... Finally, one wish: if only I might appear in The Corsair soon. It is very difficult for an author to stand singled out in Danish literature as the only one (assuming that we pseudonyms are one) who is not abused there. Yes, even Victor Eremita has had to experience the hitherto unheard of disgrace — of being attacked?* — no, of being immortalized — by The Corsair. No doubt it would be highly desirable that this disgrace to literature did not exist at all, that there be no literary publication making money by prostitution, for what is a woman's loveliness if it is for sale for money,+ and what is a bit of talent when it is in the service++ of vile profit, but if it does exist then it is highly desirable to be in the company of, or in agreement with, what one respects even though one disapproves of some particulars, than to sit in the place of honor among the despicable.
In margin: *it is an honor.
In margin: +without such an author's talent.
In margin: ++without a whore's beauty....
ubi spiritus ibi ecclesia
ubi P. L. M. [Møller] ibi "The Corsair."
Hilarius Bookbinder, my chief, has been flattered in The Corsair.
In charge of part 3 of
Stages on Life's Way.
Some Good-natured Gossipy Remarks
It is a matter of common knowledge that a trifle, a nothing, and especially gossip, create the biggest sensation. I have been pleased to corroborate this by having an insignificant pseudonymous little article in Fædrelandet create much more of a sensation — because it dealt with Mr. P. L. Møller — than all my writing put together. I am positive that my whole life will never be as important as my trousers have come to be. Yes, one might almost think that my trousers have become what the age demanded, and, if so, I sincerely hope that the demand of every age may be as moderate for the person concerned, for, good Lord, it does not demand trousers from me, after all, it merely demands that I wear them, and this demand really does not embarrass me, inasmuch as I have made a practice of wearing trousers since I was four years old, but it never really occurred to me that it would become so extraordinarily important to others. But since my writing has never been so fortunate as to satisfy the demands of the age, I thought to myself: If you can do it in such an easy way by means of your trousers, then everything is fine again. I always have to make some self-sacrifice, but what is that compared to being important. Just yesterday my servant reminded me to put on a new pair, but I thought to myself: That won't do; perhaps the new ones will not satisfy the demand of the age. But the old ones certainly do. Innumerable ladies and gentlemen have personally made sure that I am wearing them, and according to what I could discern from their facial expressions, they did completely satisfy the demand of the age. To accommodate the demand of the age I have candidly and freely replied to everyone who asked if they actually were the trousers — presumably so that he could relate that he personally had actually seen them — I have answered him solemnly, as is seemly in this important matter: Yes. — Whether they are my trousers or someone else's makes no difference to me, but for someone ardently trying to hold to a concept of the greatness in or potential to every men there is something sad about having an abundance of observations which seem only to bear witness to irresponsibility, silliness, crudity, and the like.
But to move on — I now go from my trousers to something just as unimportant: Literatus P. L. Møller. The manuscript of my latest book was ready by the middle of December, 1845, and a few days before Christmas I delivered the manuscript in its entirety, as I am in the habit of doing, to the printer. Thus I was finished and at leisure, had the time and opportunity to do what I otherwise could not do, and in my joy and gratitude over being finished I felt like doing somebody a little service. Then came P. L. Møller's brilliant Gœa. Among other things it contained a little attack (after praising the pseudonyms) on one of the pseudonyms. Usually I pay no attention to such things, but this was different. Mr. P. L. Møller is sufficiently well-known to Danish literature, and for that reason I knew very well that I would make some people happy by challenging him — therefore the article in Fædrelandet included the lines: "obtrusive as he (P.L.M.) is and known to many, I really believed I would be doing some people a service by challenging him for once." It is so seldom that P. L. M. shows his true colors that I could not let the opportunity pass. So, far from being an article responding in self-defense to an attack, it was a service I wanted to do for others. The main point of the article was to get Mr. P. L. M. out of literature and the respectable company of famous Danish authors into the dance hall of The Corsair, to which, according to an article he himself revised for the Who's Who of Authors, he has already contributed both poetry and satire. What a real psychological satisfaction it was for me to see how quickly* Mr. P. L. M. took the hint.
*and how perfectly
He came right out and bowed very deferentially in Fædrelandet — and then off he went, that is, he disappeared. Where he went I do not know, but he vanished like a sneeze — and from that time on, according to my barber, things have been very busy in The Corsair's dance hall.
Further — for now I go on to something just as unimportant as Mr. P. L. M. — to The Corsair. They are all paltry — my trousers, Mr. P.L.M., and The Corsair — and thus they are subjects only for gossip, which goes against my grain, for although I have a Greek enthusiasm and love for conversation, gossip has always been repugnant to me. But in saying this I do not want to wrong anyone for the sake of a whim by lumping three paltry things together in order to round off a phrase, for I feel that I must make an exception — I owe my trousers the apology that they are altogether innocent in all this gossip.
