Søren Kierkegaard’s existential identification with the story of Abraham in Genesis 22 is well known. In 1852, Kierkegaard imagined himself waking one morning to the thought: ‘What you are experiencing is similar to the story of Abraham’, only to add almost in the same breath: ‘But he did not understand Abraham or himself’. The correct rhetorical name for this uncanny act of identification, which attributes the incomprehensibility of the present to something in the distant past, is metalepsis.
The Poetics of Distance: Kierkegaard’s Abraham
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