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What Is An Author? A Comparative Study of Søren Kierkegaard and Liu Xie on the Meanings of Writing


EVA KIT WAH MAN, Professor, Department of Humanities and Creative Writing, Hong Kong Baptist University. Specialty: comparative aesthetics, gender studies, and philosophy. E-mail:


This study analyzes Kierkegaard's theory of authorship from a comparative perspective, by using Liu Xie's 劉勰 Chinese literary criticism in Wenxin Diaolong《文心雕龍》as a comparative model. It examines the meaning of an author of literature writing, the spiritual, the aesthetic dimensions and the creative force of compositional literary writing, and finally the goal of writing, as elaborated by these two authors. In Kierkegaard's sense, the quality of writing is mainly tied up with the religious mind of a person, while to Liu, the quality of writing is related to the moral quality of a person. The following examination demonstrates how Kierkegaard and Liu complement and enrich each other in the understanding of authorship and writing.