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This book was published for the “Sartre” exhibition presented from 9 March to 21 August 2005 by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France at its François-Mitterrand site.

The book was edited by Mauricette Berne, Chief Custodian of the Manuscripts Department of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, member of the Sartre ITEM team and curator of the Sartre exhibition. Agnès Chauveau, Annie Cohen-Solal, Michel Contat, Serge Doubrovsky, Gabriella Farina, Noëlle Giret, Noëlle Guibert, Jean Habert, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Jean-François Louette, Daniel Maximin, François Noudelmann, Gilles Philippe, Bernard Pingaud, Michel Rybalka, Tiphaine Samoyault, Michel Sicard, Jean-François Sirinelli, Paolo Tamassia, Michel Winock all contributed.

Born in 1905, died in 1980, Sartre was one of the great figures of the twentieth century, illuminating France and other countries with his words, thoughts and writings. America acclaimed him, Italy was his second home, the developing world saw him as a spokesperson. He was an individualist and a pacifist at the start of his career, but following the defeat of 1940 and his detention in Stalag XII-D at Trier, he became a socially committed man of letters. His philosophy of existence has been a model for entire generations.

From the birth of existentialism to the Maoist adventure, from the phoney war to the wars in Algeria and Vietnam, from Les Temps Modernes to Libération, he was, with his companions Simone de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Vian, Genet and Camus, an essential witness of his time. Following the publication of “Les Mots” (Words) and his refusal to accept the Nobel prize, he remained a political and moral authority, an anti-establishment figure, a reference in the panorama of French thought, despite being almost totally blind.

By showcasing the exceptional resources of the Manuscript Department of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and presenting unpublished documents discovered recently, this book renovates traditional Sartrean imagery and reveals Sartre as an art theorist unbeknown to the general public.

Gallimard /Bibliothèque nationale de France
Mars 2005
27 x 22 cm
ISBN: 9782070118045