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Existentialism Is a Humanism

ISBN-10: 0300115466
ISBN-13: 9780300115468
Edition: 2007 (Annotated)
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Description: It was to correct common misconceptions about his thought that Sartre 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  More...

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Book details

List price: $9.95
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 7/24/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 128
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.50" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.550
Language: English

It was to correct common misconceptions about his thought that Sartre 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.nbsp;The published text of his lecturenbsp;quickly became one of the bibles of existentialism and made Sartre an international celebrity. nbsp; 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. nbsp; This edition ofExistentialism Is a Humanismis a translation of thenbsp;1996 Frenchnbsp;edition, which includes Arlette Elkaïm-Sartre’s introduction andnbsp;a Q&A with Sartre about his lecture. Paired with “Existentialism Is a Humanism” is another seminal Sartre text, his commentary on Camus’sThe Stranger. In her foreword, intended for an American audience, acclaimed Sartre biographer Annie Cohen-Solal offers an assessment of both works.

Philosopher, playwright, and novelist Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was the most dominant European intellectual for the three decades following World War II. In 1964, he was awarded but declined the Nobel Prize in Literature. Annie Cohen-Solal is the author of the acclaimedSartre: A Life, an international best-seller that has been translated into sixteen languages.

Annie Cohen-Solal was born in Algeria & earned a Ph.D. in French literature from the Sorbonne. She has taught French language, literature, & culture in Berlin, Jerusalem, Paris, & New York & writes frequently about French intellectuals & politics. She was Cultural Counselor at the French Consulate in New York from 1989 to 1993. Her acclaimed Sartre, an international best-seller, was translated into 16 languages. She lives in Paris & New York.

John Kulka is executive editor-at-large at Harvard University Press and lives in Connecticut.

Sartre is the dominant figure in post-war French intellectual life. A graduate of the prestigious Ecole Normale Superieure with an agregation in philosophy, Sartre has been a major figure on the literary and philosophical scenes since the late 1930s. Widely known as an atheistic proponent of existentialism, he emphasized the priority of existence over preconceived essences and the importance of human freedom. In his first and best novel, Nausea (1938), Sartre contrasted the fluidity of human consciousness with the apparent solidity of external reality and satirized the hypocrisies and pretensions of bourgeois idealism. Sartre's theater is also highly ideological, emphasizing the importance of personal freedom and the commitment of the individual to social and political goals. His first play, The Flies (1943), was produced during the German occupation, despite its underlying message of defiance. One of his most popular plays is the one-act No Exit (1944), in which the traditional theological concept of hell is redefined in existentialist terms. In Red Gloves (Les Mains Sales) (1948), Sartre examines the pragmatic implications of the individual involved in political action through the mechanism of the Communist party and a changing historical situation. His highly readable autobiography, The Words (1964), tells of his childhood in an idealistic bourgeois Protestant family and of his subsequent rejection of his upbringing. Sartre has also made significant contributions to literary criticism in his 10-volume Situations (1947--72) and in works on Baudelaire, Genet, and Flaubert.

Preface to the 1996 French Edition
Introduction
Existentialism Is a Humanism
A Commentary on The Stranger
Notes
About the Author
Index

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