Sartre's thoughts on the eighteenth century are ambiguous and schematic at best but they do contain an interesting analysis of materialism that continues from this period through to the early 1940s. Even though Sartre refers to the eighteenth-century as a paradise soon-to-be lost, it is argued here that his condemnation of atomistic materialism as it was conceived during this period is directly linked to his rejection of the dialectical materialism of the Communist Party and bourgeois ideology. This article examines the relationship between these different modes of thought and seeks to demonstrate how Sartre's take on the eighteenth century provided a stern warning to the communists about the pitfalls associated with basing a revolution on materialist doctrine.
Sartre's Eighteenth Century: A Model for Engagement?
Sartre was not a Marxist
so for three-quarters of his productive life.” Indeed, Marxism was a big challenge to his thoughts between 1945 and 1973. He dealt with Marxism in works such as Materialism and Revolution in 1947, Search for a Method in 1957, and Critique of
Revisiting Existential Marxism
A Reply to Alfred Betschart
rejection of its Soviet version in “Materialism and Revolution” in 1946. As both Marcuse and Sartre knew, the strait-jacket of Soviet dogmatism was unable to stifle completely Marxism's deep sense of human history, its commitment to liberation, its
Sartre in Austria
Boycott, Scandals, and the Fight for Peace
, “Materialism and Revolution,” in Literary and Philosophical Essays , trans. Annette Michelson (New York: Collier, 1962), 198–255 (248, 244); emphasis in original. 59 Jean-Paul Sartre, “Volksfront nicht besser als Gaullisten,” Der Spiegel , 12 February 1973