Parul Sehgal at The New York Times:
Kierkegaard commonly complained that he was misunderstood (he also complained that he was not misunderstood in the right ways). But few philosophers have wanted so keenly to be of use, according to a new biography, “Philosopher of the Heart,” by Clare Carlisle. Not for Kierkegaard the abstractions of philosophy — he saw the discipline as performing the painful, prosaic work of becoming human: “We must work out who we are, and how to live, right in the middle of life itself, with an open future ahead of us,” Carlisle summarizes his approach. “Just as we cannot step off the train while it is moving, so we cannot step away from life to reflect on its meaning.” There are famous challenges to telling the life of Kierkegaard. He died at 42, in Copenhagen, seemingly exhausted after an extraordinary burst of productivity that gave us a flotilla of philosophical texts masquerading as sermons, dialogues, found documents, book reviews.