This essay follows Kierkegaard’s treatment of the concept of Socratic irony through the course of his whole authorship, starting with his dissertation (1841) on Socratic and Romantic irony. Later, in 1846, Kierkegaard’s pseudonym Johannes Climacus mounts a critique of that dissertation in Concluding Unscientific Postscript, sharpening Kierkegaard’s earlier definition of irony through the concepts of jest and earnest. The focus of this essay, however, is on Kierkegaard’s late period, after 1846, when the satirical Copenhagen journal The Corsair, mounted a set of vicious attacks upon Kierkegaard, subjecting him to months of public ridicule. The result was that Kierkegaard came to feel a much closer personal identification than before with the situation at Socrates’ trial.
Humor, Irony, Jest and earnest, Journalism, Martyrdom, Mass media, Rhetoric