Jean Paul Sartre

Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


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Jean Paul Sartre—French Existentialist Philosopher

(1905-1980) June, 21, 1905, Paris France, 6:45 PM, LMT. (Source: from Gauquelin — “from him”) Died, April 15, 1980, Paris, France

(Proposed Ascendant, Sagittarius; MC, Libra: Sun conjunct Mercury conjunct Pluto in Gemini; Moon in Aquarius; Venus and Jupiter in Taurus;  Mars in Scorpio; Saturn in Pisces; Neptune in Cancer; Uranus in Capricorn)

French philosopher, novelist, essayist and playwright. Leader of French intelligentsia after 1939. His philosophy of Existentialism stated that the world has no meaning for humankind, and the individual is responsible for his or her own purpose.


A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost.

Acting is a question of absorbing other people's personalities and adding some of your own experience.
(Sun & Mercury in Gemini.)

Everything has been figured out, except how to live.

Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you.

Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives.
(Jupiter in Taurus square Moon.)

I confused things with their names: that is belief.

It disturbs me no more to find men base, unjust, or selfish than to see apes mischievous, wolves savage, or the vulture ravenous.

It is only in our decisions that we are important.

Life begins on the other side of despair.

Life has no meaning the moment you loose the illusion of being eternal.

Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.
(Uranus in Capricorn sextile Saturn.)

Man is not the sum of what he has already, but rather the sum of what he does not yet have, of what he could have.
(Jupiter in Taurus.)

Once you hear the details of victory, it is hard to distinguish it from a defeat.
(Mars in Scorpio.)

One is still what one is going to cease to be and already what one is going to become. One lives one's death, one dies one's life.
(Saturn in Pisces conjunct South Node.)

Only the guy who isn't rowing has time to rock the boat.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist.

The existentialist says at once that man is anguish.

The poor don't know that their function in life is to exercise our generosity.

Words are loaded pistols.
(Mercury in Gemini trine Saturn.)

Hell is other people.
From his 1947 play No Exit, recalled on his death 15 Apr 80
(Mars in 11th house.)

A writer who takes political, social or literary positions must act only with the means that are his. These means are the written words.
Refusing Nobel Prize, NY Times 22 Oct 64
(Mercury conjunct Sun in Gemini. Pluto in Gemini.)

I am responsible for everything ... except for my very responsibility, for I am not the foundation of my being. Therefore everything takes place as if I were compelled to be responsible. I am abandoned in the world ... in the sense that I find myself suddenly alone and without help, engaged in a world for which I bear the whole responsibility without being able, whatever I do, to tear myself away from this responsibility for an instant.
(Saturn trine Sun.)

There are two types of poor people, those who are poor together and those who are poor alone. The first are the true poor, the others are rich people out of luck.

But [your crime] will be there, one hundred times denied, always there, dragging itself behind you. Then you will finally know that you have committed your life with one throw of the die, once and for all, and there is nothing you can do but tug our crime along until your death. Such is the law, just and unjust, of repentance. Then we will see what will become of your young pride.

I am no longer sure of anything. If I satiate my desires, I sin but I deliver myself from them; if I refuse to satisfy them, they infect the whole soul.
(Venus in Taurus.)

The best work is not what is most difficult for you; it is what you do best.

Yes, Lord, you are innocence itself: how could you conceive of Nothingness, you who are plenitude? Your gaze is light and transforms all into light: how could you know the half-light in my heart?

Some men are born committed to action: they do not have a choice, they have been thrown on a path, at the end of that path, an act awaits them, their act ...
(Mars in Scorpio trine Sun.)

As if there could be true stories: things happen in one way, and we retell them in the opposite way.

I will not be modest. Humble, as much as you like, but not modest. Modesty is the virtue of the lukewarm.

I tell you in truth: all men are Prophets or else God does not exist.

So that is what hell is. I would never have believed it. You remember: the fire and brimstone, the torture. Ah! the farce. There is no need for torture: hell is the Other.
(Stellium in 7th house.)

I know only one Church: it is the society of men.
(Neptune in Cancer.)

The past is the luxury of proprietors.
My thought is me: that is why I cannot stop thinking. I exist because I thinkI cannot keep from thinking.
(Saturn in 3rd house. Sun, Mercury & Pluto in Gemini.)

For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it.

Man is a useless passion.

"I was escaping from Nature and at last becoming myself, that Other whom I was aspiring to be in the eyes of others."

"Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does."

"Man is the being whose project it is to be God."

"Never have I thought that I was the happy possessor of a "talent;" my sole concern has been to save myself by work and faith."

"Evil is the product of the ability of humans to make abstract that which is concrete."

"If you are lonely when you're alone, you are in bad company"

"Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance."

"When we say that a man is responsible for himself, we do not only mean that he is responsible for his own individuality, but that he is responsible for all men"

"Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth"

"We do not judge the people we love"

"Man is fully responsible for his nature and his choices"

"If I became a philosopher, if I have so keenly sought this fame for which I'm still waiting, it's all been to seduce women basically"

"We must act out passion before we can feel it."

"God is absence. God is the solitude of man."

"No finite point has meaning without an infinite reference point"

"The existentialist says at once that man is anguish."

"Like all people who have nothing, I lived on dreams."

"Art is the distortion of an unendurable reality... Art is correction, modification of a situation; art is communication, connection... Art is social, self-sufficient, and total."

"This is part of the price we pay, I guess, for living in paradise."


Jean-Paul Sartre (June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980) was a French existentialist philosopher, dramatist, novelist and critic.

Early life and thought
Sartre was born in Paris to parents Jean-Baptiste Sartre, a naval officer, and Anne-Marie Schweitzer, cousin of Albert Schweitzer. He was 15 months old when his father died of a fever and Anne-Marie raised him with help from her father, Charles Schweitzer, who taught Sartre mathematics and introduced him to classical literature at an early age.

As a teenager in the 1920s, Sartre became attracted to philosophy upon reading Henri Bergson's Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness. He studied in Paris at the elite École Normale Supérieure where, in 1929, he met fellow student Simone de Beauvoir. The two became inseparable and lifelong companions, though far from monogamous. Together they challenged the assumptions and expectations of their bourgeois upbringings. The conflict between oppressive, spiritually destructive conformity (bad faith/mauvaise foi) and an "authentic" state of "being" became the dominant theme of Sartre's work, a theme embodied in his principal philosophical work L'Etre et le Néant (Being and Nothingness) (1944).

The most well-known introduction of Sartre's philosophy is his work Existentialism is a Humanism (1946). In this work, Sartre defends existentialism against its detractors, which ultimately lends itself to a 'dumbing down' of his ideas. This makes it a popular, if over-simplifying, point of entry for anyone wanting to know more about Sartre's ideas but lacking the background in philosophy necessary to get through his longer work Being and Nothingness.

He graduated from the École Normale Supérieure in 1929 with a doctorate in philosophy and served as a conscript in the French Army from 1929 to 1931.

La Nausée and Existentialism
As a junior lecturer at the University of Le Havre in 1938, Sartre wrote the novel La Nausée (Nausea) which serves in some ways as a manifesto of existentialism and remains one of his most famous books. Taking a page from the German phenomenological movement, he believed that our ideas are the product of experiences of real-life situations, and that novels and plays describing such fundamental experiences have as much value as do discursive essays for the elaboration of philosophical theories. With this mandate, the novel concerns a dejected researcher (Roquentin) in a town similar to Le Havre who becomes starkly conscious of the fact that inanimate objects and situations remain absolutely indifferent to his existence. As such, they show themselves to be resistant to whatever significance human consciousness might perceive in them. This indifference of 'things in themselves' (closely linked with the later notion of "being-in-itself" in his Being and Nothingness) has the effect of highlighting all the more the freedom Roquentin has to perceive and act in the world; everywhere he looks, he finds situations imbued with meanings which bear the stamp of his existence. Hence the "nausea" referred to in the title of the book; all that he encounters in his everyday life is suffused with a pervasive, even horrible, taste of himself and, more specifically, his freedom. No matter how much he longs for something other or something different, he cannot get away from this harrowing evidence of his engagement with the world.

The stories in Le Mur (The Wall) emphasize the arbitrary aspects of the situations people find themselves in and the absurdity of their attempts to deal rationally with them. A whole school of "absurd" literature subsequently developed.

Sartre and World War II
1939 saw Sartre drafted into the French army, where he served as a meteorologist. German troops captured him in 1940 in Padoux, and he spent nine months in prison — later in Nancy and finally in Stalag 12D, Treves, until released in April 1941 due to poor health (he claimed that his poor eyesight affected his balance). Given civilian status, he then escaped to Paris where he became involved in the French Resistance, and participated in the founding of the resistance group Socialisme et Liberté. It was while engaged in the resistance that he met Albert Camus, a philosopher and author who held similar beliefs, and remained friends with him until Camus turned away from communism, a schism between them that eventually divided them in 1951, after the publication of Camus' book entitled "The Rebel". When the war ended Sartre established Les Temps Modernes (Modern Times), a monthly literary and political review, and started writing full-time as well as continuing his political activism. He would draw on his war experiences for his great trilogy of novels, Les Chemins de la Liberté (The Roads to Freedom) (1945–1949).

Sartre and Communism
The first period of Sartre's career, defined by Being and Nothingness (1943), gave way to a second period as a politically engaged activist and intellectual. His 1948 work Les Mains Sales (Dirty Hands) in particular explored the problem of being both an intellectual at the same time as becoming "engaged" politically. He embraced communism, though he never officially joined the Communist party, and took a prominent role in the struggle against French colonialism in Algeria. He became perhaps the most eminent supporter of the Algerian war of liberation. He had an Algerian mistress, Arlette Elkaïm, who became his adopted daughter in 1965. He opposed the Vietnam War and, along with Bertrand Russell and other luminaries, he organized a tribunal intended to expose U.S. war crimes, which became known as the Russell Tribunal.

Not being an orthodox Stalinist fellow-traveller, Sartre spent much of the rest of his life attempting to reconcile his existentialist ideas about self-determination with communist principles, which taught that socio-economic forces beyond our immediate, individual control play a critical role in shaping our lives. His major defining work of this period, the Critique de la raison dialectique (Critique of Dialectical Reason) appeared in 1960.

Sartre's emphasis on the humanist values in Marx and the emphasis on the early Marx this gave rise to, led to a famous dispute with the leading Communist intellectual in France in the 1960s, Louis Althusser, in which Althusser attempted to redefine Marx's work into an early pre-Marxist period, with essentialist generalizations about Mankind, and a mature, scientific, authentically Marxist period (starting between the Grundrisse and Das Kapital). Some say this was the only public debate Sartre ever lost, but it remains still to this day a both disputed and controversial event still discussed within some philosophical circles of France.

Sartre and literature
During the 1940s and 1950s Sartre's ideas remained much in vogue, and existentialism became a favoured philosophy of the beatnik generation. Sartre's views were counterposed to those of Albert Camus in the popular imagination. In 1948, the Catholic Church placed his complete works on the Index of prohibited books. Most of his plays are richly symbolic and serve as a means of conveying his philosophy. The best-known, Huis-clos (No Exit), contains the famous line: "L'enfer, c'est les autres", usually translated as "Hell is other people".

Besides the obvious impact of Nausea, Sartre's major contribution to literature was the Roads to Freedom trilogy which charts the progression of how World War II affected Sartre's ideas. In this way, Roads to Freedom presents a less theoretical and more practical approach to existentialism. The first book in the trilogy, L'age de raison (The Age of Reason) (1945), could easily be said to be the Sartre work with the broadest appeal.

In 1964, Sartre renounced literature in a witty and sardonic account of the first six years of his life, Les mots (Words). The book is an ironic counterblast to Marcel Proust, whose reputation had unexpectedly eclipsed that of André Gide (who had provided the model of literature engagée for Sartre's generation). Literature, Sartre concluded, functioned as a bourgeois substitute for real commitment in the world. In the same year he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, but he resoundingly declined it. This rejection hurt the prestige of the Nobel institution more than it did Sartre's. However, Sartre later tried to claim the prize money but the Nobel committee turned him down.

Though he was now world-famous and a "household word" (as was "existentialism" during the tumultuous 1960's), Sartre remained a simple man with few possessions, actively committed to causes until the end of his life, such as the "student revolution" strikes in Paris during the summer of 1968.

In 1975, when asked how he would like to be remembered, Sartre replied: "I would like [people] to remember 'Nausea', [my plays] 'No Exit' and 'The Devil and the Good Lord', and then my two philosophical works, more particularly the second one, 'Critique of Dialectical Reason'. Then my essay on Genet, 'Saint Genet'...If these are remembered, that would be quite an achievement, and I don't ask for more. As a man, if a certain Jean-Paul Sartre is remembered, I would like people to remember the milieu or historical situation in which I lived, I lived in it, in terms of all the aspirations which I tried to gather up within myself."

Sartre's physical condition deteriorated, partially due to the merciless pace of work he put himself through during the writing of the Critique and the last project of his life, a massive analytical biography of Flaubert ("The Family Idiot"), both of which remained characteristically, tantalizingly brilliant but unfinished. He died April 15, 1980 in Paris.

Sartre lies buried in Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris. His funeral was attended by some 50,000 people.

Personal Information: Family: Born June 21, 1905, in Paris, France; died April 15, 1980, of a lung ailment, in Paris, France; son of Jean-Baptiste (a naval officer) and Anne-Marie (Schweitzer) Sartre; children: Arlette el Kaim-Sartre (adopted). Education: Attended Lycee Louis-le-Grand; Ecole Normale Superieure, agrege de philosophie, 1930; further study in Egypt, Italy, Greece, and in Germany under Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. Politics: Communistic, but not party member. Religion: Atheist. Military/Wartime Service: Meteorological Corps, 1929-31; French Army, 1939-40; prisoner of war in Germany for nine months, 1940-41. Served in Resistance Movement, 1941-44, wrote for its underground newspapers, Combat and Les Lettres Francaises. One of the founders of the French Rally of Revolutionary Democrats. Memberships: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Modern Language Association of America (honorary fellow).

