Telling tales : Johannes Climacus and 'narrative unity'
This article investigates the concept of 'narrative unity' as used by recent commentators such as John Davenport. I argue that it is unclear what this term means, and that the 'narrative unity' view faces a serious problem: self-deception. Moreover, if we ask whether a pseudonym's life possesses 'narrative unity', further problems emerge, as the Johannes Climacus case highlights. Davenport assigns a key role to 'earnestness'. Yet Climacus and others insist true earnestness involves a unity of earnestness and jest. Considering this enables us to see something of the importance for Kierkegaard of a sense of humour in a virtuous life.