Ed Mooney’s “Excursions with Kierkegaard” — New Book + NDPR Review

9781441190345I’m sure many of you will be glad as I am to hear that Ed Mooney has a new book out from Bloomsbury: Excursions with Kierkegaard: Others, Goods, Death, and Final Faith. Information about the book, including the Table of Contents, can be found at the publisher’s page.

Jeffrey Hanson‘s recent NDPR review of Excursions rewards reading. It begins:

Once upon a time, there was a wildly popular “school” of thought called “existentialism.” Ordinary educated persons read works of existential writing and attended plays by existentialist dramatists; existential themes were bandied about in pubs and cafes; even the mass media took note of the way in which existentialist philosophy had broken the boundaries of the academy and been taken up in the streets. Eventually, of course, the badge “existentialist” became exhausted and dismissed, parodied, travestied, and ignored until its favor collapsed. It’s hard to say today whether there are any existentialists and, if so, where they are hiding.

Edward F. Mooney is perhaps such an elusive specimen, a spokesman for the authentic self, which is itself a rare and exotic creature. Mooney feels the draw of the philosophically urgent; he is gripped by an impulse to refuse the false, the distracting, the tinseled but shopworn “lifestyles” that the modern world’s shabby emporium noisily touts. He is against every hackneyed sentiment, every tawdry evasion, and every unearned consolation.

His book is fit for the educated person still open to wonder and a tonic for the academician whose passion has been dulled by bureaucracy and careerism, who has sold her birthright as a teacher in exchange for being — to use a Kierkegaardian term of ridicule — an assistant professor.  And his book is for those who still feel the call to which the existentialist once responded: the whispered summons to traipse the wilderness rather than trace yet again the well-worn path to and from the office. Many of Mooney’s metaphors are drawn from the activity of walking and taking in landscapes — if he isn’t a walker himself like his beloved Kierkegaard (or Thoreau, whom he also admires), then he is to be congratulated for his fictive inventiveness, because his imagery strikes the reader as one that is born from life. Indeed, the many meditations in this text positively wriggle with the vitality of the first-hand, like a bucket of eels drawn from a sun-spangled river. Readers expecting a technical account of anything at all will be disappointed. Excursions with Kierkegaard is what its title suggests: more travelogue than treatise. And his companion on the way is lovingly and vividly rendered, a wry Virgil to any Dante who picks up this book. Kierkegaard appears here as by turns sober and wry, difficult and winsome, a poet, a preacher, a prophet, an ironic carnival barker, an astute observer, a friend to the man on the street and a guest of the king, a bon vivant and a Christian, a confidant and critic . . .

To continue reading click here.


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