'What if everything in the world were a misunderstanding, what if laughter were really tears?'
Either/Or is the earliest of the major works of Søren Kierkegaard, one of the most startlingly original thinkers and writers of the nineteenth century, and the first which he wrote under a pseudonym, as he would for his greatest philosophical writings. Adopting the viewpoints of two distinct figures with radically different beliefs--the aesthetic young man of Part One, called simply 'A', and the ethical Judge Vilhelm of the second section--Kierkegaard reflects upon the search for a meaningful existence, contemplating subjects as diverse as Mozart, drama, boredom, and, in the famous Seducer's Diary, the cynical seduction and ultimate rejection of a young, beautiful woman. A masterpiece of duality, Either/Or is an exploration of the conflict between the aesthetic and the ethical--both meditating ironically and seductively upon Epicurean pleasures, and eloquently expounding the noble virtues of a morally upstanding life.
This lightly abridged edition fully conveys the vigour and eloquence of the original. Alastair Hannay's introduction explains the philosophical background to the work and places it in the context of its times.