Just as Kierkegaard sought to reintroduce Christ to Christendom; Backhouse has done a great job of introducing Kierkegaard to a popular audience. Soren Kierkegaard as an author has always enjoyed interest from a specialist audience, the average person only speaks of him in unattributed quotes – “leap of faith” or being authentic.
In around 200 pages, the reader will get a good sense of who our subject is but not in a dry academic tone but as an imaginative biography with its very own fascinating love story. In another 115 pages, Backhouse provides a summary of every literary work by the Dane.
A major point of dispute about the book is the ‘fictional’ tone adopted by Backhouse which is sure to annoy Kierkegaard nerds. The popular reader as well might get a feeling that most of the story is being made up by the author though part of the fault is Kierkegaard’s for living such an unbelievable life. I get the feeling that though Backhouse would accept this criticism, he will not take back his decision to write as he did.
On the whole, this is a very enjoyable and needed biography of the danish Philosopher. With such an effort, a biopic is not far off and wider readership is sure to follow. Be warned though, Kierkegaard himself is not easy to read.