Samuel McCormickCommunication Department University of Colorado at Boulder September 2001
The maieutic is not to be enigmatic in this or that particular matter but is to be enigmatic with regard to the whole.
-Søren Kierkegaard (1848)
The value of fragments of thought is all the greater the less direct their relationship to the underlying idea.
-Walter Benjamin (1925)
where we cannot know the original, we might as well take the next best thing.
-John Durham Peters (1999)
Calls for self-reflection and tolerance ring through the halls of late-modern scholarship. Robert Hariman and Francis A. Beer look to Renaissance models of political leadership for a possible solution: “the leader was to be schooled in the full range of the society’s accomplishments, and particularly in those that inculcated tolerance for other viewpoints and critical reflection on one’s own actions.”  Equally concerned and twice as nostalgic, Cornell West sees in American pragmatism a “regeneration of social forces empowering the disadvantaged, degraded, and dejected.”  Richard Rorty frames his response in terms of Mill’s On Liberty: “our responsibility to others becomes a matter of permitting them to as much space to pursue their private concerns – to worship their own gods, so to speak – as is compatible with granting an equal amount of space to all.”  In an effort to contribute knowledge and insight to conversations such as these, this essay figures Søren Kierkegaard’s philosophy of communication as representative of a more theoretical but no less useful answer to calls for self-reflection and tolerance.
Against a host of more theosophical critiques, which often have little to say about day-to-day conduct, we read Kierkegaard’s philosophy of communication as a contemporaneous effort to adapt ideas to people. Subsequent attempts to “go public” can be seen in the works of Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) and John Durham Peters (1955-). As Kierkegaard, Benjamin, and Peters demonstrate, extending philosophies of communication within political arenas forces one into contact with common hermeneutic specters – perspective, reduction, representation, and dialectic.  Moreover, each of these three philo-sophists responds by deeply emphasizing a figure of discourse first theorized by Kierkegaard as “indirection.” In Benjamin we see indirection refigured in terms of “criticism” and “historical materialism.” In Peters it becomes the force behind his notion of “dissemination.” Codifications vary, but the undercurrent remains the same: indirection is as much a promise of social incommensurability as it is a motive behind coordinated action. As a resource for late-modernity, the power of indirection resides in its ability to draw upon both of these features as a means of intensifying self-reflection and invoking commitment to the critique and tolerance of difference.
EXCERSUS I: ON (INDIRECTION IN) THE FAEDRELANDET
In 1846, Søren Kierkegaard became the first thinker to make communication per se a philosophical problem.  But he did not hit his stride until 1848. Beginning and/or completing no less than six books and two essays in a matter of months, this year saw Kierkegaard at his liquid best.  While we might just as easily figure this bout of writing as a reaction to mid-19th century Danish life, during which a satirical newspaper called The Corsair began lampooning his earlier work, recent scholarship suggests that a more mundane force underpins the velocity of Kierkegaard’s 1848 writings. In late-1847 Kierkegaard unearthed what was to become root of his philosophy of communication: “an esthetic and religious corpus in equilibrium.” What had begun in 1843 as an “upbuilding series” of religious discourses achieved a critical apex in the summer of 1848.
The publication of a pseudonymous esthetic essay titled, “The Crisis And A Crisis In The Life Of An Actress,” marks this culmination. Appearing in a small Copenhagen newspaper, the short article eloquently praises the acting abilities of Johanne Luise Pätges Heiberg (1812-1890), the wife of one of Denmark's leading literary and social figures. 
Yet the esthetic aura of the article goes no further than its surface. What’s at stake in the piece, Kierkegaard claims in his private journals, is less the acting abilities of Fur Heidberg than the religiousness of his thought, its form of expression, and the growing disenchantment of his audience. The coherent fervor and unmatched profusion of his earlier writings we now inviting readers to typecast Kierkegaard as one more religious writer. “I have been occupied now for such a long time exclusively with the religious, and yet people will perhaps try to make out that I have changed, have become earnest … in short, they will make my religiousness out to be the sort of thing people turn to in old age. This is a heresy I consider extremely essential to counteract.”  “That little article,” Kierkegaard continues, was designed to “confuse again if anyone has become lazy and pompous in the habit of thinking that I was the earnest one – perhaps an apostle, something I am a very long way from being.” 
