The Existentialist Moment: The Rise of Sartre as a Public Intellectual

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Jean-Paul Sartre is frequently visible because the vital public highbrow, yet this was once no longer regularly the case. until eventually the mid-1940s he used to be now not so recognized, even in France. Then without notice, in a truly brief time period, Sartre turned an highbrow superstar. How do we clarify this impressive transformation?

The Existentialist Moment retraces Sartre?s profession and gives a compelling new clarification of his meteoric upward thrust to repute. Baert takes the reader again to the complicated and stressful interval of the second one global warfare and its fast aftermath and exhibits how the original political and highbrow panorama in France at the moment helped to propel Sartre and existentialist philosophy to the fore. The booklet additionally explores why, from the early Sixties onwards, in France and in other places, the curiosity in Sartre and existentialism ultimately waned. The Existentialist Moment ends with a daring new concept for the research of intellectuals and a provocative problem to the common trust that the general public highbrow is a species now on the point of extinction.

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As soon as that surroundings replaced, we'll argue, Sartre’s reputation and that of existentialism reduced. and alter it did. Many societal shifts happened, which made Sartre and existentialism much less correct. One such shift, as we will see, was once the increase of the social sciences. one other used to be structuralism. the increase: a synthesis what's the particular context during which Sartre and existentialism got here to the fore and which bills for the latter? Which components have been very important? allow us to summarize the details that experience emerged from the former chapters. highbrow vacancies first of all, it was once a socio-historical surroundings during which, to place it bluntly, there have been lots of highbrow vacancies. through this we suggest that, within the mid-1940s in France, there has been strange scope for brand spanking new highbrow figures and highbrow events. Why used to be this the case? The event of the warfare had undermined the legitimacy of a considerable a part of the highbrow institution, both as a result of wartime actions of a few famous writers or simply because their rules now not resonated with the general public. the previous involved the collaboration of a few writers with Nazi Germany or Vichy, while the latter observed altering notions of what writing was once or may be approximately. What had a few writers performed to undermine their credibility? in the direction of the tip of the warfare, an important variety of writers have been considered as being compromised both simply because that they had written overtly in aid of fascism and Vichy or simply because they'd seemed ambiguous or a minimum of now not transparent sufficient of their condemnation of Nazi career or Vichy. so much previously occupied nations prosecuted collaborators, yet France used to be targeted in focusing on its collaborationist intellectuals. As might be inferred from Resistance novels like Vercors’ Le Silence de los angeles mer, a few sections of the Resistance portrayed French literature on the center of nationwide id and Germany as reason on destroying it. during this gentle, collaborationist literature was once the last word betrayal. The purge took kinds. One used to be a naming and shaming workout orchestrated from in the writers’ career. This had all started early on within the conflict: articles seemed in Les Lettres françaises, the clandestine Resistance literary magazine, within which quite a few authors have been criticized, for example, for attending the foreign Writers’ Congress in Weimar (Brasillach), writing pro-Nazi fabric (Chardonne, Céline, Montherlant) or for publishing in collaborationist retailers (Colette, Giono) or just for learning the German language (Gide). extra importantly, on the finish of the warfare, the communist-dominated Comité nationwide des écrivains (CNE) compiled a ‘blacklist’ of one hundred sixty five authors which integrated particular fascist sympathizers like Robert Brasillach, Louis-Ferdinand Céline and Pierre-Eugène Drieu los angeles Rochelle, but in addition a great number of authors who're no longer as simply classifiable yet whose inclusion at the record intended however that their careers have been blighted, if no longer destroyed. along with the naming and shaming, the purge of intellecuals additionally took a judicial shape.

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