Tom Stern

A Walk through the Churchyard

Philosopher of the Heart: The Restless Life of Søren Kierkegaard

By

Allen Lane 339pp £25 order from our bookshop

At first glance, you might think you’ve met a guy like Søren Kierkegaard. Picture the kind of sad young literary man who knows his Romantic poets. He meets a teenage girl at a party and gets her hooked on his learning and his brooding nature. She plays the piano for him. ‘Although your playing may not be perfect in the artistic sense,’ he tells her, love makes it all OK. Then he loses interest in her and tries to be mean so she’ll break things off. Finally, he dumps her and goes to Berlin. It was all her fault. She never really knew him. She should have noticed he was unhappy and broken up with him. He could never have ‘become himself’ with her and he would only have made her unhappy. And by the way, she’s nothing special, and when it comes down to it, he loved her better than she loved him. In Berlin, their relationship becomes material for his new book.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Tarantino's latest film is 'a fairy tale about Hollywood, where fantasy is an industrial product and the boulevards… ,
    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,