Prefaces

Prefaces

[pref-is]
Prefaces (Forord) is a book by Søren Kierkegaard published under the pseudonym Nicolaus Notabene. It is a series of prefaces for unwritten books, books unwritten because the fictitious Notabene's wife has sworn to divorce him if he ever becomes a writer.

Prefaces was published June 17th 1844, the same date as The Concept of Anxiety (also by a pseudonym: Vigilius Haufniensis). This was the second time Kierkegaard simultaneously published two pseudonymous works (the first being Oct 16, 1843, with the publication of Repetition alongside Fear and Trembling). In this case, the ludicrous but affable figure of Notabene is clearly meant to illustrate the pedantic and rather annoying characteristics of the more philosophically articulate Haufniensis. There are many links between the two authors and texts ("Preface VII" was originally intended to be the preface for The Concept of Anxiety,) but what strikes the reader is the immense difference of personality between the two authors: the one, Haufniensis, sits upright at his desk, interrogating the concept of anxiety, while the other, Notabene, cowers in secret, writing a series of beginnings that never reach fruition, articulating the essence of anxiety through his existence. Their differences take on a dialectical valence when it is realized that Haufniensis' stability masks a dogmatic, aesthetic, life, whereas Notabene's anxiety emerges from a married, somewhat ethical, existence.

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