International Kierkegaard Seminars
The Sickness Unto Death 2020

Saturday, August 15 - Saturday, August 22, 2020, a unique research seminar will be held on Kierkegaard's The Sickness Unto Death. Throughout the week we will be engaged in a close reading and interpretation of this lapidary work's central passages. While a direct confrontation and engagement with the primary text will be our main task, we will take careful heed of the extensive research tradition that has come from more than a century of reflection on this remarkable book. For example, we will weigh the scholarly consensus on the meaning of Kierkegaard's use of the pseudonym Anti-Climacus as the author of this text. But make no mistake about it, Kierkegaard/Anti-Climacus provides a fresh vocabulary for thinking about our inner life. Towards that end, we will consider the distinction between depression and despair that some scholars claim to find in the pages of The Sickness Unto Death. In a similar vein, we will rehearse and evaluate readings of the relationship between anxiety and despair in this text.

The seminar will take place in Italy, in the enchanting Renaissance town of Pacentro, two hours drive from Rome. In order to ensure a high quality of intimate intellectual conversation, the number of participants is limited to twelve. Deadline for registration (bottom of the page) is the first of March 2020. 

The seminar is co-directed by two prominent Kierkegaard scholars Poul Lubcke and Gordon Marino. Both Lubcke and Marino have been walking with Kierkegaard for decades and their different and frequently conflicting approaches to The Sickness Unto Death will add spice and depth to our seminar discussions.

Gordon Marino

Gordon Marino, who took his doctorate from the Committee on Social Thought (University of Chicago), is a professor of philosophy and Director of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College. He is the author of The Existentialist Survival Guide:How to Live Authentically in an Inauthentic Age, Kierkegaard in the Present Age, and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard, editor of Basic Writings of Existentialism, Ethics: The Essential Writings and The Quotable Kierkegaard. An active boxing trainer, Gordon is also an award-winning boxing writer boxing for the Wall Street Journal and other outlets. His work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and many other domestic and international publications. He lives in Northfield, Minnesota.

Gordon Marino
Professor of Philosophy
Director, Hong Kierkegaard LibraryAssistant Football Coach
St. Olaf College
Northfield, MN 55057-1097
cell: 612-501-8608

Poul Lübcke

Poul Lübcke, who has studied at the University of Copenhagen, Freiburg, Heidelberg and Leuven is Professor emeritus in philosophy at University of Copenhagen. Apart from numerous He is probably best known as an editor of and main contributor to a History of Philosophy in the 20th Century and a Dictionary of Philosophy covering an Anglo-American as well as a Continental approach to the history of philosophy and the systematic discussions within present philosophy. His publications consist of about 60 articles and books in different languages including Danish, English, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian and Swedish.

Poul Lübcke
Professor emeritus in Philosophy
Rosenborggade 9 1130, Copenhagen K.


The seminar will take place in a private home located in the center of the town, with a spectacular view of the nature park..


Pacentro é come era una volta


Although the city is only two hours away from Rome and its vibrant life, Pacentro is characterized by that calm and originality that has almost disappeared in modern life. The city is therefore well suited for the immersion required by a serious seminar. At the same time, the city has a number of exclusive restaurants and a charming life in the city's cozy cafés. Finally, the location in the middle of the nature park is ideal for anyone who appreciates hiking.

Abruzzo - the unknown Italy

When traveling from Rome to the east in the direction of the Adriatic, you enter Abruzzo. The area has only one million inhabitants, which are spread over an area only slightly less than Denmark. The area is largely unknown and completely without influence of mass tourism. The old customs and original food art are therefore still intact.

The Original Italy

Getting to Pacentro is like going back in time. Most of the houses were built in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance or the Baroque, and the town belongs to the small exclusive circle of the city that holds on to the
city being left as it was. The old, crooked streets exude history and romance. At the same time, the city has a unique view of one of Italy's largest nature
parks, for which there is direct access for those who want to walk in nature.


If you come from Europe, your total expenses will be approx. $ 3.000

COURSE FEES: 2.000 $
This price covers administrative costs, renting a room for the seminar, fees for the seminar leaders and VAT

The price for airline tickets varies according to which airline company you choose, where you want to go, when, you order the tickets, how much you want to bring, whether you want a specific space, whether you want cancellation insurance etc. As this is very individual, We have chosen to ask the participants to book tickets themselves. If you want to use the possibility of common transport to and from Rome-Pacentro, please consider when the car is driving from the airport.

When registering, you can book participation in a common transport service from the airport to Pacentro - and trips from Pacentro to other towns during your stay. Airport and departure time are provided immediately after 1.3.2020. 

Of course you might also rent your own car at the airport for a very reasonable price.

HOUSING: about 400-500 $

When registering, you can book a stay in one of the city's best Bed and Breakfast - just five minutes walk from the room where the course is held. The price covers 7 nights in a single room. Since we are in the old Italy the room will normally share a bath with the room of one of the other participants. You may also get a room in a private house shared with one or two of the other participants. - Just after you have registrated you will get a a list with the different options. 

LUNCH AND DINNER:           80-300 $

Pacentro has several good restaurants at reasonable prices. The same goes for the restaurants in the area. Depending on what you want to eat and drink, a meal will cost between 10 and 30 $. A cup of good coffee costs approx. 1 $ at the city bars. All in all, one has to count on between 80 $ and 300 $ for dining - depending on the menu. Of course, special wine wishes will raise the price. Every day you may choose betwen ordering as a private person or getting a common menu arranged by the course.

Online reservation

Deadline for reservation: 1.3.2020. We will confirm your reservation via email. When you sign up, please deposit $ 200

The remaining course fee will be paid no later than 1.4.2020.