Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55)

Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55)

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher living his whole, short life in Copenhagen. He was born in 1813 and died in 1855. Kierkegaard’s main claim to fame is the influence of his work on the existentialist philosophers in France in the 1940s, especially Jean Paul Sartre. His best known work is ‘Either Or’, written in 1843. It is in ‘Either Or’ that we find these famous words: “If you marry, you will regret it; if you do not marry, you will also regret it; if you marry or do not marry, you will regret both”. The passage continues in this manner, mentioning laughing or not laughing at the world’s follies and believing or not believing a woman, and it ends with the words: “Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will also regret that; hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the sum and substance of all philosophy.”

In its present form, which dates back to 1877, Kierkegaard's grave incorporates the features stipulated in a note written by Kierkegaard himself in 1846, expressing his wishes with regard to the family grave – with grass and roses in the corners. So this is how he wanted it to look. 

The verse beneath his name he also specifically requested. It is written by one of Denmark's great psalmists, Brorson, and it reads: There is but little time/then I shall have won/then all the strife/will instantly have vanished/then I can rest/in petal-strewn halls/and ceaselessly to my Jesus speak.

Søren Kierkegaard's fiancée Regina Schlegel (née Olsen) is also buried in Assistens Kirkegård. She rests beside her husband, Johan Frederik Schlegel, not far from Kierkegaard's grave. 

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