Lovers in Essence: A Kierkegaardian Defense of Romantic Love

Sharon Krishek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Romantic love is a defining phenomenon in human existence, and an object of heightened interest for literature, art, popular culture, and psychology. But what is romantic love and why is it typically experienced as so central? Sharon Krishek's primary aim in this work is to explore the nature of romantic love through the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard, and in doing so, to defend it as a moral phenomenon. She does so by developing a connection between love and selfhood, here explained in terms of one's distinct individuality. To be a self, she claims, is to possess a "name," that is, an individual essence. It is when we love that we regard people by their names; we respond to who they truly are. Therefore, love is a correspondence between essences: if Jane Eyre loves Edward Rochester, she responds to him being "who he is," by virtue of her being "who she is." The conception of being thus correspondent has important implications as to the moral and spiritual value of romantic love. Relying on Kierkegaard's analysis of the self, of faith, and of love―even if sometimes in a way that departs from Kierkegaard's explicit position―Krishek explores these implications, construing romantic love as a desirable phenomenon, emotionally, morally, and spiritually.

Original languageAmerican English
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages244
ISBN (Electronic)9780197500903
ISBN (Print)9780197500903
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

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© Oxford University Press 2022. All rights reserved.


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