"Those who would know Kierkegaard, the intesely religious humorist, the irrepressibly witty critic of his age and ours, can do no better than to begin with this book. [In it] we find the heart of Kierkagaard. It is not innocuous, not genteel, not comfortable. He does not invite the reader to realx and have a little laugh with him at the expense of other people or at his own foibles. Kierkegaard deliberately challenges the reader's whole existence.
"Nor does he merely challenge our existence; he also questions some ideas that had become well entrenched in his time and that are even more characteristic of the present age. Kierkegaard insists, for example, that Christianity was from the start essentially authoritarian--not just that the Catholic Church was, or that Calvin was, or Luther, or, regrettably, most of the Christian churches, but that Christ was--and is. Indeed, though Kierkegaard was, and wished to be, an individual, and even said that on his tombstone he would like no other epitaph than 'That Individual,' his protest against his age was centered in his lament over the loss of authority." --Walter Kaufman, in the Introduction
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The first book ever to explore the popular culture created by new media technologies (in this case, newspapers), The Present Age is shockingly relevant despite being written more than 100 years ago. Kierkegaard's prescience in predicting a public that consumes the lives of media stars speaks for itself: "The public ... this indolent mass ... is on the look-out for distraction and soon abandons itself to the idea that everything that anyone does is done in order to give it something to gossip about." The Present Age does a better job of describing the manipulation of mass opinion by the media than anything written since the rise of television, and contains Kierkegaard's cutting wit and nimble prose, to boot.From the Back Cover:
In his seminal 1846 tract The Present Age, Søren Kierkegaard ("the father of existentialism"—New York Times) analyzes the philosophical implications of a society dominated by mass media—a society eerily similar to our own. A stunningly prescient essay on the rising influence of advertising, marketing, and publicity, The Present Age is essential reading for anyone who wishes to better understand the modern world.
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