Monday, February 23, 2015

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard's 330 word marathon

A 330-word sentence in Søren Aabye Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript:

“If a poor thinker, who is a private practitioner, a cultivator of speculative eccentricities, occupying like a poverty-stricken lodger a garret at the top of a vast building, sat there in his little refuge, held captive in what seemed to him difficult thoughts; if, without being able to understand how or why, he began to conceive a dim suspicion that there was something wrong with the foundations; if, whenever he looked out of the little garret window, he saw shudderingly only busy and redoubled exertions to beautify or enlarge the structure, so that after having seen and shuddered he collapsed in utter exhaustion,kierkegaard feeling as a spider who in some narrow nook has managed to eke out a precarious existence since the last house-cleaning, and now senses anxiously the coming storm; if whenever he communicated his doubts to someone he perceived that his speech, because of its departure from the prevailing fashion, was regarded as the bizarre and threadbare costume of some unfortunate derelict—if, I say, such a privately practicing thinker and speculative crotcheteer were suddenly to make the acquaintance of a man whose renown did not indeed directly insure for him the validity of his thoughts (for the poor lodger was not quite so objective as to be able without more ado to draw the converse conclusion from renown to truth), but whose fame was nevertheless like a smile of fortune in the midst of his loneliness, when he found one or two of his difficult thoughts touched upon by the famous man: ah, what joy, what festivity in the little garret chamber, when the poor lodger took comfort to himself from the glorious memory of the renowned thinker, when his own thinking began to breathe courage, the difficulties began to take on form, and hope finally sprang into being—the hope of understanding himself; that is to say, the hope first of understanding the nature of the difficulty, and then perhaps of being able to overcome it!”

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