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Jean-Paul Sartre

(1905 - 1980)
Jean-Paul Sartre

Biography of Jean-Paul Sartre:

Philosopher, novelist, playwright and committed journalist, Jean-Paul Sartre is the most famous representative of the existentialism in France. After the "Ecole Normale Supérieure" (rue d’Ulm), he passes his competitive examination in 1929 - it is at this time he meets Simone de Beauvoir - and is appointed to the college of Le Havre.

Heir to Descartes and influenced by the German philosophers Hegel, Marx, Husserl, and Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre publishes in 1943 his major philosophical work, "Being and Nothingness". This treaty of the atheistic existentialism, which is not very accessible because it is addressed to philosophers, deals with the relationship between conscience and freedom. It is structured around the topics of consciousness, of the existence, of the "For-itself" (way of being of the existing), of the responsibility of the being-in-situation, of the anguish when conscience grasps the future face its freedom, of the freedom to escape the sequence of causes and natural determinations, of the project when the conscience is projected towards future.

For Jean-Paul Sartre, God does not exist: men don’t have other choice than to take in hand their destiny through the political and social conditions under which they are.

Theatre and novel are, for Sartre, ways of diffusing his ideas through settings in real-life situation (No exit, Dirty Hands, Nausea...). He leads a committed life when he comes close to the Communist Party in 1950. Nevertheless, he keeps a critical mind and breaks with the Party in 1968. Jean-Paul Sartre refuses the Nobel Prize of literature in 1964 for "Words", an autobiographical account.
Nausea (1938), The Wall (1939), The Flies (1943), Being and Nothingness (1943), No exit (1945), The Age of Reason (1945), Existentialism and Humanism (1945), Deaths without burial (1946), The Respectful Prostitute (1946), Anti-Semite and Jew; literally, Reflections on the Jewish Question (1947), Dirty Hands (1948), The Devil and the Good Lord (1951), The Condemned of Altona (1959), Critique of Dialectical Reason (1960), Words (1964), The Family Idiot (1971-1972).

Quotes of Jean-Paul Sartre

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