Career: Philosopher and author of novels, plays, screenplays, biographies, and literary and political criticism. Professeur of philosophy at Lycee le Havre, 1931-32 and 1934-36, Institut Francais, Berlin, 1933-34, Lycee de Laon, 1936-37, Lycee Pasteur, 1937-39, and Lycee Condorcet, 1941-44. Founded Les Temps modernes, 1944, editor, beginning 1945. Lecturer at various institutions in United States, including Harvard, Columbia, Yale, and Princeton universities, and in Europe, the U.S.S.R., and China.

Roman populiste prize, 1940, for Le Mur; French Legion d'honneur, 1945 (refused); New York Drama Critics Award for best foreign play of the season, 1947, for No Exit; French Grand Novel Prize, 1950, for La Nausee; Omegna Prize (Italy), 1960, for total body of work; Nobel Prize for Literature, 1964 (refused); received honorary doctorate from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 1976.

Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the major intellectual figures of the twentieth century, doubtless the greatest of his immediate generation in France. In the words of Sartrean scholars Michel Contat and Michel Rybalka in The Writings of Jean-Paul Sartre, he was "uncontestably the most outstanding philosopher and writer of our time." The eminent scholar Henri Peyre, in his preface to The Condemned of Altona, called Sartre "the most powerful intellect at work ... in the literature of Western Europe," the "Picasso of literature." Since his death in 1980, Sartre's reputation has not waned, and with perspective it has become clear that he represented his age much as, in different ways, Voltaire (1694-1778), Victor Hugo (1802- 1885), and Andre Gide (1869-1951) represented theirs. "To understand Jean-Paul Sartre," wrote the novelist Iris Murdoch in Sartre: Romantic Rationalist, "is to understand something important about the present time."

Sartre was the chief proponent of French existentialism, a philosophic school--influenced by Soeren Kierkegaard and German philosophy--that developed around the close of the World War II. Existentialism stressed the primacy of the thinking person and of concrete individual experience as the source of knowledge; this philosophy also emphasized the anguish and solitude inherent in the making of choices.

Sartre's worldwide fame was based substantially on his existentialism, but it would be a mistake to consider him significant only for a philosophy that represented his thinking at a relatively early stage of his career. It would be a still greater mistake to reduce his existentialism to very simplistic elements, such as crude nihilism, as often has been done.

Sartre's literary and philosophic careers were inextricably bound together and are best understood in relation to one another and to their biographic context. An only child, Sartre decided at an early age to be a writer. According to The Words, the autobiography of his youth, this decision was made in conscious opposition to the wishes of his grandfather, Charles Schweitzer (who, after the death of Sartre's father, raised the boy with the help of Sartre's grandmother). Schweitzer, a domineering old Protestant who was nevertheless very fond of his grandson and extremely indulgent with him, appeared to young Sartre as insincere, a consummate charlatan. Charles Schweitzer preached the serious values of the bourgeoisie and tried to denigrate a career in letters as precarious, unsuitable for stable middle-class people. As a reaction, Sartre proposed to make writing serious, to adopt it as the center of his life and values. He also chose it as a kind of self-justification in a world where a child was not taken seriously. "By writing I was existing. I was escaping from the grown-ups," he wrote in The Words.

When his mother remarried, Sartre moved from Paris to La Rochelle with her and his stepfather, a solemn professional man with whom he felt little in common. All the same, young Sartre followed the path of a professional, finishing his lycee studies in Paris and completing university work at the Ecole Normale Superieure. There he met feminist intellectual Simone de Beauvoir, who was to be a lifelong companion, though by no means his only love interest.

As a student, Sartre became interested in philosophy, pursuing it through the agregation (the highest French degree preparing for a teaching career). Sartre was steeped in the Cartesian rationalist tradition (whereby the subject's existence is proven by his thought), although eventually he largely departed from this philosophy. The topic of his thesis, the imagination, shows how his philosophic concerns supported his early interest in creative writing. Other of his treatises of the 1930s concern the emotions and what Sartre called the transcendence of the ego--or the nature of the self--which, he argued, is created by the individual instead of being a given. At the same time that he was pursuing these investigations on the imagination, Sartre became acquainted with phenomenology, a branch of philosophy associated with such German scholars as Edmund Husserl, with whom Sartre studied for a year in Berlin.

Throughout the 1930s, Sartre's philosophic and literary pursuits supported each other and developed along parallel lines. At the beginning of the decade Sartre began work on a fictional piece first called "A Pamphlet on Contingency" (contingency being lack of foundation), which developed into his first novel, Nausea. It illustrates what de Beauvoir called his "opposition aesthetics"--his desire to use literature as a critical tool. The novel's title indicates the hero's reaction toward existence: when he discovers that life is absurd, he feels repulsed. Nothing, it would seem, can save him, except the discovery that he might be able to write a novel that would have internal necessity and be a rival to life; he proposes to save himself through an act of aesthetic creation. Sartre said in The Words: "At the age of thirty, I executed the masterstroke of writing in Nausea--quite sincerely, believe me--about the bitter unjustified existence of my fellow men and of exonerating my own."

Nausea was received with praise and had considerable success. In his 1938 Esprit review, for instance, Armand Robin wrote that Nausea "is undoubtedly one of the distinctive works of our time." Later, in Sartre: A Philosophic Study, Anthony Richards Manser called it "that rare thing: a genuinely philosophic novel."

Sartre revealed himself to be a master psychologist in his next fictional work, the short story collection The Wall. These works are superb examples of the storyteller's craft. Particularly impressive is the title story, which recounts an episode from the Spanish Civil War, and the final one, "The Childhood of a Leader," which, while autobiographical to a considerable degree, has as its main plot thread the making of a Fascist. All the stories reveal the author's command of dialogue and metaphor and illustrate exceptionally interesting ideas about human relationships, sexuality, insanity, childhood development, and the meaning of action.

By the end of the 1930s, Sartre was known as a promising writer but he was not yet considered an important philosopher. This assessment changed in 1943 when Sartre produced Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology, the major philosophical work of the first half of his career. While closely related to his treatises on imagination and to the views of experience he had expressed in his fiction, Being and Nothingness is not confined to these subjects. Rather, in defining being, or what is, as what appears, it explores all phenomena. The essay examines man, the being who questions being, and concludes that he is both his body occupying a place in the world--that is, an object among objects--and a subject or a consciousness reflecting on objects. Sartre contends that all consciousness is consciousness ofsomething. Since it is basically a negating--or distinguishing--function (saying that this chair, for instance, is not this table), consciousness produces the concept of nothingness; man is the being by whom negation is introduced into an otherwise complete world. Though its influence penetrated slowly, Being and Nothingness helped assure its author's fame after 1945.

Sartre attempted to expand upon Being and Nothingness withTruth and Existence, which, although completed in 1948, did not see print until 1989. In the essay the philosopher explores the connections between ethics, truth and ignorance, and the panorama of history, and portrays bad faith among men and women as the intentional choice to remain ignorant by abrogating hard work in favor of a reliance upon fate and destiny.

