The latest book by Eric Ziolkowski, Dana Professor of Religious Studies, examines the writing of 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.
Published by Northwestern University Press in December 2011, The Literary Kierkegaard examines Kierkegaard first and foremost as a literary prose artist and considers his entire body of published writing, as well as his private journals, papers, and letters.
Ziolkowski looks at the work in relation to pieces by five classic literary artists from different times and places: the comic drama Clouds by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes; the courtly epic poem Parzival by the Middle High German poet Wolfram von Eschenbach; the novel Don Quixote by the Renaissance Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes; a number of Shakespeare plays, particularly Hamlet; and the fictional, poetic-philosophical work Sartor Resartus by Kierkegaard’s Scottish contemporary, Thomas Carlyle.
“Like Freud, Kierkegaard is someone whose ideas were so deeply influential that people who have never read him, let alone even heard of him, unwittingly draw upon them quite regularly,” Ziolkowski says. “In a number of my classes, often just in passing, I will call the attention of my students to some comment or observation Kierkegaard may have made that directly bears upon something one of them may have said.”
Ziolkowski is the author of two other books, The Sanctification of Don Quixote: From Hidalgo to Priest (1991) and Evil Children in Religion, Literature, and Art (2001). He has also edited A Museum of Faiths: Histories and Legacies of the 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions (2001) and Literature, Religion, and East/West Comparison: Essays in Honor of Anthony C. Yu (2005). In addition, he is one of the six main editors for The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (EBR).