The Concept of Anxiety

  • by Soren Kierkegaard, Alastair Hannay (translator)
  • Narrated by David Rapkin
  • 6 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This first new translation of Kierkegaard's masterwork in a generation brings an essential work of modern philosophy to vivid life.
Although Soren Kierkegaard's death in the fall of 1855 foreshadowed a lasting split between conservative Christians and young contemporaries who saw him as a revolutionary thinker, it was not until the turn of the 20th century - and beyond the borders of his native Denmark - that his lasting significance came to be felt. By transcending distinctions of genre, Kierkegaard brought traditionally separated disciplines to bear on deep human concerns and was able, through his profound self-insight, to uncover the strategies with which we try to deal with them. As a result, he is hailed today as no less than the father of modern psychology and existentialism.
While the majority of Kierkegaard's work leading up to The Concept of Anxiety dealt with the intersection of faith and knowledge, here the renowned Danish philosopher turns to the perennial question of sin and guilt. First published in 1844, this concise treatise identified - long before Freud - anxiety as a deep-seated human state, one that embodies the endless struggle with our own spiritual identities. Ably synthesizing human insights with Christian dogma, Kierkegaard's "psychological deliberation" suggests that our only hope in overcoming anxiety is not through "powder and pills" but by embracing it with open arms. Indeed, for Kierkegaard, it is only through our experiences with anxiety that we are able to become truly aware of ourselves and the freedoms and limitations of our own existence.
While Kierkegaard's Danish prose is surprisingly rich, previous translations - the most recent in 1980 - have tended either to deaden its impact by being excessively literal or to furnish it with a florid tone foreign to its original directness. In this new edition, Alastair Hannay re-creates its natural rhythm in a way that will finally allow this overlooked classic not only to become as celebrated as Fear and Trembling, The Sickness unto Death, and Either/Or but also to earn a place as the seminal work of existentialism and moral psychology that it is.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom

Sometimes, I am overtaken by a desire to read philosophy. I'm usually overcome with this impulse because of some random reason. DFW leads me to Wittgenstein. Trump leads me to Nietzsche. I chose this book because I am going to Copenhagen with my family in a couple months and wanted to pin down a couple Danish authors/writer before I left. I figured it was either a book about anxiety or a book about mermaids. Oh, the possibilities. The possibilities of choice made me anxious. But I pressed forward. I picked up this small book that seemed heaver than I first thought. Actually, every page I turned seemed to push the scale on this book. It grew heavier and heavier. What the hell am I doing? Do I really need to explore Kierkegaard's thoughts about original sin, the individual, progression, the flow of time, dogma, dread eroticism, sensuality, modesty, self-knowledge, demons, faith, repentance, anxiety?

I once read, and I think this was attributed to Brian Eno, that the Velvet Underground's first album only sold a few thousand copies, but everyone who bought one formed a band." The Concept of Anxiety sold only 250 copies in the first 11 years after publication, but everyone who bought it seriously __________ . <--- Insert philosophy joke about Anxiety here. I would have written the joke myself, but the fact that the joke only exists in abstract, in possibility, MUST make the joke more funny. Once the joke gains form, becomes actual, the joke loses the possibility of humor. The joke dies. God dies. Alone.

Look, I'm a fairly smart guy. But sometimes these BIG philosophy books throw me for a loop. They make me feel like I need to study and not just read the book. This is a book where I would probably get more out of it through some sort of 400-level classroom dialectic. I need somebody with more experience with Hegel, Jewish thought, Socrates, and Christian ethics and existentialism than I possess to brief. To hold my hand through this book. To smack my hand as I wander off into unexplored tributaries. Alas, being an adult reading this alone on my bed, I have none of those things. I have my friends on GR. I have a dictionary. I have a fairly large library. I have time (crap, if I write time here now, will I have to explore past, future, eternity, etc?).

Anyway, it was worth it. It wasn't too much to bear. I read it. I'm glad I did. Now I can go visit Søren Kierkegaard and Niels Bohr in Assistens Cemetery and feel like I at least did my best to visit that holy ground with proper dedication and consecration.
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

A deeply positive account of anxiety

A dense work that requires multiple listens, but will reward with insight over many years. Surprisingly helpful to hear it in addition to just reading.
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- AP

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-29-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios