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Liberty

Equality
Fraternity
greatest
thinker
polemical
witty
playwright
genius
lies
genrebreaching
breadth
the French journalist Michel Rybalka
delivered
endorsed
increasingly
anarchism
threefold
neat
however
appealing
over simplification
practitioner
philosophising
death
anxiety

political
commitme
freedom
itself
remained
long Marxist phase
overtly
anarchist phase
outstanding
philosophical
attempt
consciousness
partly Cartesian
partly Kantian
indubitable
foundations
grounding
Profound
Underground
wholly
marrying phenomenology
undergone
masterwork
disclosed through
heels
Nothingness

partly inconsistent.

eschews mindbody
dualism
reductivist
but broke
over what
never join
the PCF
attempt
adequate
understanding
apparatus
complex
mutual
constitution
contradictions
synthesised
aufgehoben
Hence
beings
so on
seemingly
tempered
awareness
crushing

Soviet collectivisation
farms
purges
uprising
atrocities
ending
Prague
Spring
flawed.
Unlike
seeks
rather than
reject
utterly
neglected
resources
freedom
within
construed
putative
intractable
prognoses
bestows
regards
dehumanisation
Despite

anarchism
emerges
claimed
desirable
increasingly
challenged
mocking
bourgeois
values
host of
left-wing
hawking
Maoist
newsheets
espoused
Rather
patience
failure
riots
develop into
overthrow
penned
tract
Afraid
condemn
acceptance

editorship
gesture
struggled
stance
colleagues
ageing
mirth
contempt.
Despite
complexities
something
profoundly
apposite
beings
matter
constrained
value upon
harmony
absence
friendships
sustained
courts
clue
without
Arguably
Westernised

conspicuously
attempt
claims of
liberty
equality
fraternity
avid
reception
worldwide
synthesiser
Parmenides
inherited, with the
findings
consciously
messily,
pointed out
Frankfurt School
Sartre in the world 5

so much
vnements
disease
brought up
doting mother
rather
treated

child.
Allowed
own age
sought
until
attended
string
lifelong
For a Morality of Ambiguity
Immense
tested their
against
allowed
frankness extremely
rare
between two human
abroad.
Met
Output
enabled
strong
high
intermittent
amphetamine
increased
coherence.

Sartre suffered
cold
led
strabism
Henceforth
squint which would
ruthless
blind
claim
say Although
suffered from
symptoms
blessed
stamina
Many
Conjectures
childhood
playful
childhood
denied
him
Certainly
release
chaos
Perhaps
against it

got up
there
stretch
typically
flat
asleep
apropriately
corner
rue
Quinet
Overeat
drank
plenty
black coffee
smoked excessively
life took
too late
twenty
amphetamine
care
Sport
bored him
output.
owned
stretches

Indeed
carry
wad
banknotes
wallet
donating
it copiously
worthy causes
that on
arriving
walk to
bookshop
hard to conduct.
committed journalist.
turning
treated
oblivious
Despite
cynicism
towards
middle
classes in Nausea
his own life
remained
growing reputation
joined

overt political
commitment
so many left-wing
intellectuals
if not to fight
at least to write
1939 he is anti-Nazi but for
Regard
as embarrassingly
inadequate
consciousness
still
philosophical vogue called Existentialism.
delivered
rendering
meaning that Existentialism is a kind of humanist philosophy
expressed
regret
short
without
felt uncomfortable with the label Existentialist
Even
Existentialism flourished in the cafs,
theatres
exceeded
commitment

turned
naive
says
being
called up
suddenly
realise
spent
phoney war
meterological
corps
French army
ineffectual
Maginot Line
diaries
Nothingness
Wehrmacht
along
incarceration
Triers
forces
needed
take political
On his
Helped
found

left
enduring models
attitudes for
occupation
provided
stark
oppressor
oppressed
obviously right
even
contemporaries
acquiescence
the rights
oppressed
wrongs
oppressors
nearly
commitments
rebels
separatists
government
gang
Renault
management
striking

workers
unquestioningly
antagonists into
oppressor and oppressed
occupying
prototype
clashes
Evil
enduring
attitude
bequeathed
immense
arguments
allow
would
spring to
antidote
Sartres eyes
Resistance
seemed
effective
Gaullist
sabotaging
felt
ashamed
inadequate

ashamed
bourgeo
is up bringing
ineffectiveness
rather than
Indeed
joined
Ecrivains
resistance paper Combat
staged
descent
flies
onto
Argos
barely
declined

thirty-four when
ended
so it
mature
emerged i
increasingly
eloquent
committed
revolutionary

felt a duty
speak out
dispossessed
mass
regime
treatment
Basques
Involvement
theoretical
essay
through
massive
Dialectical Reason
Prefatory
Questions of Method
until
loss
patience
aftermath of
prohibited list
church
perennial
irritant
Gaullist
government
fellow

traveller
always
eschewed
embership
Communiste
criticised
doctrinally fixed
inauthentic
too far
joined
attempt
coalition
left-wing
political parties
Rassemblement
proved
failure
jointly
Gulag
Nevertheless
Sartre
for example over the
affair
crushing
uprising
condemned

condemned
invasion
Suez
willing
take risks
rule
spoke out at
at demonstrations
rented accommodation
pieds
noirs
appalled
urging
withdraw
moved to an
appartment
too so
pleaded
government
give
pressure
withdraw
weapons
soil
Regarded
behaviour

brink
offered
Prize
refused it,
adding that
would
declined
had it been offered him
Authentic writing
subject to an authority with the power to grant or
withhold prizes.
Basic Writings
sat on
condemned
involvement
south east
press
chair at
the Stockholm
condemned
Lai killings, on French
television.

vnements
aim
situationists and anarchists

strikes
trades
union
movements
overthrow
French capitalism
amidst
tear-gas
lying paving-stone
fragments
baton
charges
urged
addressed
crowd
Sorbonne
daubed
overthrown
Gaullist
government
genuinely revolutionary movement.
two young editors
the Maoist paper La Cause du Peuple
were arrested
their
defence

trial
bundled
Gaulle
Released
explaining
imprison Voltaire
the following April
actively supported
the long strike
car workers
ejected
Renault
the burial of the Renault worker PierreOverney
Sartres sympathies
increasingly anarchist
emerges
interviews
which
height
Baader Meinhof gangs
attempts
destroy capitalist
hegenomy over
leading
caught,
tried

imprisoned
West German
government Sartre
relase
jail
Baader and other gang
insisted
murdered
authorities
led the campaign
Stern
imprisonment
devoted
remaining political
speaking out
behalf
further
sides

fell into
unconsciousness
Broussais hospital
blockages which
affected
functioning
lungs
kidneys
filled
cortege.
Sartres works
oeuvre
oscillates
fact and fiction
ends as
synthesis of the two
His juvenalia
already
penning a novel about Goetz von Berlichingen
just over
on his return from a formative
would
spent learning
himself
within
partly

outside
appeared
Recherches
distinguished
attacks
irreducibly
source
own
consciousness
inner
self
argues
appears
consciousness
maintain
analogous
on the self
undergraduate
dissertation
rewrote
mainly as
a survey
entails
partial
appearance
intentionality

aboutness
Consciousness
treats
entity
takes up
theme
Rather like
Wittgenstein and Rylee
scrutinised
introspection.
already
departure
endorsement
being-in-the world
Like the early
confronts
brute contingency and
meaninglessness of his own existence
angst
own
rather than necessary is essential to existentialis
passages in Nausea
shore
chesnut
overtly
portrayals

internally
lent
refers
objective
sources
anxiety
discomfort to him
strongly didactic
strength lacking
Plague
Although Tolstoy
stronger artist than
he paints in more detail
constructs mentality
greater economy
greater plausibilit
his grasp of history
less
addressing
reader directly
convince us
slightly
subtlety
meaninglessness
turns out
allowed

eavesdrop on
their profoundity
weaving
existentialism and phenomenology
Although
necessarily
thereby unusual
Sartre himself does not have
intervene
short stories
least one
inside by
fictional carcter
condemned
dawn by
Fascist firing
squad
bad faith
refusal
recognise
own freedom
quite leave her husband
choosing neither allows herself
leader
thus committing
that double act

