D. Anthony Storm's Commentary on Kierkegaard

First Period: Works of Youth (1834-42)

Another Defense Of Woman's Great Abilities

  • Another Defense of Woman's Great Abilities
  • Ogsaa et Forsvar for Qvindens hoie Anlæg
  • A
  • 1834
  • KW1, SKS13, SV13, Kjøbenhavns flyvende Post, Interimsblad, 34, December 17, 1834

Early Polemical Writings is the title of this volume in Kierkegaard's Writings, containing early works published separately from 1834 through 1838. This volume consists almost entirely of material never before translated into English.

Kierkegaard's first article is on the theme of the emancipation of women. Peter Lind, a fellow student of SK's, wrote a short article, typical for the time, on the role of women in society. This was in reaction to the suggestion of some that women should be more involved in higher education and literary circles. Lind's article sarcastically praised women for skills such as sewing and the like.

Kierkegaard, who was 21 at the time, takes up where his classmate left off, but writes a bit more wittily. But however witty it is, SK's article, like that of Lind, reflects an unkind and pessimistic attitude towards the academic potential of women.

Regarding history, they keep abreast of the events, and many a paper, many a journal that man considers insignificant does not escape their keen eye—in fashion magazines they study the spirit of the age (p. 4).

Just as of old ladies were acknowledged as umpires, so now shall dissertations, plays, philosophical works, be submitted to your judgment.... From Eve's hand we shall receive the apple of knowledge. So elevate yourselves, then, above the earth!... So fly, then, from this ungrateful earth, raise yourselves on the wings of philosophy and look down with contempt on those whose cowardly, servile minds would, with the Jews of old, prefer to remain behind by the fleshpots (p. 5).

Though the form of this article may be excused given the time period in which it was written and given SK's age, it does demonstrate Kierkegaard's wit and early interest in pseudonymity. While we cannot say that he had already conceived of his lifelong pseudonymous project, it is worth noting that the pseudonym A would be used again in Either/Or.