In his 1938 review of Nizan’s La Conspiration Sartre enquired: ‘Can a Communist write a novel? I’m not convinced he can: he does not have the right to make himself the accomplice of his characters.’ As with so many of the questions posed in Sartre’s work, an adequate response would require a hefty volume – it would have to deal with not only Nizan himself, but such varied writers as Gorky, Babel, Sholokhov, Brecht, Seghers, Aragon, Martinet, Serge, Morris, Heinemann and many others. The following article will attempt to apply the question to one Communist novelist, a very minor figure in the history of literature, but one who crossed Sartre’s path on a number of occasions – Jean Kanapa.
Nicholas Harrison, Postcolonial Criticism. Cambridge: Polity, 2003, 221 pp. ISBN 0-7456-2182-1 Review by Ian Birchall
Ingrid Galster, Le Théâtre de Jean-Paul Sartre devant ses premiers critiques. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2001. 394 pp. ISBN 2-7475-0715-7.
It is one of Sartre's greatest strengths that his declared aim was 'to write for his own time'. From the 1940s onward, he became ever less interested in 'timeless' questions, and ever more concerned to explore the concrete realities of his own age. This engagement with the contemporary makes it particularly tempting to consider what Sartre's responses to the events of our own age would be. Ever since his death in 1980, those of us who have drawn insight and inspiration from Sartre's works have tended to ask how Sartre might have judged particular political developments. And because of the central place given to violence in his thought, as well as his detailed reflections on the Second World War and the wars in Algeria and Vietnam, it is only natural to ask how Sartre would have responded to the appalling events of 11 September 2001 and the subsequent 'war on terror'.
Ian H. Birchall
Linda Bell’s article “Different Oppressions”1 makes a useful contribution to the study of Sartre’s Réflexions sur la question juive (1946).2 She raises the difficult question of the comparability and specificity of different forms of oppression, and in particular she recounts how the text encouraged her in challenging her own oppression as a woman. Surely Sartre himself would have asked for nothing better of the works that survived him than that they should inspire others struggling against oppression in all its forms.
Ian Birchall, Steven Hendley and Phyllis Morris
Noureddine Lamouchi, Jean-Paul Sartre et le tiers monde, Paris: L’Harmattan, 1996, 346 pp. ISBN 2-7384-4179-3, Ffrs.180.50 Review by Ian Birchall
Thomas R. Flynn, Sartre, Foucault, and Reason in History, Volume 1: Toward an Existentialist Theory. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997, 340 pp., ISBN 0-226-25468-2, $18.95 (paper). Review by Steven Hendley
William L. McBride, ed., Sartre and Existentialism: Philosophy, Politics, Ethics, The Psyche, Literature, and Aesthetics, Garland Publishing. 8-volume set $583/or by volume. Toll-free (U.S.) 800-627-6273 Review by Phyllis Morris
Tim Huntley, Ian Birchall, Manuel Braganca, Nik Farrell-Fox and Willie Thompson
Michael Lewis and Tanja Staehler, Phenomenology: An Introduction Review by Tim Huntley
Gérard Wormser (ed.), Jean-Paul Sartre, violence et éthique Review by Ian Birchall
Sam Coombes, The Early Sartre and Marxism Review by Manuel Braganca
Joseph S. Catalano, Reading Sartre Review by Nik Farrell-Fox
Jean-Pierre Boulé and Benedict O’Donohoe, Jean-Paul Sartre: Mind and Body, Word and Deed
Tony Judt, Marxism and the French Left: Studies on Labour and Politics in France, 1830–1981 and Past Imperfect: French Intellectuals 1944–1956 Reviews by Willie Thompson