A rare copy of Danish philosopher Soeren Kierkegaard's famed book, "Either/Or," will be sold at auction later this year, a Copenhagen auction house said Tuesday.
The book, a second edition from 1849 dedicated to Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen, was offered to the Copenhagen-based Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers of Fine Art by an unidentified Danish family earlier this year.
"The family had no idea how important it was," auctioneer Sebastian Hauge Lerche said. "He was the father of existentialism after all."
Kierkegaard, who lived between 1813-1855, was a major contributor to existentialism and its focus on each individual's responsibility, freedom and fear. "Either/Or," which is considered to be his most important book, was first published in 1843.
The brief dedication is signed by Victor Eremita, a pseudonym used by Kierkegaard for the first two editions of "Either/Or."
Andersen and Kierkegaard lived in Copenhagen at the same time and but did not socialize with each other. In his first book from 1838, Kierkegaard criticized Andersen's work as a novelist, saying he was "a sniveler." Andersen wrote to Kierkegaard several times but received no reply until 1849 when the philosopher sent him the dedicated book.
"We have no earlier testimony of a direct contact from Kierkegaard to Andersen," Lerche said.
The second edition, estimated by the auction house to be worth at least $17,110, will be put on sale Dec. 12.
The sale will include other literary works by Kierkegaard and a rare complete copy of the Second Folio of William Shakespeare, published in 1632.
In 2003, a first edition of "Either/Or" that Kierkegaard dedicated to his fiancee, Regine Olsen, was sold for $171,100 by the Bruun Rasmussen auctioneers.