Politics and Philosophy

In addition to studying theology at the university, Kierkegaard engaged in light-hearted political debates at the Student Association and in a series of newspaper articles (his first published writings) on the freedom of the press, which had been under strict censorship in Denmark since 1799, and the emancipation of women, a goal of the budding feminist movement in Europe at that time (EPW 1-52).61 Although wittily critical of both the press and the Crown on the first issue and ironically opposed to the second through mock praise of 'woman's great abilities', Kierkegaard demonstrates at this young age an awareness of important political issues of the time even though politics was not a subject of serious interest to him (EPW 1-52). Academically, he gravitated more and more toward philosophy under the influence of Poul Martin Moller, his intellectual mentor and revered friend whom he credited with being 'the mighty trumpet of my awakening' (SKP s, B 46).62 As a result of the deaths of both Moller and Kierkegaard's father in 1838, and perhaps also due to a personal religious experience of'an indescribable joy that same year, Soren finally settled down in earnest to prepare for his theological examination, which he took and passed in July 1840. He then entered the Pastoral Seminary for a year of homiletics and catechetical training to qualify him to become an ordained minister (JP v. 5324; LD 10-22). Although he often contemplated becoming a rural pastor or a teacher at the seminary in later years, he was never ordained and never actually applied for either position. Having inherited half of his father's large estate, he lived the rest of his life as an independent author.

59 N. Thulstrup (1980d: 46-212); Stewart (2003: 27-34). 60 Stewart (2003: 17).

61 See Perkins (1999b); Watkin (1999a); Kirmmse (1990: 45-52).

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