20 October 1999
KIERKEGAARD, Soren Aabye (1813-1855). Enten-Eller. Copenhagen: Reitzel, 1843.
2 volumes, 8 (198 x 123mm). Half-titles. (Some slight spotting.) Contemporary half calf, flat spines gilt with a decorative romantic design (rubbed, joints weak, front joint to vol I with small restoration at foot). Provenance: Ellen Weitring (early inscription on flyleaves); Bent Juel-Jensen (modern ex-libris).
FIRST EDITION of the major work of one of the most important 19th-century philosophers, whose theory of existence was taken up by the Existentialists of the 20th century. Enten - Eller ('Either - Or') presents two contrasting philosophies of life, the aesthetic and the ethical, and puts the choice of either one or the other to the reader. 'Educated as a Hegelian, he attacked Hegel's system of interpreting life as a synthesis of ideas. Adopting what he called an 'aesthetic attitude', he held that this consisted in balancing possibilities, and that in matters religous and ethical it was up to the individual to make his choice. Choice, as the title of the work suggests, was at the root of Kierkegaard's theory. There can be no system of existence, only a system of ideas" (PMM). PMM 314. (2)
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