Books
Philip Thody

Introducing Sartre

INTRODUCING guide to the father of existentialism and one of 20th century philosophy's most famous characters. Jean-Paul Sartre was once described as being, next to Charles de Gaulle, the most famous Frenchman of the 20th century. Between the ending of the Second World War in 1945 and his death in 1980, Sartre was certainly the most famous French writer, as well as one of the best-known living philosophers. Introducing Sartre explains the basic ideas inspiring his world view, and pays particular attention to his idea of freedom. It also places his thinking on literature in the context of the 20th century debate on its nature and function. It examines his ideas on Marxism, his enthusiasm for the student rebellion of 1968, and his support for movements of national liberation in the Third World. The book also provides a succinct account of his life, and especially of the impact which his unusual childhood had on his attitude towards French society.
252 printed pages
Original publication
2015

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Quotes

    Викаhas quoted19 days ago
    What I would have liked to be is not a lonely and fatherless child who grew up to be a great writer and a famous philosopher.

    What would really have made him happy would have been to be a member of a large and vigorous family, kept in order by a father of granitic solidity, and compelled from his earliest years to learn to mix with his natural equals in the normal rough and tumble of the primary school and of children’s games.
    Викаhas quoted20 days ago
    Refusing the Nobel Prize
    It was nevertheless this feeling of disillusionment with his own profession which led Sartre to become the first author, and so far the only one, to refuse the Nobel Prize for Literature when it was offered to him in October 1964
    Викаhas quotedlast month
    Whereas capitalism is the breeding ground for fascism, socialism aims to create a society in which everyone is free.
    One of the ideas which recurs most frequently in Sartre’s political writing is that no society is free unless all its members enjoy the same degree of freedom.

    And since, as he argues, this is not the case in capitalist society, where members of the working class are far less free than those of the middle class – or, as he always called it, the bourgeoisie – the first task of the writer who wishes to increase human freedom is to try to produce a socialist society.

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