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

Authors

  • Jørgen Veisland

Keywords:

names, pseudonyms, truth, fiction, work, play

Abstract

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).

References

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.

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Published

2023-01-15

Issue

Section

Academic articles