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The Curve of the Epoch: Sartre at the end of the Twentieth Century

Peter Caws

Abstract

In this paper I am revisiting an old topic of interest, the relation of Sartre to his century. On an earlier occasion I took up the question of whether his life might count as “oracular” in the sense he lends to that term in The Family Idiot, but at that time the century still had fifteen years to go. Now I can aim for closure: between the submission of this text and its publication the millennial moment – the portentous one, whether or not the “real” one to everybody’s satisfaction – will have passed, with whatever upheaval may have been attendant on it. We can imagine at least that it would have presented no problem to Sartre.

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