What’s in a name
a Kierkegaardian approach to Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Paul Auster’s City of glass and Albert Camus’ The myth of Sisyphus
Keywords:names, pseudonyms, truth, fiction, work, play
In The point of view on my work as an author (1851) Søren Kierkegaard speaks of Governance, a voice informing his writing. In The concept of anxiety (1844) the pseudonymous Vigilius elucidates the categories of the temporary, the eternal and the moment and defines the demonic as anxiety about the good, a predominant motif in Herman Melville’s novel Billy Budd (1891). Pseudonyms play an important role in Paul Auster’s novel City of glass (1987), a narrative constructing fictions within fictions while striving towards truth and pitting play against work Albert Camus’ The myth of Sisyphus (1942) is relevant as the philosopher argues that reason approximates truth while faith betrays truth, a standpoint he reverses in the later work The rebel (1951).
Auster, Paul. City of glass. In The New York trilogy, 3-132. London: Faber and Faber, 1987.
Beckett, Samuel. The unnamable. In Three novels by Samuel Beckett, 291-414. Translated from the French by the author. New York: Grove Press, 1955.
Camus, Albert. The myth of Sisyphus and other essays. Translated by Justin O’Brien. 1-23. New York: Vintage Books, 1991.
Camus, Albert. The rebel. Translated by Anthony Bower. New York: Vintage International, 1991.
Garff, Joakim. “The eyes of Argus: the point of view and points of view with respect to Kierkegaard’s ‘Activity as an author’.” Translated by Bruce H. Kirmmse. In Kierkegaardiana 15. Copenhagen: C. A. Reitzels forlag, 1991.
Kierkegaard, Søren. The concept of anxiety. Translated by Reidar Tomte. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980.
Kierkegaard, Søren. The concept of irony. In Kierkegaard’s writings, II, Vol. 2. Edited and translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989.
Kierkegaard, Søren. Concluding unscientific postscript. Translated by David F. Swenson. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1941.
Kierkegaard, Søren. Philosophical fragments. Translated by David F. Swenson. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1936.
Kierkegaard, Søren. The point of view on my work as an author. Translated by Walter Lowrie. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1962.
Melville, Herman. Billy Budd. In Selected tales and poems. Edited by Richard Chase. 289-376. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968.
Smyth, John Vignaux. A question of Eros: irony in Sterne, Kierkegaard and Barthes. Tallahassee: Florida State University Press, 1986.
Springsteen, Bruce. “Streets of Philadelphia”. Thrill Hill West: Columbia Records, 1994.
Copyright (c) 2023 Jørgen Veisland
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who submit manuscripts and publish with Inscriptions retain copyright to their original work and agree to the following terms:
- Inscriptions is granted the right to first publish the work under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise agreed in writing prior to publication;
- Inscriptions and its publisher Tankebanen forlag is granted the right to produce and reproduce the work in any form, printed or electronically, for free distribution and for sale;
- Authors are permitted to post their work online and to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal’s published version of their work as long as its initial publication in Inscriptions is acknowledged.