Kierkegaard saw “The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress” as an encrypted appeal to “those who live esthetically here at home.” He had in mind those members of the Danish vanguard who “have no doubt given up reading me, since I ‘have gone religious and do not write anything but sermon books’.”  Figured as the underlying object of discussion, Christianity becomes a textual excess, a cluster of exhortations sunken in the esthetic form of the article. From the celebratory surface of the piece we can thus tease out a prosaic connection between the esthetic and the religious that, as Kierkegaard saw it, resembles “something of an inverse confrontation.” The play of textual semblances, double talk, biblical metaphors, incongruous perspectives, and invitations to “look more closely” leads one to suspect that there is something more at issue in the article than epideictic rhetoric. From this angle, the esthetic reads like a stylistic veil in which the religious awaits realization.  Those moved by the esthetic, Kierkegaard thought, could be “made aware of the essentially Christian simply by avidly reading that little serialized article” or at least be encouraged to “peek into the next book, hoping to find something for them.” 
When read for its enigmatic, indirect form of expression, “The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress” doubles as an embodiment of Kierkegaard’s communicative philosophy as well as an attempt to adapt the religiousness of his thought to a mid-19th century Danish audience. In going public, Kierkegaard utilizes indirect figures of discourse such as irony, parody, narrative, and exemplarity to engage his audience. These tropes allow him to engage and manage problems of perspective, reduction, representation, and dialectic. Maintaining a link between “The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress” and our analysis will help us keep this in mind. The article will also allow us to resist many of the abstractions that permeate more theosophical interpretations of Kierkegaard’s thought.
EXERCUS II: ON POETRY (AS A PHILOSOPHY OF COMMUNICATION)
Known for his critiques of Hegel, his contributions to the development of modernism, his literary experimentation, his vivid recoding of biblical figures, his interventions in Danish church politics, and his fervent attempts to reinvigorate Christian faith, Kierkegaard represents a leading figure in Denmark’s "golden age" of intellectual and artistic activity. The Europe in which this golden age took place, however, embodies a much different zeitgeist. Enthralled by railroads, industrialization, and a burgeoning urban population, most Europeans in the mid-19th century were concerned less with the romantic primacy of poetry and philosophy (both of which Kierkegaard worked to maintain) and more with the political extension of Hegelian and Kantian thought. Progress quickly became an international fetish. London’s 1851 Great Exhibition found itself devoted solely to a celebration of the 19th century’s technological achievements. Needless to say, Kierkegaard was not in attendance.
This should remind us that Kierkegaard was not always a social critic.  In fact, when writing in 1843 (three years before “communication” hit the forefront of this thought), Kierkegaard considered himself to be little more than a poet, an imaginative constructor (experimentator). The task of the poet was simple: to situate the possible in an artistic illusion of actuality.  By casting private and shared experiences into public reflection, Kierkegaard argued, the poet could stretch history or actuality just enough to make it admit possibilities such as perspectivalism, incongruity, and otherness. Once admitted, the possible could then become the loci positio for imaginative construction or, if we give it a more socio-critical spin, a powerful analytic for diagnosing and forecasting cultural change.
Like Plato, Aristotle, and Lessing, Kierkegaard understood poetry, then, to be the art of “making” in the realm of the possible rather than in the realm of what is or has been – history and actuality.  This distinction forced Kierkegaard to displace the links among poetry, mimesis, and representation with an intensification of the relationships among poetry, phantasia, and presentation, a philosophical turn that would be recuperated and enhanced in 1925 by Walter Benjamin.  Moreover, it led Kierkegaard to refigure poetry as an artistic medium through which and – as Benjamin would later add – in which the possible can be made concrete, the idea visible, the unspeakable articulate. 
Poetry claims to capture in a phrase that which exceeds articulation.  And insofar as poetry undertakes this task without first relinquishing its status as a form of discourse, it tends to be, as John Durham Peters points out, “full of false bottoms that may drop out at any moment.”  Kierkegaard knew this before Peters. But leave it to the Benjamin scholars to nail down the idea: “what’s being said” remains always-already unable to account fully for “what’s being presented.” 
