The Story I Tell Myself: A Venture in Existentialist Autobiography

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University of Chicago Press, Apr 15, 2008 - Social Science - 370 pages
Best known as the writer who introduced French existentialism to English-speaking readers through her translation of Sartre's Being and Nothingness, Hazel E. Barnes has written an autobiography that is both the success story of a professional woman as well as a profoundly moving reflection on growing older. Transcending the personal details of her life, Barnes' memoir stands as an important contribution to the intellectual history of our century.

"An intimate record of our times and of the ongoing issues that challenge us to define ourselves over and over again."—Kirkus Reviews

"An engaging autobiography that spans not only [Barnes'] self-identified period of 'flourishing' but virtually all the twentieth century."—Library Journal

"Thoughtful, gracefully written reflections. . . . Readers will be glad they pursued an unusual woman's intellectual and personal journey."—Booklist

"An accessible, wonderfully written book packed with wisdom and insight."—Denver Post

"Absorbing and satisfying."—Gertrude Reif Hughes, Women's Review of Books

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THE STORY I TELL MYSELF: A Venture in Existentialist Autobiography

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The translation of Sartre's Being and Nothingness into English in 1955 was the first and perhaps most notable achievement of Barnes's long and scholarly career, on which she reflects in this ... Read full review

The story I tell myself: a venture in existentialist autobiography

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Barnes first made Sartre and the French Existentialist movement available to American readers with her translation of Being and Nothingness (1956). Here she provides an engaging autobiography that ... Read full review


ONE Being a Child
TWO Being Educated
THREE Conversions and Epiphanies
Photographs follow pages 108 and 260
FOUR Interlude
FIVE Engagement with Existentialism
SIX Existential Feminism
SEVEN Teaching for a Living
EIGHT Living in the Rockies
NINE Making an Ending

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Page xix - Questions of sincerity, the reliability of memory, and concern for others' feelings turn out to be far more complex than I had imagined. The problem of selectivity, which in other contexts may be purely literary, becomes more urgent; to single out these factors as most important in shaping a self is to mold the self presented.

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