The pleasures of secondary sources

Kierkegaard is a hard nut to crack, and I’ve picked up his work multiple times, only to put it down before long.

Still, he has had a profound impact on me as a person, almost exclusively through secondary sources. One of those sources is the lecture by Robert Solomon that I’ve embedded below.

Reading primary sources can be a real joy, and I consider myself a much more complete person for having studied through many of “the great books” in my college years and since.

But secondary sources, where other intelligent, insightful people synthesize and re-present the primary sources, are often more pleasurable and more impactful because they are more clear, and because the author has the standing to point out the significance of elements in the primary sources. I hope professors, teachers, and writers of history and popular science take heart.

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