Kierkegaard responds to this paradox by fixing his gaze on irony. On his reading, poetry was the imaginative construction and deployment of discourse able to (1) capture the possible only insofar as it (2) undermines the structural constraints of language by (3) implying a meaning in excess of literality.  When inverted, this definition bears witness to a more political and less philosophical fact of ironic discourse: its rhetorical force resides in a street smart audience who possess what Richard Lanham calls “an allegorical habit of mind, a habit that will juxtapose surface and real meanings.”  Take “The Crisis And A Crisis In The Life Of An Actress,” for example. Insofar as Kierkegaard hoped to bring Denmark’s esthetic class into contact with “the essentially Christian” by providing them with “a little serialized article,” he implicitly assumed that Denmark’s esthetic class would be able to distill his religious message from the esthetic topic of the article.
Although lengthy, this discussion of poetry is not without merit, for it provides a first glimpse at what Kierkegaard came to see at the center of his philosophy of communication. As Howard and Edna Hong argue, Kierkegaard’s understanding of poetry as the imaginary construction of ironic discourse is inextricably related to – perhaps even the foundation of – what he would later call “indirect method” or “indirect communication.” 
EXCURSUS III: ON (INCONGRUOUS READINGS OF) KIERKEGAARD
One way to illuminate the theoretical precepts at work in Kierkegaard’s philosophy of communication is to read it indirectly. Pushing this claim to its limit condition, John Douglass Mullen argues that “[i]t is not possible to comprehend Kierkegaard as an intellectual exercise only. His entire body of work, with its elaborate ‘indirect’ mode of communication, is constructed to prevent it.”  By reading Kierkegaard’s philosophy of communication over and against those of Benjamin and Peters, this essay seeks to bypass many of the complications that arise from more direct interpretations of his thought.
Although this methodology is not likely to generate a direct hit, its power lies in its ability to place Kierkegaard’s philosophy of communication in tension with those realms of scholarship in which Benjamin and Peters tend to be most persuasive – modernist social criticism and late-modern communication theory. From this standpoint, we activate an understanding of discourse able to resist the limitations of both realms – solipsism and mediocrity – without refusing the goods they invokes – self-reflection and tolerance for other viewpoints. That this has always been a potential way of uderstanding Kierkegaard’s thought can be seen in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “his work crosses the boundaries of philosophy, theology, psychology, literary criticism, devotional literature, and fiction. He used irony, parody, satire, humor, and deconstructive techniques in order to make conventionally accepted forms of knowledge and value untenable.”
As the reader might have guessed by now, Kierkegaard’s philosophy of communication tends to emphasize social incommensurability and the possibility of transforming convention. On this point, Peters is particularly clear: it “features not the union of hearts, but the impossibility of speech, the resistance of public opinion, the stuntsmanship of irony, and the higher law of inwardness.”  Communication is, for Kierkegaard, less a device by which the self achieves consubstantiality with the other than a means of awakening all creatures to their own particularity.  Unlike many of his “enlightened” predecessors, who treat communication as a golden road to pure understanding and noumenal freedom, Kierkegaard sees communication as a battered yet insurmountable stumbling block between finitude and consummation. 
Before we buckle under the weight of theosophy, however, it is important to note that synoptic readings such as this tend to mask the more mundane, political features of Kierkegaard’s thought. He posits several notions of communication – direct, indirect, immediate, artistic, maieutic, ironic, etc. – under several pseudonymous authorships – Johannes de Silentio, Constantin Constantius, Vigilius Haufniensis, Nicolaus Notabene, Johannes Climacus, etc. – using several communicative forms – book reviews, private and public sermons (none of which he actually delivered), personal letters, journal entries, parables, poems, etc. If we read Kierkegaard more as a strategist an less as a theorist, this web of perspectives and metonymies renders synoptic analysis incomprehensible. It would seem that no amount of writing, arguing, persuading, or summarizing can yield an overarching “way into” his philosophy of communication.
Interestingly enough, though, it is Kierkegaard who calls for “edifying discourse.”  As he put it in My Point of View as an Author, “I held out Either/Or to the world in my left hand, and in my right the Two Edifying Discourses; but all, or as good as all, grasped with their right what I held in my left.”  A more theosophical reading might ignore the disappointed tenor of this passage. We cannot. Yet neither can we allow popular understandings of “edification” to guide our analysis. At its best, Kierkegaard argues, edifying discourse can only give way to fleeting glimpses of the “fantastical union” between “the existing person” and “the eternity of imagination,” moments of enchantment that continuously slip the mind. Such moments are achieved only through artistic communication, which disrupts, inflects, and distorts argumentative flow. Benjamin captures this thought most pointedly: “Method is a digression.” 
