"Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (/ˈsɒrən ˈkɪərkəɡɑːrd/ SORR-ən KEER-kə-gard; Danish: [sɶːɐn ˈkiɐ̯ɡəɡɒːˀ] ( listen); 5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and religious author who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. He wrote critical texts on organized religion, Christendom, morality, ethics, psychology, and the philosophy of religion, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and parables. Much of his philosophical work deals with the issues of how one lives as a ""single individual"", giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment. He was against literary critics who defined idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, and thought that Swedenborg, Hegel, Goethe, Fichte, Schelling, Schlegel and Hans Christian Andersen were all ""understood"" far too quickly by ""scholars"".
The Corsair affair has been called the most renowned controversy in Danish literary history. At the center is Soren Kierkegaard, whose pseudonymous Stages on Life's Way occasioned a frivolous and dishonorable review by Peder Ludvig Moller. Moller was associated with The Corsair, a publication notorious for gossip and caricature. The editor was Meir Goldschmidt, an acquaintance of Kierkegaard's and an admirer of his early work. Kierkegaard struck back at not only Moller and Goldschmidt but at the paper as a whole. The present volume contains all of the documents relevant to this dispute, plus a historical introduction that recapitulates the sequence of events surrounding the controversy. Parts I (Article) and II (Addenda) contain articles both signed by and attributed to Kierkegaard in response to the affair. A supplement includes writings pertaining to the Corsair affair by Goldschmidt and Moller, as well as unpublished pieces by Kierkegaard from his journals and papers. Although the immediate occasion was literary, for Kierkegaard the issues as well as the consequences were ethical, social, philosophical, and religious. Howard Hong argues that the most important consequence was wholly unexpected and unintended: the second phase of Kierkegaard's authorship.