#1, Apr 25, 2012 8:34pm
I have actually been thinking about Kierkegaard's personal life lately, and how it must inform his philosophy of love. I wonder if his paternal problems- the shame, fear, regret- and his father's relationship with Kierkegaard's mother have inevitably colored his views on engagement, marriage, and all forms of preferential love. He was born out of sin (although his father did marry his mother), and perhaps this informs his emphasis on neighbor-love and his occasional disparagement of preferential or spousal love. Although I find in Kierkegaard a wonderful body of Christian meditations on love, his writings on marital love are severely lacking. His discourse on marriage was wonderful, however Kierkegaard fails to rival von Hildebrand's work on "preferential" love. Any thoughts?
Jules van Schaijik
#2, Apr 25, 2012 9:14pm
I can't claim any first hand familiarity with Kierkegaard's thoughts on conjugal love. But I know through Alice von Hildebrand that Or (the second part of Either/Or) has some beautiful things to say about the topic. You may find this article by her, called "Beautiful Words About Women", interesting. She tries to show, against some his critics, that he had a deep appreciation for women, and for marriage.
Kierkegaard, as I suppose you know, is no stranger to conjugal love. Though he "sacrificed" marriage with Regina Olsen for religious reasons, he loved her very deeply till the end of his life. Maybe he has a point when he writes that "[n]o one perhaps knows better how sweet love is than he who renounces it while having the power to realize it."