The result took the form of a collection of stories and essays which was again submitted to Gallimard, again without success. As Gaston Gallimard said towards the end of a long and wonderful life, ‘the one thing I have learned is that the fate of a book is something you can never know in advance.’. Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was the foremost French thinker and writer of the post-WWII years. Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free. After the Liberation of Paris in August 1944, Gaston Gallimard was accused of collaborationism, and Sartre came to his defence, maintaining that his firm had been ‘a haven of Resistance’ throughout the Occupation. They were halfway through when Sartre decided that he was desperate to get back to France, and the priest took the initiative of forging a medical certificate which stated, without much exaggeration, that Sartre’s eyesight was going from bad to worse. If you're looking at this you already know what you must do. Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire. Another copy found its way to the young André Gorz in Switzerland. Adrian van den Hoven. ‘He’s going to become a Great Man,’ we said: ‘the Gandhi of Gaullist France’ … and we mourned the death of the author of L’Etre et le Néant. Bourdieu and his friends – notably Derrida and Foucault – coveted Sartre’s charisma while despising his vulgarity, and they jeered at his misconstruals of Heidegger’s German, even though, according to Bourdieu, they themselves relied on scrappy French translations. Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free. Runes was a Jew from Romania who studied philosophy in Vienna and came to New York in 1926, setting himself up as an importer of European high culture. It turned out to be a good choice: Gallimard was not only stylish and charming, but also industrious, methodical and decisive. His examination of ontology constantly reviews previous existential philosophy by building on, and refuting, the work of prior philosophers. For a while he tried to persuade prominent intellectuals – Gide, for example – to join him in a non-violent opposition movement called Socialisme et Liberté, but no one was very interested. After a couple of years he was granted a 12-month secondment to study in Berlin, which gave him the chance to prepare two brief philosophical works – L’Imagination and La Transcendance de l’égo – in which he maintained that consciousness resides not in some sequestered ‘interiority’ but in dynamic relationships located ‘outside, in the world’. He worked on what his friend Paul Nizan called a ‘destructive philosophy’, designed to show that the norms of bourgeois morality arise from arbitrary conventions rather than eternal verities. Came with scratch on cover, not disclosed, Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 12, 2020. One of the most iportant books of the last 100 years. Sartre spent most of his time at the Stalag with a group of Catholic priests who tolerated his atheism and welcomed him as a fellow seeker after truth. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. Being and Nothingness contains all the basic tenets of his thought, as well as all its more intricate details. Runes provided no help with copy-editing or proofreading, and Barnes was too ill to check the proofs properly, but Being and Nothingness, including a neat introduction by Barnes, duly appeared in the summer of 1956. If you're looking at this you already know what you must do. This is not just because the earlier parts are presupposed by the later ones; the later parts are just plain easier. Desanti and Gorz kept faith with Sartre, up to a point, but Tournier did not. Neither he nor his colleagues had the means to run a publishing house, but their friend Gallimard had time on his hands and plenty of money so they invited him to take charge. After being demobilised in 1931, he was appointed to a lycée in Le Havre, where he discovered to his surprise that he quite enjoyed getting surly teenagers to engage with philosophy. “Sarah Richmond’s marvellously clear and thoughtful new translation brings Sartre’s rich, infuriating, endlessly fertile masterpiece to a whole new English-language readership.” -- Sarah Bakewell, author of At the Existentialist Café, Jean-Paul Sartre, the seminal smarty-pants of mid-century thinking, launched the existentialist fleet with the publication of. Sartre’s first attempt to ‘liberate himself from Proust’ was a short work, provisionally entitled ‘Melancholia’, in which he ranted against self-styled ‘humanists’ with their simpering love for a blurry entity called ‘humanity’. The Editor The Young Man One Hopes For: The Wittgensteins. Sarah Richmond’s Translation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. But after spending the summer of 1941 in the ‘zone libre’ in the south, he returned to Paris in October to negotiate with the authorities. Stranger still is Rée’s view that Self and Others would have been ‘a better fit’ for a work which only gets round to interpersonal relationships in Part Three, and there explicitly states that its discussion of them is incomplete. He was generous to his authors – he is credited with inaugurating the tradition of the publisher’s lunch – but he also set up an editorial committee, drawn from the NRF, which struck fear even into those who served on it. If we succumb to the tired old metaphor and try to get ‘inside’ the consciousness of others, we will only be thrown back out into the places they inhabit and the company they keep; and the same will happen if we try to ‘find ourselves’ through introspection. About the Author: But the spell didn’t last. In the event he sustained his firm’s reputation, bringing out new work by such established writers as Marcel Aymé, Jean Cocteau, Raymond Queneau and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, as well as launching the careers of Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Blanchot and Albert Camus. (The theatre used to be the Sarah Bernhardt, but had been renamed in deference to Aryan sensibilities; on the opening night twenty seats were reserved for the Propagandastaffel, and there were always appreciative German officers in the audience.) Runes drew a blank until 1951, when he got a letter from a young teacher of classics at Ohio State University called Hazel Barnes. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. As I said, the later parts of Being and Nothingness are much easier than the earlier parts. Please include name, address and a telephone number. Sarte writes a tomb here and should have written with a bit of additional clarity but the concepts are deep and he is a brilliant thinker. Experience could no longer be treated as a process of assimilation, in which information is gathered by our senses and digested by our minds before being incorporated into a personal body of knowledge. What is misleading about calling a work Being and Nothingness (originally L’Être et le Néant, but I assume Rée has no quarrel with my translation of the title) when its subtitle is ‘An Essay in Phenomenological Ontology’ and the entirety of Sartre’s introduction and first chapter are devoted to an examination of … being and nothingness? Top subscription boxes – right to your door, © 1996-2020,, Inc. or its affiliates. Enter your email address below and we will send you your username, If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username, I have read and accept the Wiley Online Library Terms and Conditions of Use. Reviewed in the United States on September 7, 2017, Reviewed in the United States on April 4, 2016. But we are bound to fail: we ‘live our lives in one direction’ (towards an unknown future) and ‘narrate them the other way round’ (as if we knew how they would end). (They might at least have prevented him from harping on the expression ‘réalité humaine’, when the whole point of the book was that human existence has nothing in common with thing-like ‘realities’, and they should have noticed that he kept getting the title of one of his own essays wrong.) This shopping feature will continue to load items when the Enter key is pressed. After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in. Being and Nothingness by Jean‐Paul Sartre, translated by Sarah Richmond. Gorz was ‘taken aback’ to discover that his ‘demiurge’ was plain and stocky and emmerdé by the ignorant devotees with whom he surrounded himself. His earliest admirers were dismayed. Apart from that he could do as he liked. London: Routledge, 2018, 848 pp. Sartre was already well known as the philosophy professor who had written the anti-humanist novel La Nausée and then branched out into theatre, and according to his young friend Jean-Toussaint Desanti, the establishment philosophique scoffed at his frantic productivity and wondered why anyone would ‘bother with such things’. There was speculation that it was chosen to encourage the Propagandastaffel to see it as a tribute to Being and Time, but while it took up several themes from Heidegger, it was really a continuation of the criticisms of traditional psychology that Sartre had been developing over the past twenty years. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, Drawing on history and his own rich imagination for examples, Sartre offers compelling supplements to his more formal arguments.