Baudelaire

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New Directions Publishing, 1950 - Biography & Autobiography - 192 pages
5 Reviews
Sartre's study of Baudelaire is one of the more brilliant achievements off modern criticism. We may often disagree with his interpretations of the poet's personality, but we cannot fail to wonder at the mastery with which he presents his case. It is the case, quite patently, of an Existentialist who wishes to psychoanalyse a paramount literary figure in terms of his own beliefs. Perhaps Sartre's greatest contribution to Existentialism has been his own personality. He turned abstrations into a theory of psychoanalysis, grounded in man's creativity and opposed to Freudian determinism. Then he put the theory in practice in this book on Baudelaire, the greatest lyric poet of the age.
  

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Review: Baudelaire

User Review  - Emil - Goodreads

A complicated but interesting psychological analysis of Baudelaire's poetry and his lifelong struggle with things such as Good, Evil and everything in between... Read full review

Review: Baudelaire

User Review  - Cris - Goodreads

A critical study based largely on unverifiable speculation about the mental state of its subject. There is surprisingly little of Baudelaire's poetry or prose cited here. Sartre treats the poet's life ... Read full review

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About the author (1950)

Sartre is the dominant figure in post-war French intellectual life. A graduate of the prestigious Ecole Normale Superieure with an agregation in philosophy, Sartre has been a major figure on the literary and philosophical scenes since the late 1930s. Widely known as an atheistic proponent of existentialism, he emphasized the priority of existence over preconceived essences and the importance of human freedom. In his first and best novel, Nausea (1938), Sartre contrasted the fluidity of human consciousness with the apparent solidity of external reality and satirized the hypocrisies and pretensions of bourgeois idealism. Sartre's theater is also highly ideological, emphasizing the importance of personal freedom and the commitment of the individual to social and political goals. His first play, The Flies (1943), was produced during the German occupation, despite its underlying message of defiance. One of his most popular plays is the one-act No Exit (1944), in which the traditional theological concept of hell is redefined in existentialist terms. In Red Gloves (Les Mains Sales) (1948), Sartre examines the pragmatic implications of the individual involved in political action through the mechanism of the Communist party and a changing historical situation. His highly readable autobiography, The Words (1964), tells of his childhood in an idealistic bourgeois Protestant family and of his subsequent rejection of his upbringing. Sartre has also made significant contributions to literary criticism in his 10-volume Situations (1947--72) and in works on Baudelaire, Genet, and Flaubert. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and refused it, saying that he always declined official honors.

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