Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bluebeard: Demoniac or Tragic Hero? by Ian W. Panth

Kierkegaard's Literary Figures and Motifs: Agamemnon to Guadalquivir (Kierkegaard Research: Sources, Reception and Resources) by Katalin Nun (Editor) and Jon Stewart (Editor) has an article of interest to some readers here.

Here's the bibliographic info for the article:

Panth, Ian W. "Bluebeard: Demoniac or Tragic Hero?" in Kierkegaard's Literary Figures and Motifs Tome I: Agamemnon to Guadalquivir. Edited by Katalin Nun and Jon Stewart. Ashgate Publishing, Burlington, VT, 2014, 79-88.

Book description:

While Kierkegaard is perhaps known best as a religious thinker and philosopher, there is an unmistakable literary element in his writings. He often explains complex concepts and ideas by using literary figures and motifs that he could assume his readers would have some familiarity with. This dimension of his thought has served to make his writings far more popular than those of other philosophers and theologians, but at the same time it has made their interpretation more complex. Kierkegaard readers are generally aware of his interest in figures such as Faust or the Wandering Jew, but they rarely have a full appreciation of the vast extent of his use of characters from different literary periods and traditions. The present volume is dedicated to the treatment of the variety of literary figures and motifs used by Kierkegaard. The volume is arranged alphabetically by name, with Tome I covering figures and motifs from Agamemnon to Guadalquivir.

And here's the first lines from Panth's article about Bluebeard:

The literary figure, Bluebeard (Blaubart), gets his name from his “uncanny blue beard” which serves as an external and early warning of the man’s sinister and murderous nature. In his writings Søren Kierkegaard refers to Bluebeard three times. Once each in Either/Or, Part One, Fear and Trembling, and, the unpublished, Johannes Climacus, or De Omnibus dubitandum est.1 After presenting the likely literary sources that lay behind Kierkegaard’s allusions, followed by a brief summary of the key elements in the Bluebeard tales, I will illuminate the role that the allusions to Bluebeard play in each of these three texts. Fear and Trembling and De Omnibus will be treated together. Both the cursory nature of the references and the valuation of the figure of Bluebeard are similar in these two works. The reference in Either/Or, Part One occurs in “The Seducer’s Diary” and will be treated at greater length. In the “Diary,” Kierkegaard’s allusion to Bluebeard is more fully integrated into the narrative.

Panth was kind enough to share the article with me since he references Bluebeard Tales From Around the World (Surlalune Fairy Tale Series) in his notes. I wouldn't have known about this article otherwise and wanted to let you know about it, too. Bluebeard Tales From Around the World (Surlalune Fairy Tale Series) is one of my proudest publishing achievements and I am always thrilled to learn that is has aided someone else's research. Thanks for that! And I learned a little about Kierkegaard, too, so thanks again.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing about the book and my article. I view scholarship as an ongoing conversation. I am happy this conversation is going out to the web. You can read my less academic musing on my two blogs. and

    Thank you for your hard work. There has yet to be a complete and annotated version of Tieck's work. So your book was immensely helpful.

    Ian W. Panth