Article by Marius Gunnar Timmann Mjaaland in Kierkegaard Studies.
In The Lily in the Field and the Bird of the Air (1849), Kierkegaard presents a succinct critique of Romantic aesthetics, in line with contemporary critiques of ecocriticism and ecophilosophy, e.g. by Timothy Morton. Whereas Romantic poets see nature as a mirror of their inner thoughts and pathos, thereby divinising themselves and their creativity, Kierkegaard emphasises the authority of the Creator and the exteriority of nature. He identifies the consequences of such Romantic self-infatuation on all levels of discourse: aesthetics, ethics, epistemology and ontology, and seeks to formulate an alternative. I argue that the discourses thus represent an alternative philosophy of nature, revealing an immediate joy for the gift of being-there. Being human thus means being dependent on and embedded in nature. This makes Kierkegaard a highly relevant interlocutor for contemporary ecophilosophy and ecocriticism, as revealed by Knausgård’s novel Morgenstjernen (2020).