For Kierkegaard (and later for Benjamin), edifying discourse is typically seductive and always ambiguous.  In terms of his philosophy of communication, its ethos is best captured during instances of “artistic communication,” which he sees as synonymous with indirection. Artistic communication, he claims, achieves its fullest potential in minor forms of discourse such as examples, metaphors, parables, and the like – interruptive turns in conversation that point to something outside the text. One of the more powerful ways of engaging this aspect of Kierkegaards’s argument is through a close reading of an indirect reference to it. We have in mind here an example that he – or, in this case, Johannes Climacus – provides:
Whereas objective thinking invests everything in the result and assists all humankind to cheat by copying and reeling off the results and answers, subjective thinking invests everything in the process of becoming and omits the result, partly because this belongs to him, since he possess the way, partly because he as existing is continually in the process of becoming, as is every human being who has not permitted himself to be tricked into becoming objective, into inhumanly becoming speculative thought. 
Not unlike “The Crisis And A Crisis In The Life Of An Actress,” this sentence can be read as a cryptic message about the form and expression of Kierkegaard’s philosophy of communication, particularly his notion of indirection. In order to unpack this text with any amount of fidelity to our analysis, however, we must delicately resituate it within the context from which it stems – a parabolic conversation about the art of communication.
EXCURSUS IV: ON (THE ILLUSION OF) THE ORDINARY
Kierkegaard approaches objective thinking by way of its outward correspondence: ordinary communication. In practice, ordinary communication resembles a conversation in which “one person states something and another acknowledges the same thing verbatim,” leading both parties to assume that an agreement has been reached, that they have “understood each other.” Such “understanding” is misleading insofar as the (mis)communicants remain unaware of what Kierkegaard calls “the double-reflection of communication.” “Double-reflection,” he argues, “is already implicit in the idea of communication itself,” and, as we shall illustrate, resists manifestation in direct form. Ordinary communication stems from “thoughtlessness” and gravitates towards what Kierkegaard calls “the greatest misunderstanding.” 
We need only gesture briefly to “The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress” in order to fill out this model of communication. Through the lens of ordinary communication, the article reads as a direct celebration of Fur Heidberg’s acting abilities. This way of seeing muffles the religious undercurrent of the piece. That this was perhaps the article’s political effect can be seen in Fur Heidberg’s autobiography, wherein she praises Kierkegaard for possessing so much insight into her art. 
Ordinary communication embodies a contemporaneous mistake that is as pervasive as it is drastic: it operates under the assumption that once a thought has gained proper expression in a word – a movement that Kierkegaard dubs the “first reflection” – the clear expression and immediate comprehension of the thought is sure to follow. Benjamin picks this up with his notion of “the bourgeois conception of language,” which, not unlike ordinary communication, mistakenly configures language as the means by which mental being is communicated (a teleological or speculative model of communication) rather than as the medium in which mental being is constituted (a discontinuous or dialectical model of communication).  As Kierkegaard and Benjamin see it, most of us spend our lives in the mindset of ordinary communication, eagerly explaining ourselves only to realize happily that we agree with one another. 
One way to illuminate more fully the pervasiveness of ordinary communication without distorting our optic is to read it as premised on a primordial lie: recognition of the other as a sign of the same.  Insofar as ordinary communication achieves expression immediately following the first reflection (the location of a thought in a word), Kierkegaard argues, it is unable to “pay attention to the form of the communication in relation to the receiver’s misunderstanding.” This inability translates into a repression of the negative aspect of communication, which Kierkegaard and later Peters codify as the other’s otherness.  By rendering the negative unconscious (a vicarious silencing of the other), ordinary communication transmutes the act of communication into a purely positive gesture and, in doing so, becomes illusory. On this point, Kierkegaard is as adamant as he is vague. Peters’ 1999 book Speaking Into the Air, on the other hand, offers an extensive explanation.
