Friday, October 19, 2018

Sartre on Literature

Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the towering figures of 20th century philosophy and literature.  This month's selection, "Why Write," was first published in 1947 in the journal Les Temps Modernes (Modern Times), founded by Sartre and his long-term companion, the author Simone de Beauvoir.

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
A group of Sartre's essays from Les Temps Modernes concerning an existentialistic approach to literary creation was published in book form as "Qu'est-ce que la littérature" ("What Is Literature?")

"Why Write?" can be read as a manifesto of the Sartrian theory of committed literature: an imaginative literature that is engaged with the critical issues of its time.
The 1965 U.S. Edition of "Qu'est-ce que la littérature?"