Editorial, SSI Summer 2023

in Sartre Studies International
Author:
John Gillespie
Search for other papers by John Gillespie in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
and
Katherine Morris
Search for other papers by Katherine Morris in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close

There is a great deal in this issue for serious Sartre scholars. Without initially intending to, we have put together an issue focussing on translation: a translation of Grégory Cormann's article that first appeared in 2021 in Études sartriennes 25 (‘Autour du mémoire sur l'image (1927)’), and one of Sartre's 1947 presentation to the Société Française de Philosophie, ‘Conscience de soi et connaissance de soi’ (‘Self-Awareness and Self-Knowledge’). We hope that these translations will make this material more available to a wider audience.

There is a great deal in this issue for serious Sartre scholars. Without initially intending to, we have put together an issue focussing on translation: a translation of Grégory Cormann's article that first appeared in 2021 in Études sartriennes 25 (‘Autour du mémoire sur l'image (1927)’), and one of Sartre's 1947 presentation to the Société Française de Philosophie, ‘Conscience de soi et connaissance de soi’ (‘Self-Awareness and Self-Knowledge’). We hope that these translations will make this material more available to a wider audience.

First, Grégory Cormann uses the recent publication of two of Sartre's early (1926–1927) manuscripts, Empédocle (Empedocles) in 2016 and his dissertation for his graduate diploma L'Image dans la vie psychologique (The Image in Psychological Life) in 2018, as an occasion for proposing a new type of ‘collective genetics’, one that refers, not to the internal genesis of the thought or the work of just one author, but to a method which allows us ‘to discover certain collective conditions of the production of a work and a body of knowledge’, and to identify ‘the aesthetic and political epistemological matrix of a forthcoming collective enterprise’.

Then there is a luminous new translation and commentary by Marco Dozzi of Sartre's above-mentioned 1947 presentation ‘Conscience de soi et connaissance de soi’. A transcript of this presentation was published in 1948, with a record of the discussion from that occasion, in the Bulletin de la société française de philosophie, and translated into English in 1967. The translation published here represents a great improvement both on the poor-quality transcript and on the subsequent English translation. Its content will be of particular interest to Sartre scholars (and indeed students) because it covers some of the most difficult and philosophically interesting ideas in the notorious Introduction and in Part II Chapter 1 (‘The Immediate Structures of the For-Itself’) of Being and Nothingness.should read in Being and Nothingness, in the notorious Introduction and in Part II Ch. 1 (‘The Immediate Structures of the For-Itself’).

In addition, this issue, as always, contains a number of book reviews. First, Kate Kirkpatrick reviews Oliver Gloag's Albert Camus: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020). She begins by reminding us that ‘in the original 1939 version of Albert Camus’ play Caligula, Cherea tells the Emperor that some actions are more beautiful than others. Caligula disagrees: all human actions, he says, are equivalent. Oliver Gloag's analysis of Camus’ life and works clearly takes Cherea's side: some actions are more beautiful than others, and some of Camus’ were decidedly ugly’. While raising a few critical questions, Kirkpatrick still finds this a thought-provoking book.

Kirkpatrick also reviews Meryl Altman's Beauvoir in Time (Leiden: Brill Rodopi, 2020), ‘a substantial contribution to Beauvoir scholarship and to feminist historiography’ whose author engages in an ‘illuminating dialectical dance between “why she said that then” and “what we can learn now”’. This method, Kirkpatrick tells us, ‘invites readers to reflect on the ethics of reading and the role of time and intergenerational transmission in feminist praxis’.

There is a review by Jonathan Webber of Alfred Betschart and Juliane Werner (eds), Sartre and the International Impact of Existentialism (London: Palgrave, 2020). Each chapter in this volume explores the reception of Sartre's work in a variety of genres and in a variety of cultural contexts. What most struck Webber ‘was the consistently oppositional relationship between the reception of Sartre and all kinds of institutions’ – the Catholic Church, the Soviet government, and even the UK board of censors who objected to Huis clos on the grounds that one of its characters was ‘a Lesbian’. Webber develops some of the stories around Argentina, the Arab world, Japan and East Germany. This ‘excellent’ volume, he tells us, ‘is an immense achievement and an important resource for anyone interested in the cultural and political impacts of Sartre's work, or indeed more broadly in the transformations of ideas as they cross cultural boundaries’.

John Gillespie reviews Nik Farrell Fox's The Parallel Philosophies of Sartre and Nietzsche: Ethics, Ontology and the Self (London: Bloomsbury, 2022), which argues for the – to many – surprising claim that Nietzsche and Sartre have been key influences on the contemporary intellectual, philosophical and cultural landscape. In particular, Farrell Fox sees ‘philosophical interconnections between anti-metaphysical and contemporary post-humanist thinking’. Although Gillespie is not wholly convinced that Nietzsche and Sartre are as anti-metaphysical as Farrell Fox claims, this ‘substantial, wide-ranging study . . . is a must read for students and specialists of both authors’.

Finally, Gillespie also reviews a volume edited by Alfred Betschart, Andreas Ur Sommer and Paul Stephan, Nietzsche und der Französische Existentialismus (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2022). It is divided into seven thematic sections and includes a wide variety of international contributors who put Nietzsche into conversation with, amongst others, Sartre, Camus, Beauvoir and the Romanian existentialist Cioran. On the whole, the volume provides ample ‘evidence that, in a post-modern world still struggling with the Death death of God, nihilism and the relativity of values, the serious study of existentialism and its authors is thriving’.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

Sartre Studies International

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Existentialism and Contemporary Culture

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 484 484 1
PDF Downloads 127 127 2