Unlike Kierkegaard, who searches fervently for the primordial pusher of what he sees as an inhuman trick, Peters directs our attention to the more mundane instances of ordinary communication, not the least of which is our tendency to make the other’s otherness over in our own likeness and image.  Manifesting itself in the form of “interminable tyranny,” ordinary communication slights the receiver and, in so doing, sets the stage for a dream of communication that is as misguided as it is unattainable. In exchange for the immediacy of results and a “fuller understanding” of the other (Kierkegaard), ordinary communication – which Peters sees as the dominant understanding of communication in late-modernity – loses focus of humility, compassion, and faith – three virtues to which both Kierkegaard and Peters cling tightly. Although it is Peters who will eventually draw upon this observation to argue for a saner and more tolerant means of communicating, the discussion must return to Kierkegaard in order to trace the subtle turns of thought underwriting this argument.
EXCURSUS V: ON (ENGAGING) THE INDIRECT
For Kierkegaard as well as for Benjamin, the way around ordinary communication is one of delayed expression. Whereas ordinary communication goes public (and “postal,” for that matter) after the first reflection, indirect communication or indirection occurs only after a second reflection, a cognitive turn that “bears upon the intrinsic relation of the communication to the communicator and renders the existing communicator’s own relation to the idea.”  If, as Johannes Climacus suggests, ordinary communication is the performative counterpart of objective thinking, it is indirection that fills out subjective thinking. Yet the rhythm of this dialectic is too strong; we must pause for a moment and regain our footing. Indirection is less a substitute for than a complication of ordinary communication. This complication, however, can be achieved only by way of a substitution. Embodying a shifting of cathexis, indirection partially displaces the desire for “results and answers” with a rigorous emphasis on the “the process of becoming.” Activating Peters’ terminology, the energy behind the metaphysical quest for consummation is here reapplied to the empirical task of making lives together in language. 
This turn towards coordinated action is less a philosophical illumination than a political interpretation of Kierkegaard’s thought. Unlike Peters, who refigures indirection as a resource for unmasking the autonomy of the other, Kierkegaard holds it to be the inevitable byproduct of the isolated self. For Peters, indirection is the triumph of lovable form over abstract impossibility; for Kierkegaard, it is the scrape that re-opens the deep wound of inwardness. Peters finds himself goaded by commitment and social effort in a mass mediated culture; Kierkegaard remains fixated on possession and private perfection in the wake of feudalism.  To couple their attitudes toward indirection is to accent their divergence as much as to highlight their common threads. Nonetheless, the force of our reason remains in our rhyme. When placed into tension with one another, Peters and Kierkegaard form a constellation of thought that accents two fundamental features of indirection: the irreparable difference between “the existing person” and “the eternal essential truth” (Kierkegaard), and the necessary kinship between sacrificing “the dream of fidelity in one’s own feelings and thoughts” and evoking “the truest image of them for the other” (Peters). 
At issue in this juxtaposition is a philosophy of communication that not only keys awareness of the differences between rhetor (self) and audience (other) but, moreover, draws upon this difference as a rhetorical supplement. Unlike ordinary communication, which begins by seeing the other as a sign of the same, an indefinite number of irreducible others underwrites the life of indirection. As a figure of both philosophical and political discourse, indirection posits a multiplicity of clashing attitudes, each vying for an authoritative spin on doxa that demands continuous renewal or, as Robert Hariman puts it, “is always slipping into oblivion.”  To communicate indirectly is thus not only to consider the attitudes that one's audience might hold but, moreover, to express oneself in such a way that the contingent flux and perspectival range of this possibility can be illuminated. We can gain a richer understanding of this habit of insight by shifting our gaze back onto Benjamin.
In “The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism,” Benjamin draws upon romantic thought as a powerful resource for invigorating the “infinite mindfulness” of criticism.  Through the optics of romanticism, he rereads criticism as “an experiment on the artwork, one through which the latter’s own reflection is awakened, through which it is brought to consciousness and to knowledge of itself.”  We could, at the risk of simplification, map “criticism” and “the artwork” on indirection and its audience. The relationship between indirection and its audience is constituted by Kierkegaard’s notion of double-reflection, which Benjamin retools in his essay as an “intensification of reflection.”  The argument proceeds as follows: by intensifying our reflections to and beyond the point of a double-reflection, we can incorporate autonomous others into our private reflections. This is not to posit, however, an agent-centered way of seeing; on the contrary, it is the ungraspability of the creature’s otherness, its nature as surplus signification that motivates the act of intensification.  What is “incorporated” through double-reflection is thus not the other’s otherness as such but the reflex in ourselves of the self-knowledge of the thinking in the other or, more simply put, a second-order realization of the other as an equally reflexive yet drastically unknowable self.
