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May 31 , 2008

What Is Literature?

And Other Essays


French existentialist philosopher Sartreexplores the phenomenology of literature, focusing on the role of the artist as moral actor
 In Jean-Paul Sartre’s What Is Literature?, the renowned French philosopher explains his concept of the “committed” writer, linking authorship with moral responsibility. In the aftermath of World War II, Sartre argues that writing prose is a conscious act of freedom that addresses other independent humans who might be in situations of “unfreedom.” Sartre goes on to analyze the relationship between the writer and the reader, as well as the writer and “the public.” In Sartre’s view, art (literature included) is the purest way in which we practice freedom. In addition to a discussion of twentieth-century French literature, Sartre critiques surrealism and communism, while above all calling for writers to care about their art.
Providing remarkable insight into the world of existential thought, reading, and writing, What Is Literature? is a vital text for any writer, philosopher, or thinker.

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