I shall write more briefly about The Corsair. It is my private opinion that such a disproportionate and immoral phenomenon does great harm by inveigling the unstable and tempting the semi-educated; to me it is a national disgrace that such a phenomenon flourishes on such a scale. But you see, The Corsair has immortalized and flattered me. Occasionally I do take notice of such things, for, looking at it polemically, I believe that one cannot get finished with the incompetent criticaster who wants to throw his weight around if one does not go to the bottom of it and adduce examples when one is praised by the incompetent.*
* In margin: Note. This is why I also did this earlier on the occasion of an article in Berlingske Tidende, an otherwise decent and respectable paper.
I wanted to do something, and just today I found among some old papers a rudimentary article written in my days of immortality, even if I did not have the imte and opportunity then, being fully occupied as an author with my own ideas. Add to that the fact that it was a difficult thing to do effectively. Since that paper, according to my barber, is supposed to be ironic and extremely witty, I was afraid it would manage to make a joke of the matter, even benefiting by it, as if it were my intention to say something witty at its expense and thereby prompt it to be witty also. As I see it, that would have been the most dreadful responsibility to assume. So time went on, and my leisure commenced, during which the matter presumably would come up again. And what happens — along comes Mr. P. L. M, most opportunely for me. Precisely because I could now start from a kind of attack, I might be able to prevent the dreadful falsification that my little inserat became a compliment, and I might be able to make it so emphatic that the paper would have to abandon every hope of maintaining a kind of relationship to me as a high-ranking ally by continuing to pamper me and my immortality, for I too am supposed to be ironic and witty — how close lies the loathsome copula of misunderstanding! And I succeeded all right, for, according to my barber, no one has been as abused as I have been.
That is the whole story ....
For the sake of form and order [essentially the same as Postscript, p. 551, 11.10-30], the voice of the one speaking comes from me but it is not my voice; the hand writing is mine, but it is not my handwriting. Juridically and literarily the responsibility is mine* [essentially the same as p. 552, 11.15-26] that my personal actuality in relation to the pseudonymous writers is a burden of actuality which they may want removed+ in order to live unconstrained.++
*Note. For this reason my name as editor was placed on the title page of Fragments ** as early as 1844 [essentially the same as p. 552 note, 11.2-3].
** In margin: as crucial to the whole effort.
+ In margin: or made as insignificant as possible.
++ In margin: So my likeness, my picture, my figure, as conceived by a passport issuer would have a wholly disturbing effect and have very little ironical significance if such a thing became the object for the profundity of an ingenious researcher.
Only when the relationship is like that is it ironical enough so that I, as the hidden source dialectically reduplicated — yes, it is ironical enough — may be called^ the author's author; yet this relation is different from the unseemly one of an actual author's having another behind him, one who is really the author, not of the book, for this really belongs to the first one, but is the author of the author.
^ In margin: the author's or
The poetized author has his definite life-outlook [essentially the same as pp. 552, 1.38 - 553,1.6] dance# with — then this cannot be truly charged to me, who properly and in the interest of the purity of the relation have done everything from my side to prevent what the curious part of a small reading public has done everything to achieve — God knows in whose@ interest!
# In margin: If someone in judging has* deceived himself by taking for indiscretion that which not only is not mine but has even been placed by the pseudonymous writers in the deceptive indirect form of revocation.
* has been busy deceiving himself.
@ In margin: from the very beginning.
With gratitude to Governance who in multiple ways — even though often in spiritual suffering — through independence, through health, through undiminished strength of mind, through a balanced discernment despite a productivity that advanced by leaps and bounds — has favored my enterprise continuously in that through labor I found the rest I needed for labor, and granted me much more than I had expected — the performance appears to others to be verbose folderol — I lay down the pen which in my author's hand was to me my mandatory work but also the satisfaction of my need, the pen which has been so dear to me despite the repeated fines* I have had to pay so that the pseudonyms could be authors.
* In margin: instead of honoraria.
The opportunity seems to invite it, yes, to demand it. Well, then, I will use the opportunity afforded by the end of this story to bid farewell to my reader, if I dare speak of such a one. If so, I request of him a forgetting-remembering, as the relationship requires, just as appreciation of the inwardness derived thereby is sincerely offered now in the moment of farewell, when I, with all good wishes for their future, am being separated from the pseudonyms, and courteously thank everyone who has kept silent, and with deep respect thank the Kts company — that it has spoken.
