Fear and Trembling in Copenhagen - In Search of Soren Kierkegaard

Nigel Warburton travels to Copenhagen to explore the life and writings of Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard - often called the father of existentialism - in his bicentenary year.

In Denmark today the name Kierkegaard evokes a mix of pride and uncertainty. His mix of earnestness and irony - angst and comedy, influenced many thinkers and writers in the twentieth century: from Wittgenstein, Jean Paul Sartre and W H Auden, to Woody Allen. But he remains difficult to categorise.

His name means 'graveyard' - fitting for a man often referred to as the father of existentialism: now a byword for angst and despair. But Kierkegaard was an eccentric, paradoxical writer, who can be read in many ways. An anti-intellectualist yet profoundly intellectual; deeply Christian but relentlessly critical of the Church; a philosopher, who hated most philosophy, and a poet, some even say a novelist, who never really wrote poems or novels.

On location in Denmark Nigel Warburton travels to his old apartments and walks the streets this eccentric man took his inspiration from. He also visits the cathedral which Kierkegaard spent his last years attacking, and asks what this controversial Christian thinker can offer us in a highly secular age.

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Thu 24 Jul 2014 22:00

Related topics

Six Secret Smuggled Books

Nelson mandela

Six classic works of literature we wouldn't have read if they hadn't been smuggled...



Seven images inspired by the grid

World Music collector, Sir David Attenborough

JS114374909 attenborough large trans K8oq TXSPAJ0t21o ESlo XRk CIv3505 E63j Nj QF1 Hma4

The field recordings Attenborough of music performances around the world.

Attenborough's field recordings

Attenborough's field recordings

The unlikely music performances captured while searching for exotic animals to film.