As seen in his enthusiastic praise of John Dos Passos's 1919, Sartre evaluated literary works by how effectively they aim to play a role in fundamental social change. This essay has two goals. One is to show that Sartre's endorsement of committed literature is not undercut if literature fails to play a role in fundamental social change and the other is to show at least some of the ways in which committed literature is successful. Both goals are pursued through a consideration of the literary works of Kurt Vonnegut and Don DeLillo. The former was mentioned briefly but favorably by Sartre in 1971 and the latter, while lacking such direct ties to Sartre, was accused of “sandbox existentialism.” I read both writers as arguments in favor of Sartre's instrumentalist take on literature.
travel (Wells’s The Time Machine , Zemeckis’s Back to the Future ), time loops (Vonnegut’s Timequake , Ramis’s Groundhog Day ), time reversals (Amis’s Time’s Arrow , Dick’s Counter-Clock World ), and
An Ordinary Tragedy in Now-Capitalist Albania
E ka jeta. [So it goes.] – Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughter-House Five , translated by AK; edited by AN and EK 1 In November 2009, the two booksellers I call AK and AN invested in a financially precarious business located in a prestigious area