Kierkegaard and the Staging of Desire: Writing Word and Sacrament 公开

Hughes, Carl Stephen (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/x920fx708?locale=zh
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Abstract

This dissertation analyzes the central (but often unacknowledged) place that Kierkegaard accords to desire for God in the Christian life. Drawing on Emmanuel Levinas's theme of infinite, ever increasing desire, and attending to the ways in which Kierkegaard's richly varied rhetoric seeks to incite an analogous eros, I compare Kierkegaard's early writings about the theater to his late meditations on the Eucharist. I argue that even Kierkegaard's most explicitly theological texts are marked by a kind of "theatricality," inasmuch as they adopt and transform the theater's aesthetic qualities in order to spark religious longing.

After establishing the context and key terms of my argument in my Introduction, I offer a close reading of the concept of desire in The Concept of Irony, suggesting that this early text can provide a paradigm for interpreting desire throughout Kierkegaard's subsequent writings. In Chapter One, I analyze desire's connection to theatricality in Either/Or, paying particular attention to the vaudeville play that the book presents as an exemplary means of soliciting eros. Chapters Two, Three, and Four then consider the themes of desire and theatricality within the starkly different context of Kierkegaard's Eucharistic Discourses. Even though these late texts initially seem entirely detached from Kierkegaard's early writings on theater, I argue that the two sets of texts use similar rhetorical strategies for the elicitation of longing. In Chapter Five, I consider how Kierkegaard's conception of faith as desire shapes his interpretation of Christian ethical life. In doing so, I respond to several prevalent interpretations of his work, which argue that it condemns eros in a fundamental way.

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Prologue--Fairy Tales and Theology

1

Introduction--Staging Desire (With Constant Reference to The Concept of Irony)

9 I. Aesthetic-Religious Equivocation 11

II. Desire, Beyond "Eros" and "Agape"

19

III. Staging Desire in The Concept of Irony

29 A. Which Socrates? 30 B. Irony under Religious "Control" 38 C. On, and beyond, the Romantic Stage 47

Chapter One--Desiring "The One"--In Vaudeville, Marriage, and Beyond

54

I. Why Vaudeville?

56

II. The First Love

65

III. Two Modes of Desire for First Love

69 A. A Parody of a Parody of a Parody... 70

B. Living First Love Rather Than Staging It

74

IV. Staging a Sermon, Infinitizing Desire

87

V. Beyond Either/Or, Returning to "The First Love"

93

Chapter Two--Vor Frue Kirke as Stage: Aesthetics and Desire in Liturgy and Sacrament

103

I. The Eucharist, and Eucharistic Discourses, in Vor Frue Kirke

105 A. The Danish Friday Eucharist Service 105

B. The Aesthetic Setting of Vor Frue Kirke

110

II. Staging Communion

124 A. Longing and Intensified Longing 125

B. Sorrowing over Sin, Sorrowing after God

133 C. "Where He is, There Is the Altar" 139

Chapter Three--"The Woman Who Was a Sinner": A New Statue in Vor Frue Kirke

148

I. Staging a Biblical Story

150

II. Imaging Faith

154

III. Theatrical and Eucharistic Transformations

162

Chapter Four--Becoming Another: From the Farce Theater to the Feet of Christ

169

I. Becoming Another in the Farce Theater

172 A. The Genre of German Farce 174 B. Der Talisman 182 C. Becoming Titus? 184

II. Writing Repetition

190

III. Christ's Substitution in Our Place

196

IV. Becoming Christ

200 A. Christ as "Cover" 201 B. Inflaming Faith 206

C. The Foot of the Altar as "Place of Rest"?

209

Chapter Five--Sacramental Writing, Sacramental Living: Eros in Existence

213

I. Hidden Love and Infinite Desire

220

II. Love Redoubles: Love for God and Love for Neighbor

230

III. Earthly Eros: A Controlled Element?

238

IV. All the World's a Stage

247

Epilogue--Renewing Theology: Kierkegaard Beyond Barth

255 Bibliography 262

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