934)
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19-26
Chapter 2 Kierkegaard, Brandes, and Dinesen: Lucifer’s Fire
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27-32
Chapter 3 Kierkegaard, Høffding, and Dinesen: Poetics of Irony
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33-36
Chapter 4 Dinesen’s Combined Knowledge of Kierkegaard
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39-42
Chapter 5 Kierkegaard, Christianity, and Dinesen: Influence From Brandes and Høffding
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43-58
Chapter 6 the Gospel of Nature and Joy: Sandhedens Hævn and Frygt Og Bæven
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59-70
Chapter 7 the Concept of Christi-Anxiety: ‘the Pearls’ and Begrebet Angest
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73-78
Chapter 8 Early Female Seducers: ‘Carnival’ and ‘the Young Soren Kierkegaard’
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79-88
Chapter 9 the Tragic Female Don Juan: ‘the Dreamers’ and A’s Don Juan Essay
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89-111
Chapter 10 the Seducer Seduced: ‘Ehrengard’ and ‘Forførerens Dagbog’
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112-120
Chapter 11 Kierkegaard, Sexuality, and ‘the Secret Note’
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123-125
Chapter 12 Women at the Symposium: ‘Carnival’ and ‘in Vino Veritas’
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126-136
Chapter 13 Woman. God(dess) of Man: ‘the Deluge at Norderney’, ‘the Diver’, and Enten — Eller. Anden Deel.
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139-155
Chapter 14 the Demonic Bachelor-Aesthete: ‘the Poet’ and Gjentagelsen
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156-169
Chapter 15 Nemesis of the Aesthetic: ‘Babette’s Feast’ and Kierkegaard’s Three Stages
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170-173
Chapter 16 Conclusion: Isak Dinesen and Søren Kierkegaard
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174-178
Bibliography
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179-181
Index of Names and Texts
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182-184
Subject Index
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Bibliography entry:

Bunch, Mads, Isak Dinesen Reading Søren Kierkegaard: On Christianity, Seduction, Gender, and Repetition, Germanic Literatures, 13 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2017)

First footnote reference: 35 Mads Bunch, Isak Dinesen Reading Søren Kierkegaard: On Christianity, Seduction, Gender, and Repetition, Germanic Literatures, 13 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2017), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Bunch, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Bunch, Mads. 2017. Isak Dinesen Reading Søren Kierkegaard: On Christianity, Seduction, Gender, and Repetition, Germanic Literatures, 13 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Bunch 2017: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Bunch 2017: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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