In Being and Nothingness, Sartre wrote that one of the most important characteristics of consciousness is its freedom. He soon drew explicitly the corollary that ontological freedom, in which man is "condemned to be free," as he wrote in Being and Nothingness, must entail political freedom also. That is, freedom is a goal as well as a given and must be embodied in praxis (practical action). The very popularThe Flies, which retells the Greek story of the murder of Clytemnestra by her children Orestes and Electra, emphasizes man's fundamental freedom, against which even the gods are powerless. No Exit, often anthologized and perhaps the best known of all of Sartre's works, deals with the absence of freedom when one allows oneself to exist through and for others, rather than living authentically. Sartre stated inL'Express that its famous conclusion, "Hell is other people," did not describe what had to be true concerning human relationships, but what was true when relationships with others became corrupt or twisted.

The theme of freedom may be even more elaborately treated in less famous Sartre plays of the 1940s. Morts sans sepulture (usually translated as The Victors), which shocked the sensibilities of many theatergoers because it dealt with torture during the Occupation, indicates how extreme the Sartrean view of freedom could be. The play offers the view that even under torture and threat of death, one is free to choose; that this choice cannot be evaded, nor can it be made other than in utter loneliness; and that one is responsible for all its consequences. Les Mains sales (sometimes translated as Dirty Hands), treats the difficulty of political choice, the necessity of political compromise, and the refusal to let one's freedom be alienated or appropriated by others.

Between 1945 and 1950 Sartre also published three more novels--The Age of Reason, The Reprieve, and Troubled Sleep--collectively called Roads to Freedom. These works deal with an ineffectual hero in a morally and politically indifferent France before World War II. The series illustrates what Sartre described in "What Is Literature?" as a literature of praxis: "action in history and on history ... a synthesis of historical relativity and moral and metaphysical absolute." In The Reprieve, the second volume of this trilogy, Sartre carries further than any other French writer of his period the techniques of jumping from one plot thread to another, without transition, and of pursuing simultaneous plots. While making for very difficult reading, these techniques suggest collective action and thus support his portrait of what it was like to be in Europe at the time of the Munich Crisis (1938).

After the war Sartre also published many articles on literature and politics, notably the important essay "What Is Literature?" inSituations II. Here he stated that all prose literature is necessarily committed to making a political and social statement and is directed to one's own contemporaries; the practice of literature, he insisted, is built on freedom (the writer's, the reader's). As he put it inSituations II, literature is "the subjectivity of a society in permanent revolution."

After the war, though considerably lionized and taken by many youthful readers to be the preeminent spokesman for their generation, Sartre continued to develop intellectually and undergo changes that were to have far-reaching effects on his work. In the prewar years, he had been generally uninterested in politics. While despising Fascist parties and the bourgeoisie from which they--and he--came, Sartre had not participated in political action, nor even bothered to vote. He considered then that his fiction and philosophic texts were sufficient expressions of his unfavorable views of society. But he eventually became thoroughly politicized, speaking out on such issues as the French presence in Indochina, which he opposed, and even participating in a leftist, but non-Communist, postwar political movement.

By the close of the decade, with the advent of the Cold War, Sartre accepted that a non-Communist leftist party was a contradiction. He returned to Karl Marx's writings, with which he had previously been only roughly familiar, and began steeping himself in Marxism to rework his positions and think against what he had previously held. Throughout the rest of his career Sartre denounced many of his previous attitudes and practiced systematic self-debate. Although he became a resolute neo-Marxist, he was never a member of the French Communist Party but was instead often its critic and that of the former Soviet Union (as when it invaded Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968). However, he was always staunchly opposed to Western capitalism, NATO, and the United States.

The radicalization of his thinking seemed essential to Sartre because the fame that had overtaken him during the 1940s had the effect, or so he thought, of making him a public being; he felt that he was being appropriated by others. This threat increased his sense of alienation. He also resented what he felt would be his inevitable acceptance by the bourgeoisie; he was becoming respectable, read by the middle classes. This attitude explains why, in 1964, he refused the Nobel Prize for Literature; to him, it was a middle-class recognition that would have the effect of making him appear inoffensive.

In a 1964 Le Monde interview with Jacqueline Piatier, Sartre summarized his political changes: "I discovered abruptly that alienation, exploitation of man by man, undernourishment, relegated to the background metaphysical evil, which is a luxury." This discovery led to profound transformations in Sartre as a writer. Although he continued to regard his earlier works as well written, he also now viewed them as inauthentic because they had resulted from a bourgeois decision to write, a decision based on personal rebellion and on the idolatry of words. Moreover, he came to believe that fiction could no longer serve his purpose. He even abandoned drama, although he had argued earlier that theatre is an ideal means of showing characters in situations where they must commit themselves wholly to their actions and thereby create values.

In short, Sartre's career as a semipopular writer came to a close in 1950. Yet several works published after that date are among his greatest. The Critique of Dialectical Reason, his second major philosophic work, is essential to the understanding of all he wrote after his radicalization and is so closely connected to certain of his other texts that whole sections were transferred from one to another. It is far from a popular work; even more than in Being and Nothingness, the vocabulary and concepts of its 750-plus pages are difficult, and the analysis is so abstruse and sometimes meandering that even professional philosophers have found some of it incomprehensible.

Intended as a synthesis of existentialist philosophy and Marxism, theCritique calls on and belongs to disciplines as various as anthropology, history, psychology, economics, and philosophy. Its aim is to give a philosophical basis to Marxism and, on that basis, to investigate further the dialectic of history and its intelligibility. Dialectical reasoning, which is opposed to the analytic method, involves the Hegelian synthesis of contraries. Sartre's thesis is that, whereas analytical reason has been the tool of the oppressive classes, dialectical reason, which offers a different understanding of history and its possibilities, is the "practical awareness of an oppressed class fighting against its oppressor," "the objective spirit of the working class," as he put it in theCritique. While still insisting on the possibility of human freedom, the treatise shows how this freedom is conditioned, alienated, made powerless by historical and social developments.

In the field of biography, Sartre published in 1947 a short volume on the poet Charles Baudelaire. Using what in Being and Nothingness he called existential psychoanalysis, Sartre explains Baudelaire's character and career as an original conscious choice--the choice to remain infantile, narcissistic, dependent on his mother, a failure. In opposition to Freud, Sartre shows that the poet's choice reveals psychological freedom, not psychological determinism. The next biography, Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr, is a masterly analysis of the writer Jean Genet, a convicted thief and multiple offender known as the author of shocking plays and novels concerned with homosexuality, anarchy, and rebellion against authority. The biography ascribes Genet's career as a thief to a conscious decision made in childhood to be what others accused him of being. To Sartre, Genet is a splendid example of a man who made himself as he wanted to be by inverting other people's values.

Some twelve years later, Sartre published his autobiography, a self- accusatory work. The title, The Words, refers to the idolatry of literature he had practiced up to about 1950. The autobiography was judged by Francis Jeanson in Sartre dans sa vie as "the most accessible, and doubtless the most successful, of all the non- philosophical works of Sartre." It demolishes "the myth of a Messiah-writer of a dechristianized bourgeoisie," according to Revue des Sciences Humaines contributor Marc Bensimon. As a study in characters (his mother, his grandfather, the Alsatian bourgeoisie from which they sprang, his father's family), it is superb. As self-analysis, it is even more outstanding. Few writers have portrayed so searchingly their early childhood and their choice of a vocation or have judged so severely the adult who grew from the child. The book was, Sartre says within its pages, the fruit of an awakening from "a long, bitter, and sweet delusion." The Words reads almost like fiction; it is brief and its style is witty, aphoristic, penetrating--classical, in a word, although its method is dialectical.

