Søren Kierkegaard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55) was born into the Danish Golden Age, the remarkable cultural flourishing that occurred in Denmark in the first half of the nineteenth century. Between about 1780 and 1850 Denmark's economy changed from feudal agrarian to predominantly mercantile and capitalist, with radical social consequences (Kirmmse 1990: 9-26). The population became largely urban; education transformed peasants into potential participants in democracy; newspapers and feuilleton literature burgeoned; artistic and scientific experimentation abounded; the fixed class structure of feudalism softened to enable greater social mobility; and the authority of religion was weakened under assaults from philosophical reason, bourgeois complacency, mass communication and new forms of aesthetic diversion (Pattison 2002: chs 1-4). Kierkegaard was both a beneficiary of, and a reactionary against, these developments. His father, Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard, had been rescued from a life of poverty as a peasant boy on the Jutland heath by being apprenticed to his uncle, a merchant in Copenhagen. By virtue of a keen business sense and some judicious investments, Michael Kierkegaard became one of Denmark's wealthiest men (Garff 2005: 3-8). This wealth enabled Søren to be educated at a leading grammar school (the School of Civic Virtue), to read philosophy, theology and literature at Copenhagen University, and eventually to pursue his vocation as a religious author without the distraction of having to earn a living. However, in addition to a substantial sum of money and an astute intellect, his father bequeathed Søren a melancholic temperament and a heavy burden of guilt.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe History of Western Philosophy of Religion
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 4 Nineteenth-Century Philosophy of Religion
PublisherAcumen Publishing Limited
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781844654666
ISBN (Print)9781844652235
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


Dive into the research topics of 'Søren Kierkegaard'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this