Synopses & Reviews
It was to correct common misconceptions about his thought that Jean-Paul Sartre, the most dominent European intellectual of the post-World War II decades,and#160;accepted an invitation to speak on October 29, 1945, at the Club Maintenant in Paris. The unstated objective of his lecture (andldquo;Existentialism Is a Humanismandrdquo;) was to expound his philosophy as a form of andldquo;existentialism,andrdquo; a term much bandied about at the time. Sartre asserted that existentialism was essentially a doctrine for philosophers, though, ironically, he was about to make it accessible to a general audience.and#160;The published text of his lectureand#160;quickly became one of the bibles of existentialism and made Sartre an international celebrity.
The idea of freedom occupies the center of Sartreandrsquo;s doctrine. Man, born into an empty, godless universe, is nothing to begin with. He creates his essenceandmdash;his self, his beingandmdash;through the choices he freely makes (andldquo;existence precedes essenceandrdquo;). Were it not for the contingency of his death, he would never end. Choosing to be this or that is to affirm the value of what we choose. In choosing, therefore, we commit not only ourselves but all of mankind.
This book presents a new English translation ofand#160; Sartreandrsquo;s 1945 lectureand#160; and his analysis of Camusandrsquo;s The Stranger, along with a discussion of these works by acclaimed Sartre biographer Annie Cohen-Solal. This edition is a translation of the 1996 French edition, which includes Arlette Elkaandiuml;m-Sartreandrsquo;s introduction and a QandA with Sartre about his lecture.
"In this small book, we discover Sartre as more than the café existentialist or the playboy. Here we see the committed philosopher working in public, with many of its evident hazards. Despite its flaws, in Existentialism is a Humanism
we have a model for a committed philosophy -- one that is sorely needed today." Nicholas Hengen, Rain Taxi
(read the entire Rain Taxi review
About the Author
Philosopher, playwright, and novelist Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was the most dominant European intellectual for the three decades following World War II. In 1964, he was awarded but declined the Nobel Prize in Literature. Annie Cohen-Solal is the author of the acclaimed Sartre: A Life, an international best-seller that has been translated into sixteen languages.