Is Jean-Paul Sartre to be credited for Richard Wright's existentialist leanings? This essay argues that while there have been noteworthy philosophical exchanges between Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Richard Wright, we can find evidence of Wright's philosophical and existential leanings before his interactions with Sartre and Beauvoir. In particular, Wright's short story "The Man Who Lived Underground" is analyzed as an existential, or Black existential, project that is published before Wright met Sartre and/or read his scholarship. Existentialist themes that emerge from Wright's short story include flight, guilt, life, death, dread, and freedom. Additionally, it is argued that "The Man Who Lived Underground" offers a reversal of the prototypical allegory of the cave that we find in the Western (ancient Greek) philosophical tradition. The essay takes seriously the significance of the intellectual exchanges between Sartre, Beauvoir, and Wright while also highlighting Wright's own philosophical legacy.
The Russian Teatr Interviews of 1956 and 1962
Dennis A. Gilbert and Diana L. Burgin
Sartre’s scattered commentaries and remarks on theater, published in a variety of media outlets, as well as in the most unlikely of essays (spanning philosophical texts, biographies, and literary criticism), were finally assembled late in Sartre’s career and published in one volume, Un Théâtre de situations (Sartre on Theater), put together by Michel Contat and Michel Rybalka in 1973. Inevitably, a number of later or missing theatrical documents then came to light, and an updated edition of Un Théâtre de situations appeared in 1992. There still remained, however, other documents on theater which for one reason or another were not included in the later volume. Two of these documents are published interviews that Sartre gave to the Russian theater journal, Teatr, in 1956 and 1962. It is those virtually unknown interviews by Sartre on theater that we are pleased to publish here for the first time in English translation.
The article advances an interpretation of the self as an imaginary object. Focusing on the relationship between selfhood and memory in Sartre's The Transcendence of the Ego, I argue that Sartre offers useful resources for thinking about the self in terms of narratives. Against interpretations that hold that the ego misrepresents consciousness or distorts it, I argue that the constitution of the ego marks a radical transformation of the conscious field. To prove this point, I turn to the role of reflection and memory in the creation of the self. Reflection and memory weave past, present and future into a consistent and meaningful life story. This story is no other than the self. I propose to understand the self as a fictional or imaginary entity, albeit one that has real presence in human life.
« On parle dans sa propre langue, on écrit dans une langue étrangère », nous dit Sartre dans Les Mots. Quelle langue Sartre a-t-il dès lors utilisée dans ses romans pour écrire la parole ? Pensé comme une véritable composante romanesque de la liberté, le dialogue selon Sartre répond à trois grands préceptes. En premier lieu, pour ne pas imposer au lecteur un narrateur tout-puissant et pour faire coïncider le temps du personnage avec celui du lecteur (c’est le fameux « isochronisme » genettien), Sartre refuse de condenser les propos de ses personnages. En découle une scrupuleuse utilisation du discours direct qui distingue le dialogue sartrien de celui de ses contemporains. En outre, sous l’influence de Dostoïevski, Sartre incite à recourir aux tâtonnements et au superflu de la langue parlée, et non à la vitesse et à la clarté de la langue théâtrale qui impliqueraient une irréaliste conscience du personnage à luimême. Enfin, Sartre accorde que le dialogue puisse être « pâteux », c’est-à-dire qu’il ne fasse pas avancer à tout prix l’action du roman. Cet article entend présenter la poétique sartrienne du dialogue avant d’en interroger, à partir de l’ensemble du corpus romanesque de Sartre, les implications narratologiques et stylistiques.
This study of Sartre's first novel seeks to move beyond the metaphysical constraints that are implicit when specifically focusing on either the work's literary or philosophical qualities, instead approaching the text as metafiction. Through an understanding of the novel's self-referentiality, its awareness of its accordance to narrative technique or reliance on existential verbatim, one gains an understanding of Sartre's fascination with the dialogue that exists between literature and philosophy. The examination of La Nausée and its Anglo-American criticism leads to a re-evaluation of the role of bad faith, in which character, author and, particularly, reader, are implicit. For reading is, like Roquentin's concluding understanding of existence, a balancing-act between the in-itself and the for-itself; an interaction with bad faith in which it is the individual/the reader that is responsible for attributing meaning to experience/La Nausée.