That this second-order realization drives indirection is a point on which Kierkegaard, Benjamin, and Peters all can agree. When read as a political gesture, which Benjamin does more often than Kierkegaard and Peters does more often than Benjamin, indirection becomes a powerful and generous means of “artistically, maieutically helping another person negatively to the same view.”  In “The Crisis And A Crisis In The Life Of An Actress,” for instance, indirection takes center stage, dramatically/dialectically inviting the Danish elite to reflect less on their relationship to the topic of the text (ordinary communication) than on that which exceeds this relationship, namely, that which Kierkegaard (an other) might have meant. Miss the excess of the article – the religiousness of Kierkegaard’s thought – and, as James P. McDaniel puts it, “miss the point.” 
We are now in a better position to engage the words of Johannes Climacus. For him, “objective thinking” (i.e., ordinary communication) seeks to place the difference between the surface (actual) and real (possible) meaning of an indirect text under erasure by projecting an image of the self onto the discourse (Peters). “Subjective thinking” (i.e., indirection), on the other hand, seeks to complicate this gesture by accenting the surplus of traces, the unanalyzable remainders that this “make-over” would leave behind (Benjamin). Like figures of discourse such as irony, ridicule, parody, etc., indirection forces us beyond our cherished commitments – even if only for a moment – in order to critically and compassionately assess them as if they were not our own. 
In a 2000 Newsweek article titled, “Will We Ever Get Over Irony?,” David Gates asks “[s]o when did it hit you that the 20th century might be maxed out on irony?” Recent communication scholarship might offer Gates a puzzled look over a rigid date. Against Gates’ spin on late-modern ways of speaking, this essay argues that more irony – or at least a richer understanding of indirection – might do us good. Reading “The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress” as one side of the coin and the relationships among Kierkegaard, Benjamin, and Peters as the other, we offer indirection as a complex and contemporaneous program for enabling self-critique and the tolerance of difference.
Although it was Kierekgaard who first made communication per se a philosophical problem and proposed indirection as a possible solution, the scholarship of Benjamin and Peters lends transhistorical weight and practical force to his thought. That communication is less a device by which the self achieves consubstantiality with the other than a means of awakening all creatures to their own particularity is a point on which Kierkegaard, Benjamin, and Peters all can agree. Communication remains for each as much a promise of social incommensurability as it does an impetus for coordinated action. This way of seeing requires above all else a softening of the heart.
Juxtaposing Kierkegaard, Benjamin, and Peters produces a rich web of theoretical tensions that not only illuminates the theoretical nuances of indirection that more theosophical critiques may miss, but, moreover, refigures it as a practical resource for self-reflexively and compassionately tending to the conditions of late-modernity. If indeed our ways of speaking are not yet “maxed out” on indirection, this essay represents a philosophical and political step in that direction.
 Robert Hariman and Francis A. Beer, “What Would Be Prudent? Forms of Reasoning in World Politics,” Rhetoric & Public Affairs, 1.3 (1998), 306.
 Cornell West, The American Evasion of Pragmatism, (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989), 239.
 Richard Rorty, “Romantic Polytheism” in The Revival of Pragmatism: New Essays on Social Thought, Law, and Culture, ed. Morris Dickstein (Duke University Press, 1998), 24.
 See Kenneth Burke, A Grammar of Motives (1945) (Berkeley: Berkeley University Press, 1969), 503-517.
 Peters, Speaking Into the Air (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1999), 128. The validity of this claim is certainly worthy of a second glance. It is tempting, for instance, to situate John Locke (1632-1704) as the first thinker to approach communication as a philosophical problem. But, unlike Kierkegaard, Locke suggests that communicative understanding (i.e., sameness between the idea that a rhetor attaches to the word and the idea that the audience takes the word to mean) is indeed possible. Locke’s “problem” is more with how the possibility of communicative understanding is taken for granted or, as he puts it, “abused” than with the possibility of communicative understanding itself, with which Kierkegaard is primarily concerned [Talbot Taylor, Mutual Misunderstandings (Durham: Duke University Press, 1992), 33-34, 44].