At the opposite extreme is Sartre's final biographic work, The Family Idiot, a 2,800-page analysis of Gustave Flaubert. Flaubert had long interested Sartre, both attracting him and repulsing him. Sartre wanted to explore chiefly the particular circumstances and the dialectical relationships that made Flaubert into a bourgeois who hated the bourgeoisie, a passive man incapable of pursuing an ordinary career, and, generally, a misfit and a neurotic, as well as a great writer. The investigation ranges far afield, from Flaubert's antecedents and family, to his infancy (reconstructed with the help of Sartre's dialectical method, here called progressive-regressive) and youth, to all aspects of the social and economic situation in which he matured. Sartre wished to show, he said in an interview given to Le Monde, that "everything can be communicated ... that every human being is perfectly capable of being understood if the appropriate methods are used."

After 1950 Sartre published and saw into production two theatrical adaptations and three original plays, two of which are surely among his greatest. The Devil and the Good Lord, his personal favorite, is, like the volume on Genet, concerned with values, absolutely and pragmatically. An uncompromising statement of atheism, the play explores in a historical context (sixteenth-century Reformation Germany) the interdependency of good and evil and illustrates the necessity of adopting means that suit the ends. A second major play of the 1950s is the lengthyThe Condemned of Altona, which concerns a German World War II veteran who has barricaded himself in his room for years. Tended only by his sister, the veteran has persuaded himself that Germany won the war. Although concerned explicitly with that conflict and its aftermath, the play was intended to refer also to the Algerian War, then in progress. The play impugns Nazi Germany and the type of men it produced--not just SS soldiers but also members of the upper bourgeoisie who found Nazism useful because it served their economic interests. More generally, it condemns capitalist Europe, whose conflicts over markets and expansion had caused two world wars.

Declaring to John Gerassi--in a 1971 New York Times Magazine interview--that "commitment is an act, not a word," Sartre expressed his political beliefs by participating in demonstrations, marches, and campaigns, although he was not well (he suffered from failing eyesight and circulatory troubles, among other ailments). Sartre took stands on literally dozens of political and social issues around the world. Such topics as decent housing in France, conscientious objection in Israel, the Vietnamese War, repression in the Congo, Basque separatism, the troubles in Northern Ireland, torture in Argentina, and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan show the range of his concerns. Denouncing as ossified the French Communist Party and all other parties intellectually dependent upon the Soviet Union, Sartre supported Maoist attempts at a new radicalization of Marxist theory and action. This political activity both increased interest in his writings and made him notorious throughout Europe.

From the beginning of his career, Sartre wanted to make people think, feel, see, and ultimately act differently. Like his earlier views, summarized in Existentialism Is a Humanism, Sartre's later morality is both a difficult and a hopeful one. People can change, he proclaimed, but they would prefer to remain in their errors (to practice injustice, for instance) or to cling to what he had called bad faith. Because of the acceleration of violence and international competition, theymust change, he insisted. Since the oppressive and privileged classes will not willingly give up their privileges, these must be wrested from them by violence and revolution; then new relationships between human beings, based on reciprocity and openness instead of rivalry and secrecy, will be possible, Sartre declared.

As his health deteriorated, Sartre wrote less but gave lengthy interviews that are a sort of intellectual autobiography. He remained fascinated with himself and his career, perhaps more so than other great writers, but more surprisingly so, since he had wished to move away from the cult of the individual to the idea of the general man, "anyone at all," as he put it in The Words. He was, as Josette Pacaly declared in Sartre au miroir, "a Narcissus who does not like himself."

Twelve years after Sartre's death in 1980, his daughter authorized the publication of several collections of letters that illuminate the private life and thoughts of the philosopher. Witness to My Life: The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir, 1926- 1939 relates to the early years of the unconventional Sartre-de Beauvoir love relationship, the period during which he wrote his first fictional and philosophical works and during which Sartre served as a professor of philosophy at several universities. Many ideas that the novelist-philosopher included in such novels as The Age of Reason and Being and Nothingness "were first formulated in letters written at the beginning of [World War II], when, exiled from the distractions of Paris, he profited from the enforced leisure of camp life," according to Ronald Hayman in the New York Times Book Review. "Though the publication of these letters brings rather too many private parts into public view, and though they illuminate only the comparatively brief periods when Sartre and Beauvoir were separated, they enable us to see the whole partnership in a new perspective," the critic added.

The philosopher's experiences of serving as an officer attached to a French meteorological unit and, later, as a prisoner of war, are recounted through letters collected as Quiet Moments in a War: The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir, 1940-1963. "In these letters, we have in effect an intimate portrait of the precocious philosopher emerging into a kind of intellectual and spiritual maturity," explained Peter T. Connor in America. Many of the letters written to his lover from his uneventful wartime post show Sartre engaged in "deep and searching ruminations," added Connor, "staking out his philosophical position vis-a-vis Husserl and Heidegger, overcoming his `inferiority complex vis-a-vis the far Left' and reflecting on the inner meaning that his philosophy holds for him." Enthralled by the collection, Penelope Mesic added in Chicago's Tribune Books: "It is irresistible, when reading the life of a philosopher, to compare the writer's conduct with his theories. But the foremost philosopher of freedom, in prison, comes across rather well.... In these letters we almost casually discover an exemplary life."

Seen as a whole, Sartre's career reveals numerous contradictions. A bourgeois, he hated the middle classes and wanted to chastise them; "I became a traitor and remained one," he wrote in The Words. Yet he was not a true proletarian writer. An individualist in many ways and completely opposed to regimentation, he nevertheless attacked the individualistic tradition and insisted on the importance of the collectivity; he moved from the extremely solitary position of an existentialist to concern for society above all. A writer possessed of an outstanding ear for language and other literary skills, he came to suspect literature as inauthentic and wrote a superb autobiography to denounce writing. An atheist, he often spoke with the fervor of an evangelist and repeated that man was responsible for his own errors and must mend his ways. A reformer and moralist, he led an existence that would seem to many decidedly immoral. Of such contradictions, he was of course, aware.

Obituary Notice:
Born January 21, 1905, in Paris, France; died of a lung ailment, April 15, 1980, in Paris. Philosopher and author of novels, plays, screenplays, biography, autobiography, literary and political criticism, and books on philosophy. Drawing on the works of Soren Kierkegaard, Edmund Husserl, and Martin Heidegger, Sartre developed an existentialist philosophy based on an individual's freedom and responsibility to choose to act and thus to define his being. "Existence precedes essence" was Sartre's famous formula for his theory. Sartre's life was a testament to his beliefs. He once said: "The task of the intellectual is not to decide where there are battles but to join them wherever and whenever the people wage them. Commitment is an act, not a word." He was identified with various leftist causes, particularly with Communism, although he never became a party member and was vocally critical of Soviet and French Communism. Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964, but he refused to accept it, claiming that a writer "should refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution." Sartre first explicated his philosophy in the novel Nausea, which critics believe to be autobiographical. In nonfiction form, Sartre expanded on this theme in Being and Nothingness, written during the Nazi occupation of France, and in Existentialiam and Humanism. Some critics have expressed the belief that Sartre will be best remembered for his plays. Among the bestknown are "No Exit, " "The Respectful Prostitute, " "The Flies, " and "The Condemned of Altona." Sartre founded the monthly reviewLes Temps Moderne in 1945. He also wrote biographies on Charles Baudelaire and Jean Genet, and completed three of four volumes on the life of Gustave Flaubert. The writer Simone de Beauvoir was Sartre's close companion for most of his life. Obituaries and other sources: Chicago Tribune, April 16, 1980;
New York Times, April 16, 1980;Washington Post , April 16, 1980;
London Times, April 16-17, 1980; Publishers Weekly, May 9, 1980.