bad faith
that Sartre calls
being a swine
Salaud
denying ones
freedom
ready-made ideology
their own freedom
stylistically
by unexpectedly changing
changing grammatical
sometimes within
He is unable to
the confidence and lack
lack
artificiality
that one finds
who are Sartres influences
however
the beginning of that disavowal
disavowal
mastery
of the mastery of the author over the authored
choose our
Rather than
involuntarily subject

wave
sad and to cry
rejected
as an atheistic metaphysics
roughly speaking subjective
roughly
being and objective being
inert non-human
negate their surroundings
surroundings
I am myself a kind of nothingness
at the heart of being.
bad faith
The complexity of insight
the richness of description
perhaps most striking
striking
scientific treatise would seek mechanisms
treatise
beyond appearance
treats everything
Surface
left Being
Nothingness unfinished
its closing
appeared posthumously

Cahiers pour une morale


Notebooks for an Ethics
being-for-itself and being-in-itself
overcoming
forever
frustrated
perpetual deferral
lies our
our freedom
ourselves
is an attempt
For whom does one write?
whom
and ends with a meditation on the situation of the writer in the post-liberation
France of 1947. Sartre insists that one should write for ones own age, not for
posterity, not to restore the past, not to gain status or money. Literature must
be committed literature or engaged literature (la littrature engage). The
literature of a given age is alienated and inauthentic when it does not
recognise within itself its own freedom but subjects itself to a prevailing
ideology or ruling interest. The writer should write to express their own
freedom and liberate the reader. Committed literature is committed to freedom.
A paradigm case of Sartrean committed literature is the Roads to Freedom (Les
Chemins de la libert) trilogy: The Age of Reason (LAge de Raison, 1945), The
Reprieve (Le Sursis, 1945), and Iron in the Soul (La Mort dans lme , 1949).
Parts of a fourth volume The Last Chance (La Dernire Chance) were serialised
in the November and December 1949 issues of Les Temps Modernes. In a
famous passage, which concludes the first part of the last complete volume of
the trilogy, Iron in the Soul, Mathieu Delarue, the previously ineffectual
schoolteacher, acts meaningfully and decisively for the first time in his life.
Deserted by their bourgeois officers during the MayJune 1940 Nazi invasion of
France he and his comrades choose to resist to the death the oncoming
Wehrmacht from the cover of a village clock tower:
15Sartre in the world Mathieu was in no hurry. He kept his eye on this man; he
had plenty of time. The German army is vulnerable. He fired. The man gave a

funny little jerk and fell on his stomach, throwing his arms forward like
somebody learning to swim. (Iron in the Soul, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1963,
p. 216) In the narrative, Mathieus shooting of the German infantyman is a
freely chosen and deliberate act for which he alone is responsible. It is a deeply
significant act metaphysically, personally, and politically. Metaphysically it is
the termination of a life. Personally it is Mathieus recognition of his own
freedom; For years he had tried, in vain, to act (p. 217) Sartre reminds us.
Politically it is the commitment to resist the forces of right-wing totalitarianism.
The Germans shell the clock tower and one by one Mathieus comrades are
killed. Mathieu is alone and becomes infused with the feeling that he is going to
die. Facing death alone, as in a profound sense we all must, he realises his own
freedom: Just time enough to fire at that smart officer, at all the Beauty of the
Earth, at the street, at the flowers, at the gardens, at everything he had loved.
Beauty dived downwards, like some obscene bird. But Mathieu went on firing.
He fired. He was cleansed. He was all powerful. He was free. (ibid., p. 225) In
the play Men Without Shadows (Morts sans Spulture, 1946), one of Sartres
most poignant pieces, captured French resistance fighters are being tortured
and interrogated by Nazi collaborators. Even under torture, Sartre has his
characters choose whether to talk, scream or remain silent. Sorbier deliberately
throws himself through the window to his death rather than disclose the
location of the groups leader. Canoris chooses to talk. Even under the most
extreme duress we still have a choice according to Sartre. Indeed, under
duress, the agonising reality of our freedom of choice is inescapable. Bad faith
or the denial of freedom is then impossible. Our freedom is a burden that
confronts us. It is a source of profound anxiety because it carries with it a
terrible responsibility. I and I alone can make my choices and I and I alone am
accountable to the rest of humanity for my actions. Sartre illustrates this with
an episode from his own life experience in a passage in Existentialism and
Humanism. During the Second World War one of his pupils approached him
with this dilemma: His elder brother had been killed by the Germans in 1940
and the young man burned to avenge his brothers death and fight in the
struggle against Nazism. On the other hand, the young mans mother was sick
with grief at his brothers
Jean-Paul Sartre: Basic Writings16 death, lived alone, and needed her
remaining son to care for her. If he joins the Free French he deserts his mother.
If he stays with his mother he does nothing to avenge his brother or fight the
Nazis. Sartres advice to his tormented pupil was this: You are free, therefore
choose (p. 38). Sartre cannot make his choice for him. To choose an adviser is
to make a choice. It is also to choose the kind of advice one would like to hear.
in this example Sartre turns the tables on the determinist, It is the lived
confrontation with freedom that is concrete and real. Determinism is a scientific
abstraction. Even if determinism were true it would not be of the least help to
the young man in resolving his dilemma. Nothing can lift from us the burden of

