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Sartre: Realism all the way down

A man is always a storyteller; he lives surrounded by his own stories as well as those of others. Through them he sees everything that happens to him; and he tries to live his life as if he were fictionalizing it.


Having finish Nausea, it only remains (ha!) for an explanation of its philosophy. First more on Sartre/Virgina Woolf.

Philosophy apart, I had, while reading Nausea, picked up on something about Nausea and Woolf’s To The Lighthouse. The only thing online I could find was this tantalising abstract:

This article analyses the relationship between Jean-Paul Sartre’s La Nausée [1938] and Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse [1927], which share many textual details and a concern with the representation of traumatic loss. In both texts, there is an encounter with contingency and a quest for an ethical form that might symbolize suffering. Roquentin’s melancholic quest for an aesthetic vision to render loss constructs a false dichotomy of history versus art, in which the relation with the Other is abjected. Unable to find a form for his suffering – as he terms it, ‘souffrir en mesure’ [‘to suffer in time’] like the jazz tune which relieves his existential nausea – Roquentin ultimately retreats into narcissistic abstraction. In To the Lighthouse, Lily Briscoe’s post-Impressionist quest to represent her spiritual love for Mrs Ramsay in portraiture is more successful: in its eschewal of narcissistic signature and its hospitality to difference, Lily’s vision becomes an aesthetic space of encounter with the (m)Other, removed from the melancholic, narcissistic project of novel-writing that Roquentin envisages at the end of La Nausée.

of a paper: Mourning and the ethics of form in Sartre’s La Nausée and Woolf ‘s To the Lighthouse, by Ursula Tidd, published in The Journal of Romance Studies, Volume 6, Numbers 1-2, Spring & Summer 2006 , pp. 209-220 (12). If you’ve got a spare $39, or just under £20, you’ll be able to read it.

A discussion at Talking Philosophy on Virginia Woolf and Jean-Paul Sartre.

A quote at Questia:

“I tried to profit”, explains Sartre, “from the research made by certain novelists such as Dos Passos and Virginia Woolf into techniques of narrative.

It remains to both try to specify what I want to find out and to decide how deep to go.

(1) More on Woolf’s narrative techniques. As in : “Explained by someone else not from a reading of her whole ouevre”. Also something more on comparison of technique s in Woolf ‘s fiction and non-fiction.

(2) contingency

(3) Intentionality (wikipedia)

Intentionality (Stanford Enclyplopedia of Philosophy)

Sartre Today: A Centenary Celebration though as a GoogleBook not complete is a great help.

[1] Chapter 6: Sartre and Realism-All-The- Way

[a] The Purification of the Consciousness, pages 94-99

[b] Objective realism, 99-100

[c] Radical continuity, 100-104

[d] Realism not contextualism, All the way down, 104-108 {107 missing}

Detailed notes useful 110 – 113

Back, too, to Dennett’s Consciousness Explained for what he says on intentionality. Trying to find his papers on the intentional stance. Probably not going as far as to read his book The Intentional Stance.

(4) Objective realism

John Duncan in Sartre Today :

In Nausea, Sartre crafts a portrayal of radical contingency, that assiduously rejects objective realism.

There is plenty of online help with objective realism. E.g.

wiki: objective realism

What is objective realism?

(5) Idealism

This by Ian Heath on objective idealism is useful. It takes us to the relationship between psychology and philosophy.

April 23, 2008 - Posted by | general | ,

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