Purchased by “Københavns Museum” in September 2013.
Søren Kierkegaard's silver quill, elegantly crafted as a feather. H: 16,3, W: 1,7 cm. 19th century.
From his debut to his death, Kierkegaard published 34 works, a host of newspaper articles and edifying speeches. He also wrote a steady stream of letters and several thousand pages of journal entries. The philosopher's writer's itch was so great that, in 1838, he notes in his journal “Nulla dies sine linea” (“Ingen dag uden en streg” (Not a day without a line)). Later in 1847, he states: “Kun når jeg producerer, befinder jeg mig vel. Da glemmer jeg alle Livets Ubehageligheder, alle Lidelser, da er jeg er hos min Tanke og lykkelig. Blot jeg et Par dage lader det være, bliver jeg strax syg, overvældet, besværet, mit Hoved tungt og betynget [...]”.
As a child, Georg Brandes, one of the most influential Danish critics, was witness to Kierkegaard's insuppressible writer's itch. In his memoirs from 1880, he vividly describes his admiration for the industrious philosopher. One evening, as he walks past Kierkegaard's apartment, he catches sight of the great writer through an illuminated window: “[...] den sære Tænker gik frem og tilbage under en Stilhed, som kun afbrødes ved Pennens Kradsen paa Papiret [...] i alle Værelserne laa Pen, Papir og Blæk [...] I faa Existenser har Blækket spillet saa stor en Rolle.” Putting pen to paper and documenting the thoughts which have today immortalised him as a thinker, was, in other words, quintessential to the father of existentialism. The pen up for auction is the only pen which, according to the family tradition, he is known to have used, meticulously and diligently, to set down his thoughts.
In 1955, the pen was exhibited at the Royal Library¿s Memorial Exhibition on Kierkegaard, and it was also depicted in the catalogue.
References: Søren Kierkegaard. 1855, 11 November 1955. Mindeudstilling. # 154. Cappelørn, Posselt, Rohde: Tekstspejle, Cph 2002, pp. 9. G. Brandes: Udvalgte Skrifter 3, Cph 1895, p. 8.
Provenance: The Høyernielsen-family, descendants of Kierkegaard's sister Nicoline.