The Concept of Reading: Kierkegaard, Irony, and Duality—A Response to Mark Cortes Favis

The European Legacy 17 (4):471-483 (2012)
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Abstract

In a recent article in The European Legacy, Mark Cortes Favis argued that the figure of Kierkegaard expressed a tension between two aspects of writing—the Socratic and the Platonic. While Favis is correct to see a duality in Kierkegaard's writing, his article does not fully answer the problem of how we can account for our interpretation of this tension. Given that the duality within Kierkegaard's writing transgresses the boundaries of author and reader, we cannot easily circumscribe any claims on his writing without considering its effect on our reading. Rather, the characteristic duality of his authority manifests itself in a number of ways in the task of identifying the philosophical meaning of his texts. Kierkegaard's relationship to Socrates is thus symptomatic of a number of figural dualities that pervade interpretations of his work. By surveying the ways in which these interpretations draw on the axiom of duality in order to ascribe an authority to Kierkegaard's texts, I suggest Favis's argument that Kierkegaard's writing expresses both Socratic and Platonic aspects should be placed within the wider duality at work in the interpretation of Kierkegaard's work.

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Tom Grimwood
Lancaster University

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