Jean-Paul Sartre, born June 21, 1905 in Paris, died April 15, 1980 in Paris, was a French writer, intellectual, and philosopher. He was awarded but declined the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964.
Sartre is considered to be a founder of existentialism. His first novel, La Nausée came in 1938, and Sartre then produced a variety of literary, political, and philosophical works.
After the World War II, Sartre also founded Les Temps Modernes, his own journal, where he worked on with his life partner the philosopher and writer Simone de Beauvoir. Both Sartre and de Beauvoir was strongly committed politically against the French and international bourgeoisie, and especially against French colonial rule in Algeria.
Sartre was born in France in 1905, and was already at fifteen months of age fatherless. At an early age, his grandfather taught him mathematics and allowed him to study classical literature.
He finally came in at the elite school École Normale Supérieure, where he studied philosophy with Jean Hyppolite. At the second examination, he was the best, followed closely by Simone de Beauvoir. These two came then to initiate an open relationship that lasted until Sartre’s death in 1980. While they were together, both had quite a number of love affairs on the side. This was accepted under the contract they had with each other.
Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir came to embody the “intellectuals” in the postwar period.
After graduation, in 1931, Sartre served few years as a teacher. He left the work to travel to Germany and studied Husserl. It took him four years of intensive studies to fully understand Husserl, and he was subsequently for several years husserlit. Throughout his youth, Sartre had a vision of uniting philosophy and fiction. His first attempt, it happened to be the Nausea, had been rejected three times by the publisher before it was published in 1939, then sharply circumscribed. The same year he published the short story collection The Wall. Both became huge successes in French intellectual circles.
The same year he was called to military service in World War II, where he mainly devoted himself to his writing. He was captured by the Germans, but was released in April of 1941.
Besides philosophical works, Sartre wrote largely fiction, including a large number of dramas. He also wrote a great work on Gustave Flaubert. These literary successes gave him the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature, which he declined – among other things he did not dress up in evening dress for the bourgeoisie. Towards the end of his life, Sartre became blind and could no longer read. Beauvoir remained by his side until the end. In 1980, Sartre died and 50,000 people attended his funeral.
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