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Divine Suspense : On Kierkegaard's Frygt og Bæven and the Aesthetics of Suspense

Engh Seland, Andreas LU (2016)
Abstract
What does it mean to feel suspense? What kinds of situations give rise to the emotion? What is the connection between suspense and narrativity? And how is it that we can feel suspense upon repeat encounters with the same narrative? These questions are at the center of the first part of this study, where I develop and defend the ‘imminence theory of suspense’. Central to this theory is the claim that suspense arises in situations defined by imminence, by the fact that they are structurally incomplete but geared toward their possible future completion: in other words, situations in which something of essence is imminent. Next, the study seeks to utilize this theory about suspense as an interpretative key to Søren Kierkegaard’s work Frygt og... (More)
What does it mean to feel suspense? What kinds of situations give rise to the emotion? What is the connection between suspense and narrativity? And how is it that we can feel suspense upon repeat encounters with the same narrative? These questions are at the center of the first part of this study, where I develop and defend the ‘imminence theory of suspense’. Central to this theory is the claim that suspense arises in situations defined by imminence, by the fact that they are structurally incomplete but geared toward their possible future completion: in other words, situations in which something of essence is imminent. Next, the study seeks to utilize this theory about suspense as an interpretative key to Søren Kierkegaard’s work Frygt og Bæven (‘FB’). FB is an exploration of what it means to take Abraham, as he figures in the story of Abraham and Isaac, as a paradigmatic example of faith. The present study argues that a core feature of how Kierkegaard / Silentio conceptualizes faith through the figure of Abraham is suspense. The argument is built upon the observation that to have faith is to be a certain kind of hero: a knight of faith. To be hero means to belong to a story. Stories contain different kinds of conceptualizations of time: for example, they are openended or they are closed. Abraham’s story, as FB frames it, is radically openended – radically geared towards something imminent, hence suspense. The study then explores how suspense not only forms part of the conceptualization of faith in FB, but is also part of how this conceptualization is communicated; thus, the study argues that there exists a symmetry of suspense between the rhetorical and the conceptual levels of the text. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • professor Pattison, George, University of Glasgow, Skottland
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, Philosophy of Religion, Aesthetics, Suspense, Paradox of Suspense, Faith, Narrativity, Mikhail Bakhtin
pages
230 pages
publisher
Lund University (Media-Tryck)
defense location
C126, LUX, Helgonavägen 3, Lund
defense date
2016-12-09 14:15
ISBN
978-91-88473-08-0
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
71578133-bacd-4a3b-85ea-f9f135b7ec96
date added to LUP
2016-10-24 11:45:38
date last changed
2017-01-18 10:59:01
@phdthesis{71578133-bacd-4a3b-85ea-f9f135b7ec96,
  abstract     = {What does it mean to feel suspense? What kinds of situations give rise to the emotion? What is the connection between suspense and narrativity? And how is it that we can feel suspense upon repeat encounters with the same narrative? These questions are at the center of the first part of this study, where I develop and defend the ‘imminence theory of suspense’. Central to this theory is the claim that suspense arises in situations defined by imminence, by the fact that they are structurally incomplete but geared toward their possible future completion: in other words, situations in which something of essence is imminent. Next, the study seeks to utilize this theory about suspense as an interpretative key to Søren Kierkegaard’s work Frygt og Bæven (‘FB’). FB is an exploration of what it means to take Abraham, as he figures in the story of Abraham and Isaac, as a paradigmatic example of faith. The present study argues that a core feature of how Kierkegaard / Silentio conceptualizes faith through the figure of Abraham is suspense. The argument is built upon the observation that to have faith is to be a certain kind of hero: a knight of faith. To be hero means to belong to a story. Stories contain different kinds of conceptualizations of time: for example, they are openended or they are closed. Abraham’s story, as FB frames it, is radically openended – radically geared towards something imminent, hence suspense. The study then explores how suspense not only forms part of the conceptualization of faith in FB, but is also part of how this conceptualization is communicated; thus, the study argues that there exists a symmetry of suspense between the rhetorical and the conceptual levels of the text. },
  author       = {Engh Seland, Andreas},
  isbn         = {978-91-88473-08-0 },
  keyword      = {Søren Kierkegaard,Fear and Trembling,Philosophy of Religion,Aesthetics,Suspense,Paradox of Suspense,Faith,Narrativity,Mikhail Bakhtin},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {230},
  publisher    = {Lund University (Media-Tryck)},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Divine Suspense : On Kierkegaard's Frygt og Bæven and the Aesthetics of Suspense},
  year         = {2016},
}