our freedom. Sartre says we are condemned to be free. We did not choose to
be free; indeed, we did not choose to exist. In the Heideggerian idiom, Sartre
says we are thrown into the world. We have no pre-determined essence. First of
all we exist, then we face the lifelong burden of creating ourselves, generating
our essence by free choices. We are nothing other than what we do and the
only constraint on our freedom is this: we are are not free not to be free. The
recognition of our own freedom causes such anxiety that we pretend to
ourselves that we are not free. The multitude of behavioural strategies which
make up this pretence Sartre calls bad faith. He thinks most of us are in bad
faith most of the time. It is usually only in extremis, like Mathieu in the clock
tower, that we are confronted with the reality of our own freedom. The locus
classicus of bad faith is in Being and Nothingness: Let us consider the waiter in
the caf. His movement is quick and forward, a little too precise, a little too
rapid. He comes toward the patrons with a step a little too quick. He bends
forwards a little too eagerly; his voice, his eyes express an interest a little too
solicitous for the order of the customer [ . . . ] He is playing, he is amusing
himself. But what is he playing? We need not watch long before we can explain
it: he is playing at being a caf waiter. (p. 59)
Committed literature combats bad faith. Questions of Method prefaces the first
volume of Critique of Dialectical Reason (1960). (It had appeared in an earlier
version in a Polish magazine in 1958.) Sartre argues that existentialism and
Marxism are mutually necessary in the explanation of human reality.
Henceforth, the lived present of the choosing existential individual is located in
history. Sartre says philosophy does not exist, there are only philosophies. Any
philosophy is an expression of a rising social class, and in modern history there
have
17Sartre in the world been three: the bourgeois individualism of Descartes and
Locke, the idealist philosophy of Kant and Hegel and now Marxism. It is not
possible to think beyond a philosophy unless the historical conditions of its
genesis are replaced. Hence, any putative anti-Marxist philosophy can only be
a return to pre-Marxist ideas according to Sartre. In Questions of Method Sartre
allocates only a modest place for existentialism, calling it an ideology, not in
the Marxist sense, but in the sense of a parasitical system living in the margin
of knowledge. Existentialism is prima facie opposed to Marxism but needs to be
dialectically incorporated into a wider Marxism, rather as Kierkegaards
existentialist individualism is puportedly opposed to Hegels totalising
philosophy but ultimately subsumable by it. In the final section of Questions of
Method Sartre outlines the Progressive Regressive Method. The aim is nothing
less than the total explanation of the human. We have to understand,
according to Sartre, that humanity makes history and history makes humanity.
Humanity fashions the world in accordance with human ends and projects. The
human-manipulated world of history constitutes humanity in turn. It follows
that the humanhistory relation is dialectical, or reciprocal. In this framework

