Sartre's Silence: Limits of Recognition in Why Write?

in Sartre Studies International
View More View Less
Restricted access

On 1 November 1946, Jean-Paul Sartre participated in a conference celebrating the inaugural session of the UNESCO. An important argument in his presentation – ‘La responsabilité de l’écrivain’ – was that an author writes in order to achieve recognition. As Sartre puts it: ‘The writer is a man who uses language, putting words together in a way he hopes will be beautiful. Why does he do it? I think the writer speaks in order to be recognised by the others in the sense in which Hegel talks about the mutual recognition of one consciousness by another.’ This question – ‘Why does he do it?’, Why Write? – was also taken up in the second essay of What is Literature? In this longer and more complex text, Sartre not only reiterates his position from La responsabilité de l’écrivain, he adds that the reader, too, comes to the literary work with the hope of satisfying his desire for recognition.

Sartre Studies International

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Existentialism and Contemporary Culture


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 109 108 44
Full Text Views 4 2 0
PDF Downloads 7 4 0