To talk about Sartre and literature in the 1960s is to talk about a
range of disparate things: at the beginning of the decade stands the
farewell to Literature, the myth of literature, enshrined in the autobiographical
Les Mots. At the end is the critical dissection of the myth of
literature as an absolute in the third volume of L’Idiot de la famille, in
a farewell of another kind. As far as Sartre is concerned, then, this
was a decade framed by highly public, but also highly ambiguous,
statements about literature, ambiguous by their very literariness.
Statements which are undoubtedly intensified by the ideological role
of literature in the constitution of the figure of the intellectual.