Sartre's interventions at the Vienna, Berlin, and Helsinki Congresses of the World Peace Council are examined in depth. Neglected and overlooked for over a half-century, it is argued that the themes Sartre elaborated in these speeches were consonant with the political and intellectual projects he had been developing since the mid-1930s. Although Sartre spoke as a Marxist who had allied himself with the Communist Party, his deepest concern was to build international unity in opposition to the escalating threat of nuclear war, and to restore political and economic sovereignty to a Western Europe crushed by dependency on America. Freedom for all the world's peoples, Sartre argued, depended on mutual interdependence between nations, built from the ground up by the popular masses.
Abstract: Using an analysis of two of Sartre's biographies, and , I will show how freedom can be inverted into captivity in order to constitute an affective destiny. If every choice, act and affect of an individual is, through its “original project,” confined to a specific framework, the schema of freedom positing its choice of existence seems to resemble a circle of captivity: total freedom at the outset, and then a trapped freedom, limited by itself. At the basis of this alienating circle lie original emotions: consciousness reacts affectively to its initial situation, before even constituting itself as a , and adopts these emotions as integral parts of its project, as the structure of its relationship to the world. But the empirical affects which follow are then captured in the vortex of captivity, in accordance with a two-fold criterion: participating in the ultimate end of the individual while at the same time being inscribed in the affective structure which follows from it. Originally the very source of the original project, emotion then becomes its slave.
French À travers l'analyse de deux biographies sartriennes, Baudelaire et Mallarmé, nous mettons en évidence la manière dont la liberté s'inverse en captivité pour se constituer un destin affectif. Si tout choix, acte et affect de l'individu est, par son projet originel, circonscrit à un cadre d'action précis, le schéma de la liberté posant son choix d'existence paraît assimilable au cercle de la captivité : une liberté totale à l'origine, une liberté piégée, limitée par elle-même, ensuite. Au fondement même de ce cercle aliénant, des émotions originelles : la conscience réagit affectivement à sa situation initiale, avant même de se constituer en personne, et assume ces émotions comme partie intégrante de son projet, comme structure de son rapport au monde. Mais les affects empiriques qui s'ensuivent sont alors pris dans le tourbillon de la captivité, devant répondre à un double critère : participer à la fin ultime de l'individu tout en s'inscrivant dans la structure affective qui en découle. Source même du projet originel, l'émotion en devient l'esclave.
Frantz Fanon, Jean-Paul Sartre, and the Violence of the Algerian War
This article considers two famous works published in France during the Algerian War and forever after interpretively linked: Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth and Jean-Paul Sartre's Preface to Fanon's book. It argues that yoking together the two texts has distorted key features of each, in particular as they relate to the multiform problem of violence. To overcome a misreading of Fanon's position by Sartre, the analysis presented here uses the under-examined clinical case studies in the final chapter of Wretched to emphasize Fanon's acknowledgment of violence as a source of trauma, not only a means by which trauma is transcended. It then attempts to explain Sartre's reinterpretation of Fanon's message in light of ongoing postwar debates within the French intellectual Left about the revolutionary potential of violence in metropolitan France.
In this article, I explore the question of whether authentic love is possible in Jean-Paul Sartre’s early philosophy. In Being and Nothingness, Sartre claims that love is inauthentic and doomed to failure. I dismiss a prominent view that is built upon Sartre’s account of love in Notebooks for an Ethics, which states that authentic love is possible after a radical conversion to authenticity. The continued existence of patriarchal oppression prevents men and women from undergoing such a conversion. Adopting a different approach, I examine a form of love which Sartre largely overlooks: the love between mother and child. Before the boundaries between Self and Other are fully formed, mother and child exist in an ambiguous union. It is here, I argue, that the existence of authentic love is possible.