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About Jean-Paul Sartre
Novelist, playwright, and biographer Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-80) is widely considered one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. His major works include "No Exit," "Nausea," "The Wall," "The Age of Reason," "Critique of Dialectical Reason," "Being and Nothingness," and "Roads to Freedom," an allegory of man's search for commitment, and not, as the man at the off-licence says, an everyday story of French country folk.
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In 1943, Jean-Paul Sartre published his masterpiece, Being and Nothingness, and laid the foundation of his legacy as one of the greatest twentieth century philosophers. A brilliant and radical account of the human condition, Being and Nothingness explores what gives our lives significance.
In a new and more accessible translation, this foundational text argues that we alone create our values and our existence is characterized by freedom and the inescapability of choice. Far from being an internal, passive container for our thoughts and experiences, human consciousness is constantly projecting itself into the outside world and imbuing it with meaning.
Now with a new foreword by Harvard professor of philosophy Richard Moran, this clear-eyed translation guarantees that the groundbreaking ideas that Sartre introduced in this resonant work will continue to inspire for generations to come.
Sartre's greatest novel — and existentialism's key text — now introduced by James Wood.
Nausea is the story of Antoine Roquentin, a French writer who is horrified at his own existence. In impressionistic, diary form he ruthlessly catalogs his every feeling and sensation. His thoughts culminate in a pervasive, overpowering feeling of nausea which “spreads at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of our time — the time of purple suspenders and broken chair seats; it is made of wide, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain.”
Winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature (though he declined to accept it), Jean-Paul Sartre — philosopher, critic, novelist, and dramatist — holds a position of singular eminence in the world of French letters. La Nausée, his first and best novel, is a landmark in Existential fiction and a key work of the twentieth century.
It was to correct common misconceptions about his thought that Jean-Paul Sartre, the most dominent European intellectual of the post-World War II decades, accepted an invitation to speak on October 29, 1945, at the Club Maintenant in Paris. The unstated objective of his lecture (“Existentialism Is a Humanism”) was to expound his philosophy as a form of “existentialism,” a term much bandied about at the time. Sartre asserted that existentialism was essentially a doctrine for philosophers, though, ironically, he was about to make it accessible to a general audience. The published text of his lecture quickly became one of the bibles of existentialism and made Sartre an international celebrity.
The idea of freedom occupies the center of Sartre’s doctrine. Man, born into an empty, godless universe, is nothing to begin with. He creates his essence—his self, his being—through the choices he freely makes (“existence precedes essence”). Were it not for the contingency of his death, he would never end. Choosing to be this or that is to affirm the value of what we choose. In choosing, therefore, we commit not only ourselves but all of mankind. This book presents a new English translation of Sartre’s 1945 lecture and his analysis of Camus’s The Stranger, along with a discussion of these works by acclaimed Sartre biographer Annie Cohen-Solal. This edition is a translation of the 1996 French edition, which includes Arlette Elkaïm-Sartre’s introduction and a Q&A with Sartre about his lecture.
In The Emotions: Outline of a Theory, Jean-Paul Sartre explores the role of emotions in the human psyche, presenting a phenomenological approach to psychology. Analyzing the universal, yet subjective, experiences of fear, lust, anguish, and melancholy, Sartre asserts that human beings develop their emotional capabilities from a very early age, which helps them identify and understand the names and qualities of their feelings later in life.
Essays in Aesthetics is a provocative collection that explores the nature of art and its meaning. Sartre considers the artist’s “function,” and the relation between art and the human condition. Engaging with the works of Tintoretto, Calder, Lapoujade, Titian, Raphael, and Michaelangelo, Sartre offers a fascinating analysis of the creative process. The result is a vibrant manifesto of existentialist aesthetics.
An existential portrayal of Hell in Sartre's best-known play, as well as three other brilliant, thought-provoking works: the reworking of the Electra-Orestes story, the conflict of a young intellectual torn between theory and conflict, and an arresting attack on American racism.
One of Sartre’s greatest existentialist works of fiction, The Wall contains the only five short stories he ever wrote. Set during the Spanish Civil War, the title story crystallizes the famous philosopher’s existentialism.
'The Wall', the lead story in this collection, introduces three political prisoners on the night prior to their execution. Through the gaze of an impartial doctor—seemingly there for the men's solace—their mental descent is charted in exquisite, often harrowing detail. And as the morning draws inexorably closer, the men cross the psychological wall between life and death, long before the first shot rings out. This brilliant snapshot of life in anguish is the perfect introduction to a collection of stories where the neurosis of the modern world is mirrored in the lives of the people that inhabit it . This is an unexpurgated edition translated from the French by Lloyd Alexander.
Jean Genet’s debut novel Our Lady of the Flowers, which is often considered to be his masterpiece, was written entirely in the solitude of a prison cell. A semi- autobiographical account of one man’s journey through the Paris demi-monde, dubbed “the epic of masturbation” by no less a figure than Jean-Paul Sartre, the novel’s exceptional value lies in its exquisite ambiguity.