While Sartrean scholars admit that Poulou himself would not approve of anybody chronologizing his life since he believed that one is always on the verge of becoming, it is nevertheless necessitated by purposes of clear discussion that we sub-divide Poulou's life into early, middle and later years.

June 21, 1905 was the day when JEAN-PAUL-CHARLES-AYMARD SARTRE was born on 13, rue Mignard, XVI in Paris, a fruit of the love between Jean-Baptiste Sartre, a young naval officer dying of fevers of Cochin-China, and Anne Marie Schweitzer, daughter of Charles Schweitzer and cousin of the famous medical missionary Albert Schweitzer. He lost his father when he was a year old. In his autobiography, he regretted that he was refused the pleasure of making an acquaintance with a father.

However, Sartre admitted that he was nevertheless happy with the turn of events for two main reasons. The first is the death of his father "sent my mother back to her chains and gave me freedom." The second reason is that he would not have been the Sartre that he became had not events turned the way they were. As a result of the death of his father, Poulou and his mother came to live with his grandfather, Charles Schweitzer, from 1906 to 1911 in Meudon. His was an unhappy childhood, devoid of the happiness of friendship with his peers. A typical bourgeois, Charles was a strict disciplinarian. Each member of the family had a role to play, and Poulou had his. This very artificial condition made him indulge in play-acting.

As a result of this family setup, the young Sartre immersed himself in reading and writing. He made it a habit to devote time for reading, and he read whatever reading material was available, although he took more interest in novels and short stories. However, he admitted in his autobiography that his kind of writing was one of plagiarism. His grandfather later on discovered his misdemeanor and as a result, Charles became biased against the achievements of his grandson. For him, "literature did not fill a man's belly." He instead wanted Poulou to be a teacher. However, he was not able to dissuade Poulou from writing:

In short, he drove me into literature by the care he took to divert me from it, to such an extent that even now I sometimes wonder, when I am in a bad mood, whether I have not consumed so many days and nights, covered so many pages with ink, thrown on the market so many books that nobody wanted, solely in the mad hope of pleasing my grandfather.

Sartre's attachment to writing fulfilled a twofold advantage. First, he claimed he enjoyed his obscurity and thus wanted to prolong it. Second, it presented him an avenue for a kind of existence which he had not experienced before, an existence devoid of the artificiality of grown-ups.

To add to the unhappiness of his childhood was his realization when he was ten years old of his ugliness -- his being small and cross-eyed. He had been sporting long hair, and when his grandfather decided to bring him to a barber, it was then that he faced his true features. As to his smallness in stature, his grandfather used to blame this on his being a Sartre. Furthermore, Sartre's early life was a constant struggle with sickness and death. He even claimed that he was at the brink of the grave many times, including at birth.

In 1911, Anne Marie brought Poulou from Meudon and moved to Paris. They settled at the fifth floor of an apartment located at 1, rue Le-Goff. In 1913, he was enrolled at Lycée Montaigne where he had Monsieur Lieven as his schoolmaster. Although he indulged in reading and writing in his early years, Poulou realized that he was not yet that prepared to tackle schoolwork. Poulou later recalled that he was "a child prodigy who was not a good speller." When his grandfather learned about this incident, he decided that Poulou quit school for the time being and concentrate on learning how to spell. He was enrolled at a public school in Arcachon where he idolized his teacher, M. Barrault, so much so that he was disappointed when he read graffiti in the walls of the school criticizing his way of teaching.

In July 1914, at the start of the First World War, Poulou had to retire from reading for a short time because there were no more books to read; he even stopped writing. At first they did not leave Arcachon, but later they returned to Paris. During the war, he enrolled for one semester at the Poupon Academy where he had Mlle. Marie Louise as his teacher. When Poulou was ten years and three months old, his grandfather decided to register him at the Lycée Henri IV, where he had Monsieur Ollivier as his official teacher. There he met Paul Nizan, who would later be his constant companion and best friend. His experiences of grave happiness with his friends allowed him to drop the family play-acting. This gave him the confidence that shall later on build a strong character in the mature Sartre. It was also there that he "got used to democracy."

In 1917, his mother was remarried to Joseph Mancy, an engineer who was later assigned as head of the naval yards in La Rochelle that belonged to the Delaunay-Belleville Company. Soon after the marriage, Poulou, who grew up in an urban bourgeois world, found himself in the rural town of La Rochelle. He recalled that he was never happy when he was at the Lycée of La Rochelle. He later said that it was there that he "learned the meaning of solitude, and at the same time that of violence." Moreover, his stepfather decided to influence his education by acquainting him with geometry, but to no avail. His disappointment with his stepfather even came to the point of his calling his stepfather an "intruder." Poulou considered the fact that his grandfather, with his failing health, could no longer support his mother, the very reason why his mother remarried.

What Sartre said in his autobiography captures the loneliness of his growing up days: "I grew older in the darkness, I became a lonely adult, without father and mother, without home or hearth, almost without a name." He succinctly recollects this stage in his life:

Feminized by maternal tendencies, dulled by the absence of the stern Moses who has begotten me, puffed with pride by my grandfather's adoration, I was a pure object, doomed par excellence to masochism if only I could have believed in the family play-acting. But no. It perturbed me only on the surface, and the depths remained cold, unjustified. The system horrified me.

Sartre's Middle Years

He returned in 1920 to Lycée Henri IV where he renews acquaintance with Paul Nizan, and in the following two years, he took up his Baccalaureat. After his two-year stint from 1922 to 1924 at Lycée Louis-Le-Grand, he took up his higher studies at the prestigious École Normale Superieure. There he had for his classmates Simone Weil, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean Hippolyte, and Claude Levi-Strauss. In 1928, he failed the agrégation. The following year, he passed the same test when he resigned himself to more traditional philosophical ideas. It was also during this year that he met Simone de Beauvoir, who became his lifelong companion as well as his intellectual associate.

At the L'École normale, the relationship between Sartre and Beaver blossomed, and their mere intellectual companionship later turned to a relationship between lovers. Axel Madsen observes the commonality between the two:

Poulou and Simone were the gifted children of a class they learned to hate because of the way it deprived others of what young intellectuals would naturally consider everyone's birthright - a voice. What filled the young Sartre and Beaver with that deep, lifelong and absolute loathing of the bourgeoisie was the way it deprived others of the means of expressing themselves.