There is only one thing a limited person, acting, can understand and strive to understand to the point of compliance: what Governance demands of him as duty, what use it will make of him, [and he is not to be concerned about] when, how, or perhaps none at all, about what is going to happen to him, perhaps this, perhaps that; one who learns to obey has no right to raise these questions, but neither does he have responsibility for the outcome, he who in obedience is humorously released from embarrassing illusions about an extraordinary importance in regard to the demand of the times, who in self-concern is ironically released from governing-solicitude for the masses, who, indeed all, each one individually, are able only in self-concern to seek and find the truth, if they are going to find it at all in the only place where it is to be sought. If there is to be no disturbing, apparently great but deceitful, middle term which falsifies a man's relation to the divine, then, according to what I have learned from my elders and sought to understand on my own, then the only reasonable thing to do is earnestly and inwardly to pledge oneself in unconditioned obedience and care-freely, if possible, hilariously, to let the outcome be God's affair and no concern of one's own, coveting* assurance in God that just as a doubtful result is powerless to make something doubtful, so also the most brilliant result is powerless to prove something and a catastrophic result is powerless to refute something with regard to truth as inwardness.
* In margin: inner strengthening and
For p. 217. A note which was not printed because it was prepared later, although it was rough-drafted, and for certain reasons I did not want to change or add the least thing to the manuscript as it was delivered lock, stock, and barrel to Luno the last days of December, 1845.
Note. This experiment (" 'Guilty?' / 'Not Guilty?' ") is the first attempt in all the pseudonymous writings at an existential dialectic in double-reflection. It is not the communication which is in the form of double-reflection (for all pseudonyms are that), but the existing person himself exists in this. Thus he does not give up immediacy, but keeps it and yet gives it up, keeps erotic love's desire and yet gives it up. Viewed categorically, the experiment relates to "The Seducer's Diary" in such a way that it begins right there where the seducer ends, with the task he himself suggests: "to poetize himself out of a girl." (See Either/Or, I, p. 470.) The seducer is egotism; in Repetition feeling and irony are kept separate, each in its representative: the young man and Constantin. These two elements are put together in the one person, Quidam of the experiment, and he is sympathy. To seduce a girl expresses masculine superiority; to poetize oneself out of a girl is also a superiority but must become a suffering superiority if one considers the relationship between masculinity and femininity and not a particular silly girl. Masculinity's victory is supposed to reside in succeeding; but the reality [Realitet] of femininity is supposed to reside in its becoming a story of suffering for the man. Just as it is morally impossible for Quidam of the experiment to seduce a girl, so it is metaphysically-esthetically impossible for a seducer to poetize himself out of a girl when it is a matter of the relationship between masculinity and femininity, each in its strength, and not of a particular girl. The seducer's egotism culminates in the lines to himself: "She is mine, I do not confide this to the stars ..... not even to Cordelia, but say it very softly to myself." (See Either/Or, I, P. 446). Quidam culminates passionately in the outburst: "The whole thing looks like a tale of seduction." What is a triumph to one is an ethical horror to the other.
Addition to previous: The experiment, however, is precisely what is lacking in Either/Or (see a note in my own copy); but before it could be done absolutely right, an enormous detour had to be made.
The experiment is the only thing for which there existed [existeret] considerable preliminary work before it was written. Even while I was writing Either/Or I had it in mind and frequently dashed off a lyrical suggestion. When I was ready to work it out, I took the precaution of not looking at what I had jotted down in order not to be disturbed. Not a word escaped, although it came again in a superior rendering. I have not gone through what I had jotted down, and nothing was missing, but if I had read it first, I could not have written it. The experiment is the most exuberant of all I have written, but it is difficult to understand because natural egotism is against adhering so strongly to sympathy.
Inasmuch as what I first wrote contained a little review or, more correctly, a little effusive discourse on these novels, so, too, in the role of reviewer I wish to end with the same. If the author deigns to read these lines, I trust he will find me unchanged, for I surmise that he read the little piece at the time. I trust he will find me unchanged and changed only in the repetition: a bit more clarity, a bit more lightness in style, perhaps also somewhat more gentle and forbearing, therefore also changed in the repetition....
Let us be especially happy that this name has lasted twenty years and not precipitously overrate the work of a couple of years but rejoice in the perseverence, that seventy years are the highest honor.
If I may be allowed to give an example, what makes Bishop Mynster the noble paradigm from whom anyone can learn, what keeps him steadfast through all these impetuosities called the demands of the times? And how rash to be unwilling to accept that every year he lives makes him more significant instead of less so. To be eloquent in the first ardor of youth, O, that is beautiful, but to be an upbuilding witness at seventy, that is great.
