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Title: Uitzinnige personages
Subtitle: Over Kierkegaards pseudonieme strategie als een onbedwingbaar toneelspel
Author(s): VAN TONGEREN, Wout
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 75    Issue: 2   Date: 2013   
Pages: 247-279
DOI: 10.2143/TVF.75.2.2990705

Abstract :
In §1 of this article, I show how Kierkegaard stages a play of reality and fiction by means of his pseudonyms in Either/Or. This play makes the book thoroughly ambiguous, so that the interpretation of the reader is rooted in uncertainty. In §2, I discuss Kierkegaard’s theory of pseudonymous writing as indirect communication to explain how he deliberately sought this effect of ambiguity to provoke a religious response from his readers. Kierkegaard complains that, contrary to his ambition, some readers have merely sought aesthetic pleasure in the pseudonymous work. To elaborate on this problem, I compare the structure and operation of Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous style with playacting. For this purpose, I discuss in §3 his pseudonymous theatre reviews and point out how a tension can be found there between two conceptions of acting: on the one hand as completely controlled by reflection, and on the other as irrational, frenzied and infectious. In §4, I first demonstrate the structural similarity between playacting and pseudonymous writing. I then conclude that Kierkegaard requires this theatrical structure for his religious communication strategy even if it makes the pseudonyms into irrationally fascinating characters whose appeal is not confined by (and may run against) the religious goals that Kierkegaard had in mind when designing them.

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