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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 | , | Leave a comment

Paul-Vincent Spade on Jean-Paul Sartre

Paul Vincent Spade is Professor of Philosophy at Indiana University, Bloomington. He has put his Sartre course notes online in pdf:

(1) Jean Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness: Class Notes, Fall 1995. 243 pp.

(2) Jean Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness: Course Materials. 76 pp.

Also includes : Christopher Vaughan, Pure Reflection: Self-Knowledge and Moral Understanding in the Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre (Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University, 1993) 210 pp.

April 14, 2008 Posted by | Existentialism, general, Jean-Paul Sartre | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook

The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook By Marty Smith

April 14, 2008 Posted by | Sartre | , , | Leave a comment

Sartre: Nausea

If you have to have a reason (or an excuse or justification) for reading Nausea in 2008, this essay from Gabriel Josipovici in ReadySteadyBook in an essay, Borges and the Plain Sense of Things, is part of it:

Borges’ fondness for detective stories stems from his dislike for the classical novel. For the detective story, unlike the novel, accepts from the start that the logic of fiction is not the logic of life and that as a fictional construct its prime duty is to be interesting, not realistic. The novel, on the other hand, is a curious hybrid: it wants to assert at one and the same time that it is dealing with life in all its boring contingency, while at the same time telling a story which implies that life has a meaning, is always more than mere contingency. This is the secret of its hold over us, as Sartre, for one, understood so well. We open a novel, Sartre says in La Nausée, and read about a man walking down a road. The man seems free, the future open before him. At once we identify with him, for that is how our own existence seems to be to us. We too are walking down the road of life, not knowing what is to come. But the pleasure of reading a novel stems from the fact that we know that this man is in fact the subject of an adventure that is about to befall him. How do we know this? Because he is there at the start of the novel and he would not be there if nothing were going to happen to him. Thus, Sartre concludes, ‘the end is there, which transforms everything. For us the guy is already the hero of the story.’ The extraordinary power of the novel lies in this, that it makes us feel that our lives are both free and meaningful. It does not say this, for it neither needs to nor is it fully aware of it, but nonetheless that is its essence, the secret of its power.

A fuller quote of the Sartre is in the wiki:nausea

SparkNotes: Nausea

Wiki: nausea

Nausea : same text as wiki in different format

Everything2 : Nausea

Sartre and Camus: Nausea and Existentialist Humor
Richard E. Baker J. of Language and literature vol. 1, Issue 1, 2007

Essay examining Sartre’s notion of the absurd, first in his philosophy and then in his novel Nausea, in relation to Albert Camus’s seminal work The Myth of Sisyphus.

Nausea : 6 O’clock in the evening (= The Chestnut Tree )

The Flâneur By Keith Tester

April 12, 2008 Posted by | Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre | , , | Leave a comment