I ventured into Either/Or tonight. Despite its sensational history I was not particularly looking forward to it. I read the first volume a few years back and don’t have fond memories of it. I forgot, however, the aphorisms that begin the first volume which is attributed to A (who writes in an aesthetic mode) as opposed to B who writes in a ethical mode in the second volume. Here are two quotes,
Let others complain that the age is wicked; my complaint is that it is paltry; for it lacks passion. Men’s thoughts are thin and flimsy like lace, they are themselves pitiable like the lacemakers. The thoughts of their hearts are to paltry to sinful. For a worm it might be regarded as a sin to harbour such thoughts, but not for a being made in the image of God. Their lusts are dull and sluggish, their passions sleepy. . . . This is the reason my soul always turns back to the Old Testament and to Shakespeare. I feel that those who speak there are at least human beings: they hate, they love, they murder their enemies, and curse their descendants throughout all generations, they sin.
It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning, they shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid general applause from all the wits, who believe that it is a joke.