 Howard and Edna Hong, “Historical Introduction” to Soren Kierkegaard’s, Christian Discourses: The Crisis and A Crisis in the Life of an Actress, trans. Hong and Hong (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), xi.
 Inter et Inter, “The Crisis and a Crisis in the life of an Actress,” Faedrelandet 24 July 1848. The pseudonym is Latin for "Between and Between." It may be designed to remind readers of the Latin translation of either/or, aut/aut. Stephen Crites argues that this pseudonym "suggests the intermission at the theatre, but doubtless is also intended to reflect the fact that the article is only an interlude between the religious works which now comprise Kierkegaard's main task" (taken from D. Anthony Storm’s “A Commentary on Kierkegaard’s Writings,” which can be found at http://home.infostations.com/malex/sk/kw17b.html).
 Kierkegaard, Christian Discourses, 415.
 Kierkegaard, Christian Discourses, 418.
 Kierkegaard, Christian Discourses, 419.
 Kierkegaard, Christian Discourses, 420.
 Kierkegaard, Christian Discourses, 416, 419.
 Mullen, 1.
 Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling / Repetition, trans. Hong & Hong (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), 357-362. See also Howard and Edna Hong’s “Historical Introduction” to Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), xxv.
 Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, xxiii .
 Walter Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama (1925), trans. John Osborne (New York: Verso Press, 1998).
 Walter Benjamin, “On Language as Such and on the Language of Man,” trans. Stanley Corngold, in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings Volume 1 (1913-1926), ed. Marcus Bullock and Michael Jennings (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996), 62-74.
 Hans-Jost Frey, “On Presentation in Benjamin,” trans. Michael Shae, in Walter Benjamin: Theoretical Questions, ed. David Ferris (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), 139-140.
 Peters, Speaking into the Air (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1999), 129.
 Frey, 139.
 Mullen, 37.
 Richard Lanham, A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms, 2nd ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 92-93.
 Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, xxx.
 Mullen, 6.
 Peters, Speaking Into the Air, 129.
 Samuel McCormick, “Interactive Reconciliation: Prudence, Decorum, and Zen Buddhism in a Pragmatic Rhetoric,” (unpublished manuscript, 2000), 17.
 Peters, Speaking into the Air, 128, 268.
 Smith, 278.
 Soren Kierkegaard, On My Work as an Author in The Point of View, trans. Walter Lowrie (Oxford University Press, 1939), 146-147.
 Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, 28.
 Kierkegaard, Postscript, 197.
 Kierkegaard, Postscript, 73.
 Kierkegaard, Postscript, 73-74.
 Storm, 1 (http://home.infostations.com/malex/sk/kw17b.html).
 Benjamin, “On Language as Such and the Language of Man,” 65.
 See Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea, trans. Lloyd Alexander (New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1964), 8-10.
 See James P. McDaniel, “Mortal Coiling: Peters via Emerson and Zizek on Eros and Communication,” Quarterly Journal o f Speech 86.3 (2000), 354-373.
 Kierkegaard, Postscript, 76.
 Peters, Speaking Into the Air, 31.
 Kierkegaard, Postscript, 76.
 Peters, Speaking Into the Air, 268, 30.
 For a more precise spinning-out of the intricacies constituting the tension between citizenry and self-creation, see Richard Rorty Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989) and his “Pragmatism as Romantic Polytheism,” in The Revival of Pragmatism: New Essays on Social Thought, Law, and Culture, ed. Morris Dickstein (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1998), 21-36.
 Kierkegaard, Postscript, 203-205; Peters, Speaking Into the Air, 266.
 Robert Hariman, “Allegory and Democratic Public Culture in the Postmodern Era” (forthcoming in Philosophy and Rhetoric), 18. See also Benjamin, The Origin of German Tragic Drama, 45.
 Walter Benjamin, “The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism,” trans. David Lachterman, Howard Eiland, and Ian Balfour, in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings Volume 1 (1913-1926), 175.
 Benjamin, “The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism,” 151.
 Benjamin, “The Concept of Criticism in German Romanticism,” 146.
 James P. McDaniel, “Liberal Irony: A Program for Rhetoric” (forthcoming in Philosophy and Rhetoric), 9.
 Kierkegaard, Postscript, 80.
 James P. McDaniel, “Liberal Irony,” 9.
 Mullen, 38.