Ritið 1/17

Ritið 1/17 - 2017

Bergljót Soffía Kristjánsdóttir: “preaching animal protection to starving hyenas”

Thoughts on the life-stance of Þórbergur Þórðarson
This paper deals with Þórbergur Þórðarson’s stance in life. Particular attention is paid to his ideas of the afterlife and enlightenment gained by internal experience or mystically, i.e. what has been termed gnosis although his political views also come into play. An attempt is made to show that if Þórbergur’s works are viewed with gnosis in mind they appear in a different contextuality and therefore also a new light. To start with the writer’s attitude to gaining knowledge is touched upon as well as his rebellion against the current structure of society both of which will be connected to changes in Western culture at the turn of the 19th century. Then his characterisation is discussed and his perception of personality. His methods are compared to those of the Russian theatre director Konstantin Stanislavsky and various ideas they both drew from yoga or fascinated them in psychology discussed. Two examples of Þórbergur’s self-description from A letter to Lára are mentioned. It is argued that both are influenced by theosophy but also psychology and yoga. In the parts where theosophy and yoga are paid closest attention Þórbergur’s ideas are more closely read in connection with his times referring to various scholarly writings old and new, but in the conclusion attention is drawn to the fact that ideas similar to his are widely found in 21st-century scholarly writings
Keywords: Þórbergur Þórðarson, lifestance, theosophy, Indian philosophy, A Letter to Lára
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