Sartre seeks to overcome the contradictions between existentialism and


Marxism: the individual and the social, the free and the determined, the
conscious and the material, the subjective and the objective, the actual and the
historical. These problems are addressed in the complex Marxist and Hegelian
vocabulary of Critique of Dialectical Reason. Sartre of course envisages this
book as a synthesis of Marxism and existentialism. In it existentialism is
allocated a more salient role than the modest remarks in Questions of Method
would suggest. Sartre is also a biographer, but not a conventional biographer.
Aside from the autobiography Les Mots (Words) (1963), there exist Baudelaire
(1947), Saint Genet, comdien et martyr (1952) and the massive three volume
study of Flaubert: LIdiot de la Famille (The Family Idiot) (1971). His aim,
especially in the Flaubert, is nothing less than the total explanation of one
human being by another. Sartres method is the Progressive Regressive
Method. Why Flaubert? Because Gustave Flaubert (182180), realist and
objectivist author of Madame Bovary (1857) and perfecter of the short story in
Trois Contes (1877) is the inauthentic antithesis of Sartre. By repressing his
own passions and by writing with an almost scientific detachment Flaubert
writes uncommitted literature. Sartre intends the Flaubert as a true novel that
overcomes the contradiction between fact and fiction. The Progressive
Regressive Method of Questions of Method and the Critique is deployed
alongside the existential psychoanalysis of Being and Nothingness and Sartres
fictional imagination to understand the total Flaubert: psychological interiority
and social exteriority,
Jean-Paul Sartre: Basic Writings18 Flaubert in the world, historys constitution of
Flaubert and Flauberts reciprocal effect on history. Although Sartres Maoist
friends around La Cause du Peuple had no patience with what they saw as the
indulgent bourgeois individualism of the Flaubert project, it may in fact be read
as the synthesis of Sartrean syntheses: Marxism and existentialism, existential
phenomenology and psychoanalysis, and fact and fiction. Since Sartres death
in 1980 a number of significant works have been published: War Diaries (Les
Carnets de la Drle de Guerre, 1983) composed on the Maginot Line during the
phoney war period September 1939May 1940, Notebooks for an Ethics
(Cahiers pour une morale, 1983) which provides some of the moral philosophy
promised at the end of Being and Nothingness, two volumes of correspondence
with Simone de Beauvoir and others: Lettres au Castor et Quelques Autres, I
192639, II 194063 (1983), the screenplay for a film about Freud, Le Scenario
Freud (1984), the second volume of Critique of Dialectical Reason (Critique de
la Raison Dialectique, Tome II: Lintelligibilit de lHistoire, 1986) and the
metaphysically trenchant Truth and Existence (Vrit et Existence, 1989). The
thesis that self-definition ceases at the moment of death clearly needs to be
treated with some caution.9
Notes

1 See Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception (London, 1962),


The Visible and the Invisible (Evanston, 1968), Adventures of the Dialectic
(Evanston, 1973) and Stephen Priest Merleau-Ponty (London, 1998) 2 The form
of this kind of philosophical problem solving, dialectic, is presented by Hegel in
his Science of Logic (Wissenshaft der Logic, Nuremberg 1812 16). It is given
content in The Phenomenology of Spirit (Phnomenolgie des Geistes, Jena
1807), The Philosophy of Right (Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts, Berlin
1821) the volumes of the Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences
(Heidelberg, 181530) and posthumously published series of lectures. See
Michael Inwood (ed.), Hegel: Selections (London and New York, 1989). 3 Karl
Popper (190294) attacks the philosophical foundations of right-wing
totalitarianism in the first volume of The Open Society and Its Enemies
(London, 1945) (subtitled Plato) and left wing totalitarianism in the second
volume (subtitled Hegel and Marx). The assumption that what happens in the
present is historically inevitable is criticised in The Poverty of Historicism
(London, 1957). See also Anthony OHear, Karl Popper (London, 1980) and
Bryan Magee, Popper (London 1973). 4 The philosopher and mathematician
Ren Descartes (15961650) attempted to reconcile the theocentric world
picture of the middle ages with the emerging
19Sartre in the world
modern science of the seventeenth century. Although Sartre rejected
Descartes substantial distinction between mind and matter, he inherited his
profound concern with human subjectivity. See Ren Descartes, Discourse on
Method and the Meditations (Harmondsworth, 1974), Stephen Priest, Theories
of the Mind (London, 1991) and Anthony Kenny, Descartes: A Study of His
Philosophy (New York, 1968). 5 The critical theorist Herbert Marcuse
synthesises Freudianism and Marxism in Eros and Civilisation (Boston, 1955). In
One Dimensional Man (Boston, 1964) and Negations (Harmondsworth, 1968),
he argues that the capitalist system defuses the opposition of those it exploits,
by a combination of liberal repressive tolerance, the construal of everything
as a commodity and the ideological production of consumerist appetite. See
Alasdair MacIntyre, Marcuse (London, 1970). On the May 1968 vnements see
Charles Posner (ed.), Reflections on the Revolution in France: 1968
(Harmondsworth, 1970). 6 On de Beauvoir see T. Keefe, Simone de Beauvoir: A
Study of Her Writings (London, 1984), M. Evans, Simone de Beauvoir: A
Feminist Mandarin (London, 1985) and Judith Okely, Simone de Beauvoir: A ReReading (London, 1986). On the relationship between de Beauvoir and Sartre
see Alex Madsen, Hearts and Minds: The Common Journey of Simone de
Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre (New York, 1977) and Kate Fullbrook and Edward
Fullbrook, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre: the Remaking of a
Twentieth-Century Legend (New York, 1994). 7 The Austrian philosopher Ludwig
Wittgenstein and the English philosopher Gilbert Ryle attack the Cartesian idea
that psychological concepts take on meaning only by reference to inner and

