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Jean-Paul Sartre and the Politics of Reason


  • Page extent: 212 pages
  • Size: 229 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.32 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521115070)

Andrew Dobson charts Sartre's transformation from novelist and apolitical philosopher of existentialism, before the Second World War, to a committed defender of Marxism and Marxist method after it. Examining Sartre's post-war work in detail, he shows how the biographies of Baudelaire, Genet and Flaubert, often considered tangential to his main oeuvres, are in fact central to this defence of Marxism, and should therefore be read as acts of political commitment. Andrew Dobson's study of posthumous sources, including the extended commentaries in English of Volume II of the Critique of dialectical reason, and in its insistence on reading Sartre's philosophical development as primarily politically motivated. It provides a clear reading of some of Sartre's less familiar works, situating them in an overarching social and political project.

• No other book gives this much philosophical attention to the biographies of Baudelaire, Genet and Flaubert • Relates Sartre's writing and thought to his political life and the history happening around him • Identifies major turning point in Sartre's thought, detailed look at less familiar works, particularly as they bear on his political commitment


Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I: 1. Marxism in pre-war France; 2. The failure of absolute freedom; 3. Force of circumstance - World War Two and beyond; 4. The Critique (1): The dialectic; 5. The Critique (2): groups; 6. The Critique (3): alienation; 7. The second Critique; Part II: 8. Biographies and histories; 9. Existential psychoanalysis; 10. The case of Baudelaire; 11. The case of Genet; 12. Search for a method; 13. The case of Flaubert; 14. Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

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