Modernity Interrupted: Kierkegaard's Antigone

Kevin Newmark

in Irony on Occasion

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780823240128
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823240166 | DOI:
Modernity Interrupted: Kierkegaard's Antigone

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If Kierkegaard's thesis on irony asks what can be learned about subjective existence from Socrates to Schlegel and Hegel, then it remains to determine what might be learned about this same question from texts Kierkegaard will write after that. This chapter examines the itinerary Kierkegaard follows from Socrates to Abraham, from irony to faith, or from a questioning about knowledge to a testimony about belief. If irony questions knowledge by exposing it to the truth of its own non-knowledge, then faith testifies to a secret passion whose truth can never be sufficiently revealed or known by either the self or the other. The decisive move from Greek philosophy to “Christian” testimony passes by way of the aesthetic: Kierkegaard's repetition of ancient tragedy and its historical legacy to modernity. The figure who occupies this space of repetition—which names an interruption rather than a mediation—between Socrates and Abraham is named Antigone.

Keywords: Kierkegaard; Learning; Truth; Subjective existence; Antigone; Tragic; Modernity; Secret; Passion; Interruption; Historical legacy

Chapter.  13678 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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