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Can writing become a duty? What is the difference between a poet and a critic?
Kierkegaard: My work as an author
But in our age...one needs not inquire about the communicator, but only about the communication, the objective only—in our age what is an author? An author is often merely an x, even when his name is signed, something quite impersonal, which addresses itself quite abstractly, by the aid of printing, to thousand and thousands, while remaining itself unseen and unknown, living a life as hidden, as anonymous, as it is possible for a life to be, in order, presumably, not to reveal the too obvious and striking contradiction between the prodigious means of communication employed by the fact that the author is the single individual—perhaps also for fear of the control which in practical life must always be exercised over every one who wishes to teach others, to see whether his personal existence comports with his communication. ...
And now I come to an expression about myself which I am accustomed to use of myself when I talk to myself, an expression which is relative to the inverse procedure of the whole productivity (that I did not begin by saying whither I designed to go), and relative to me also in my capacity as observer, along with my consciousness of being one who himself is in need of upbringing. The expression I use is, that in relation to the intellectual and religious fields, and with a view to the concept of existence, and hence to the concept of Christianity, I am like a spy in a higher service, the service of the idea. I have nothing new to proclaim; I am without authority, being myself hidden in a deceit; I do not go to work straightforwardly but with indirect cunning; I am not a holy man; in short, I am a spy who in his spying, in learning to know all about questionable conduct and illusions and suspicious characters, all the while he is making inspection is himself under the closest inspection.
Cf. Pascal, Method & purpose | Rilke, Letter to a Young Poet | Plato, Whom are we talking to? | Emerson, Self-knowledge | Gibson - McRury, Discovering one's face | Emerson, We differ in art, not in wisdom