The novels of Jean-Paul Sartre, philosopher : an analysis and interpretation (1968)
AuthorsWatt, Terrynce A.show all
Jean-Paul Sartre first appeared on the French literary scene just prior to the war years with the publication of his first novel, La Nausée, in 1938, and a collection of short stories, under the title Le Mur, in 1939. The publication of his major philosophical statement, L'Etre et le Néant, in 1943 provoked widespread interest and much lively discussion which today, a quarter of a century later, is by no means at an end. The name of Jean-Paul Sartre will undoubtedly be remembered in connection with his interpretation of existential philosophy. As a literary man, however, his position is less clear. In the realm of the theatre Sartre was accorded a wide acclaim in the post-war period as he confronted his audience with dramatic plays expressing the ideas of his philosophy and incorporating aspects of the contemporary scene. If Sartre's literary reputation is to survive the test of time and fickle literary tastes, some think it will be as a dramatist, not as a novelist. One reason for this view is that his interest in the dramatic medium has been a more constant one and the theatre has proved a very productive outlet for his talents, whereas his novelistic achievement has been sporadic, interrupted by the appeals of dramatic and philosophical writing.