private mental states and argue that there have to be third person criteria for
psychological ascriptions. See Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind (London,
1949), Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (Oxford, 1952) and
Stephen Priest, Theories of the Mind (London, 1991). 8 The American modernist
novelist John dos Passos deployed the radical technique of montage in his
U.S.A. trilogy (New York, 1930, 1933, 1936). The literary inventiveness and
authentic concern with human reality shown by the Irish novelist James Joyce
(18821941) in his Ulysses (Paris, 1922) possibly makes it the most significant
work of fiction of the twentieth century. 9 Sartre speaks frankly about his life
and work in Simone de Beauvoir interviews Sartre in Jean-Paul Sartre,
Life/Situations: Essays Written and Spoken, trans. Paul Auster and Lydia Davies
(New York, 1977) and Simone de Beauvoir, Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre
(Harmondsworth and New York, 1985). Two thoroughly researched and
informative biographies of Sartre are Ronald Hayman, Writing Against: A
Biography of Sartre (London, 1986) and Annie Cohen-Solal, Sartre: A Life
(London, 1987).
2

Existentialism

Existentialism is the movement in nineteenth- and twentieth-century


philosophy that addresses fundamental problems of human existence. The
existentialists are not a self-consciously defined homogeneous school. They
include: the Danish protestant theologian and philosopher Sren Kierkegaard
(181355), the iconoclastic German atheist Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900),
the German fundamental ontologist Martin Heidegger (1889 1976), the French
Catholic philosopher, critic and playwright Gabriel Marcel (18891973), the
German psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers (1883 1969), the French
feminist philosopher and novelist Simone de Beauvoir (190886), and the
French phenomenologist and critic of objective thought Maurice Merleau-Ponty
(1908 61). Existentialist themes are salient in the literature of Mikhail
Lermontov (181441), Fydor Dostoyevsky (182181), Andr Malraux (190175),
Antoine de Saint-Exupry (190044), Samuel Beckett (190689), Albert Camus
(191360) and Jean Genet (191086), and discernible in more. There is no set
of problems addressed by all and only those thinkers labelled existentialist.
However, most of them are interested in some of: What is it to exist? Does
existence have a purpose? Is there an objective difference between right and
wrong? Are we free? Are we responsible for our actions? What is the right sort
of religious, political or sexual commitment? How should we face death? The
term existentialism only gained currency after the Second World War, so it is
applied retrospectively (but not therefore falsely) to earlier thinkers. Heidegger
refused to accept the label. At first Sartre himself was extremely uncomfortable
to be called an existentialist, by the 1970s less so. The word features in the
title of the famous October 1945 lecture Existentialism and

21Existentialism Humanism (LExistentialisme est un Humanisme) which Sartre


regarded as an inadequate substitute for reading his denser works. The text