Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen - Kierkegaard comes to wonderful, wonderful Cambridgeshire

Headtube badge on my Copenhagen Pedersen bicycle
Like many teenagers passionately interested in religion I became captivated early on by the work of Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). His passion for the individual and his recognition that nothing was more dreadful than the thought of losing "the inmost and holiest thing of all in a man, the unifying power of personality" (Either/Or, II:135) was something that resonated extraordinarily strongly in the heart of a youngster growing up in an environment that wanted me to conform to certain middle-class, consumerist norms. I continued to read him into my mid-twenties and particularly valued a collection called "A Kierkegaard Reader: Texts & Narratives" edited by Roger Poole and Henrik Stangerup.

Anyway, a career in jazz and rock intervened as did a shift of interest towards the people regular readers of this blog will know I particularly admire, Epicurus, Lucretius, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Bloch and Vattimo. The upshot being that, since at least 1990, Kierkegaard's works have languished unread on my bookshelves. And then, and then . . .

In a bookshop here in Cambridge, just a couple of weeks ago, in David's Bookshop I stumbled by chance across a copy of "Wilderness and the Heart - Henry Bugbee's Philosophy of Place, Presence and Memory" by Edward F. Mooney. (I wrote a short post about discovering Bugbee here). This led me to look at some other things Mooney had written and I quickly discovered that he is best known for his work on Kierkegaard. Sufficiently intrigued (and delighted) by his writing about Bugbee, I decided to get hold of a couple of his books on Kierkegaard:

On Søren Kierkegaard: Dialogue, Polemics, Lost Intimacy, and Time

Excursions with Kierkegaard: Others, Goods, Death, and Final Faith 

The Pedersen near Over
I have to say that it's been an astonishing and exciting revelation to me. Thanks to the wonderful way Mooney interprets and presents Kierkegaard's basic approach all of a sudden, and quite unexpectedly, I find Kierkegaard is off the shelf and back in my head, heart and saddlebag. (Here's a review of "Excursions with Kierkegaard" by Jeffrey Hanson that echoes my enthusiastic response to Mooney's take on on K).

Mention of my saddlebag brings me to the end of this post because, given that Kierkegaard was born, lived and worked in Copenhagen his whole life it seemed entirely appropriate that, yesterday (Monday), when I went out for a ride out to Fen Drayton Lakes and then back round through Willingham (to visit Belsar's Hill) and Rampton, I had to go on my beloved Dursley (Copenhagen) Pedersen bicycle - made in Copenhagen (as the photo at the top of the page reveals). In my saddlebag on this excursion into the sunny Cambridgeshire countryside (thankfully avoiding at the end a fairly intense thunderstorm) was, you might have guessed, Mooney's "Excursions with Kierkegaard" some of which I read lying in the shade by Fen Drayton Lakes whilst eating my sandwiches and drinking a flask of tea. Marvellous, simply marvellous. Here are a few photos I took along the way.

Fen Drayton Lakes where I had lunch
Over Parish Church
The road from Over to Willingham
The landscape near Willingham - storm clouds gathering
Rooks in field near Rampton
The storm gets closer - Rampton
Boathouses near Clayhithe
River Cam near Clayhithe