After obtaining the agrégation in philosophy he taught philosophy at the lycées in Le Havre, Laon and then Paris. It was when he was at Le Havre that he started writing Nausea. In 1933, he obtained a grant to study at the French Institute in Berlin, where, with the help of his friend R. Aron, he got acquainted with Husserl's phenomenology. During this time, he published Transcendance de l'ego. Meanwhile, Sartre commenced to evolve into a more political thinker. Indeed, on July 14, 1935, Sartre joined the Popular Front demonstration from the Bastille to the Porte de Vincennes. After his brief stint at Berlin, he did some research at the University of Freiburg. From 1929 to 1931, he engaged in military service. His book L'Imagination was published in 1936, the year that he and Beaver attempted to incorporate Olga Kosakiewicz into their life to form a ménage a trois.

Unfortunately, he encountered a twofold setback during this year: the attempted relationship with Miss Kosakiewicz failed and Gallimard denied the publication of Melancholia (La Nausée). Nevertheless, Gallimard accepted the novel the following year, and published it in 1938. While his literary notoriety was blooming, he was drafted to the French army to fight the invading German troops and on September 2, 1939, he was conscripted to the 70th Division in Nancy. He was later transferred to Brumath and then to Morsbronn. While at the military camp, he was working on his L'Être et néant. The following year, he was captured by the Germans and was imprisoned in Padoux. He was later transferred to Nancy and then to Stalag XII in Treves. While in prison, Sartre reread Heidegger and he recalled in his autobiography that he discussed Heidegger with his priest-friends in prison. He even wrote and directed a play, Bariona, while inside the prison camp. For reasons of poor health, he was released from prison in 1941.

Upon his release, he taught in Lycée Condorcet while founding, together with Maurice Merleau-Ponty, a short-lived intellectual Resistance group called Socialisme et Liberté. His magnum opus, L'Être et néant, was published in 1943 together with the play, Les Mouches. The following year, he gave up teaching to found the political and literary journal Les Temps modernes (Modern Times), of which he became editor-in-chief.

After the war, Sartre gained prominence especially with the publication of more books, Huis Clos, L'Age de raison, and Le Sursis. He refused the Legion of Honor awarded him by the government. He later went to the United States to give a series of lectures. When he presented his lecture, Existentialism is a Humanism, Sartre's notoriety continued to rise. With his passion for writing at its peak, volumes were added to the collection of books written by Sartre. In 1948, all of his works were put on the Index by the Catholic Church. He likewise participated in the founding of the Rassemblement Democratique Revolutionnaire (RDR), but he later on became disaffected with the group and left it the following year. Sartre visited Guatemala, Panama, Curacao, Haiti and Cuba and later on the Sahara.

During the early fifties, Beaver observed that Sartre had undergone a change in lifestyle. Moreover, the next decade saw the active political involvement of Sartre. In 1950 to 1951, Sartre started to reread Marx. He later condemned, together with Merleau-Ponty, the Soviet concentration camps.

The following year, he wrote The Communists and Peace, signed a manifesto against the Cold War, and protested against the Rosenberg executions. In 1954, he participated in a meeting of the World Council for Peace in Berlin after gaining a name for advocating the peace movement. His first journey to the Soviet Union, and his only visit to China, occurred in 1955. He visited the USSR in two more occasions, in one of which Khrushchev received him. He was also named the vice-president of the France-USSR Association. When Soviet troops invaded Hungary to crush an anti-Communist demonstration there, Sartre condemned the act and left the France-USSR Association. The following year, he protested against the Algerian war and the tortures committed by the French government there. He subsequently came to the open in criticizing De Gaulle and the Gaullist Party in France, and later gave a press conference on the violation of human rights committed in Algeria. Cutting short his lecture about the theater at Sorborne, he returned to Cuba together with Beaver where he met Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. He later visited Yugoslavia, where he met Tito.

During these times, he did not waiver in his commitment to the Algerian people, and he continued to speak for them. After the publication of his Critique de la Raison Dialectique, he visited Poland and Czechoslovakia. In 1964, he gave lectures at the UNESCO Kierkegaard Conference and at the Conference on Ethics at the Gramsci Institute in Rome. The Nobel Prize Committee later awarded him the Nobel Prize, but he declined to receive it for the reason that he did not want to be turned into an institution. In 1966, he joined and later presided at the War Crimes Commission organized by Bertrand Russell at Stockholm. Afterwards, he gave a series of lectures in Japan and then in Egypt, where he met Nasser and visited refugee camps. His affiliation with the Jewish people was affirmed when he visited Israel during the following year. He also expressed his support for Israel over the opening of the Gulf of Aqaba. Later in the same year, he went to Brussels to give a lecture on Vietnam.

Sartre's Later Years

His political involvement became more intense in 1968, when he supported the student movement in France during the May uprising. He even came to the point of accusing the Communist Party of betraying the May revolution. He condemned the Soviet Union when Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia. He did the same thing in 1975 in protest over what he called Soviet repression. The following year, Anne Marie Sartre-Mancy died. He continued his political involvement by editing and supervising the publication of various Leftist publications.

However, Sartre's health had never been good during these times. He suffered two heart attacks, one in 1971, and another one two years later. Thereupon, he transferred from boulevard Raspail to boulevard Edgar-Quinet. He also became semi-blind after suffering from two hemorrhages in his good eye. To help him continue with his intellectual endeavors, Pierre Victor, whom he met in 1970 and with whom he had engaged in ethical discussions, read to him books and articles which he wanted to read. He then started autobiographical dialogues on tape with Beaver.

His deteriorating health failed to stop him from being active in politics. In 1973, he took side with Israel during the war of Yom Kippur. In view of his continued support to the Jewish cause, the University of Jerusalem later presented him with an honorary doctorate. In 1977, he called on Israel to respond to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's peace initiative and he even went in 1978 to Israel to further the peace process. The following year, he participated in an Israel-Palestinian conference.

Sartre's health was never the same after his second bout with heart attack. On March 20, 1980, he was hospitalized for edema of the lungs. After more than a month at the hospital, he went into a coma on April 13 and died two days later. His ashes were buried at the cemetery of Montparnasse on April 19.

The drama of Sartre's life is as paradoxical as his thoughts. For all the fame he gained in his life, he remained a man of simple tastes, a man committed to a principle worth dying for, a man capable of empathizing with the oppressed of the world. When interviewed five years before his death on how he would like people to remember him, Sartre replied:

I would like them to remember Nausea, one or two plays, No Exit and The Devil and the Good Lord, and then my two philosophical works, more particularly the second one, Critique of Dialectical Reason. Then my essay on Genet, Saint Genet, which I wrote quite a long time ago. If these are remembered, that would be quite an achievement, and I don't ask for more. As a man, if a certain Jean-Paul Sartre is remembered, I would like people to remember the milieu or the historical situation in which I lived, the general characteristics of this milieu, how I lived in it, in terms of all the aspirations which I tried to gather up within myself. This is how I would like to be remembered.

