May there be dancing in the street and the playing of tubas or other more Nordic instruments, for after an epic struggle spanning 2 months I have finished reading Søren Kierkegaard's legendary and awesomely boring beast, Either/Or. I feel I should give a review, or at least drop a turd to signify the completion of my digestive process. Thus, sort of in the style of the original:
The book is prolix. Horribly prolix. And prolix. Quite wordy too. Also lacking in terseness, conciseness and concision. Despite its prolixity, it contains some interesting ideas. And many wholly superfluous words, paragraphs, chapters, and other grammatical units. Though somewhat repetitious and badly-paragraphed, it offers an interesting critique of the sort of aesthetic life that was so popular with Goethe's characters and various other reprobates. Rather than living for the instant in pursuit of sensation and encountering history only in the melancholic remembrance of a reflection on first love, Kierkegaard (or possibly the Judge, one of the faux-authors of a part of the book, for none of it may be Kierkegaard's opinion, and it is carefully pretended that the various manuscripts which make up Either/Or were found in random locations like chests, desks, trunks, the backs of taxicabs, and on eBay, and written by at least 4 different people), or, as I said, somebody suggests that we should continually repent and embrace God, build our lives out of a series of decisions (particularly of the "either/or" type), get a job (since we should strive towards the universal, which means doing what everyone else does), do our duty (which is "our duty", and thus essentially particular to us, and therefore cannot be generally theorised about), and get married and subjugate women whilst claiming that in a sense we are subjugated to them (notwithstanding a fierce antipathy to the emancipation of womankind). Possibly The Big K didn't mean all of this. Possibly he was more interested in the bit that suggested we should rejoice in the fact that we are always wrong in the face of God, because when we are wrong and confronted by someone we don't like who's shouting "I'm right! You're wrong!" we are unhappy; but when we quarrel over a friend's action, we always hope we are mistaken about the friend's action and we would be happy to be proven wrong; and a fortiori when with God we will pretty well have to assume God is right and we are wrong, which is good, because it means we love God. Although I'm willing to argue the position that Kierkegaard believed (a) all of the above (b) none of the above (c) that all of the above are valid positions and you should simply choose one and follow it through (d) something about graves, shadows, and Mozart. In conclusion, owing to the large number of words even in the lightly-abridged Penguin Classics version [...] it is fair to say that an Either/Or For Beginners with lots of strip cartoons would be both aesthetically and ethically better, and arguably religiously better too. Although personally I don't rule out embracing a mysticism that is totally at odds with the ethical philosophy of the Judge and the aesthetic philosophy that is described in far too much detail by A and Johannes (assuming they're not the same people) in the oh so very very prolix and not unwordy early part of the book. But aside from all the words, it's really very interesting. Definitely one for the shipwrecked among us.
Damn, that paragraph was far too short.