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Sober Cannibals, Drunken Christians: Melville, Kierkegaard, and Tragic Optimism in Polarized Worlds

By author: Jamie Lorentzen
Product Code: P409
ISBN: 9780881462005
Product Format: Paperback
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Availability: In stock
Price: $35.00

Despite that they didn’t know each other, the writing styles of American writer Herman Melville (1819–1891) and Danish writer Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) complement each other, especially their humor, irony, penchants for paradox, and passions for imagery and poetics. In addition, their works similarly address issues of the world and time. Esthetic, ethical, social, philosophical, and theological paths on which they walk reveal similar footprints. World historical circumstances to which they were responding in their time and to which they continue to respond in our time are not dissimilar. Melville and Kierkegaard’s rebounding echoes reverberate in our highly charged and polarized times, speaking especially to the timeless conundrum of what Kierkegaard calls the “disastrous confounding of politics and religion” and what Melville calls “drunken” Christianity, namely, the intoxicated mixing of worldly issues with otherworldly issues without care paid to maintaining necessary ethical distinctions. These two writers are like two prophets crying from New York and Copenhagen street corners about our own cultural wildernesses. They are truth-tellers and authors who ought to be read and studied because they have something urgent to say about our shifty human condition and our polarized world.
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