This article brings together the Sartrean concept of bad faith and Edward Upward's novel, Journey to the Border, first published in 1938. The aim is to provide an overtly political reading that challenges the surreal obscurity of Upward's psychological narrative, while at the same time showing the continuing relevance of Sartre's understanding of the psychological tensions and existential dilemmas of the modern condition. Upward's novel has been the focus of much critical debate as to the meaning of the story - the descent of the main character towards madness in the context of the 1930s threat of fascism and war - as well as the generic characterisation of the text in terms of satire, fable, fantasy or political parable. The article argues in contrast a more unequivocally ideological reading of the series of existential choices, both personal and political, of the main character as a struggle for individual freedom and authenticity through a radical commitment to socialism and responsibility for the Other.
Jean-Paul Sartre and Ronald Aronson
In early 1945, with the war not yet over, Sartre travelled to the United States for the first time. He travelled with a group of correspondents who were invited in order to influence French public opinion favourably towards the United States.1 Sartre was sent by his friend Albert Camus to report back to Combat, the leading newspaper of the independent left. Once invited, he arranged also to report back to the conservative newspaper, Le Figaro. Simone de Beauvoir reports that learning of Camus’ invitation in late 1944 was one of the most exciting moments of Sartre’s life.