While ostensibly commenting on the work of a contemporary novelist, Kierkegaard used this review as a critique of his society and age. The influence of this short piece has been far-reaching. The apocalyptic final sections are the source for central notions in Heidegger’s Being and Time. Later readers have seized on the essay as a prophetic analysis of our own time. Its concepts have been drawn into current debates on identity, addiction, and social conformity.