This article actually was written to appear in Nordisk Literatur-Tidende — but became too long for that publication — and moreover we have no journal here. Only catchpenny writing seems to thrive in Denmark and then so amazingly that what is contemptible in literature will soon begin to rival financial dominion. I find myself so indebted to the author of A Story of Everyday Life that I would willingly pay a little fine to be the author of a review. It could also be asked whether it is seemly for a nation to reverse things in such a way that only vilification is remunerated, whether it is not an outrageous injustice to all impecunious authors, and even to those with means, inasmuch as the laborer is worthy of his hire. So first of all a little fine is in order to publish a little book, and then the next step, for when an author is not paid in money, he is certainly paid some other way. Without a doubt he is paid in another way, although it nevertheless does bear some resemblance to paying the fine. As soon as the little book is published, there is an uproar on the dance floor of literary vilification; and while the little review is noticed by only a few as it steals like a forlorn, godforsaken soul along the short, short road to oblivion, crudity and ignorance and licentiousness gloat in the support of numerous subscribers and go on and on making money on the circumstance, which no one at all cared about — until vilification got it besmirched.
I do not say this for my own sake, my outlook on life is essentially polemic, but because some discrepancies have placed me in a most peculiar and awkward position. As a rule reviewing a book is considered a courtesy, even if a critical journal is in a position to pay a respectable fee for the work, but nowadays things have gotten so out of hand that I almost fear that it will be taken as an attack on the author of the book, for no doubt vilification, in its zeal, will embrace also the book under review. This book should consider itself fortunate to have escaped abuse until now when a bungling reviewer — innocently to be sure — prompts abuse when everything else has been forgotten, perhaps even prompts abuse by a slanderer who pursues one up and down the street like a beggar.
Finally, when the public at large, which, to be sure, declares every time there is a group consisting of two: We despise the official organ of literary prostitutes, but in the role of the public, manifests this in a curious manner by subscribing to it on the largest possible scale and reads it — finally, when the public at large has been gratified and is probably tired of the man and the constant mention of the book, the man and the book will have become a boring subject — a new remuneration, for it becomes a guilt which spills over on the innocent man and book, whose guilt was — being obliged to tolerate a gross slander, keeping on with the abuse until the public was sick and tired, not of the slander, but of the man and the book, not making the distinction that the man and the book had no responsibility at all for the continual commentary.
No matter how much one loves a family, it is not at all strange if someone gets tired of coming to visit when none of the lovable members of the family says a word, but a rude child dominates the conversation. That is just about the situation in Danish literature. Seldom do we hear a significant word from a legitimate author; no literary organ champions decorum and order — no, all the good elements are silent — but the element loudly celebrating vilification's proudest triumphs so dominates the prostituted order that one can hardly hear himself speak. Even if an author remains attached to the lovable family of Danes, loves the mother tongue above all — is it seemly for such a situation to keep on this way?"
The Author of "A Story of Everyday Life"
edited by Johan Ludvig Heiberg. Reitzel 1845
the smallest possible brevier
May 5, 1846
Various Styles and Spirits
Available at Reitzel's Printed by Bianco Luno
Only after the publication of the last big book, Concluding Postscript, have I dared give myself time to look around and be concerned about my external existence.
My financial condition no longer permits me to be an author. General observations on the literary situation in Denmark.
I will make an application to the state, for I shall, with God's help, continue proudly and calmly to maintain an ironical position against chimerical magnitudes such as the public, against the importunate tyranny of the daily press, etc. And just as fittingly I shall, with God's help, continue to be what I have always been, submissive. By accommodating myself I could perhaps become popular with the public, but that I do not want — so I shall not be an author at all.
- My efforts as an author must be in agreement with the interests of the state.
- I have shown that I can make use of leisure.
- I am young and rigorously cloistered in order to work.
- I am unmarried and have nothing else to occupy me.
This is different from the usual state support of a man as an author who also has many other things to do or has a family.
And all the more I hope to be considered since other authors do earn a small royalty on their books (even though this may be little enough), whereas I actually put out money, so that my proofreader literally makes more than I do.
Not like the former editor, who succeeded in entering into relation with the conversation of the moment — and therefore succeeded in becoming welcome.
I will rather strive to enter into relation with silence. There are too many pages to rummage in — just as students have too many books — therefore one does not read well.
The contents will be what, spiritually understood, could be called daily bread. Make clear what harmony is, the universal. What is common to all (the religious touch).
Then I will choose a somewhat more difficult thought — and then it will be like the poor invited to a banquet of the distinguished — then a very simple thought, which will be like the distinguished going to a banquet of the poor.
If possible, the reader is to read aloud.
In margin: Politics in the special sense must be excluded altogether.
Addition to previous:
What one learns from the lilies of the field and the birds of the air
On being a good listener
The misuse of laughter
The difficult situation of distinction in a small country
The intrinsic validity of occupation with the intellectual-spiritual
Why Socrates compared himself to a gadfly
Solitude and silence as essential ingredients of personal life
On the upbringing of children
The corruptive and misleading aspects of the now so common use of the statistical in the realms of the spirit
All the last four books are to be published in one volume under the title:
Addition to previous:
Addition to previous:
- Discourse on the Occasion of Confession
- Literary Review Adler
- What One Learns from the Lilies of the Field and the Birds of the Air 3 Discourses
- The Gospel of Suffering