Manuscripts from the Søren Kierkegaard Archive at The Royal Library

The manuscripts selected for viewing are ordinarily in the Søren Kierkegaard Archive of the Royal Library. No one outside the library and only a very few inside have access to the collective mass of manuscripts, but the will to perseverance glimpsed behind the mountain of papers when brought up to the Reading Room as bits and pieces, seems almost contrary to nature. "Only when I produce do I feel well. Then I forget all the unpleasantnesses of life, all sufferings, then I am in my thoughts and happy," Kierkegaard wrote at a point in 1847, and if the extent of his production is taken into consideration, there is a temptation to suspect that Kierkegaard, who is otherwise often designated as a great victim of melancholia, essentially felt well enough that his condition might positively ressemble happiness.

The samples of drafts and fair copies have been chosen so that they may reflect Kierkegaard's own viewpoint on his works. In the first part there are manuscripts of, e.g. 'Diapsalmata' and 'The Diary of a Seducer' from Either - Or; 'In vino veritas' and 'Guilty - Not Guilty' from Stages on Life's Way; the preface, dated August 9, 1843, to Three Edifying Discourses; The Concept of Anxiety and Philosophical Fragments. At the mid-point (part,2), Concluding Unscientific Postscript establishes the turning point in the body of work.

In part 3 manuscripts have been chosen from e.g. Works of Love, The Sickness unto Death, 'Has a human being the Right to allow himself to be killed for the Truth?' from Two Minor Ethico-Religious Essays, 'Ultimatum' from the second part of Either - Or, Two Discourses at the Communion on Fridays, Practice in Christianity, The Unchangingness of God, as well as The Moment. In among these manuscripts from the works are a series of pages, sheets, notebooks and journals from the papers, which reflect Kierkegaard's running discussion with himself about his works.

From Joakim Garff's essay  "The Secret Note".

This web exhibit is based on the catalogue of  "Kierkegaard. The Secret Note", an exhibit at The Round Tower, Copenhagen, May 6 - June 9, 1996, arranged under the auspices of The Søren Kierkegaard Research Center by Niels Jørgen Cappelørn and The Søren Kierkegaard Society by Joakim Garff.