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.
Lloyd Alexander, January 30, 1924 - Born Lloyd Chudley Alexander on January 30, 1924, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Allan Audley and Edna Chudley Alexander, Lloyd knew from a young age that he wanted to write. He was reading by the time he was 3, and though he did poorly in school, at the age of fifteen, he announced that he wanted to become a writer. At the age of 19 in 1942, Alexander dropped out of the West Chester State Teachers College in Pennsylvania after only one term. In 1943, he attended Lafayette College in Easton, PA, before dropping out again and joining the United States Army during World War II. Alexander served in the Intelligence Department, stationed in Wales, and then went on to Counter-Intelligence in Paris, where he was promoted to Staff Sergeant. When the war ended in '45, Alexander applied to the Sorbonne, but returned to the States in '46, now married. Alexander worked as an unpublished writer for seven years, accepting positions such as cartoonist, advertising copywriter, layout artist, and associate editor for a small magazine. Directly after the war, he had translated works for such artists as Jean Paul Sartre. In 1955, "And Let the Credit Go" was published, Alexander's first book which led to 10 years of writing for an adult audience. He wrote his first children's book in 1963, entitled "Time Cat," which led to a long career of writing for children and young adults. Alexander is best known for his "Prydain Chronicles" which consist of "The Book of Three" in 1964, "The Black Cauldron" in 1965 which was a Newbery Honor Book, as well as an animated motion picture by Disney which appeared in 1985, "The Castle of Llyr" in 1966, "Taran Wanderer" in 1967, a School Library Journal's Best Book of the Year and "The High King" which won the Newberry Award. Many of his other books have also received awards, such as "The Fortune Tellers," which was a Boston Globe Horn Book Award winner. In 1986, Alexander won the Regina Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the Catholic Library Association. His titles have been translated into many languages including, Dutch, Spanish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Serbo-Croation and Swedish. Lloyd Alexander lives in Pennsylvania.
Poet and critic Hayden Carruth was born in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1921. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1943 and a master's degree from the University of Chicago in 1948. His first poetry collection, The Crow and the Heart, was published in 1959. He wrote about 30 books of poetry throughout his lifetime that addressed a wide range of subjects including madness, loneliness, death, and fragility of the natural world. Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey won the National Book Award for poetry in 1996. He also wrote a novel entitled Appendix A. He was the poetry editor of Harper's from 1977 to 1983 and the advisory editor for The Hudson Review from 1971 until his death on September 29, 2008 at the age of 87.