1905 June 21 Born to Jean-Baptiste Sartre and Anne-Marie (Schweitzer) Sartre.
1905 October 20 The General Strike of Russia, leading to the formation of the first Soviet in St. Petersburg.
1906 November 17 Jean-Baptiste dies.
1907 Sartre and Anne-Marie move in with her parents: Karl "Charles" Schweitzer, noted writer and music historian, and Louise. Anne-Marie's cousin is Albert Schweitzer.
1909 Sartre suffers from a cold or influenza, causing leucoma in his right eye. He loses some sight in the eye.
1911 The Schweitzers move to Paris.
1913 October Dr. Eymard Sartre dies.
1914 June 28 Assassination of Austrian archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo signals the start of World War I.
1914 August 1-23 Various European nations formally declare war against each other.
1916 January 29 Germans launch an air raid on Paris, using the Zeppelin Fleet.
1917 Anne-Marie marries Joseph Mancy. The couple settles in La Rochelle.
1917 April 2 America declares war on Germany.
1917 November 7 (October 26, according to old Russian calendar) The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
1917 November 8 Lenin assumes the chair of the Council of People's Commissars.
1918 Writes novel Götz von Berlichingen.
1918 November 9 Revolution in Berlin.
1920 February German Workers' Party changes its name to the National Socialist Party.
1922 Writes the short L'Ange du morbide and begins the novel Jésus la Chouette, which he does not finish.
1923 August 10-13 Riots in Germany, lead by unions and National Socialists.
1925 January 16 Trotsky dismissed as chair of people's Military Council.
1926 October Stalin expels Trotsky and Zinoviev from Politburo.
1927 Writes thesis L'Image dans la view psychologique.
1927 December 27 Trotsky expelled from Communist Party.
1928 Fails agrégation.
1929 Meets Simone de Beauvoir. They both take the agrégation. He places first, she places second.
1929 January 31 Trotsky exiled from Soviet Union.
1930 Inherits portion of grandmother's estate.
1931 Publishes La Légende de la vérité and starts writing Nausea.
1934 Writes La Transcendance de l'Ego.
1935 Grandfather, Karl "Charles" Schweitzer dies.
1935 Fall Relationship with de Beauvoir and Olga Kosakiewicz.
1936 Alcan publishes L'Imagination. Sartre writes the short stories Erostrate and Dépaysement.
1936 Series of government changes in France, the result of power struggles between the left and moderates.
1936 July 18 Spanish Civil War begins.
1937 The journal Recherches Philosophiques publishes La Transcendance de l'Ego.
1938 Writes about 400 pages of Le Psyché and begins writing La Age de raison. Publishes the stories La Chambre, Intimité, and Nourritures (originally titled Dépaysement).
1938 April Publishes La Nausée (Nausea).
1938 September 7 French government activates all reserve military personnel.
1940 June 14 German troops enter Paris.
1940 June 21 Sartre is taken prisoner by German army.
1941 March Escapes from German stalag. He founds the resistance group Socialisme et Liberté, which is disolved within the year. Maurice Merleau-Ponty, a student of Husserl and acquaintance of de Beauvoir joins the group.
1941 December 8, 11 America declares war on Japan, then Germany.
1943 June 2 Meets Albert Camus.
1943 Writes Huis clos in two weeks. Finishes Le Sursis and Réflexions sur la question juive, published in 1946.
1944 July Escapes from Paris with de Beauvoir.
1944 August 25 Allied troops enter Paris. The liberation of France does little to change the instability of the French government.
1944 Fall Forms Les Temps Modernes, which is to remain a popular journal.
1945 January 21 Stepfather, Joseph Mancy, dies.
1945 Refuses the Légion d'Honneur.
1946 November 8 The plays Morts sans sépulture and La Putain respectueuse premiere.
1946 November 10 French elections are marked by Communist and Socialist gains, leading to a Socialist-Communist coalition government.
1948 February Joins the Rassemlement Démocratique Révolutionnaire (RDR).
1950 Denounces Soviet labor camps, after defending them in several articles.
1952 Publishes Saint Genet.
1952 May 28 Communists demonstrate in Paris.
1952 August Publishes public reply to Camus' essays on rebellion in Les Temps Modernes.
1953 May Merleau-Ponty parts with Sartre, leaving the staff of Les Temps Modernes.
1954 January-February The former Allies meet to discuss German autonomy. The Soviet Union vetoes proposed free elections in Germany.
1954 May-June Visits the Soviet Union for the first time.
1954 December Elected president of the Franco-Soviet Association.
1955 May 5 Occupation of Germany officially ends, but troops remain.
1955 June Merleau-Ponty publishes Les Aventures de la dialectique, which inclides a chapter attacking Satre for ultra-bolshevism.
1955 October 2 France withdraws from the United Nations over perceived interference by other nations in the Algerian-French Revolt.
1956 November Condemns Soviet intervention in Hungary.
1956 December Martial law is declared in Hungary. Once again, Sartre is forced to recognize the totalatarian nature of the Soviet Union.
1958 December 21 Anti-communist De Gaulle elected president of France, just two months after radical-socialists had formed a coalition government. In many ways, De Gaulle's rise is a result of Soviet actions.
1959 September 24 The play Les Séquestrés d'Altona premieres.
1961 May Maurice Merleau-Ponty dies.
1961 July 19 A bomb explodes near Sartre's apartment, 24 Rue Bonaparte.
1962 January 7 Another bomb attack prompts Sartre to move.
1962 Sartre visits Russia three times during the year. He is also elected as vice-president of the Congrès de la Communanté Européenne des Ecrivains (COMES). He steadfastly remains a supporter of Marxist ideals.
1962 July 3 Algeria wins independence from France and soon after joins the Arab League.
1963 Received by Krushchev in Soviet Georgia. Sartre will make regular trips to the USSR in coming years.
1964 Refuses the Nobel Prize in literature.
1965 Again elected as vice-president of COMES.
1965 January 25 Begins adoption process of Arlette Elkain.
1968 After appearing on Czech television in support of the Prague Spring, Sartre once again is faced with the true nature of the Soviet Union when it crushes Czechoslovakian reforms with tanks.
1969 Sartre's mother, Anne-Marie, dies.
1969 May Supports Communist candidate for French presidency.
1969 November 12 The Soviet Union expells Solzhenitsyn from the Union of Soviet Writers. Sartre remains publically loyal to the Communist Party.
1970 November 9 De Gaulle dies.
1971 Publically breaks with Fidel Castro.
1972 May 22 American President Richard Nixon becomes the first President to visit Moscow.
1974 February 13 The Soviet Union deports Solzhenitsyn and revokes his Soviet citizenship.
1976 Sartre leads a campaign of 50 Nobel prizewinners for the release of Mikhail Stern, a political prisoner in the Soviet Union.
1976 April 15 In Spain the Union of Workers convenes its first congress in 44 years.
1976 April 25 Portugal has first elections in 40 years. The Socialist Party wins most seats.
1976 November 7 Accepts a doctorate from Jerusalem University.
1977 In an interview, Sartre declares that he is no no longer a Marxist. The interview appears in Lotta Coninua.
1977 May 17 Israeli Labour Party defeated after 29 years in power.
1978 February Visits Israel.
1978 March 12 In French elections leftists parties win an absolute majority for the first time.
1980 April 15 Dies at 9 p.m. in a Paris hospital while in a coma.



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