Conversations with Jean-Paul Sartre by Perry Anderson

Conversations with Jean-Paul Sartre

Perry Anderson and Quintin Hoare
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Jean-Paul Sartre was undoubtedly one of the greatest and most popular philosophers of the 20th Century. Also a prominent novelist, playwright and biographer, Sartre was, above all, the embodiment of the engag intellectual, active in a variety of political causes, as well as an individual who attempted to live his life in accordance with the philosophy he professed. It was this that gave his lifelong preoccupation with freedom, choice and what he came to refer to as social conditioning, its cutting edge. Sartre's life was in many ways an illustration of his brand of existentialism in action. These three interviews, including one with Simone de Beauvoir, take Sartre on a wide-ranging tour of his philosophy and politics. Topics discussed include “freedom of choice,” his uneasy relationship with Freudian concepts, his debates with Marx, and his acute observations on drama, the Cultural Revolution, Stalinism, women's rights, the May “Events” and of course, the Vietnam War. Their breadth remains a testimony to one man's attempt to make philosophical sense of the tumultuous world around him.

Publisher Description

Jean-Paul Sartre was undoubtedly one of the greatest and most popular philosophers of the 20th Century. Also a prominent novelist, playwright and biographer, Sartre was, above all, the embodiment of the engaged intellectual, active in a variety of political causes, as well as an individual who attempted to live his life in accordance with the philosophy he professed. It was this that gave his lifelong preoccupation with freedom, choice and what he came to refer to as social conditioning, its cutting edge. Sartre's life was in many ways an illustration of his brand of existentialism in action. In these two interviews, the Marxist historian and scholar Perry Anderson takes Sartre on a wide-ranging tour of his philosophy and politics. The skilful and part chronological interrogation of various fundamental Satrean concepts, and the detailed and complex elucidations of them by the philosopher, make these interviews a must for anyone interested in Sartre's philosophical, political and ethical development.
The wide range of topics discussed also includes 'freedom of choice', his uneasy relationship with Freudian concepts, his debates with Marx, and his acute observations on drama, the Cultural Revolution, Stalinism, the May 'Events' and of course, the US war on Vietnam. Their breadth remains a testimony to one man's attempt to make philosophical sense of the tumultuous world around him.

Review
'One would perhaps have to go back as far as Voltaire to find a comparable case of a writer whose influence extended well beyond literature, into the realm of philosophical, historical, and political thought.' New York Review of Books 'I want to always remain an appeal for living.' Sartre 'This volume has the merit of allowing the reader to become easily acquainted with some challenging aspects of Sartre's writings while gaining a clear insight into the broad spectrum of his thought and his legendary capacity for skilful remorseless self-analysis.' Journal of Contemporary European Studies

Author Biography

Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980) became the emblematic French thinker of his generation. His hugely influential writings - ranging across philosophy, novels, stories, plays, and political pamphlets - include Being and Nothingness, Critique of Dialectical Reason, Nausea, The Words, and No Exit and the Flies. Perry Anderson is the author of many works including Lineages of the Absolutist State, In the Tracks of Historical Materialism, A Zone of Engagement and The Origins of Postmodernity. He teaches history at UCLA and is an editor of New Left Review. Quintin Hoare is a prize-winning translator and editor of Gramsci and Sartre, among others. Ronald Fraser is author of the classic Blood of Spain.

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Conversations with Jean-Paul Sartre

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