Jane O'Grady

Existential Engagement

Kierkegaard’s Muse: The Mystery of Regine Olsen


Princeton University Press 313pp £27.95 order from our bookshop

A remarkable number of great philosophers living before the 20th century were unmarried and childless, with erotic love seeming to have had little impact on their ideas. But the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard, the 19th-century Danish existentialist, is famously bound up with his almost-marriage to Regine Olsen. His voluminous Either/Or, begun soon after he broke off his engagement to her, is full of covert but revelatory references to their relationship, as are several of his other books. 

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