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“By far the most profound thinker of the 19th century.”
— Ludwig Wittgenstein
The Present Age is the stunningly prescient essay on the rise of mass media—particularly advertising, marketing, and publicity—by the great philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, the “father of existentialism.” With an introduction from celebrated philosopher Walter Kaufmann—who states “those who would know Kierkegaard can do no better than to begin with this book”—The Present Age is an ideal introduction to one of the greatest thinkers in the history of western philosophy.The first book ever to explore the popular culture created by new media technologies (in this case, newspapers), The Present Age is shockingly relevant despite being written more than 100 years ago. Kierkegaard´s prescience in predicting a public that consumes the lives of media stars speaks for itself: "The public ... this indolent mass ... is on the look-out for distraction and soon abandons itself to the idea that everything that anyone does is done in order to give it something to gossip about." The Present Age does a better job of describing the manipulation of mass opinion by the media than anything written since the rise of television, and contains Kierkegaard´s cutting wit and nimble prose, to boot.