This article explores the relationship between existentialism and the horror genre. Noël Carroll and others have proposed that horror monsters defy established categories. Carroll also argues that the emotion they provoke - 'art-horror' - is a 'composite' of fear and disgust. I argue that the sometimes horrifying images and metaphors of Sartre's early philosophy, which correlate with nausea and anxiety, have a non-coincidental commonality with art-horror explained by existentialism's preoccupation with the interstitial nature of the self. Further, it is argued that, as with some of the more sophisticated examples of the horror genre, the way for existential protagonists like Roquentin and Gregor Samsa to meet the challenge of the horrifying involves an accommodation of these features of the existential condition within their developing identity, which results in them appearing monstrous to others. Lastly, it is claimed that the association between existentialism and art-horror can explain the (paradoxical) appeal of horror.
Readers of Sartre’s biographies often have the impression that they reveal more about Sartre than about Baudelaire, Flaubert or Genet. The reason for this is our awareness of Sartre’s philosophy which serves as an explicit paradigm for the construction and explicitation of his literary and his biographical works. We speak of a Sartrean play, a Sartrean biography, because they lay bare not only characteristic features of the genre but also of the author and this also is true of a Hegelian or Marxist history or a Freudian psychology. These writers have all invented their own paradigms and if one decides to use their paradigm one is considered a Hegelian, Marxist or Sartrean follower.
Adrian van den Hoven
Neither the apparently cold-blooded murder of a complete stranger, the central event in The Stranger, nor Hugo's murder of Hoederer in Dirty Hands—a political assassination or crime of passion, depending on how one views it—can be considered unusual acts, in literature or in life. The topic of murder has itself created an extremely popular genre: the detective novel or "whodunit," which has become a huge industry and has aficionados everywhere, Sartre being one. In French theater, the topic of political assassination has resulted in such famous plays as de Musset's Lorenzaccio (1834), which ostensibly deals with Florence in the sixteenth century and the tyrannical Alexandre de Médicis, who is assassinated by his young cousin, but is in fact "a limpid transposition of the failed revolution of July 1830." It is well known that Sartre was an admirer of Musset and Romantic theater. In 1946, Jean Cocteau, who helped with the staging of Les Mains sales (Dirty Hands), wrote L'Aigle ` deux têtes (The Two-Headed Eagle), which was inspired "by the sad life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria and her tragic death by the hand of the Franco-Italian assassin, Luigi Lucheni." Sartre himself, in Nausea, has Anny use the engraving in Michelet's Histoire de France depicting the assassination of the Duke de Guise as a perfect illustration of "privileged situations."
Dennis A. Gilbert
At a time when a "return to Sartre" is being heralded in France and elsewhere in preparation for the celebration of the centennial of his birth, it seems appropriate to ponder the nature and tenor of this renewal. To which aspects of Sartre's work are we returning as the centennial approaches, and are we doing so with fresh eyes or with the same critical prejudices that have obscured our appreciation of this work in the past? If one looks for answers to Bernard-Henri Lévy (aka BHL), the principal instigator of this current renewal, with specific regard to the genre that interests us in these pages—the theater—one is going to be sorely disappointed. For while Lévy considers Sartre "the first [writer]—the only [writer]—to know how to split himself equally well between being a theoretician and an accomplished storyteller," he lavishes this praise solely on the theory and practice of Sartre's novels: "The concept of engagement is not a political concept stressing the social duties of the writer; it is a philosophical concept highlighting the metaphysical powers of language. … Sartre … has never really written a novel with a [totalizing] thesis or message" (BHL 85, 86).
Edited by Ârash Aminian Tabrizi, Kate Kirkpatrick, and Marieke Mueller
papers here – nearly 40 were presented. But the articles that follow provide an excellent demonstration of the ways that Sartre – himself proficient in an enormous variety of intellectual domains and textual genres – continues to provoke readers from
Sartre’s Article on Kafka and the Fantastic
comment on Kafka’s work and a (concise) contribution to literary genre theory. Excepting Tzvetan Todorov’s canonical work on fantastic literature, which pays tribute to Sartre’s early essay, 7 readers often missed the full scope of the article. Jacob
The Genesis of Sartre’s Theatrical Career in Writings to, with, and by Beauvoir
Dennis A. Gilbert
, however, is that, when referenced, the genre is presented in a doubly negative light. First, the “family comedy” of Sartre’s childhood exemplifies his view at the time of theater as a way to falsify the real world, to play a role, to act out someone else
Sartre et le roman.
Adrian Van Den Hoven
lecture du Journal des Faux-Monnayeurs d’André Gide, 6 ainsi que par la longue tradition (néo-classique) française qui insiste sur la pureté des genres. Ces approches multiples lui ont permis de mieux cerner certaines qualités des romans qu’il analyse
, Conrad et Faulkner que Sartre cite dans son article. Enfin, nous dit Sartre, le dialogue romanesque peut être « pâteux », 11 c’est-à-dire, dans l’imaginaire sartrien, inerte, 12 puisqu’il n’est pas soumis à la loi du genre théâtral qui exige que tout
petite critique de la raison journalistique
’inventer, pour son roman, une forme qui exploite et récuse ces deux genres narratifs : le roman historique et le roman journalistique (inspiré du reportage). Double refus et double emprunt sélectif. J’ai traité ailleurs de la relation au roman historique. 2