- Series: New Directions Paperbook
- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: New Directions; 3 edition (January 17, 1969)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0811201902
- ISBN-13: 978-0811201902
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Wall: (Intimacy) and Other Stories (New Directions Paperbook) 3rd Edition
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“Leaves Lady Chatterley’s Lover asleep at the post.”
About the Author
Jean-Paul Sartre was a prolific philosopher, novelist, public intellectual, biographer, playwright and founder of the journal Les Temps Modernes. Born in Paris in 1905 and died in 1980, Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964―and turned it down. His books include Nausea, Intimacy, The Flies, No Exit, Sartre’s War Diaries, Critique of Dialectical Reason, and the monumental treatise Being and Nothingness.
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How interesting that such a prolific author wrote his best fiction at the very beginning of his literary career. The novels that followed, the ROADS TO FREEDOM, and the plays don't improve on the early work, largely because they became increasingly didactic. NAUSEA is arguably one of the best "philosophical" novels of the 20th century, because Sartre manages to turn his ideas into art of the first order. Camus' THE STRANGER has the same virtue, but Sartre writes more engaging (no pun intended) prose.
Sartre's strictly philosophical works and his literary biographies are well worth reading, particularly the latter. SAINT GENET is too long and it's easy to understand why Genet felt he had been "stripped naked" by Sartre, but the insights into Genet's work and his life are perspicacious to the nth degree. Similarly, his short book on Baudelaire is better than most of the full-length biographies of the poet maudit.
BEING AND NOTHINGNESS has been eclipsed by later developments in philosophy, though it remains the only major work by a 20th century philosopher, excepting Wittgenstein. Whether Sartre's existential version of ontological phenomenology improves on or distorts Husserl, his then master, is moot, but it certainly makes the most of Heidegger's brilliant, but failed, apercus.
Sartre's turn toward Communism is a sad chapter in his life. His defense of Stalinism when the atrocities of the Russian dictator were known in the West is a black mark against Sartre's lucidity and his honesty. To say that Communism at its worst is still superior to liberal democracy because the latter is founded on a system of exploitation is the worst kind of sophistry.
The best of Sartre's fiction came early, the best of his philosophy after the war, but his last years are best forgotten by his admirers, of which I am one.