Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jean Paul Sartre & Existentialism (Installement 1) Section 9


Leith El-Mohammed

Dr. Phil Oliver

Installment 1

25 April 2017





Jean Paul & Existentialism

Jean Paul Sartre, a man who wasn’t someone you would want to stare at for a long time yet had a very special thought process. Sartre was born on June 21, 1905, in Paris. Jean-Baptist Sartre, a French naval officer, being his dad who he lost shortly after Jean being born. His mother, Anne Schweitzer then thought it was necessary to move to her parents to raise her son. His size and lazy eye gave him less confidence in himself and made it hard for people to stare at him and judge him for his appearance. His mother remarried when he was at the age of twelve which led him away from his mother and to his grandfather who introduced him to literature. He talks about not being accepted in many places, but would only feel accepted in their apartment, where he could write and escape the world that rejected him.

His grandfather, Charles Schweitzer, did not only lead him to the literature subject but also taught him math. He first became attracted to philosophy after reading the “Essay on the Immediate Data of Consiousness” by Henri Bergson as a teenager. He was attending Lycee Henri IV in Paris leading on to the study at the elite Ecole Normale Superieure. While attending the prestigious school he met many notables such as Raymond Aron and many more, who then became lifelong companions. In 1929, Sartre graduated from the Ecole Normale Superieure with a doctrate in philosophy, and then served as a conscript in the French Army till 1931. Around the year 1933, Sartre obtained the grant to study at the French Institute in Berlin where he studied the Phenomenology of Husseri and Heidegger. He then started to come up with his own philosophy that I will go over later in my essay. In these years he published many works that were very important and one of them was the novel “La Nauusee” which came out in 1938.

World War II, the war that Sartre was drafted into for the French army, serving as a meteorologist. Sadly, Sartre was captured by the German troops in Padoux spending nine months as a prisoner in 1940. He was released due to poor health and given civilian status. Getting out of prison he immediately went back for his position as a teacher at the Lycee Pasteur near Paris. Sartre would find himself in cafes gathered by a group of intellectuals, mainly at the Café de Flore leading onto participating in the founding of the undergound group Socialisme et Liberte. The group later on dissolved which led him to writing many plays and managed to write his most scholarly work on Existentialism. Sartre then met Albert Camus, a like-minded philosopher, who turned him to working on politically.

Attention was being brought to Sartre, which was a good and also a bad thing for him. Woman were throwing themselves at him, but at the same time he received a lot of negative press charge. Sartre was accused of moral corruption and spreading hopelessness among the younger generation. He was pushed away by the press and forced to retreat back to his mother’s house where he could work in peace.


1 comment:

  1. So much of existentialism is directly an outgrowth of these personal episodes and experiences. Sartre's "hell is other people" notion, for instance, must be largely a product of the objectifying and diminishing gaze of others in his unhappy youth. In his own mind, the self-assertion and defiance with which he responded in his philosophy must have seemed the epitome of hope, so the accusation of sowing hopelessness among the young must have been especially galling.

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