Kierkegaard’s Experimental Theatre of the Self

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Kierkegaard is not a dramatist nor an academic; he calls himself " a kind of philosopher " and has been called " a kind of poet " , and he is a Christian who is at the same time one of Christendom's most devastating critics. I read him as " a dramatic philosopher " analogous to Shakespeare's dramatic poet, where his strategy and method in his philosophical journey to selfhood is a performance on the stage. However, this is no conventional stage but rather Kierkegaard creates a new landscape that allows himself and the reader to penetrate deeper into the plurality of the subject. His authorship is both experimental and dissident in that he defies the various genres and is located rather in the interlude of disciplines and activities. Kierkegaard fuses the combination of being an avid lover of theatre and fairytale, ancient and modern Western philosophy and German Romanticism, and having being brought up in a strict Christian background, into a rich retelling and unlocking of human existence. Central to my analysis is the short essay " The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress " which contains the three aspects of Kierkegaard: the performance itself, the philosophical analysis of the performance and a philosophy of life worth living. I interpret the author of this text, called Inter et Inter, as creating a modification on the activity of faith, where transformation (through the analysis of the actress Johanne Luise Heiberg) takes priority as a way of overcoming the failures of repetition in time, the continuous impossibility of faith, and the modern " age of disintegration " in ideas and society. Of course, Inter et Inter is yet another masked signature, located at the interlude, and we are invited to endless re-readings in this pioneering philosophical and theatrical space that Kierkegaard – as dramatic philosopher – has created for exploring and unfolding the elusive self in modernity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom Hamann to Kierkegaard
Subtitle of host publicationFirst Workshop of the Project Experimentation and Dissidence
EditorsJosé Miranda Justo, Elisabete M. de Sousa, Fernando M.F. Silva
Place of PublicationNew York / Amsterdam
PublisherCentre for Philosophy at the University of Lisbon
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-989-8553-43-0
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventExperimentation & Dissidence 1st workshop: From Hamann to Kierkegaard - Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 15 Dec 2016 → …


WorkshopExperimentation & Dissidence 1st workshop
Period15/12/16 → …


  • Interlude
  • Actress
  • Disintegration
  • Dramatic philosopher
  • Transformation


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